In the run up to Halloween the vampire movies of the past are rising from the grave. Released in 1988, My Best Friend is a Vampire was an American horror-comedy about a teenager named Jeremy Capello who is bitten while attempting to have sex with a woman and turns into a vampire (if that’s how straight sex worked, I might be more into it). Jeremy, played by Robert Sean Leonard (of House, Dead Poets Society and Swing Kids) must first learn to accept himself then come out to his best friend and potential girlfriend, while fighting off a crazed vampire hunter. The film made several references to sexuality and at one point Jeremy’s parents begin to suspect he’s gay.
The fresh-faced Leonard was a teenager when the film was shot/released and he played the role well. Jim Carrey’s earlier film Once Bitten (1985) was far more campy and comedic (maybe because it was Carrey) and I seem to remember both films together as they are in a similar vein. Yet of the two roles, Leonard certainly captured the awkward teenager going through a sudden change masterfully.
It seems the coming out process we’ve seen in True Blood is not new, though this was on a small scale. Jeremy’s evolution (as a character) certainly would work pretty much the same way if he was gay and this was his coming out process, although obviously you can’t be infected gay. Applying the suggestion that Jeremy’s secretive behavior was because he was gay may not be excusable, and certainly it wasn’t necessary to draw the parallel.
Still like any good 80s teenager movie, it includes a car chase, musical-montage and neatly wrapped up plot. And Jeremy was kinda cute (though we only see his fangs once).