The trope of vampire as elegant monster continued to dominate literature, and later movies and TV, for almost a century. It wasn’t until the 1980s that this tired old monster got an infusion of new blood (ha!). The shift is most clearly seen in The Vampire Lestat (1985) by Anne Rice and The Lost Boys (1987).
Unlike Varney and Louis (from Interview with the Vampire), Lestat doesn’t waste time sitting around moping. Instead, he uses his new state to achieve the sort of freedom mortals can only dream about. His only constraints are the ones created by the bonds of love. Otherwise, he spends his unlife going where he pleases and doing what he wants, whether that’s searching for the origins of vampires, or starting his own rock band.
The Lost Boys disposed of the European nobleman trope—these bad boys are an American biker gang. Even though they’re the antagonists of the film, the wild, carefree lifestyle of the vampires is clearly meant to be alluring to the viewer. The tagline makes no bones about it: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.”
At this point, the vampire has utterly transformed as a symbol. He no longer represents a predator from the outside, preying first on the helpless dead and then on the living. Rather, he now stands for that dark part of our psyche which longs for complete freedom: for the ability to do anything and go anywhere, and damn the consequences.
All of which led up to what I like to call: The Buffy Factor.