Once upon a time the vampire was the forgotten man of the horror genre, but right now you can't walk into a multiplex or switch on a TV without falling over the blighters with the pointy canines.
The latest evidence of this hits TV in the shape of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on ITV2, but it's hot on the heels of DAYBREAKERS at the UK cinema and in recent months there's been the oversexed TRUE BLOOD, MOONLIGHT AND BLOOD TIES. And that's without mentioning BLADE THE SERIES (which we don't like to do because people might try and watch it).
The blame for all this can be laid at the door of the impossibly successful TWILIGHT books, but that's not going back far enough because they are just part of a cycle that has been going on right back to Bram Stoker's gothic horror novel.
The thing is that girls love vampires. And we're not just talking about in the books and films either. Stoker gave his Dracula an irresistible sexual attraction that has filtered down through almost every vampire movie that didn't use the NOSFERATU template, but in recent years the vampire has become a tragic, lonely figure to be loved and cared for. This could be as a result of the love story between Buffy and Angelus in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (and ANGEL). Nobody thought that the romance between a young teenage girl and a man a couple of hundred years old was a bit icky there! Did TWILIGHT author Stephenie Meyer ever see that whilst the novels were congealing in her mind?
Look around you now and there's no end of 'good' vampires who are tragic figures just looking for a good (and preferably teenage - old habits die hard) woman to put them right. Bill in TRUE BLOOD doesn't drink blood, Mick in MOONLIGHT loves a reporter he first saved as a child (Freud would have a field day with that one) and Henry Fitzroy from BLOOD TIES only bites those who want him to (and he's royal too).
The shelves of the local Waterstones are overflowing with the literary works of a newly burgeoning 'gothic romance' genre that is completely dependent on young girls wanting to be the misunderstood thing that can save the lonely monster by doing nothing more than understanding him.
Dracula would be spinning in his undead grave.