I was always a strange child growing up. When I watched the thrillers on Creature Features, I used to cheer for the monsters. I would shout with joy every time Godzilla stomped on a military jeep and whoop and holler with glee when the Creature from the Black Lagoon dragged off a scientist to the depths of the dark lagoon. To me, the monsters weren’t evil, they were simply misunderstood. They were innocent beings who, for no reason of their own, became the hideous monsters that we came to fear. According to Dr. Jay Stevenson, Ph.D., the differences between demons and monsters are that while demons are of the supernatural evil origin in opposition to God, monsters are man-made and are in direct conflict with the natural order. Following this criteria, Godzilla, werewolves, vampires, and Mr. Hyde are no different from Frankenstein’s monster. None of them asked to be created, nor did they cause their own creation. They were brought about by man and man’s technology. As such their actions are not their own but are manifestations of our conduct against our fellow man.
Once I understood this it became easier for me to understand my own obsession with vampires. I recognized that the characters in Anne Rice’s novels were portrayed as sympathetic creatures that were dragged into an existential crisis. Like the zombies from George Romero’s Land of the Dead, vampires were simply trying to find their place to exist in order to live an undead life in the only way that they knew how. Yes, so there was that itty bitty problem of having to survive on human blood, but was it their fault that the creator made them this way? At least that is how I see vampires.
Like many in contemporary society, I was engulfed in the post-modernist thought of turning away from the oppressive concepts brought about by authority in favor of viewing the outsider in a sympathetic light. They were the Others, the minority that exists on the fringe of society. I viewed these Others as not hideous creatures to be feared, but monsters to be understood. Indeed, they are monsters. They are the antithesis of all that was considered natural. Vampires are the undead, creatures who escaped the darkness of death to live an eternal existence. In all ways I see them as the Others, the ones who live on the fringe of society. For me, they’ve become the manifestation of everyone who lives on the edge of acceptance. Vampires are akin to all lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders because like us, they are not accepted. Their existence puts into question decades of dogma, and they challenge all that we know to be sacred and profane. In this light, is it a wonder that I would have written a novel that favored the vampire character? The Veil of Sorrow, my first novel, turned out not only to be a final project for my Gothic Literature class, but also became a culmination of all of my years of favoring the monster. It is a novel that I hope will be entertaining as well as shed a sympathetic light upon vampires.