x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Stephen King goes for the vampire jugular

The horror-writer has deplored the rise of the romantic vampire and wants a return to the bad old blood-sucking days.

Stephen King is a little old-fashioned when it comes to vampires.
Stephen King is a little old-fashioned when it comes to vampires.

If Twilight makes the hairs on Stephen King's neck stand up, it's not for the right reasons. The world's most prolific and profitable horror writer makes this point loud and clear in his introductory essay for American Vampire, a forthcoming series from DC Comics. King, who has penned a typically blood-drenched story for the series, laments what he calls the "sweetie-vamp" trend that has characterised the genre in recent years. The essay, without naming names, is a clear broadside against the romantic storylines in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood.

Vampires shouldn't be trying to win the hearts of humans, King's argument goes, they should be sucking them dry. That, anyway, is the approach that King takes with Skinner Sweet, the brutal bloodsucker he dreamt up for American Vampire. King is also, of course, the man behind the unabashedly creepy Salem's Lot, which he published to great fanfare back in 1975. In that novel, King deliberately and wilfully set out to inject a little horror into a form that had grown increasingly kitschy. No surprise, then, that he should, erm, be negative when today's vampires utter lines such as: "I love you, Sookie Stackhouse."

"Here's what vampires shouldn't be: pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and only work at night; lovelorn southern gentlemen; anorexic teenage girls; boy-toys with big dewy eyes," he writes in the intro. "What should they be? Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A."