by Earl Staggs
I’ll never write about vampires. Or werewolves, mummies, ghosts, or any other creature that is supposed to be dead, but isn’t. I have nothing against those who do write about them and do not mean to deride or demean them in any way. Let’s face it. There are many books, TV shows and movies about them doing quite well, and I applaud all those who are writing them and enjoying success.
It’s just not for me. I won’t write about them, and I don’t read about them or watch them on a screen of any size.
If you’re wondering why, read on. If you don’t care why, stop here.
My problem stems from the scary movies I watched as a kid. The old black and white, low budget ones about Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and others. I loved going to the movie theater with the other kids in the neighborhood and being scared out of my knickers. Later on, I saw the movies again when, every night, usually after the eleven o’clock news, local TV channels ran them. I only got to see them on weekends, of course, because I couldn’t stay up that late on school nights. They scared me all over again, and I loved them as much as before.
Bela Lugosi was Dracula. He wasn’t a good looking young stud with rock solid abs, and he certainly wasn’t a sex symbol. He was a monster. He came into your room at night to bite you in the neck and suck your blood. You were scared out of your mind until someone finally drove a stake through his heart. You could feel some amount of sympathy for The Wolfman with Lon Chaney, Jr. playing the role of Lawrence Talbott. The poor guy was bitten by a werewolf one dark night in the woods and every time there was a full moon, he would change into one. Okay, you could feel a little sorry for the Frankenstein monster, too, usually played by Boris Karloff. It wasn’t his fault the crazy doctor threw him together with spare parts. Still, they were not intended to be anything but scary.
Those images were burned into my mind and are still there. That’s why I can’t get interested in the way these monsters are presented these days.
Perhaps, you might say, it’s a personal problem, and I should get over it. You may be right. Maybe I should and maybe someday I will. For now, I barely have time to keep up with the mystery and crime stories and heroes I read and write about, so I’ll leave things the way they are. Vampires, werewolves and other monsters will remain the black and white, one-dimensional villains I lovingly enjoyed in my youth.