Vampires turn gentler with eye toward teen girls

Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:33pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Girls these days can't seem to get enough of dark, mysterious strangers -- especially if they have fangs and drink blood.

The age-old vampire genre is finding a new audience among angst-ridden teenage girls with romance on their minds, and as a result, the horrific undead are changing into kinder, gentler creatures who often curb their thirst for fresh, young blood.

Dark, dashing and brooding, today's young male vampires have a special allure for young women that goes beyond the escapist, fantasy appeal that the genre enjoyed for decades, and Hollywood is rushing to take advantage of it.

"There is something about a man who lurks in the dark", said actress Nina Dobrey, who plays high school student Elena Gilbert in the September TV series "The Vampire Diaries".

The show will air on the young female-oriented CW network with the promotional line "Love Sucks."

And the CW isn't the only media company getting in on the act. HBO's "True Blood" has become a darling of TV critics, and last year's hit vampire movie "Twilight" has spawned the sequel "New Moon" in theaters this fall.

"There is the appeal of the forbidden -- of 'who's that mysterious boy in my class'," said Richelle Mead, author of the best selling young adult book series "The Vampire Academy", which has been translated into 22 languages.

"There are also plenty of teens who feel that people don't quite understand them, and here is the other who is not quite the norm. That is very attractive," Mead told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>Actors Paul Wesley (L) and Nina Dobrev, co-stars of the new series "The Vampire Diaries", participate in a panel discussion at the CW Television Network Summer 2009 Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California August 4, 2009.The 100-year-old horror genre is finding a new audience among angst-ridden teen girls with romance on their minds and as a result vampires are changing into kinder, gentler creatures who have sometimes curbed their appetite for fresh, young blood. Picture taken August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>