When have we not been in the midst of a vampire craze?

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Sept. 23 2009 7:04 AM

The Garlic Years

When have we not been in the midst of a vampire craze?

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… and the resurrection: Two works jolted the vampire world out of its Reagan-era funk: Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat in 1985 and Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys in 1987. The former bridged the 18-year gap between the book and movie versions of Interview With the Vampire, while Schumacher's film helped establish the teen-vamp genre that would make Buffy possible. (Without Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, there is no Sarah Michelle Geller.)

The Garlic Year, 1997: In any other decade, this year would have been solid for vamps. But set against the fangtastic '90s, it looks like a slump. Only one vampire movie was released in 1997 (Vampire Journals,no relation to The Vampire Diaries) and only one book was published (Dracula the Undead). Both of these occupy special places on nobody's shelf. The exception to the rule, of course: TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted that March. So even this Garlic Year contained the seed of many bountiful harvests to come.

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… and the resurrection: Buffy kicked off the longest vampire surge yet, opening the door to Blade, the Underworld films, John Carpenter's Vampires, Van Helsing, and the multimedia blockbuster Twilight series. By any measure, 2006 was the vampirest year of all time.

So where does this leave us? Let's just say that now may not be the time to bankroll that production of Gayracula 2: Return of the Manpire. If history is any guide, these plush times of vampire mania will soon end with a run of atrocious imitations, followed by a few years of peace and quiet. Don't despair if it happens again. They'll be back.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.