Popular culture's lex vampirica: the law of the undead in True Blood, the Twilight saga and The Passage
From art house films (e.g., Jim Jarmusch’s recent and brilliant Only Lovers Left Alive) to young adult fiction (e.g., Richelle Mead’s entertaining ‘Vampire Academy’ series), from primetime drek (e.g, the truly execrable Vampire Diaries) to ‘indie’ cult movies (e.g., Swedish coming-of-age story, Let the Right One In – my personal favourite), the trope of the vampire looms large culturally, its present and (near) pervasive ‘coming out of the coffin’,2 at once reflecting and refracting, as I shall argue here, our contemporary socio-legal debates, as much as our ongoing psychosexual concerns. A mirroring which – even if, famously and folklorically, vampires were imago-less, having no mirror refection – figures most prominently in two current vampire publishing phenomena, both having transitioned successfully from the printed page to the moving image, each being screen adaptations from their best-selling textual sources. I refer, first, to the big screen’s Twilight saga, its strong box office showing a foregone conclusion given the unswerving loyalty of its literary fanbase – the original readership of the best-selling oeuvre of romancer du jour, Stephanie Meyer; and, second, to the small screen’s True Blood, its seventh and final season now finished – in the end, an ailing franchise but, at least initially, a televisual tour de force by Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball of Charlaine Harris’s set of supernatural semi-policiers, the ‘Southern Vampire Mysteries’. As vampire fictions – and, to my mind, as vampire legal fictions non pareil – both True Blood and Twilight take as their central and overarching theme, desire, as well as, more specifically, its ‘right’ to desire differently.
Cultural Legal Studies: Law's Popular Cultures and the Metamorphosis of Law
Law and Society