Vampires Vs. The Bronx is a comedy-horror hybrid that pokes fun at the extinction and displacement many diasporic communities of color are facing right now in major cities by corporate forces. It follows a group of teenagers of Caribbean descent who are forced to protect their neighborhood in the Bronx when a group of vampires/gentrifiers invades.
ASYNCHRONOUS ASSIGNMENT (Deadline: 10/12 before the class)
1. Watch the film Vampires Vs. The Bronx (Osmany Rodriguez, 2020) on Netflix
2. In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-words minimum).
An allegory is a narrative in which a character, place, or event is used to deliver a broader socio-political message about real-world issues and occurrences. Discuss the allegory of corporate gentrifiers as vampires.
Refer to specific characters, scenes, and/or the plot.
How the movie proposes a trans-Caribbean unity to “save the neighborhood” and protect the needs of the Bronx residents.
Analyze how Vampires vs the Bronx flip common horror mise en scene elements (make-up; wardrobe; special effects; lighting; props) to highlight the contrasting presence of gentrifiers and as comedy tools.
Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about Vampires Vs The Bronx do you want to bring into the discussion?
19 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Vampires Vs. The Bronx”
The allegory of the vampire is essentially the madness driven by high middle class whites invading and driving out people in poor neighborhoods. People in these neighborhoods are living in fear of gentrification and the price of rent raising and have to sell out and move to other areas in which they essentially don’t make it hence the killing of the vampire. These vampires like to suck on the necks of the poor and drain the body blood slowly. This can be referred to as the many people that slowly are becoming more desperate to make high risk decisions, they suck the life out of people of color. The vampire due to popular belief and the media is seen to be indestructible or bare minimum hard to kill. When you put yourself in the situation of who has the higher probability of winning in a battle to the death a human or a vampire, most people would bet their money on the vampire. In the movie the vampire had high amounts of power over the community with their wealth, manipulation of local gang leaders and with the help of the police stopping people who are trying to riot the dislocation of people. Similar to reality the people in control manipulate the system to work in their favor and as stated in the movie “it’s easier to live somewhere where no one cares if people disappear.” The community changes and the people are being replaced but no one takes that into consideration because we are people of color and we “don’t work hard enough”.
Vampires are symbolic of high middle-class whites who suck and drain the bodies and livelihoods of poor people. Vampires are superior and stronger, and so are the middle-class individuals when compared to the poor. Gentrification is a factor that scares poor folk because they are forced out of the places they call home, and they don’t have the power nor the strength to fight off these high middle-class whites
The corporate vampires attempted to take over the Bronx neighborhood by buying local businesses & gentrifying it, such as the salon that we saw in the beginning of the film. This resulted in a unity between the characters Miguel, Luis, Bobby, and Rita. Towards the end of the film everyone in the community were alongside them to eliminate the corporate vampires. This resembles a sense of pride for everyone in the community and showed the audience that the communities in the Bronx look out for one another (as we also saw when Miguel’s mother let Rita in their house to call her parents without even knowing who she is).
In 1:03:20 the camera shows Miguel looking at a picture of Tony with Miguel and his friends. Bobby then asks what Miguel is doing and Miguel replied by saying “I’m going to take out every last one of them. We got to defend ourselves…we got to show them that Tony and everyone else matters”. Luis and Bobby then join Miguel to eliminate the vampires which shows the audience the unity to save the neighborhood from the vampire’s gentrification process and protecting the Bronx residents such as the bodega owner Tony. The film ends with Gloria, host of GloTV saying “All is well in the Bronx yet again but we gonna keep grinding, shining, and holding eachother again… and to all future invaders, you don’t want smoke with the BX”. This ending empathizes the unity that Bronx residents have against gentrification and “invaders”
I agree throughout the film we are shown the attempt at gentrification by the corporate vampires, but we also saw the unity in the community. For example, in the beginning of the movie when Miguel is riding his bike around the neighborhood, we see how everyone knows him and looks out for him. We get that real sense of community, and we also see it in how the whole neighborhood is coming together for a block party to save a bodega that was a prime spot in their community. In the film the Vivian refers to the Bronx as a place where no one cares about what happens to the people that live there which kind of brings things back to what we learned about in Decade of Fire where we saw how the Bronx was being burnt down because those outside of it didn’t care to protect those who were being forced out. However, just like in Decade of Fire we get to see the people within the community unite and fight for their community and their people, not waiting for other to save them. We even see how power and money played a huge part in the film. For example, the police were so quick to believe and protect Frank because he was a man of power instead of the neighborhood kids. We also saw how fast Henny was willing to turn on his own community by agree to vandalize it for money which again was similar to what we saw happen in Decade of Fire where young men were coerced into burning down their own neighborhood for money.
The Bronx neighbourhood survived gentrification due to the collective efforts of the community members. By standing together and fighting as a united front, the locals were able to fight off the corporate vampires who wanted to take away their homes, businesses and turn them into completely different things. However, the Bronx residents showcased that there is unity in numbers, and they also showed their sense of pride when protecting the place they call home.
In the movie Vampires vs the Bronx, real estate agents are presented as vampires that want to take people out of the Bronx. The allegory of these corporate gentrifiers being presented as vampires can be interpreted as a symbol of how gentrification takes the life out of a neighborhood like vampires suck the life out of a human. In other words, this means that the corporate gentrifiers are using their powers to take people out of the Bronx without raising any suspicions because they have a legal front covering for them. This issue is rarely addressed seriously in areas where there isn’t much hope, such as the Bronx, which was presented in the film as dangerous and low-class. In the film, you can see this reasoning when the vampire commander says “ you didn’t stand a chance… you are just a bunch of poor kids from this shithole you call the Bronx”1:15:07. In this scene, you can see how lowly she thinks of the Bronx and how she believes that there is nothing that they can do to stop gentrification from happening because she holds all the power, influence, and wealth. This is something that very often happens in real life as the people at the top can do anything they want because they got the influence and money to get away with it. This is like when the kids were trying to tell everyone about the vampires but they didn’t believe them and even the cops did not even bother to look more into it since their opinions did not matter to them as they were just seen as poor, troublemakers from the Bronx.
You perfectly captured the meaning and use of the vampires to represent gentrification by drawing the parallels in how you said “how gentrification takes the life out of a neighborhood like vampires suck the life out of a human.” Funny enough when the movie had first released on Netflix I thought to myself “what a corny concept” but upon rewatching for this class and reading your blog post, I see the deeper message that was conveyed through this comedy. Its a great way to also explain to kids whats happening in their communities. I myself am a member of the Bronx so when commander said that phrase I was extremely offended because it appears that many people, especially outsiders and upper middle class people see the Bronx as a dirty place, when in reality it is home to many cultures and full of diversity. I think its also important to point out the lens through which the movie is scene, which Is through the eyes of caribbean children. The fact that they try to take on this issue at such a young age, when they clearly can’t even defend themselves against the vampires, shows how the issue of gentrification is effecting even children at a young age, and its obviously breaks apart their communities. In addition, we also see the power that these vampires, who also happen to be rich and white, have over communities that they’re not even home to, and the influence they have in our communities which is shown greatly in the film in scenes such as the sheriffs office, and when the gangs rat out people in their own community.
The vampires are used as an allegory to represent the corporate middle white class. The young group of kids come from Latino and black backgrounds. Two of the most marginalized groups in this country. Miguel Martinez, Bobby, and Luis try to save the neighborhood but constantly bump into Vivian throughout the movie. In the first instance, Miguel bumps into her while putting up flyers for the block party. Luis and his friends plead to her to not call the cops for this event. They are socially and politically aware that she has the power to do so. We come to find out later that Vivian is the commander of the vampires. Another instance in which we see the marginalization of the kids is when they are interrogated in front of Frank’s office for stealing the pouch. Frank uses his power/privilege to drop all legal matters and the families are in relief. This can be translated to show that the vampires have control over the neighborhood but the group of kids are trying to resist this power. They are doing this by convincing local neighborhoods to resist selling their businesses and houses for monetary gain. There is also another scene in which Carmen assumes Vivian wanted the music down but she realizes her kid is behind her. (59:10-59:40) This scene is interpreted as tension between a native resident (carmen) and Gentrifier (vivian).
I agree that the vampires are used to represent the corporate middle class. It wasn’t as clear as first, we do know that this organization was buying up all the stores in The Bronx but Vivian to me was used as a distraction. I figured she was just a white lady that was trying to adapt to the diverse culture of the Bronx. Turns out she was the leader of this whole vampire group trying to rid of everyone in the Bronx. In addition it indeed does have a deeper message within which is the whole idea of gentrification as they try to rid people out the Bronx mainly being minorities. Frank is one who works for the Vampires to become one, he is their info man in daylight being that Vampires cannot come out in the daytime. The kids are the only ones at the time to pick up on what’s going on in there neighborhood and take matters into their own hands to stop it. They still important files that are eventually reported to the police that they have to give back. Due to the wealth and power that Frank holds he doesn’t let the situation bother him and decides to use his power and have the kids hunted down. All this is what the kids have to go through so young because of gentrification.
In the film Vampires vs The Bronx, the allegory used for corporate gentrifiers are vampires. The film starts off showing how local shop owners are approached and offered money for their property. Being unable to refuse these large offers, one by one the shops and their owners slowly disappear. This allegory accurately portrays how gentrifiers sneak their way into communities and slowly disperse them. In the film we also are introduced to Vivian who comes across as trusting and against the Bronx being gentrified. However, in the end we find out that she was the leader of the vampire coven and betrayed Miguel and his friends. This shows how gentrifiers can get close, offer their help and trust, only to be the ones doing the most harm. There is also a scene where Miguel discovers that Henny and his gang are in cahoots with the vampire coven, showing how local gangs apart of the community will throw their own under the bus for money. The film depicts multiple scenes where the vampires kill locals and literally suck the life out the Bronx, not just its people but its culture and unity. The film also touches upon the negligence of police and general public when people of color go missing. Although Miguel and others pointed out something suspicious throughout the movie to police, they never took his claims serious enough to investigate. This reveals how much people of color are looked over when it comes to disappearances.
In the film Vampires Vs. the Bronx, Vampires represents corporates from middle-class white families that want to push low-income families out by buying their shops and promising them that they’ll go to the suburbs. However, that’s not the case; the shop owners are disappearing. At the beginning of the movie, Miguel puts up block party posters to save Tony’s shop and keep the neighborhood safe from vampires with his friends Bobby and Luis. Luis explains to Miguel and Bobby what can kill vampires, “Garlic is a vampire repellent, same with the crucifix, Holy water is a repellent as well, but you can also use it as a vampire detector because holy water boils when a vampire is close” (25:06-25:16). Miguel and his friends are young, but they will do anything to save the neighborhood, even go to the corporates office to steal evidence, where they meet Vivian again. Even though Miguel found evidence, no one believed him because Mr. Polidari came out in the open. As the movie progresses, Rita joins their groups because she wants to help them end the vampires. Miguel, Bobby, Luis, and Rita go to Tony’s shop, but Vivian gets to him before they can save him, and they find out after she drops them home. At the end of the movie, Miguel kills Vivian and safes the neighborhood, and they celebrate with the block party.
Vampires VS the Bronx
Vampires’ vs the Bronx is the movie in which 3 teenage boys from different ethnic backgrounds such as Puerto Rican, African American and afro Latino defend a neighborhood from gang violence and corporate vampires literally and metaphorically speaking from their neighborhood in the Bronx. As the movie clearly states, the vampires own real estate agency that is buying up all the neighborhood property, but by buying the neighborhood they use it as a front to kill the previous owner of said property for food. This is compelling because by buying each property you can see that new property is being inserted usually white owned in the neighborhood that is primarily P.O.C there is a clear scene of this in the middle of the movie where a group of kids rather than buying from there usually piragua vendor opt out for the fancy vanlee weens ice cream truck. We can see the vampires in a metaphorically speaking as sucking the life out of the neighborhood along with the residences this is a clear example of the real-life occurrences of gentrification usually the property owner either selling his building to the highest bidder and when the agency takes control of it increasing the prices of the neighborhood to such a degree that it causes the existing residents are to be kicked out of their homes. Paving way for white people to move in. A real-world example and a personal one is the neighborhood I grew up in and currently live in is Williamsburg Brooklyn I grew up in a predominantly Puerto Rican/ polish community. Now it has lost its sense of culture and community caters to a whiter demographics such as having Starbucks in the neighborhood and the many coffee shops that are a dime a dozen which charge you overpriced coffee sourced from Latin American countries you can see the irony; they love our products but do not like our people. that why I make it a habit to support mostly Latin American businesses and P.O.C businesses. We can also discuss the low funding and the overlooking of the Bronx when it comes down to security. There is a scene close to the ending. of the film that illustrates this very well when the head vampire Vivian tells our man character Miguel that she wants the neighborhood to stay the same so that the people can keep going missing and the world not to care because they are from “poor/ crime “ridden area. there is also a sense of racism that occurs when the vampires call the residents vermin this sense of racism s and imposter syndrome is very due to the cause of gentrification. For myself I can remember being young and I took Mix. martial arts classes in my neighborhood and one of my classmates shared a store of her new white neighbor says they wanted to kick the rest of the Latinos people out of Brooklyn unknowing that she was Latin American herself. Imposter syndrome is when you start to doubt yourself thinking that your accomplishments are not enough, I think growing up in a changing neighborhood I was not enough cause of my skin color I was taught a very whitewashed history learning the accomplishment of white people rather than Latino and native American and African American when you do not know your history you are doomed to repeat it.
In the film, vampires are used as the allegory for corporate gentrifiers. When the film starts, it shows that businesses are closing due to higher rents and large amounts of money being offered. Although the community might not want to give into these offers, it’s hard to refuse them when they could end up living somewhere better with what they receive. They take advantage of the fact that they don’t earn much to get their property and use them to put more expensive businesses there. This allegory shows that they’ll always have the upper hand when put against people of color. When Vivian bumps into Miguel, Luis and Bobby they assume that she’s lost because they wouldn’t expect a white person to willingly move to the Bronx. She automatically knows that they think that she’s going to call the cops which she denies, but it shows that she knows the privilege that she holds in that situation since she’s white. The heavy influence that the vampires have on the neighborhood in the Bronx shows that they can easily get away with anything, especially the disappearance of people. Overall, the vampires hold a lot of power in the Bronx due to their skin color and how much money they have.
In the film, Vampires Vs. The Bronx, the allegory of gentrification in New York City was depicted through the act of the Vampires trying to “rid” minorities in the Bronx community. The film’s plot of trying to save the community connected with the present issues of gentrification in New York City and its effects driving native New Yorkers out of their homes. Although the method of removing minority New Yorkers in real life is not through vampires, as depicted in the film, there is a similarity in people from the community being driven out of their neighborhoods. In the film, the commander Vampire explains to Miguel and his friends that she bought their building and was planning on coming into their home to take back her key. She even refers to Miguel and his friends at 1:14:58 as, “a bunch of poor kids from this shithole of The Bronx”. I think that by including these actions and lines said by the commander vampire, represents how gentrifiers view minority community members in New York City. Gentrifiers have the resources needed to buy buildings and therefore can take control over the spaces in which tenants live. Furthermore, gentrifiers also have a similar mentality, viewing community members as poor and using the low income neighborhoods as a means to create their own wealth through increased rent prices. Overall, although all aspects of the film are not exactly the same, the allegory of the film can be interpreted and compared to the ongoing problem of gentrification throughout many New York neighborhoods.
The corporate gentrifiers as vampires are a clear reflection of how gentrification affects certain urban sectors and removes everything that has kept them alive over the years. In this case, vampires are represented by middle-class white people whose sole purpose was to take advantage of vulnerable families and communities in the Bronx and move them to other places offering them large amounts of money. During the film, Miguel and his group of friends try to do everything that they can in order to avoid the social consequences that gentrification may cause: new parks, new buildings, new infrastructures, and shops. Therefore, the possible new arrival of residents could generate a transformation of the ecosystem where they live and that feeling of identity their community has formed over the years, could be sucked up to the last drop of blood by these vampires.
Gentrification is not just any modification of a neighborhood. We are talking about a forced demographic change, which could completely transform the lives of your neighbors. The dynamic that exists within the film due to corporate gentrifiers is catastrophic, and for Miguel to lose his home is to lose everything: his identity, his stability, and above all, every single drop of his blood.
The allegory in Vampires Vs. The Bronx were that the vampires were corporate gentrifiers. Like vampires gentrifiers come into an area to dominate and conquer. Doing all of their hunting at night Vampires must stay in the dark, parallel to the way gentrifiers move into a neighborhood and seem to take over overnight. People like Frank who do the vampires bidding are like the real estate agencies and firms that sell and devalue properties to make way for the higher income residents. The character Vivan who is the leader of the group was very friendly and affable to Miguel and his friends at first. But, the longer she stays and invades their neighborhood, the more her true intentions are revealed. Similarly to the paradisal period that happens when higher income residents and low income residents live in the same area without too much conflict. But that period doesn’t last for long and the contrast between the two gets to be too much. In the end the lower income residents are displaced as land lords want higher income tenants. This has happened in many other areas of the city where there is a strong minority community, and Miguel is determined to not let history repeat itself in the Bronx.
In Vampires vs. the Bronx, the vampires represent how gentrification takes place in societies of minorities. In the movie they are seen as people who have money and appear to be kind. Since minorities are not used to seeing that combination it intrigues them and makes them want to give in to gentrification. However, the children of the neighborhood like Miguel, Bobby and Luis, see through the facade that the vampires are using to trick the community. They try to take it into their own hands by banding together to try and save the bodega and the community as a whole. Certain adults like Luis’s mom don’t trust or believe them because they are only kids. The parents are quick to think that the things the kids are reading and the video games that they play aren’t benefiting them but they actually helped them realize what was really going on. There’s also a lot shown about how you should never assume things because when Vivian was being nice to Miguel, Luis, and Bobby they immediately trusted her and didn’t question her intentions. This allegory of vampires representing gentrification and children representing the future is clear throughout the film.
The allegory in this movie seems to be very evident. Corporate gentrifiers are taking over the Bronx and constructing new buildings and buying out the old. This is not a new concept but rather one that has happened for decades. Especially in the tri state area of New York. In the movie, the vampires are portrayed as a rich corporation that have been buying out old buildings for years and creating new communities for people similar to them. These “people” can be thought as middle upper-class people who enjoy cafes and palates. Whereas the people originally from the neighborhood prefer to hit the bodega and relax outside with each other. The style of living is different and the newcomers don’t understand the old. Also, they don’t make it easy for people to join their social circle as you can see when the guy wants to become a vampire and the rest don’t want him too. But luckily for the neighborhood they fought back and in a way forced the gentrifiers to leave.
The vampire metaphor is the craziness caused by upper-middle-class Europeans attacking and displacing people from disadvantaged communities. Individuals in these communities live in terror of urbanization and increasing housing prices, forcing them to sell their homes and relocate to locations where they will effectively fail, resulting in the vampire’s death. These monsters enjoy sucking on the poor and middle-class necks and gradually draining their blood. This refers to the growing number of people increasingly determined to make elevated choices, sucking the vitality out of racial minorities.
According to popular perception and the media, vampires are immortal or, at the very least difficult to murder. When faced with the choice of whether a person or a vampire has a greater chance of succeeding in a fight to the death, the majority of individuals would choose the vampire. The vampires in the film wielded enormous authority over the neighborhood due to their riches, the influence of neighborhood street gangs, and the assistance of the police in preventing anyone who attempted to protest, causing widespread displacement. Like reality, people with significant influence control the framework for their potential benefit, and as the film expresses, “it’s simpler to live where nobody cares if individuals vanish.” Individuals are supplanted as the local area advances, yet nobody considers this since we are ethnic minorities who “don’t buckle down enough.”
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