Vampires – beings that usually feed on human blood, occasionally on animal’s blood, if they are on the Cullen’s diet. They are pale, cold as ice and very beautiful, according to Stephenie Meyer, the mother of all vampires in the world (I'm sorry L.J. Smith).
But now, let’s be serious and start this article from the very beginning. That is the reason I sat down and wrote this long essay about fictional beings. I think that we can all agree on the fact that Asian TV may have showed us poor editing skills and writing skills in terms of supernatural TV series or movies. Of course, ‘supernatural’ stands for various beings but this article, as the title says will focus solely on vampires and their appearance on Asian TV.
As a fan of Twilight the series, I was really expecting the craze to go all around the world, which of course would mean that countries, well the script writers, would produce more series or movies with a vampire theme. Yes, on one side I was right and the vampire wave hit a lot of countries, but for some reason Asia wasn’t fond of it. Was I disappointed? Yes, since when I read the Twilight series I imagined Edward as a man of Asian ethnicity. That’s why I was ready for some movies and series that would hype me up like Twilight did, but I was disappointed once again….
Yes, Asian countries started to produce vampire movies and TV series but with very badly written plot, poor visual effects and also bad acting. I was confused since a LOT of supernatural movies and shows have stunning visual effects.
Why does each country have a problem with portraying vampire characters?
Let’s face it, Twilight in terms of vampires didn’t have much CGI work, but it focused on make-up instead. I demand an explanation why so many Asian vampire movies/shows used CGI to change the vampire’s eye color, when they could have used simple contact lenses. I’m not saying that everyone should copy Twilight, but let’s face it, most of them did copy it in terms of the supernatural abilities.
I tried to dig into the problem of vampires and their absence in Asian movies/shows and I realized that culture is a huge element which should be included into the statistics of my question. Asia has a very long history which is dated to many years before Christ, but let’s face it, a lot of other countries date back to the ice age, but Asia, with all respect, simply focuses more on the history and life values then other countries. With this being said, they all focus more on their own folklore then other countries folklore which, for me, is the most reasonable answer to why vampires were never a hit in Asia.
Let’s state the facts first.
Vampires were born, well let’s say they came to life, thanks to village stories around the 18th to 19th century in Europe. If you think that Bram Stoker is the father of the vampire craze, then no, it’s mister Polidori who wrote a book called, ‘The Vampyre’ in 1819. The craze then continued with the famous horror novel 'Dracula' and in 1872 a lesbian vampire novel, ‘Carmilla’ was born. I can assure you that I have all these publications at home, resting on my shelf. I think Asia was the last to hit off the vampire craze, with first being Japan who started to produce short horror movies since 1950, influenced by the western culture.
Some may argue that vampires existed in Asian countries sooner as well, but I have to disagree. Yes, some supernatural beings from Asian countries held the same attributes as European vampires but in a very mild way. For example, Japanese believed in Nukekubi, which is a being whose head and neck detach from its body to fly about seeking human prey at night. Philippines also have legends of female creatures similar to vampires, but instead of teeth, they use their long tongue to suck out the blood from their victims, and have I mentioned that they love to devour unborn fetuses? I must say the Philippines legends are far more gruesome then the vampire which Stoker created. Another ‘vampire’ is jiangshi, that is in my opinion like a zombie we all are familiar with. It doesn’t look anywhere close to Dracula.
Since we went through the history we can see that Asia wasn’t as much into the craze as other countries. Asia, as I found out, mostly focuses on beings such as dokkaebi, mogwai, nine-tailed fox, yokai, bulgae. As we can all see, Asian movies and TV series usually focus on traditional Asian supernatural beings, rather than western ones.
Now I will list down the vampire movies/tv series which didn’t quite do well in my opinion :
The Scholar Who Walks the Night
Love in Time (I consider it the worst vampire TV series ever made )
Vampire in Love
I listed only a few and I think all were made after Twilight, so they had enough time to learn how to portray the vampires in a realistic way instead of making their eyes shine. I think that every script writer tries to be original and create something which was has never been seen before, but with such old folklore it’s VERY hard! I can’t imagine how good your writing ability and fantasy must be to create a completely new creature, but with the same attributes that would lead the creature to be listed as a vampire. As an aspiring writer I know how it feels like to be influenced by others work, trying to be better then other authors, but in terms of writing you should really think it through. And even if the writing is well and the story line sounds good, we have to take the whole production team into the big picture as well. If I were to create something with vampires in it, I wouldn't let the director or visual effects supervisor give my character shining CGI eyes.
So in the end, it’s team work.
I know a LOT of fantasy novels which I would love to see made into movies, but the authors themselves said, that they won’t leave the novel in hands of people who can’t show the story in it’s full, bright colors.
In the end I don’t really know what to say. It’s not like I can push the Asian script writers or directors into something they don’t know how to do, but I would lie if I said that I wasn't anticipating a good vampire movie or TV series. The love for vampires is still in me, but I'd rather watch well made supernatural dramas without my favorite blood suckers than experience a huge torture of watching something badly done. I see that they are good in making traditional supernatural stories, so I will support them in that, because let’s face it, it’s amazingly done.
Maybe one day, some director will share the same opinion as me and will create a stunning vampire movie!