Midnight Mass does not actually call the creature that infiltrated the island. “vampire,”Mike Flanagan had a very good reason to omit it.
The monster in Midnight Mass is very much a vampire, but the show never once uses the word “vampire.” Following the acclaim of his Netflix haunted house horror shows The Haunting of Hill House and its standalone successor Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan returned in a different nightmare-inducing direction. As an extremely personal project that reflects his own horrors, the Doctor Sleep director used Midnight Mass’s vampire monster premise as a vehicle to explore highly accessible human fears involving faith, guilt, sobriety, forgiveness, loss, and death.
Midnight Mass is set on Crockett Island, a small island community that has lost its faith. A charismatic young priest arrives to give hope and help the dying people. The characters’ faith is tested as strange miracles of God appear, which are actually revealed to be the product of Midnight Mass’s vampire monster, which the characters label an angel. As Midnight Mass’s town drinks the blood of the vampire in communion to restore their ailments and eventually die to resurrect as blood-sucking vampires themselves, the dangers of religious fanaticism are exhibited in a clear comparison of Catholic and vampiric lore.
While the creature threatening Midnight Mass’s town is clearly a vampire, the word is never uttered throughout the entire series. This is mostly due to the Midnight Mass characters’ religious interpretation of the events as a gift from God, so it’s only given name within the series is an “angel.”Flanagan gives an even more specific reason why Netflix Geeked (via Twitter), in a interview for Netflix Geeked “vampire”It’s never said. Flanagan says that Midnight Mass does not tell a traditional vampire tale because the creature is a manifestation. “fanaticism and fundamentalism.” The creature certainly plays an important role in Midnight Mass, but the series isn’t a “vampire story”It is at its core.
The director of horror continues his argument with the observation that if they included this word, it would be a good thing. “vampire,”The entire show would only be about the centuries-old lore surrounding vampires. From Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, vampire fiction has created hundreds of years worth of tropes and expectations that Midnight Mass would inevitably be compared and relegated to in terms of established mythology. Instead, Midnight Mass uses the clear visuals and certain recognizable tropes to explicitly establish the creature as a vampire – though a vampire in Midnight Mass’s own terms. It is also made a “vampire story” would inevitably pin the creature as the monster, whereas Midnight Mass’s core conflict at play is amongst the human beings and their convictions.
Flanagan then discusses connections between vampire legend and certain iconography in the Bible, particularly the “rivers of blood” “angels coming to the door to slaughter children,” both of which are implemented as Midnight Mass connects religion to the vampiric creature. The vampire connection enhances many of the horror tropes of this series. It makes what he long considers the most terrifying aspects the Bible into a more familiar, frightening horror monster. The vampire connection is a way to say the truth, but not actually saying it. “V-word”(via Kate Siegel on twitter) It immediately brings with it centuries worth of mythological baggage Midnight Mass was better able to adapt the creature to its own poignant themes instead of conforming to the genre expectations.
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About the Author
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Jordan Williams is a Senior Staff Writer for Screen Rant, Movie/TV Feature. In 2020, she graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts. in Psychology with a minor in Media Studies.
Jordan is based out of Seattle, Washington. She enjoys exploring the natural beauty that the PNW has. She enjoys coffee and classic movies and is proud to have seen every film on AFI’s 100 Greatest Films and every Best Picture Oscar winner.
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