EW Exclusive: Stephen King talks vampires in introduction to comics series

stephen-king-american-vampireImage Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty ImagesStephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot helped to bring vampires back to their Bram Stoker origins, with an emphasis on the heartless, frightening nature of the bloodsuckers combined with a side-focus on real estate, so he knows a little something about the creatures of the night. In his introduction to the first volume of the upcoming American Vampire series from DC Comics, the horror maestro makes his feelings about how vampires should really be portrayed known: That is, as truly monstrous and evil, not fanged and fabulous. And most definitely not as “lovelorn southern gentlemen,” “anorexic teenage girls,” or “boy-toys with big dewy eyes.”

Click here to read King’s introduction exclusively on EW.com.

So is King right? Does scary beat sexy? Are you excited for American Vampire?


Comments (116 total) Add your comment
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  • Jennifer E

    Yet another shameless plug for that tired, retread columnist Stephen King. Do you notice how most of King’s columns somehow end up referring to one of his own books or movies? Does “Uncle Stevie” actually get paid by EW, or does he pay standard advertising rates?

    • Desmo

      Something tells me that SK does not need EW advertising to get his books sold.

    • eyerohn2516

      Dear Jennifer E

      Stick to your Highlights mag please

      • yay!

        oh snap!

      • sara

        LOL!!! good one!

      • Tara

        Jen E = Awesome!

      • Tara

        Just kidding, Jen E is lame b/c Steve is THE KING.

    • PiratesDaughter

      Really? Do you not subscribe to EW magazine? Because his books are actually advertised in EW…sooooooo yeah I guess he does need to advertise in EW to get his books sold. Chav.

      • Scott

        The adverts have nithing to do with King and everything to do with his publisher. A first grader even knows that. What’s your excuse?

    • Robert Singleton

      Jen’s a new category for King: Constant Reader, Chronic Complainer.

    • RaRa

      I’ve been reading SK since the 70’s, when I first read ‘Salem’s Lot, and became instantly hooked on his writing style and his incredible ability to tell a story. And I’m only one of millions. He could hide his new books on an obscure website and we would manage to find them.

      • robin

        I agree! the best books are the ones that keep you up reading long after the house is quiet and dark, into the wee hours. when that shiver goes up your spine, ya, your reading a “KING”!!! nothing like it!

    • robin

      WOW!!! you seriously did not just slam the KING of horror!!! “tired”?
      ya….and you are??? oh ya. WHO CARES, thats who!!! the world knows who Mr. Stephen King is on the other hand!! so ya, SHUT IT!!!!

  • Jay

    I couldn’t agree with Uncle Stevie more. (Although I am guilty of watching True Blood every week)
    Vampires should be frightening, heartless, scary killers. If they “sparkle” they are not vampires

    • Katie

      The vampires on True Blood do not sparkle, and they are often heartless killers. DON’T BE ASHAMED.

      • Jay

        Yeah, but I am pretty sure King was referring to TrueBlood with his comment about “lovelorn southern gentlemen”
        Obviously Stevie doesn’t approve of the vampires in that franchise either

      • nodnarb

        Who are the “anorexic teenage girls” he refers to?

      • Jay

        That could be the the girls from Twilight, perhaps?? Or maybe Jessica from True Blood??
        I’m not sure what he meant by that one, either

      • liz

        I think the “anorexic teenage girls” comment refers to Vampire Diaries.

      • Tania

        I thought the reference to the southern gentlemen had to do with “Interview with a Vampire”. Wasn’t Louis a southern plantation owner before he was turned?

      • Jay

        Louie was a plantation owner, yes… I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps he was referring to the Anne Rice books but I thought he was talking about Bill Compton and the whole vampire “romance” thing

  • J’

    There is room for both, the sexy and the sinister.

    • CraigJ

      Stephen King has been on record many times in interviews expressing his love for True Blood and his disdain for Twilight.

  • Peter

    Yes, scary trumps sexy. But I have no problem with writers exploring vampires in different ways. Now, the Twilight vampires have had all horror removed. They might as well not be vampires. Joss Whedon’s take, a monster that is suddenly given a conscience but remains a monster — that’s interesting and in a way more horrifying (a remorseless killer experiences no horror of his own).

    • Rion

      There’s room out there for every type and variation of vampires you can think of. Stephen King should simply avoid watching True Blood or reading Twilight if he doesn’t like their take on vampires. He could watch Near Dark or read Anne Rice instead. That’s why vampires are so great—they are amazingly versatile.

    • Jenny

      I’m with you! I’m pretty sure Vampires are a myth, so why not let an author explore them the way they want to? I’m with Stephen, that I prefer them scary over sparkly, but if someone else wants to explore the romantic possibilities of a vampire, so what?! It’s all made up from the start anyway!

      • Really?

        @Jenny – “Pretty sure”?

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Normally I like Stephen King but I am getting tired of this “holier than thou” attitude about the Twilight series. I get it. He doesn’t like it. To each his own but please stop acting like people who like Twilight are horrible people with no taste. I respect Stephenie Meyer’s interpretation of Vampires, I find it unique and original, taking something that is usually frightening and horrifying and making to romantic and beautiful. I do still like horror vampire films such as Dracula though.

    If I like Twilight that is MY business. Mr. King, stop acting like the Shakespeare of horror, because trust me you are NOT

    • Karate Pants

      Well said, Nerwen. It seems like he goes out of his way to air his dissatisfaction with the success of the Twilight series. Isn’t his work good enough to stand on its own?? Why would he even compare the two?
      I for one am grateful that his interpretation of vampires isn’t the only one I’m allowed. Believe it or not, his books are NOT right for everyone.

      • nodnarb

        Not that I’m defending Twilight, but aren’t the Volturi exactly what he described?

      • Karate Pants

        Indeed they are. I’m not sure that he even read the books.

      • nodnarb

        I’m sure he read the first one because he gave it a scathing review, which EW quoted and yanked from its site minutes later. But I bet you’re right that he didn’t read the remaining three where the Volturi get more screentime.

      • Karate Pants

        Yeah. I just don’t know why he’s going out of his way to rip on the series. I guess Stephen King has yet to figure out the very thing that every tween girl in America has known from the start – that this was meant for a completely different audience than his own.

      • nodnarb

        I could actually see Twilight being a gateway to darker stuff, including much of his own.
        I can’t believe how much I’m defending Twilight!

      • Karate Pants

        No, you’re right. He’s insulting and alienating his future audience. It’s foolish.

      • The Devil

        I’m with the most of you. I’m not a fan of the Twilight series (I read the whole thing out of curiousity), but I don’t get why King is so narrow-minded in his views of what a vampire should be. I’ve studied the vampire mythology and horror is just one minor facet of what they represent. And the best thing about using vampires as a symbol (even if at the moment it’s an over-used one)? They can represent anything to the author and readers, such as sexual desire, coming-of-age, forbidden fruit, etc. To state that vampires should go back to being the evil horror beings they were is just completely incorrect. I stated below that even Bram Stroker’s Dracula represented aspects of sex/sexual aggression.

      • Karate Pants

        The Devil, voice of reason, as always. Excellent take.

      • Dave

        Hate to break this to you, Steve is considered the “Shakespeare” of Horror. If anyone is allowed to be self righteous and preachy about it, it’s him.

    • BlackIrish4094

      People who like Twilight are horrible people with no taste.

      • Karate Pants

        Oh, wonderful. It has been so long since we’ve had a 500-comment message board full of attacks on Twilight fans and the most ridiculous argument of all, the “my vampires are more real than your vampires” bit.
        Here we go!

      • Jay

        Let the 12 year old girls have their Twilight…. we dont want them in the theater for “real” vampire movies anywayz :D

      • nodnarb

        I wouldn’t get too worked about it. He’s apparently Irish… I’m surprised he could rip himself from a whiskey bottle long enough to type.

      • Desmo

        And nodnarb is a dirty racist. Good to know I can discount anything he says.

      • nodnarb

        Irish is not a race, you ‘tard! And way to miss the point completely.

      • fish eye no miko

        It’s a joke, people. Read Nerwen Aldarion’s comment, then read his. Get it?

    • Scott

      See, he’s not pushing it on you though. He’s stating his opinion on it, just like you want to state YOUR opinion on it.

      • Merry Bear

        Exactly. It’s King’s opinion, and if I had a soap box I’d use it to rip ‘Twilight’, too. King’s a great writer, and while I don’t like his genre, he takes pride in the profession. Meyer’s books are an affront to people who take pride in their craft, and King has every right to call her out if he wants to; he’s earned that right.

    • tracy bluth

      I personally think Steven King is the Shakespeare of modern horror, but that’s just me. I read the Twilight books out of sheer curiosity and, uh, hated them. I want to rant about them, but I don’t want to insult their fans.

    • Uh…

      If Stephen King isn’t the Shakespeare of Horror, then who is?

      • Sumer

        Michael Parks plays the same character- Earl McGraw, Texas ragner- in FDTD, Kill Bill V. 1 ( This tall drink of c***sucker ain’t dead. ) and in both the Grindhouse segments. I don’t remember him in Planet Terror but he and his son are the cops that handle the corpses of Kurt Russell’s victims ( If he ever does it again, you can be damn sure he don’t do it again in Texas ). So, since he gets himself shot in the back of the head, KB1 and Grindhouse must take place before FDTD in the Q-niverse.I need a shower after this episode. Poo shampoos and feet fetishes?

    • Tara

      Yes, He is the Shakespeare of Horror!

      • Domii

        That would probably be one of my first qoiutesns, too, Donna. And if I ever became immortal, I really do think I’d try to learn piano. Couldn’t manage it as a mortal, but if I had hundred hundreds of years to practice or maybe I’d just get hundreds hundreds of times more frustrated.

    • robin

      ummm, ya the world would beg to differ! King is the KING OF HORROR!!!

  • Gil

    If I cared about comic books I would read them. I stopped doing that at 10 years old.

    • nodnarb

      Vertigo Comics are written for adults, Gil.

    • Gil

      if i cared about comics, i would read articles on ew about them and post comments on the message board. i stopped doing that at …. wait, darn!

    • Peter

      Sounds like the sort who doesn’t watch The Simpsons or South Park because “cartoons are for kids”.

    • Andre

      Ok I’m only 18 minutes in, but you guys keep reerfring to this as though it is a Tarantino joint Robert Rodriguez directed it, Tarantino only wrote the screenplay, this is a Rodriguez movie through and through, it is possible that Tarantino was the unit director for the scene in the store at the beginning, but Rodriguez really does a lot of this fairly over the top stuff in all his films. Thanks for doing this by the way, it gives me some enjoyment on my Friday mornings while I’m doing paperwork.

  • Margaret

    I couldn’t agree more with Stephen King.Vampires should scary. They are predators and should not be treated as sexy and romantic. Besides, they are DEAD and that means they are decayed,devoid of empathy and consumed by their need for blood. They are anything but sexy.That said, I am a Trueblood fan!

    • fish eye no miko

      Except that vampires were portrayed as sexy before Stephen King was a twinkle in his momma’s eye. It’s not really a new concept, people.

  • Jade

    I LOVE IT! “Truly monstrous and evil, not fanged and fabulous. And most definitely not as “lovelorn southern gentlemen,” “anorexic teenage girls,” or “boy-toys with big dewy eyes.”

  • The Devil

    Interesting, because historically, vampires, or “vampires” as a symbol – even in Bram Stroker’s “Dracula,” were always portrayed has horrifying AND sexual predators. So in this case, I really can’t get behind what Unclie Stevie is saying. Vampires have and always will symbolize everything and anything that’s considered “taboo,” be it the mysterious other or sex.

    • Dave

      I think the ‘lovelorn southern gentlemen’ comment may refer to Anne Rice’s Lastat vampire. I could be wrong though, never seen Trueblood.

      • fish eye no miko

        Lestat’s French.

      • Karate Pants

        I just assumed he was referring to Twilight characters with all of those comments, since I haven’t heard him go after any other modern interpretation of his beloved vampires…in that case it would be “lovelorn Southern gentlemen” = Jasper, “anorexic teenage girls” = Bella, Alice, and “boy-toys with big dewy eyes” = Edward, I guess.

    • tracy bluth

      I agree. Although I like that he made it so the vampire can walk freely in the sun (as Dracula could). And KP, I thought it was pretty obvious “southern gentlemen” meant Bill.

      • Karate Pants

        I guess he COULD mean Bill, but I’ve never heard him say anything negative about True Blood.

  • Mary

    Salem’s Lot is the scariest vampire story I ever read. And I have read a lot of horror. True Blood shows a lot of gore and yet it is not as frightening.

  • TORRENCE5

    If any one is old enough to remember the tv show “The kindred” – it was about three very different clans/types of vampires. Ann Rice created a world of vampires where the American vampire was different than the European in attitudes & behavior. Vampires can have vriations and still be vampires – my opinion

  • Doris

    Both Frank Langella & Louis Jourdan played Dracula as a very sexy, desirable vampire. Even Christopher Lee had a certain suave charm. The vampires on Buffy & Angel could be very attractive (especially Darla & Angel) but evil as well.

    • AB

      Try watching “Being Human” on BBC America. THAT’s a sexy vampire! (Mitchell)

      • Tom

        Oh Yeah! Don’t forget the werewolf. WOOOOOF!!!!!!

  • Rion

    Not sure why Stephen King is so set in his ways with one particular interpretation of vampires. Vampires are versatile creatures that can easily be bloodthirsty serial killers, romantic idols, or even rock stars. There’s room for many different kinds of vampires throughout film, television, and literature. No need to limit oneself to only one kind of vamp.

    • stan

      Stephen King has class and is a professional writer. Twilight was written by a bored Mormon housewife with a vampire fetish. There is a big difference between the two.

  • Brian

    True Blood’s not doing anything wrong with vampires. Twilight is.

  • Karate Pants

    Who is King talking about when he said (among those examples of whom vampires shouldn’t be), “pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and only work at night”?

    • nodnarb

      Angel?

      • Karate Pants

        Ah. Never watched that one. So I guess his disdain for “other” vampires does stretch beyond Twilight.

      • nodnarb

        At the end of the piece he refers to the “sweetie-vamp craze” which is actually sorta funny… so I think he’s just generally anti vamp/human lovin’.

      • Karate Pants

        That’s just terrible. Stay out of my bedroom, Stephen King!

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