Neil Gaiman Talks Vampires

David Soul
Image credit: Everett Collection

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What about religion and anti-religion?
NEIL GAIMAN: You can't really do the Jesus vampire story. The great line, of course, is the line from the Bible, ''For the blood is the life.'' And the idea that everything that's going on is fundamentally blood-driven. Ever since I saw Dance of the Vampires, the Roman Polanski film — I think over here it may have been called Fearless Vampire Hunters, which I think may have been kind of stupid, because it made it sound like a comedy, it's funny, but it wasn’t a comedy. But Dance of the Vampires has that wonderful moment where Alfie Bass as the Jewish innkeeper has been bitten and transformed by the vampires. He comes back, he creeps into the bedroom, and she holds up the cross, and he says, ''Lady, have you got the wrong vampire.'' It was one of those occasions where something either crept out of the film and became a joke, or crept out of joke world and crept into the film. The idea it's not that it's a magic cross, it's all about what the vampire believes, it's all about what would have been holy. I'm pretty sure it was Stephen King, and if it wasn't Stephen King, it was Anne Rice who said, basically, ''You have to believe in the cross that you're holding up. Because if it's just a piece wood to you, it doesn't do anything to the vampire.''

Where are we now, in the grand vampire cycle?
Vampires go in waves, and it kind of feels like now we're finishing a vampire wave; at the point where they're everywhere. It's probably time to go back underground for another 20 or 25 years.

They’ve reached the saturation point.
I think so, and it definitely sort of feels like classical vampires have been around enough that if they could go back in their coffins, the next time they come out [they could] mean something really different. That would be cool.

Originally posted Aug 28, 2009

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