Vampires have a wonderful PR agent. They’re being thirsted after in Baldur’s Gate 3, they’ve us watching Twilight once more on TikTok, and even Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a second shot at fame with a brand new audio sequence. It’s simple: Vampires are in once more, even whereas the lore surrounding them continues to be advanced and at instances contested.
Does their pores and skin sparkle sexily within the solar or flip to ash? Can they cross shifting water? Are their fangs completely on show? What we are able to all agree on, nonetheless, is that vampires, whether or not they’re scorching, grotesque, or dwelling on Staten Island, drink blood. Queen Regent of Pop Rock Olivia Rodrigo bit down on the heart beat of tradition when she launched her single “Vampire” over the summer season, crooning about bloodsuckers, and Okay-pop group ENHYPEN’s cinematic launch of the idea album Darkish Blood pulled no punches, inviting listeners to recollect one factor: “Chunk me.” Nowhere is the affect of vampires now extra evident than in celeb tradition and its obsession with youth, glamour, intercourse, and, in fact, blood.
Although it’s been over a century since Bram Stoker printed Dracula, the vampire fable lives on in innumerable cultural diversifications, remixes, and interpretations in movies, video video games, tv exhibits, and books. However the place vampires are most alive and scarily closest to actuality is within the sphere of celeb. Core elements of vampire lore — everlasting youth, aristocratic glamour, and naturally, a sort of darkish sexiness — are nonetheless haunting us, however this time in Hollywood. To start with this critical popular culture inquiry of celeb bloodsucking, one should begin at Kim Kardashian’s notorious “vampire facial” approach again in 2013, immortalized endlessly on Instagram. The submit has been lodged in my millennial-Gen Z-cusp mind for over a decade. The silent technology might need had sexy-scary Bela Lugosi as Depend Dracula, however we have Kim.
If the phrases “Kim Kardashian vampire facial” imply little to you, enable me to let you know a story. Kim, to advertise the E! spinoff sequence Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, snapped a shot of herself receiving a vampire facial — smiling coyly on the digital camera together with her completely sculpted face coated in blood. Vampire facials should not far off from Bioré pore strips, besides, properly, it’s blood. A vampire facial includes a microdermabrasion of the pores and skin adopted by a blood draw, then an utility of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) slathered again onto the pores and skin for absorption. All this to maintain the pores and skin clean and youthful, identical to our handsome undead buddies. Price ticket? Between $1,000 and $2,000. And if you wish to spring for the extra intense vampire face carry the place you get to inject your personal blood, that’ll run you about $3,000.
Kim Kardashian, like several celeb, isn’t any stranger to weird magnificence therapies, however the excessive motion of harvesting one’s personal blood to reabsorb it in pursuit of higher pores and skin captures a key facet of the vampire fable — everlasting youth — that’s central to our understanding of latest vampires. There’s a disturbing overlap between the vampiric embodiment of immortality and our personal obsessive want for youthfulness, which we pursue by means of skincare, make-up, and even surgery-adjacent strategies, just like the vampire facial. That is no shock in the event you’re an individual with a smartphone, given the explosion of facial modifying apps and even bespoke cosmetic surgery procedures all to realize the a lot sought-after “Instagram face.”
The place as soon as in fiction and movie vampires have been distinguished by sallow pores and skin and bloodied mouths, at this time a vampiric look includes being each smoking scorching and wealthy. Even Vogue is in on the pattern, lavishing reward on Olivia Rodrigo’s fashion by calling her new look “positively vampiric.” Our trendy vampires have washboard abs or an ideal no-makeup make-up look. These with out million-dollar incomes may not be capable to spring for a vampire facial, however anybody aspiring to Undead Stylish can get shut by means of tendencies like “vampire pores and skin” tutorials now proliferating on TikTok. First popularized by influencer August Sombatkamrai, the glowy complexion is achieved by mixing basis with glitter eyeshadow and making use of liberally to the pores and skin. Kim would possibly now remorse her facial, but it surely’s situations like these that present what number of celebrities will take any bloody means crucial to realize eternal magnificence and energy. On this case, it’s the darkish powers you get with an elevated follower rely relatively than turning right into a bat or swirling cloud of mist.
Smearing blood in your face, although, that’s vampire-spawn vitality. Folks, like Bryan Johnson, reported billionaire and biotech entrepreneur, are veering towards full-blown vampire. Johnson, one of many many vocal wealthy guys on X (previously referred to as Twitter), not too long ago carried out a transgenerational blood infusion between himself, his 17-year-old son, and his 70-year-old father, in pursuit of everlasting youth. The method concerned taking a liter of blood from his son — which, to present you a psychological picture, is a bit more than a trenta Starbucks iced pumpkin spice latte — and injecting it into himself. This blood-swapping apply has been round for ages, however the newest iteration is an element and parcel of Johnson’s $2-million-per-year self-care routine that he describes as designed to “reverse the getting old course of” by mainlining “younger blood.” This isn’t Johnson quoting Bram Stoker, to be clear.
And whereas Johnson’s bloodsucking habits hook up with our bigger cultural fixation with youth, the backlash he obtained additionally connects to a different historic a part of vampire lore: their illustration of rich glamour. If we bear in mind all the best way again to Stoker, Depend Dracula’s first order of enterprise was to go house purchasing in London — typical wealthy man habits. And what in regards to the Cullens’ ultra-modern home in Forks populated with how many luxurious vehicles, precisely? Affording that home on Carlisle’s single wage is tougher for me to imagine than vampires truly present. As a tradition, we are able to’t assist it; we like to each revile and “glamorize the bourgeois wealth and energy of the vampire life-style,” or the existence of celebrities.
Vampires at this time aren’t solely recognized for being wealthy and scorching, they’re additionally recognized for being sexy. What else is there to do in the event you’re undead? Play pickleball? Among the most outrageous examples of celeb bloodsucking aren’t dressed up with the medical language of infusions and platelet counts — they’re stunning situations of celebrities consuming one another’s blood in a dramatic present of romantic possession. In any case, vampires and intercourse have been “bedfellows” lengthy earlier than Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, and even Bela Lugosi wandered onto our screens enjoying the a part of bloodsuckers.
We’ve most likely all forgotten about Angelina Jolie’s marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, however I guarantee you, as soon as upon a time they strolled round pink carpets carrying vials of one another’s blood as a result of they have been so in love. Later in life, Jolie fondly recalled partaking in knife play with one other boyfriend the place that they had an “alternate of one thing” and “have been coated in blood,” illustrating the endurance of the literal celeb blood fetish. And like all beloved Y2K tendencies, horny blood play has had a giant comeback. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly and actress Megan Fox, star of the underappreciated teen horror flick Jennifer’s Physique, which options some pleasant literal bloodlust by a demon-possessed teenage woman performed by Fox, went past cute little vials and drank one another’s blood for “ritual functions.”
Vampires may be mythic figures, however they’re additionally mirrors reflecting our personal cultural anxieties, predilections, and beliefs again to us. At present, we’ve come a good distance from the unique Depend Dracula, and we’ve additionally moved between different vampiric iterations — the darkly charming Damon in Vampire Diaries, Edward Cullen together with his sparkly pores and skin, and Jasper the Accomplice vampire soldier from Twilight (actually for the perfect). At present, probably the most recognizable bloodsuckers aren’t lingering in musty European castles; they’re extra prone to be discovered within the extravagant mansions of the Hollywood Hills or coastal penthouses. In any case, at any time when the century or wherever the place, “vampires go the place energy is.”
And our personal celebs, fictional and in any other case, have taken a web page from these creatures of the night time. Twilight, in spite of everything, served because the inspiration for E.L. James’ souped-up fanfic that ultimately remodeled into the 50 Shades of Gray sequence, that includes horny, broken billionaire Christian Gray. Blood consuming may not have been in Christian’s BDSM repertoire, however together with his wealth and tendency to solely hit up Anastasia at the hours of darkness hours of the night time, he performed the a part of vampire fairly properly.
Our vampires at this time have pores and skin clean as glass or perky vampire breasts (sure, along with getting a vampire facelift, you will get a vampire breast carry to provide the good tits of the undead!). They don’t take care of the messy realities of stalking their prey; they pay for it, performing blood infusions at medi-spas and posting #sponcon on social media. And these elementary components of vampire lore — everlasting youth, rarified glamour, and darkish sensuality — aren’t simply metaphorically on full show in at this time’s social media-driven celeb tradition, they contain literal bloodsucking. Olivia tried to warn us in spite of everything: “Bloodsucker, fame fucker / Bleedin’ me dry like a goddamn vampire.”