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Anne Rice's legacy includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, The Strain and The Vampire Diaries

  • "Any vampire who took flight in the 45 years since Interview With the Vampire was first published owes author Anne Rice the deepest debt of gratitude, sullen devotion and a bouquet of dead roses," says Hank Stuever says of the bestselling author, who died Saturday at age 80. "Same goes for anyone who has been through — or never returned from — their own personal vampire phase, which may manifest in bad poetry, emo ballads or late nights in an alleyway dance club; too much eyeliner or never enough. To fall into Rice’s world was to become besotted by the gruesomely wonderful act of transformation, lured out of dullness by a like-minded soul with a toothy grin, a black turtleneck and a brocade vest; coming out for the wild night, and then retreating back to dullsville at dawn. Rice made that fantasy world seem deliciously possible — and, over five decades, she sold millions of books about vampires and other erotic imaginings, a trove of fiction and other works that sometimes vexed even the most loyal readers among her legion. She died Saturday night, at 80, after complications from a recent stroke. Her legacy is apparent whenever you, or perhaps your less sporty teenagers, develop a new crush on a new fictional vampire — a long list that includes Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie prowling Manhattan nightclubs in the 1983 film The Hunger; Kiefer Sutherland and The Lost Boys; the undead slain and not slain by the legendary Buffy 'the Vampire Slayer' Summers; or the denizens of Merlotte’s bar and the surrounding Louisiana swamps and pine forests conjured by Charlaine Harris, as seen in HBO’s True Blood. Don’t forget the irresistibly moody Edward Cullen of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels; the voluptuously immortal fashion victims on CW’s The Vampire Diaries franchise; the army of virally infected ghastlies who take over New York in Guillermo del Toro’s FX series The Strain. Rice will be remembered for being the first to popularly suggest that vampires are cool or, at least, cooler than your ex-boyfriend mugging around in a black cape and plastic fangs. She took a spent literary and movie genre that was still fixated on creepy Eastern European counts and a Bela Lugosi slickness (which by the 1970s had been diluted by Halloween camp; think Al Lewis as Grandpa in Munsters reruns or Count Chocula hawking breakfast cereal) and imbued the soulless with soul."

    TOPICS: Anne Rice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Strain, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries