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This contest is fueled by the following news: Vampires in works of art and popular culture:
The disputable opinion exists that Lord Byron was the first one, who presented the vampire topic in Western literature in the epic poem “The Giaour” (1813), but John Polidori composed the first “true” vampire history “Vampire”. Polidori was the personal doctor of Lord Byron and the vampire from the story, Lord Ruthven, basically was copied from him, having made the first romantic vampire character known to us. This story was written for the “Competition in phantom histories”, the same competition, which prompted Mary Shelley to write the novel “Frankenstein”, one more original history about a monster.
Other examples of the early history about vampires are the unfinished poem “Christabel” and the lesbian vampire history of Sheridan Le Fanu “Carmilla”.
The novel “Dracula” by Bram Stoker had a complete in detail description of the vampire in popular fiction till the 20th century. Stoker represented vampirism as a disease (infectious demonic obsession) with shades of sex, blood and death, touching the sensitive attention in Victorian Europe, when tuberculosis and syphilis were a usual occurrence. The compositions of Stoker were adopted in many of the later works. Vampires appeared to be a rich topic for films. In modern popular culture, a series of books by Anne Rice, “Castlevania”, Manga “Hellsing”, created by Manga Kohta Hirano and the cult TV-serials such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” were especially successful and influential. Numerous role playing games include vampires.
In the News: The third vampire musical to try its luck on Broadway in four years drew all the familiar puns in scathing reviews Thursday they said Lestat was "bloody awful," "sucked of life" and the "kiss of death."
Lestat is Warner Bros.' first attempt to challenge Disney's dominance in the mass-market musical genre.
Based on Anne Rice's vampire novels, the show features songs by Elton John and his writing partner, Bernie Taupin.
Expectations had been low after a critically savaged trial run in San Francisco. History was also against Lestat after the failure of two previous vampire musicals, Dance of the Vampires in 2002 and Dracula, the Musical in 2004.
In a review headlined "Vampires, the musical kiss of death," The Washington Post's Peter Marks said the fixation with singing vampires had to stop.
"Give the bloodsucker a ballad, and it's his show that joins the walking dead," he wrote.
The plot, from Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, follows the 18th century Frenchman Lestat, who is bitten by a vampire after slaughtering a pack of wolves. The books were made into a hit film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in 1994.
Modern beliefs in vampires:
The belief in vampires exists till now. Though some cultures have kept their original beliefs in vampires, the majority of modern believers are under the influence of the artistic image of a vampire, as it appears in films and in literature.
• In the 1970s, rumors (spread by local press) made the headlines about vampire-hunting in Highgate Cemetery in London. Adult vampire-hunters gathered in large numbers in the cemetery. Among the several books, describing this case, one can note the book of Sean Manchester, a local resident, who was one of the first to suggest the existence of "Vampire Highgate" and who claimed to have driven away and destroyed the entire vampire cluster in the area;
• In the modern folklore of Puerto Rico and Mexico, chupakabra is considered a creature, which feeds on flesh or drinks the blood of pet animals. This forms the basis to consider it as one more type of vampire. “The hysteria due to chupakabra” was often connected with the deep economic and political crises, particularly in the mid-nineties;
• In late 2002 and early 2003, hysteria about so-called vampire attacks spread across the African country of Malawi. Crowds pelted stones and killed one and attacked at least another four people, including Governor Eric Chiwaya, based on the report that the government was colluding with vampires;
• In Romania, in February 2004, several relatives of the late Toma Petre feared that he became a vampire. The relatives removed the heart from the corpse, burnt it and then mixed the ash with water to drink it later on. In January 2005, rumors appeared that someone had bitten several people in Birmingham, England. Following this, rumors spread about a vampire wandering in the region. However, local police stated that such incidents were not reported. Evidently, this case could have been an urban legend;
• In 2006, Costas Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi published an article that used a geometric progression with an attempt to expose the food habits of vampires, stating that if each vampire creates another vampire, it's only a matter of time, when the entire population on the Earth will comprise of vampires or when the vampires die. However, the idea, that the victim becomes a vampire himself, does not figure in all vampire folklore and is generally not accepted among modern people, who believe in vampires.