Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Cashing in on the latest vampire craze

Midnight Hunger's sexy gay bloodsuckers

TO SUCK OR NOT TO SUCK. If you think this is the return of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge stylings of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire series, think again. Credit: Kensington Books

As far as I understand, the dilemmas of a gay vampire are many. What shade of black should I wear? Do bloodsucking orgies with multiple partners make me a slut? Should I prey on twinks or muscle studs… or both? Should I suck dicks or necks… or (gasp) both?

With all these questions and more to mull over night after night, it’s hard to believe that your average undead GQ model with a six-pack to die for has enough time to hunt humans let alone battle less reputable bloodsuckers who are out to ruin the good name of honest, hardworking vampires across the globe.

Still, gay vampires share some frighteningly similar characteristics to mere gay mortals such as you and me. Most days, sunlight is unbearable. Capes, sadly enough, are now only fashion appropriate for gay vampire drag queens.

And as you would expect, straight males with latent homosexual desires find these night creatures captivatingly irresistible and are willing to bend their sexuality for a small bite of the forbidden.

It should come as no surprise that erotica writers are cashing in on the latest vampire craze. If you think this is the return of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge stylings of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire series, think again. 

From Twilight to the fuck-fuelled sexcapades that is True Blood, bloodsucking is back and sexier than ever.

As you would imagine, the spectrum of fantasy erotica is quite broad, even in as specific a genre as vampires, so a good place to start if you’re curious is with a collection like Midnight Hunger. Published by Kensington Books, it features three short novellas by three very different writers: Todd Gregory, Chase Masters and Sean Wolfe.

Here’s a shocker: these writers have porn star names and a porn star’s flair when it comes to steamy sex scenes. Gregory, in particular, writes like Reese Rideout on a Cialis overdose.

That said, I have to admit that I am more than a little skeptical when it comes to this latest round of vampire shenanigans. I am in the dark side of my 20s, not a winsome young teenager burning with a feeling that I don’t belong anywhere while relishing my perceived differentness. I’ve found and taken part in a community I belong to, versus sitting on the sidelines and not participating. I’m out versus closeted.

In summary, I don’t feel that I’m this book’s target market, which makes me liking a couple of these novellas feel slightly scandalous.

Take for example the penultimate sex scene in Gregory’s “Blood on the Moon” where the lead character, Cord, is tied up naked to a four-corner bed and slowly worked over by a non-vampire with questionable intentions. You won’t see a scene like this in Chuck Palahniuk’s next novel or a David Sedaris short story collection, but who cares.

If there’s a way to gauge erotic fiction, it may be this: I started reading this collection with my roommate in the same room and further reading required a significant crossing of my legs.

To help me out with some of the finer points of vampire erotica, I looked up Gregory (real name: Greg Herren), who, in my eyes, wrote the best piece in the collection.  Under various names, he has published eight gay mystery novels as well as gay erotica. He has also won two Lambda literary awards.

“I’ve always enjoyed vampire stories — Dracula, ’Salem’s Lot, the old Dark Shadows TV show — where the vampires were truly evil creatures,” he explains. “There are a lot of themes that can be explored through the vampire: the outsider, the supernatural, religion, faith, sex, love, damnation and redemption.

“It’s also very cool that everyone who writes about vampires can create their own mythos, their own history of vampires, and aren’t bound to convention and tradition. Who doesn’t want to create their own universe?”

For Gregory, the sexiest thing about vampires is “their power. Power is incredibly seductive.”

“Vampires, like gay men, exist outside the mainstream and are outsiders looking in,” he continues. “The great irony, to me, is that in fiction, television shows, movies we are all drawn to the outsider, the outcast. [It’s] the underdog you root for and identify with — because everyone has felt that way at some point in their life.

“I’ve always thought it ironic that this doesn’t really translate to everyday life, where all too frequently the outsider/outcast/underdog is actually viewed with contempt and loathing.”

As always, there’s more to vampires and vampire fiction than meets the eye.

That said, I found Chase Masters’ “Land of the Midnight Sun” too campy for my taste and Sean Wolfe’s “The Dark Heart” a bit of a stretch in terms of the biblical comparison to Lilith and the Garden of Eden.

Overall, though, Midnight Hunger satiated my once-a-decade bloodsucking mania, thankfully without embarrassing hickies or fang marks. It’s definitely worth checking out in the spirit of Halloween.