How Vampires Do Money

In Jim Jarmusch’s new film Only Lovers Left Alive, aristocratic vampires played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston lounge around, looking languidly beautiful and commenting dryly on their hundreds of years of existence. The critical consensus is positive: these are old-school Byronic vampires, after all, not the sparkly “Twilight” ones. One thing that the languorous undead in this film have in common with their absurdist counterparts, and pretty much every vampire in American popular culture from Anne Rice on down, though, is that they seem to be loaded.

Why are vampires rich and how do they stay that way? Is their high status part of the mystique? Where do they get their cash? They certainly don’t work for it. (At least not during the day.) If they inherited it, they must have invested it wisely, because it seems to last them centuries. Who gives financial advice to vampires and can I get in on that, please?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the only example I can think of where vampires are not exclusively louche and aristocratic. And it makes so much sense! Of course vampires should come from a variety of races and classes. Okay, yes, the sexiest one on the show fits the same bill I am deriding, but at least there is diversity to speak of. Not every vampire is a pale, delicate Northern European / British toff.

It’s especially interesting to me that the American idea of vampires seems to be that they are white bread British, since the original British idea was that they were swarthy demons from Eastern Europe. Everyone seems to agree that they are upper-class, though. Remember, the original Dracula was a Count.

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