A trip to the cinemas or even to the local bookstore will reveal the present generation’s fascination with the folkloric undead. This fascination, however, is not a new one as most of the present “lovable” undead characters are actually just old characters that have been given a make-over. From the charismatic vampires of Anne Rice in her Vampire Chronicles series to the morbid and gruesome zombies in the films, the folkloric undead have taken on a new shape from the early 19th century.
Perhaps, the change can be attributed to a more imaginative set of authors and writers but then again much of this change can also be attributed to the developments in science and medicine which have allowed for a deeper understanding of the human body and the undead who feast on them. The vampires that Anne Rice creates are more seemingly human than they are vampire. This personification allows the reader to identify with the characters.
As Anne Rice carefully describes every sinew and vein that runs down the potential victim’s neck, the reader feels as if he or she were the one taking that fatal bite. Dracula and Frankenstein have also been given more human sides as we see in the movies. The tale of love and revenge has no application to things which are not human. This is something that these writers and directors have realized.
In order to capture the attention of the audience, one must be able to personify these characters and give them feelings and even appearances that can be mistaken for human beings. While arguably Frankenstein may be far from being human in the sense of the word, his feelings of revenge and even loyalty at times is too human to be mistaken for anything else. By employing the literary device such as personification and developing an understanding of the human body, today’s writers have evolved the genre from the simplistic undead of the earlier century.