On True Blood

Vampire Porn

By Daniel M. Kimmel

More than one person, told that I was writing an essay about the opening credits for True Blood, recoiled. It was something they had seen and now fast-forwarded through, unable to watch the montage of disturbing images. It was too “weird” or “upsetting.” (Mind you, these were people who then sat back and enjoyed a show where the heroine has sex with a vampire and that was fine.) Even at the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention held in Montreal, the panel on True Blood began with a discussion of the opening. The sequence is a startling compendium of images that both sets the stage for the show and constitutes a story in itself. It was put together by a production house called Digital Kitchen, which has also done the openings for Dexter and Six Feet Under, the latter show created by Alan Ball, the person behind True Blood.

Rather than go through a shot by shot transcript, it’s helpful to think of this sequence of seemingly random shots by its recurring motifs. (If you need to refresh your memory and don’t have a DVD or an episode On Demand handy, the credit sequence is readily available as a standalone on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet.) These motifs include the South, religion, bigotry, death, and sex.

Clearly these motifs are also the focus of the show. The location in rural Louisiana gives the show its particular small town bayou flavor.  …

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