WE's Night Mixes Fright, Bites

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Night Bites, an original special on WE: Women's Entertainment, uses interviews with movie and television producers, authors and ordinary fans to dissect the vampire genre — albeit bloodlessly.

This hour doesn't "bite" or "suck." It does at times, though, hover between entertaining and dull, much like the "undead" who are its focus.

Subtitled "Women and Their Vampires," the show combines those interviews with movie and TV snippets to explore women's fascination with seductive cinematic bloodsuckers, ranging from Bela Lugosi and Frank Langella's turns as Dracula
to Bram Stoker's Dracula, Interview With the Vampire
and Wesley Snipes'Blade.

TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and Angel
are also exhumed. The executive producer of those youth-oriented TV series, Marti Noxon; Blade
screenwriter David Goyer; and Anne Rice, author of "The Vampire Chronicles" series of novels, contribute some interesting observations.

Noxon recalled a sensual scene involving Langella as Dracula that had a major effect on her as a girl, then noted that she paid homage to it ("almost a rip-off") in a Buffy
episode. Such bite scenes used to be substitutes for sex scenes, Goyer added.

Author Maitland McDonagh dubs Rice "the biggest boon to vampire mythology over the last 50 years."

For her part, Rice maintained: "The personality of the characters — that's what they respond to. The plot, as much as they say they love it, is really secondary."

Through the years, Goyer observed, vampires became "more and more sexualized and … attractive" — and, recently, in the cases of Blade, Buffy
and Angel, the hero.

Ultimately, too much of this hour is given over to vampire-tour entrepreneurs, patrons and operators of Goth-culture nightclubs and even a literally vampy role-playing dominatrix — who no doubt agrees with film director John Landis' view of this genre as "all about power and submission."

Once this hour is finished, some viewers may decide that these topics lose something from being over analyzed. But it won't kill true fans'centuries-old, undying fascination.

Night Bites bows on WE at 10 p.m. May 28.

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