Friday, February 05, 2010

The Monster Mash

So, what will the next big thing after vampires be? I mean, bloodsuckers seem to be very much in vogue, media wise these days. If it isn't the Twilight books and films, then it is True Blood. Indeed, even as I write this, there's something called The Vampire Diaries showing on ITV 2. In common with all the other recent manifestations of the undead, it presents vampires as sexy young-looking dudes, seducing young women of a certain age. Not that there's anything new in this depiction of vampires - Ann Rice was doing much the same thing years ago. In fact, the equation of bloodsucking with sex goes back at least to 1958 and Hammer's first Dracula movie. In an era when depicting sex in any form on screen was frowned upon by the censors, Hammer's stroke of genius was instead to disguise it as vampirism. Not that they were even very subtle about it - the way women appeared to climax as Christopher Lee bit them, and all that orgasmic writhing when they were killed with phallic stakes: Freud would have had a field day. Not only did Hammer present vampirism as a function of aristocratic decadence, but they also showed it as sexually liberating for the victims - all those repressed Victorian ladies in their corsets suddenly become libidinous and scantily clad, with magnificent heaving bosoms, as soon as they are bitten.

But getting back to the original point, have vampires run their course as fashion icons, and if so, which supernatural menace will replace them? With the remake of The Wolfman about to be released, there's been much press speculation that werewolves are going to be the next big teenage fad. However, I don't really see wandering around nightspots with a furry face and claws catching on. Besides, tearing out people's throats with your teeth every full moon really isn't as romantic as just biting someone on the neck. I just don't see young girls swooning over hirsute lycanthropes in the same way as they do over handsome vampires. Sure, the werewolf has the whole pathetic victim thing going for him, but they're just so, hairy! Honestly, if women don't like men with hairy backs, then they're never going to go fur the fully-furred look, now are they? So what else is there? Zombies? Again, brain-eating, half decayed perambulating corpses are just not attractive. The maggot-ridden look is never going to hold sway on the dance floor.

Frankenstein's monster has similar problems - those asphalt-spreaders' boots are just too cumbersome for dancing, although the electrodes in the neck could become a much sought-after fashion accessory. Just so long as nobody starts a fad of plugging themselves into the mains using them. Then there's always the Hunchback of Notre Dame look. Humps could be in this year. Except that simulating physical disability in the name of fashion might be considered poor taste and result in a backlash from disability groups. The same thing goes for the Phantom of the Opera - the burns victim look will never catch on. What about the Jekyll/Hyde look? You could have one half bestial and evil, the other smooth and civilised. It has the advantage of combining the raw animalistic sexual energy of the werewolf with the smooth sophistication of the vampire. But perhaps it is all a bit too elaborate, not to mention confusing. So that just leaves the Mummy. That's my tip for the next big supernatural youth craze - people shuffling around swaddled in bandages. It all makes sense - that ancient Egyptian thing has always been big with the kids and hippies, plus there's the element of mystery the bandages bring, not to mention the whole forbidden love across the ages thing. Yes indeed, expect to see lots of bandaged night clubbers in the next few months...



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