When it comes to the spooky season, there is nothing like a dimly lit room and whispers of vampires to kick off the Halloween weekend. Are vampires real? Where did they come from? How did the legends start? On Friday October 29, at 3:15 in Spratt 101, Professor Dawn Terrick spoke about the legends and lore of vampires. 

English Professor Dawn Terrick recalled the first time she became interested in vampires being back in graduate school following a movies release.

“I was in graduate school in the 1990s, I took a literature theory class and decided to apply the theory to horror literature.  At this time, the movie Interview With the Vampire was just released and I remember sitting in the back of the movie theater with a flashlight, pen and paper, taking notes in the back of the movie theater. Of course this was before Netflix!  That graduate paper turned into a conference presentation and then I was hooked!”

“Vampires,” Professor Terrick explained in her presentation, “both reflect and affect the culture that they are written in and for.  They reflect our, the readers, doubts, fears and desires.  But the monster figure can also affect and subvert societal norms in terms of, for example, gender roles and sexuality as well as in terms of advancing scientific thought.”

In short, professor Terrick implies that the vampire is in fact, real, just not the kind that usually comes to mind. The monsters are simply symbolic of the darker human emotions and struggles that change and evolve with society. 

“Vampires are immortal in our imagination,” Terrick reinforces, “media and popular culture because as the eras shift and transform, so does the vampire, teaching us lessons and showing us the best and worst in our nature and society, reflecting our fears and desires and luring and repulsing us at the same time, promising us immortality.”  

Sitting in the back of the audience, student Alexis Adams sheds light on her experience. 

“The presentation was very informative! It was more focused on the legend and the time period that the vampire was able to thrive, but I thought it was pretty interesting.”

Adams did not stay for the post discussion feature, but after Terricks talk, the event concluded with the showing of the 80s film, “Lost Boys.” A film that further reinforces the outcast nature of the vampire.   

Again Terrick states, “It asks us what it means to be lost and shows us ways to find acceptance  beyond traditional means.  In addition, the director Joel Schumacher said, “The Lost Boys is, in part, about the fear we have of the other – those who live outside the mainstream.” And at some point in life, everyone can relate to and understand being the outsider.”

Professor Terrick will be teaching ENG 210:  Monsters in Literature for anyone that is interested in taking a spooky but fun course this upcoming semester, but for this years forum, Professor Terrick announces, “I hope that from this presentation, everyone takes away a new understanding and appreciation of the vampire so we can immerse ourselves and scare the hell out of ourselves, when we watch and read these stories!”

Recommended for you