Moze Halperin at Artforum:
IF ’80S CINEMA experienced a “cannibal boom” by way of Italian exploitation flicks, the ’00s/’10s zeitgeist’s deviant gourmand was the libidinous vampire. At a time when many complained sex was disappearing from film, a glut of horny American mainstream cultural phenomena (most notably True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals) took cues from Anne Rice and transferred desire onto the undead. The vile parasites, once mythical scapegoats for pestilence in pockets of Eastern Europe, were rebranded as soulful fuck machines and brooding suburban classmates, dousing normie sexuality with a soupçon of transgression—ultimately to such a culturally redundant extent that they became vanilla (the coup de grâce being their full transformation back into flavorless humans in Twilight fanfic 50 Shades). It’s hard to imagine vampires, post-Pattinsonization, as a vehicle for true horror, the kind that might incite visceral, existential, or moral panic. On a primal level, vampirism’s earthy, inelegant cousin—cannibalism—does the trick. Harder to romanticize and defang, cannibalism can’t hide behind the conceit of the supernatural to sanitize the act of consuming humans: It carries the full taboo of gastronomic incest. And it’s not just drinking—it’s eating, bones and all.