Growing up, the vampire was the fall-back costume when it was too expensive to be anything else. Both me and my next-door neighbor/best friend would sport the costume two or three times in a row. Ninety-nine cents for a pair of plastic fangs, some leftover white grease paint, the old black plastic cape and a small tube of fake blood was the extent of the costume. All else I needed could be found in my closet – white shirt, black dress pants. After fifteen minutes, bam! Instant vampire. Just add water.
That might explain why I don’t think vampires are anything special. Yeah, it’s fashionable now to be all anti-vampire to be cool but anyone who knows me can say that even before the teenage fever gripping the world thanks to Twilight and other YA novels/movies, vampires have inspired that ‘blah’ feeling in me. Somewhere along the way of growing up, sucking blood and fearing the sunlight never stopped being lame.
Could also be something geographically inclined. I came from Arizona and moved to Upstate New York at a young age. I left a state that’s 4/5th sunshine to a place that is cold and damp for nine to ten out of the twelve months. I was living away from sunshine (or the intensity I had come to know). Outside of going chupacabra on the plenty of dairy cows you can find in the area, I pretty much had the vampire schtick down and it wasn’t making me feel any better.
Now there is this revisionist history going on to make Vampires totally down with the ultraviolet. Oh, they just sparkle. They’re weakened but the sunlight doesn’t destroy them. I do not buy that one bit, man. That’s a bunch of BS from brats who want to be able to have tans but walk around with fangs. It’s a case of a kid wanting to have all the superpowers so he or she always wins – s/he’s the fastest, strongest and toughest. Forget that, man. Either you get straddled with the equalizing weakness of the mythological creature or you don’t play. Overcoming those weaknesses make for the better character.
And this nonsense – if vampirism is a disease, then I want it to be a STD. I want it on the same levels of syphilis. Get some action from some hot goth on a Saturday night – wake up on Sunday and find that holy symbols and sunlight give you the heebie-jeebies. Go to the doctor on Monday, get a shot, EAT SOME GARLIC. Fantastic. This whole trope of having zombism, vampirism and lycanthropy as some disease like AIDS is a ridiculous fad in fiction when someone can’t come up with a farfetched idea of how to get the creatures to walk. 245 Trioxin did that nearly twenty five years ago, people. Don’t pull this ‘some mysterious disease’ crap. Who needs realism when you have goddamn vampires, zombies and werewolves running around? How about a disease that causes mummification? The layers of skin thickening to human wrapping? Man, I should be pitching these to Hollywood – anyone know an agent?
You want to know the only vampire I ever liked? Bunnicula. Suck on that.
If I recall correctly, Dracula could actually go outside in sunlight (but was weakened by it) in the original Bram Stoker novel. Similarly, "The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Bram Stoker's Dracula" by Alain Silver and James Ursini claims that folkloric vampires were only more active at night rather than being weakened by daylight.
People have mucked around with the powers and weakenesses of vampire for ages, often to play the "everything you know is wrong" card or because of money issues. I remember a low budget "Weird West" film called Curse of the Undead were the vampire's powers were basically being bulletproof and able to disappear and reappear at will. I forget if they even used fake fangs for that movie.
Although the transmission of vampirism or lycanthropy does offer similarities to diseases due to the bite-based transmission, it does strain credibility for a disease to grant people shapeshifting powers. Despite that, many have tried to come up with "logical" explanations for ages. My favorites include:
"There Shall Be No Darkness": In this horror story by James Blish, turning into a werewolf has something to do with the pineal gland.
House of Dracula: Being a vampire is due to having a type of unknown parasite and lycanthropy can be treated if you soften and reshape the sufferer's head!
Monster Dog: Lycanthropy is a heart condition. No, really.