Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vampires and Spiritual Deformity

A spiritual deformity presupposes two things: the existence of spirit, and a form that is the proper type or pattern for spirits. If this form is marred or twisted, you have a spiritual deformity.

The vampire, in his traditional form, is a classic example of spiritual deformity. He is a rebel against God, and this has so twisted him that he does things like drink blood and sleep in coffins. In Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), the rebellion against God is explicit: Gary Oldman rejects God for having deprived him of Winona Ryder. Whatever you may think of Winona Ryder, this rebellion is what turns him into the monstrous Dracula.

Often, the rebellion against God is more implicit. We see it most often in the vampire's fear of crosses. The vampire is cursed of God, and therefore the cross, symbol of the son of God, frightens and burns him.

In our more secular age, it is less acceptable to assume publicly a metaphysics in which God is at the top and his son is just below him. So, to adapt to current tastes, vampires have become more secular. As pointed out in a 2008 blog from the Groovy Age of Horror, the cross no longer scares most vampires the way it used to.

As a result, the vampire has become metaphysically thinned out. You used to be able to count on the vampire as an example of spiritual deformity. Now he might just be someone with fangs and a thing for blood.

George Ochoa
Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films

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