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Love, Blood, Sex – the Fascination of Vampire Formats

Vampire formats have been very popular with children and adolescents for years. A worldwide online study involving 917 vampire fans between the ages of eight and 67 from 49 countries investigated why fans are so fascinated with these formats. The most popular vampire formats in this study are:  

  • The Vampire Diaries (420 fans)
  • True Blood (171 fans)
  • Twilight (148 fans)
  • Buffy – Im Bann der Dämonen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer dubbed into German)(120 fans)

Results: The results show that each format has its very own characteristics, particularly in terms of its emotional significance. The emotions that are dealt with in the programmes are mainly humour and fear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, intense, deep love in Twilight, and the aetheticisation of violence and disgust in True Blood. The Vampire Diaries links love with violence. With the exception of Buffy and its strong lead female role, the vampire formats are primarily successful because of their attractive male main characters who are particularly popular among female fans. Overall, the results show that the vampire is primarily a screen onto which viewers can project the existential dimensions of love, death and sexuality, becoming a symbol for social conflicts.     
The Buffy series offers a humorous, if also dark, projection screen for typical teenage anxieties in the form of demons that must be defeated. The vampire slayer becomes a parasocial friend who is certainly a quick-witted, tough and brave role model, but viewers can also relate to her as equals because of her own fallibility in terms of interpersonal relations.
In Twilight, deep romantic love becomes a projection of the fans’ desires for their own relationship with a partner.
In The Vampire Diaries, the vampire becomes a projection screen for deep emotions and eroticism but also for violence, which is embodied by characters such as Damon.
In its uncensored staging of sex and violence, True Blood goes a step further. In the series, the vampire becomes a projection screen for the lustful and uncensored transgression of boundaries and for taboos around sex and violence, as well as for social issues.
Themes that appeal to fans in all vampire formats are eternal youth and beauty, eternal life and the wealth of experience associated with this, as well as the superhuman abilities of the vampires.  

Bulla, Christine; Esmailzadeh, Sonja; Mendel, Caroline: Danger, excitement, epic love and being special. The fascination with vampire programmes. TelevIZIon, 27/2014/E, 47-49.