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‘A Very Special Vampire Episode: Vampires, archetypes, and postmodern turns in late-1980s and ‘90s cult TV shows.’

Ní Fhlainn, S (2017) ‘A Very Special Vampire Episode: Vampires, archetypes, and postmodern turns in late-1980s and ‘90s cult TV shows.’. Horror Studies, 8 (2). pp. 255-274. ISSN 2040-3275

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Abstract

This article evaluates the importance of the TV vampire onscreen in science fiction, gothic, and horror-based cult TV series from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. The inclusion of the vampire as a peripheral character in series including Quantum Leap, The X-Files, Tales from the Crypt and Friday the 13th: The Series indicates, in light of postmodern cultural turns, that there exists an imperative to re-evaluate, satirize and reflexively explore the vampire as a necessary and evolving stock gothic character within the narrative and generic frameworks of each show. In looking at these postmodern vampiric evaluations in their own right, where the vampire is featured as the ‘monster of the week’, this article argues that these understudied yet apposite representations of the television vampire, prior to and following on from the success of Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), documents a distinct cultural shift and maturation in representing vampires in non-vampire based gothic television shows. Whether it is to reify, satirize and re-mould the vampire as a variant of ‘the Dracula template’ on the small screen, or to move beyond mere stock conventions, these specific vampire episodes document the continuing fluidity of screen vampires through TV’s episodic ‘creature feature’ framework, and offer differing and dynamic alternative representations of undeath beyond vampire-centric TV shows.

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