With almost 365 days a year of blinding sunlight, Los Angeles is a strange place to host a vampire convention—unless you consider Hollywood’s recent infatuation with all things Transylvanian.
At the Vampire-Con convention held in late summer, garlic-averse fans discussed Twilight and HBO’s True Blood, in which gay creator Alan Ball uses the societal integration of vampires as an analogy for the gay rights struggle. Long before True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten was a gay idol, here! TV (owned by the parent company of The Advocate) debuted The Lair, a racy soap about gay bloodsuckers. The cast was part of a Vampire-Con panel on sexuality that addressed the question: Why do gay plotlines often fit into vampire tales—from The Hunger to Anne Rice novels?
The Lair’s Dylan Vox offered an explanation: “The homoeroticism comes from the fact that when you can have whatever you want, like vampires, you’re going to get bored and experiment.”
Unlike werewolf or mummy tales, vampire stories have infiltrated almost all aspects of popular culture. The undying infatuation can be traced to storytellers endowing vampires with human traits—including same-sex attraction, said film historian Angela Aleiss.
“Twenty-somethings have been saturated with Michael Myers. There’s a yearning for dimension in monster figures,” Aleiss said. Hollywood has heeded that call and created creatures that are alternately moody, sweet, and sexually bold.
Aleiss’s notion of irresistible complexity was seconded by Peter Stickles, a vampiric antihero on The Lair. “Even though I’m this monster, I’m still pouring my heart out for my love interest,” Stickles said. “Throw in eternal youth, and it’s like a bunch of gay guys at a club for all eternity.”