I’ve ranted about the modern state of vampires in various other posts, so rather than spend this ranting about my frustration with Twilight – I’m just going to leave that for one blog post…
I don’t think this is really a book about vampires, it’s treatise on loneliness, and the human condition.
Written on the backdrop of post-wartime America, off the back of 2 nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, and the start of the cold war, I found something more truly dark about this, than the surreptitious front of a friendly neighbour turned vampire.
I tried to place it if it was written after September 11, rather than vampires, either some culture who was immune to chemical warfare – to see if had that similar relevance, I guess even looking for reasoning behind it’s dark soul. Horror doesn’t explain it well for me, I feel it’s darker than that. More sinister.
This novella, and it’s author greatly influenced the horror writer Stephen King, and looking back to a lot of his ‘vampire’ books (I use that incredibly loosely, but ‘Needful Things’ definitely has a similar vibe, interestingly that was the first novel Stephen King wrote after his rehabilitation from his drug & alcohol issues – again that novel is in a similar sense about he human condition, this time about grass is greener, and human selfishness rather than fulfillment and loneliness) and I still can’t quite comprehend the novels impact.
I was waiting for the descent into madness, a suicide – something. I could barely continue reading when he met a dog. It was the first time I had tried to completely emotionally distance myself from what I was reading, trying to almost skim read from chapter to chapter so I wouldn’t get upset.
I woke up one night screaming from a nightmare, vampires had been after me and I only just managed to get into the house in time – they were chanting my name, not unlike the next door neighbour, returning night after night in the hope the protagonist will make a mistake and be killed.
Still thinking about it days later, I want to read more of Richard Matheson’s work, disappointed in myself for not discovering him earlier. But I might read something a bit lighter for a bit, nightmares aren’t exactly the nicest way to spend an evening…
oh, p.s. the few moments of love/lust/hurt when he discovers what might be the last female on earth? Of course, still a better love story than Twilight.