So, you’ve just been bitten, and you find yourself swimming in a sea of blood and immortality. Now what? When we watch vampire movies, more often than not the answer seems to be one of two things: Become wealthy or go underground. How often have we seen vampires portrayed as living in a lousy little one bedroom apartment in the not-so-great part of town? Not in “Interview with the Vampire” (or any of Anne Rice’s work that I ever read, for that matter). Dracula lived in a castle, for God’s sake! The Lord of All Vampires, in every B movie portrayal, has always been wealthy. And let us not forget the Twilight series. Loved by pubescent girls the world over, you don’t see those vampires struggling to pay the bills. Even “30 Days of Night,” in all its grittiness, portrayed them as vastly more well off than you or me. They were well-dressed, and seemed only to be out on a lark from making massive international business deals. I wonder how many of them have stock in BP? They were on a rich vampire’s equivalent of a few weeks in The Bahamas. And what does the Hollywood (and literary) portrayal of vampires as mostly wealthy say about the writers’ opinions of the rich? Nothing good, I’m afraid.
On the other hand, you have the blood-suckers as portrayed in “Near Dark.” These guys went waaaaay underground. They live out of stolen vehicles and hotel rooms. Black spray-paint and duct tape are their primary tools of survival against the light. They only shop at corner stores (I am guessing). Dracula sleeps in a coffin beneath a castle, while his less productive kin wander the back roads of America in a van with blacked out windows. Or how about “The Lost Boys?” You have the head vampire living well (wealthy?), while his pack of low-rent children terrorizes the beaches of SoCal from an abandoned and collapsed hotel. One would assume they are squatters there.
It appears that in vampiric society you are either a high end Have, or a low end Have-Not. There seems to be no real middle class, but then, I have not yet seen “Daybreakers.” Is vampire literature so steeped in the class warfare that there is no middle class; only extreme poverty or extreme wealth?
If you want to make a real and original social commentary using the blood-sucking child of the night as a metaphor, you will portray them grinding through a soul-killing night job, paying bills, and trying to figure out how to get out of the rat race and into a comfortable retirement. Then again, you can’t really truly retire when there’s no end in sight for living, can you? You are going to work for hundreds of years until you either commit suicide by suntan or some over-zealous vampire hunter with a chip on his or her shoulder shoves a stake right through your workaday heart. Suddenly being a vampire loses some of its appeal.
So if I were vampirized, my first order of business would be to get an MBA. It seems like a requirement if you don’t want to find yourself sleeping in a hole in the ground you dug yourself, feeding off of hamsters, homeless people, and the occasional from-out-of-town teen.