Silky midnights and bloody fangs: why we love all things dark and deadly

Forget money. Power is the only currency there is. Despite what we’ve achieved, the dark still has power over us. We fear the dark and, by extension, it fascinates and seduces us too.

Humanity began its life in fear. As day feeders surrounded by big cats and venomous crawlies, our ancestors loathed the dark. It was a sea of life in the night; a violent soup that wanted to kill us, carry us away and eat us.

But we haven’t always cowered in caves when the dark crept in around us. In time, we developed tools and began to hunt by the light of the moon. Some hunter-gatherer cultures, like our own, worshipped the moon as the life giver; the celestial spotlight on our prey. It’s been suggested that we only began to revere the sun more when we moved away from our hunter-gatherer roots and into agriculture, when we traded a good kill for a healthy crop.

Perhaps that’s where the schism started. Perhaps as we grew less and less inclined to venture out into the deathly dark for food, full of howling wolves and unseen drops, we also began to fear it more and more. Not because we understood it more, but because we understood it less. Up until we harnessed electricity, it’s very likely that we seldom ventured out into the dark at all.

But the dark still holds sway over our imaginations. It’s home to the ancient bloody horrors of our past that the far-sight and sunlight of our proven science can shed no light on. It’s the cracked twig in a dark forest; the shallow breaths in a pitch-black wilderness. It’s everything unsafe and uncertain about the world that our primal fear still clings to, no matter how far we’ve come.

The dark is the realm of sex and death. It’s the human subconscious when it lets its hair down. Vampires and werewolves turn us on because, to them, society’s daylight rules don’t apply. If only we could be that savage and free.

The silky midnights and the bloody fangs seduce us because, as advanced as we are, we still have no power over the night. Power is the only currency there is, and when the night robs it from us, we want to embrace the dark to get it back. To do that, we’d have to be as savage and promiscuous as the dark demands us to be. That thought scares the hell out of our evolved sensibilities. Yet it sings to something inside us and pulls us back, every time.

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