I like this interview a lot; it’s full of interesting thoughts about the nature of vampire stories and why they appeal to us.
But I think then the thing that changed everything and gave vampire fiction, if not a new lease on life a new lease on death, would have been AIDS. You hit the early ’80s, and suddenly you have something in the blood, an exchange of blood that kills and is altogether fundamentally about sex. And vampirism essentially came out of the closet as metaphor — not particularly as a metaphor for gay sex, but again as a metaphor for the act of love that kills. Stephen King once said, using the Erica Jong quote, that vampirism is the ultimate ”zipless f—.” And I think you got the resurgence of vampirism in the ’80s as ”zipless f—.” And then in a sort of continuous transmutation, you had Lost Boys, which is essentially vampirism as wish fulfillment — it was really the first time you can absolutely take a pin and point to these great vampire moments on celluloid or on video, or in print, whatever, where people really seemed to have looked around and gone, ”What is the downside of this thing again? Hang on, you get to live forever, you get to be absolutely sexually attractive and you don’t have zits… You have magic powers; what you’re giving up is daylight.”
Gaiman traces the history of the vampire story from Dracula to the modern day–it’s worth reading in its entirety.