09/03/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why America Bares Its Neck for Alexander Skarsgard

A. Skarsgard

Who Wouldn't Want to Be Drained by Him?

There's a rash of plunging necklines across the country
as women (and men) try to bait the dark eroticism they see in Alexander Skarsgard, the vampire Eric Northman on HBO's True Blood.

Everyone's tugging at their collars, saying, "Is it hot in here, or is it him?"

Blogger Lisa Brower and I saw the depth of America's hypnotic trance with Skarsgard when we innocently put a few pictures of him on our blogs. Neither one of us had ever heard "KA-BOOM" in stereo before. We got more hits than anything else we'd posted (and we don't run celebrity sites).

So the question came up: Why does Alexander Skarsgard make so many of us want to rip away our cross necklaces and finger the side of our throats?

Part of it is his blonde, blue-eyed Nordic beauty. Almost all the bloodsuckers that have come before him have been dark-eyed brunettes.

Part of it is Eric Northman's background -- a thousand year-old Viking who got eternal life from a little nibble.

But most of it is the danger he poses to everyone in his path. Namely, us. We risk everything simply getting in his line of vision.

Fear as an aphrodisiac.
The danger isn't that he'll infiltrate our mind and bend it to his will. It's that he won't. Call it the loss of losing out. We'd leave home, family and career just to smell his dirty coffin, and WHAT?! -- he doesn't want us?

Now, that's evil.

Never before have we seen such a dark eroticism emanating from such clean-cut features. At 6'4", Skarsgard looks like the poster boy for California beach volleyball. Yet, his brooding mien, his barely-detectable accent, that just-this-side-of-sickly pallor, and his occasional wolf-panting give him a certain Stranger Danger Beach Boy allure.

Vampires are everywhere right now, from the Twilight series of books and movies to the night-visioned characters in books by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood), Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurel Hamilton, and of course the God Mother of strange sexuality, Anne Rice.

Speaking of which, who's going to break it to Anne? In a Who's Hotter Bite-Off, Lestat wouldn't hold a cross to Eric Northman.

None of our fascination with the Skarsgards of the underworld is new. Our thirst for the forbidden erotic started with a female demon from the Talmud named Lillith. Purported to be the first wife of Adam, she was portrayed in later scripture as a highly sexualized vampire like creature, a succubus, that came upon men in the night and drained them of their essence. Against their will, of course.

Later, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker further branded vampires in the public consciousness as deliverers of the ultimate sexual pleasure. Bringing this imagery to film only heightened the fascination we have for the undead. Ever notice that instead of a wince of pain as Dracula sank his fangs into a neck, that the victim looked transported into orgasmic ecstasy?

Alex Skarsgard is the ultimate transporter. You don't really want to sell your soul to him as much as you want to set up a rent-to-own program (so you can be around him longer). We know we're in over our heads with him. And that's why we like him. Because he's bitten off more than we can chew.