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Consensual and Non-Consensual Sucking: Vampires and Transitional Phenomena

Part of the Palgrave Gothic book series (PAGO)

Abstract

Drawing on Winnicott, this chapter argues that screen vampires remain in a state of metaphorical symbiosis with what can be symbolically termed “mother”. But, as shape-shifters feeding on blood while simultaneously transferring blood to sucking others, they also present as complex mother/infant hybrids. This addiction to blood, often likened to heroin in contemporary narratives, refers back to the breast and, by extension, the symbiotic union with mother and lover where the fluid of one is consumed by, and transmitted to, the other. Traditionally, non-consensual blood exchange was central to the horror genre, but recent interpretations position the vampire as a romantic addict, heroically struggling with consent and desire. Winnicott saw the process of separation from the breast (representative of mother) as entry into a psychological phase called the potential space. Despite the shifting nature of the vampire genre, it will be argued that even the most politically correct vampires remain caught in this liminal, narcissistic stage of development. For the vampire, everything of addictive value becomes an aspect of itself—transitional objects (victims) therefore become the self-objects. For suckling infants, insatiable lovers and vampires, instinctual yearning often takes precedence over the autonomy of the desired other: the question of consent therefore, becomes a moral dilemma only for those engaged in the process of psychological maturity or individuation. The films discussed in this chapter include the Twilight series (2008–2012), Only lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch 2013), The Hunger (Scott 1983) and Nosferatu the Vampyre (Herzog 1979).

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Filmography

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Correspondence to Terrie Waddell .

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Waddell, T. (2017). Consensual and Non-Consensual Sucking: Vampires and Transitional Phenomena. In: Baker, D., Green, S., Stasiewicz-Bieńkowska, A. (eds) Hospitality, Rape and Consent in Vampire Popular Culture. Palgrave Gothic. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62782-3_9

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