Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vampire Romance

I recently watched "Let Me In." The movie is a love story, and is a perfect inversion of the Twilight movies (sorry didn't read the books). Instead of hokey and sappy, the movie is dark and gritty. Instead of a girl falling for manpire, it is instead a story of boy falling for a vampgirl.

The movie is a metaphor for the obscene, dark-side of love. In the movie, a young boy falls for a young vamp girl. But, in order to maintain his love for vampgirl he must learn to accept her as a monstrous Other. (When he asks if she'll go steady with him, she replies that she can't because she's "not a girl." She's a monster.) Ultimately, to love her, he must sacrifice his duty to the human race, because for her to survive she must kill. After witnessing her murdering people, he decides that she means more to him than human life, and at the end of the movie becomes her accomplice in killing others to keep her alive.

"Love is evil" says Slavoj Zizek. And he is right. Love is loving the Other as Other. Love is accepting the monstrous Otherness that exists in one person, even though we cannot understand it, and can't approach it. Singling that one person out from the entire universe as somehow special, unique, and worthy of praise. This is a violent act. It is a sacrifice. By separating the one, from everyone else, we renounce our duty to the world, and instead commit the evil of valuing one single life, above the lives of everything else. See Derrida in The Gift of Death.

The fact that love is evil, is not a reason to renounce it. On the contrary, love is a break from the entire human order. It is a liberating, but it is also a heavy burden. The act of love elevates the one to the level of the Thing, and is sublime. Love, love, love.


  1. Interesting take on love, but I feel it is a bit contrived. What is "our duty to the world?" Biologically speaking it is to reproduce and further our species. The human-pair bonding know as "Love" that happens everyday is really just the most efficient method of ensuring reproduction happens and the offspring survive (if not the most efficient, as least the most successful historically speaking).

    Furthermore, you claim it is "evil" to value one single life above all other lives, but in reality every living creature puts its own life above all others. Everything that everything does is really about self preservation in some manner, yes this includes self sacrifice and other "altruistic" behaviors. These seemingly selfless motivations are about furthering the cause this being deems 'worthy' enough to contribute to, so much so, that they are worth more than the individual himself. Thus contributing in any manner such as any form of self sacrifice is really about making the individual satisfied (i.e. a person works at a homeless shelter because it makes him feel better).

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  3. You're conflating love with romantic love. Love need to be sexual. Particularly in the movie "Let Me In." There is no possibility of sex - the two characters are 12 years old, and one of them is a demon. Their love is almost strictly platonic.

    The traditional ethical definition of 'evil' is sacrifice of the universal for the particular. Thus love is evil.

    Ethics is not particularist, it is universalist. Actions must be justified in universal terms - think of Kant's categorical imperative (universalist) and Plato's man as a city (again universalist). Since love cannot is unethical, it is evil. Perhaps love exists completely outside the ethical/evil continuum, and is something completely other, which is an argument I'm sympathetic to, but this is not what you're arguing.

    Furthermore, even if there is a biological reason for love, this is meaningless ethically - there are also biological reasons for why people kill and rape. It's still evil.

    But aesthetically, love is incredibly beautiful (unlike murder and rape), and intuitively sublime. Therefore, love.

  4. I also really enjoyed "Let the Right One In" (Did you watch the American remake of the Swedish original?).

  5. I watched The American remake. Because I'm an Amurrrican.