Are vampires dead?

Well, technically they’re undead of course, but I mean this in more of a cinematic/storytelling way. Has the time come and gone for the vampire?

This sounds like a weird question to ask on a weekend when the number one movie in America is going to be about teenaged vampires, but these sparkly, kind-hearted variations on the theme remind me of the saliva-tainted last dregs at the bottom of your 40. Shit’s gross, and it’s done.

We’ve seen every variation on the vampire in the last couple of decades; we’ve seen the archetype subverted and changed and reinterpreted and put into almost every possible situation. We’ve seen the vampire be a metaphor for everything from addiction to society’s obsession with youth to love to our most primal sexual desires. We’ve had vampire heroes and villains, vampire sidekicks and comedic relief. We’ve had a chocolately vampire cereal.

We’ve sucked the vampire dry.

Or have we? While millions of teens will be flocking to see the romance of Edward and Bella this weekend, another vampire movie will draw fewer eyes but has been the best infusion of blood that the monster has had in years. That’s Let the Right One In, a vampire movie that not only out-romances Twilight but also shows that maybe the vampire story still has something left. Instead of reinventing the vampire or rewriting the rules, this Swedish film goes very much back to basics, envisioning a creature of the night that is quite traditional. And quite compelling.

Of course Let the Right One In could just be a fluke, a last gasp for the blood sucker.

What do you think? Is there still unlife left in the vampire as a legitimate horror creature? Are there still good vampire stories to be told, or should we put a stake in the genre’s heart and bury it at a crossroads? Chime in below or on our message board in this thread. And while you’re at it, what are your favorite vampire movies of all time?