Let the Right One In: Children, Vampires and Queers - Social Realism and the Paranormal
Jenzen, Olu (2010) Let the Right One In: Children, Vampires and Queers - Social Realism and the Paranormal In: The University of Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies conference 'Paranormal Cultures', 4 June 2010, University of Sussex, UK. (Unpublished)
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In the recent abundance of youth culture vampire books and films, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In (Sweden 2005 / 2008) stands out as a text that holds in careful tension political questions about transgressive sexuality and the image of the child in contemporary culture. This paper seeks to engage with how the text reflects current societal anxieties about social disconnect, children and sexuality, by offering a reading of the 2008 film alongside the novel it is based on, suggesting that some of the adjustments made for the film version can be seen as indicative of critical points in the text that are particularly problematic. In light of Nina Auerbach’s (1995) argument that each age ‘embraces the vampire it needs and gets the vampire it deserves’, the paper seeks to raise questions about the significance in the shift from the purely predatory and immoral vampire to the vampire that cares and wants to do good; from the sexually knowledgeable vampire to the child vampire with connotations of sexual innocence; and the shift away from longstanding metaphors for gender transgressive desires and homoeroticism associated with the vampire to representations of other forms of sexual dissidence and otherness.
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