It’s been almost 10 years since the premiere of The Vampire Diaries. One of The CW’s most watched shows, The Vampire Diaries debuted on September 10 2009, and launched with the biggest audience the network had seen for a premiere since it was formed in 2006. The show remained popular; the first season attracted 3.60 million viewers and lasted for a total of eight seasons. Totaling at 171 episodes, the show won many awards during the course of its creation, including several Teen Choice Awards as well as People’s Choice Awards.
Set in the fictitious town of Mystic Falls, the show stars Canadian actress Nina Dobrev (formerly of the show Degrassi) in the role of Elena Gilbert. Elena is a teenager stuck in a love triangle with two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore (played by Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, respectively). Based on an equally popular book series by L. J. Smith, the teen soap was praised by fans and critics for its thrilling cliffhangers, glamorous casting and dramatic – sometimes gory – screenwriting.
“The vampires, while pretty, are still sort of vicious,” explained Lindsay Soll, editor of MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog. “When they’re hungry and about to feed, their fangs come out — they don’t even have fangs in ‘Twilight’ — and their veins stick out. They’re not afraid to make pretty people ugly.”
It was this combination of glamour, the beautiful cast and drama — including the love triangles and violence — that made The Vampire Diaries so addicting for viewers; and ultimately, one of The CW’s most successful TV series. Its popularity, of course, convinced others who felt they could capitalise on the appeal of vampires, and sell their own products through The Vampire Diaries-inspired fang-fiction and products.
Here are three of the top industries that have used vampire glamour to their advantage.
Pop culture has always had an influence on games — and the vampire craze, inspired by shows like The Vampire Diaries, is no different. There’s a plethora of vampire-themed games to play. Bloodrayne, for example, features Rayne — a dhampir (half-vampire, half-human) who on a quest to find her father, kills other vampires in her path. Another good example is Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines; a role-playing game where the lead character can choose to play a male or female vampire.
The pop culture effect has had a similar impact on gambling games; particularly online slots. If you already love slots and you’re also a fan of vampires, Bloodsuckers is a great game to try. This eerie, blood-fuelled video slot experience utilises symbols relating to the Victorian vampire genre that’s become so well-recognised. Characters include three male vampires and a winged female vampire.
Whether you’ve never previously played slot games or you’re a seasoned veteran, it’s a good idea to swat up on some tried-and-tested ways to approach the game first. In John Grochowski’s fool-proof guide about how to win at slots, you’ll find out all the dos and don’ts, including top betting strategies and which games tend to pay out the most. We thoroughly recommend you check it out before having a flutter on Bloodsuckers.
Bloodsuckers 2 also takes on the same vampiric theme that you’d see in shows like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. The storyline features a young vampire named Amelia who arrives to her ancestor’s castle in search of hidden treasure. Both games are ideal for fans of vampires — as it gives them the chance of winning a jackpot while indulging in their interests.
Film and TV
The late noughties was a dream era for fans of the supernatural — especially those with a preference for vampires. In 2008 — a year before the premiere of The Vampire Diaries — the first film in the Twilight saga was released. Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Twilight was based on a series of books written by Stephanie Meyer. It also generated a new sect of fandom around stories of glamorous, vampiric drama. The film was a massive success, grossing over $393 million worldwide, as well as being the most purchased DVD of the year.
Renowned critic Robert Ebert said about the film: “I saw it at a sneak preview. Last time I saw a movie in that same theatre, the audience welcomed it as an opportunity to catch up on gossip, texting, and laughing at private jokes. This time the audience was rapt with attention.”
In the same year, HBO’s True Blood premiered; the story of cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse and 173 year old vampire Bill Compton. It too, received favourable reviews, with lead Anna Paquin winning a Golden Globe for her performance for the show’s first season. Like Twilight, True Blood shared the more glamorous elements of The Vampire Diaries — as well as some of the violence and gore that you might expect from vampires.
Like Elena and Bella, Sookie isn’t a vampire — although she is psychic.
“Sookie likes Bill because he’s the first person she hasn’t been able to listen in on the thoughts of, so it’s quiet,” said Anna Paquin, about the character. “You can read into that on deeper levels about intimacy and relationships and finding that person you can be yourself with. They’re both outsiders. So when this potentially scary creature walks into her path all she’s thinking is: ‘I want to go talk to him. I want to see what he’s like!”’
While both Twilight and True Blood preceded the debut of The Vampire Diaries, they still take influence from the show. That is, at least, in its book format, which was published as a series from 1991.
Last but not least, there’s vampire inspired music. This can be songs that are conceptually based on the idea of vampires, contain creepy imagery or simply have the word vampire in the song name. The contemporary band Vampire Weekend, for example, was named after a short film created by band member Ezra Koening, who was influenced by the film The Lost Boys.
Songs on the topic of vampires include Concrete Blond’s Bloodletting (The Vampire Song), Vampires Will Never Hurt You by My Chemical Romance and Bullet with Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins.
While music related to vampires has been produced long before The Vampire Diaries made its debut, the success of the show re-popularised many vampire-themed classics of the late 20th century. Its rise in pop culture has also inspired new music, for which the glamour and drama of vampires are the inspiration.
While the concept of vampires is most definitely nothing new, it’s no doubt enjoying an unprecedented level of mainstream popularity in the 21st century. While it remains to be seen whether it’ll hang around for a while, like comic-book-inspired superhero movies, there’s no doubt that its impact has already been felt in these three key entertainment sectors.