Wednesday 17 June 2009

Vampires: A Spotter's Guide

Vampires seem to be in the vogue at the moment. The recent success of novels such as Stephanie Meyer's Twilight and John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let The Right One In (and, of course, the movie adaptations for those of you that can't be bothered to pick up a fucking book once in a while) have forced them back into the spotlight. And it's about time. Vampires deserve to be in the spotlight (unless it's an UV bulb...they don't tend to like them so much), somewhere they haven't really been since the end of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series. However, in the 112 years since Dracula was first published, many different types of vampire legend have arisen. for you is the E14 Vampire Spotters Guide!

Golden Rules of All Vampires:
  • All vampires are destroyed by a stake through the heart, decapitation and/or burning.
  • No vampire can go out in sunlight, unless the narrative calls for it.
  • Vampires appeal to overweight and/or unattractive fifteen-year old girls. Seriously. They're like catnip for Marilyn Manson fans.
Sympathetic/Emo Vampires
As seen in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, White Wolf's World of Darkness RPG campaign settings, MySpace Layouts, all shitty vampire stories

Back in 1976, Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire was published, and in celebration, all the vampires in the world agreed that this super-power-and-immortality gig was rather all too much, and they'd be much happier wearing lace and sighing.

These vampires grow weary of the years of endless existence, hate themselves for killing humans, and/or actively refuse to create more vampires. This raises the question of why they don't just walk into the sunlight if they're that fucking miserable. You would never get this shit from Mr. Barlow.

See, Interview with the Vampire isn't a bad book. The trouble lies in the legacy that it spawned, completely sucking all the menace out of the image of the vampire for...well, it's still happening now, to be honest.

Monstery Vampires
As seen in Bram Stoker's Dracula, John Carpenter's Vampires, From Dusk Till Dawn, Salem's Lot, The Blade Trilogy/comics, all good vampire stories.

This is the good shit. In a perfect world this is what all vampires would be like: fucking monsters.

It all starts with the original Dracula. In this, Count Dracula isn't the charming aristocrat he is in the Tod Browning movie, or the doting war-monger-turned-love-struck-beardie from the Francis Ford Coppola version. In the book, Dracula only has his mind turned to death and destruction in a new country. The creatures in From Dusk Till Dawn are only about titties and gore. Mr Barlow in Salem's Lot doesn't sit around moping in an Anne Rice induced fog - he bitch slaps priests.

I hope, and I pray, that vampires eventualy come back to this.

High School Vampires
As seen in The Lost Boys, The Twilight Saga, Vampire High

Vampires in High Schools tend to be "bad guys". Back in the 80s, this meant drinking, dressing in denim, listening to Jim Morrison and being related to Donald Sutherland. By the time Stephanie Meyer published Twilight, this already frankly unintimidating behaviour has been reduced to acting like stuck-up douchebags in the canteen. Scary stuff.

I blame Anne Rice.

Lesbian Vampires
As seen in low quality Italian horror movies, MySpace layouts and all alledgedly "erotic" horror.

Heh. These are awesome.

Pre-Watershed Vampire
As seen in Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV Series
In the original legend of the vampire, the destruction of such a creature required a stake through the heart, decapitation, burning of the head, and the burying the body beneath a crossroads. As time went on, people got lazier and discovered the just staking them seemed to work just as well.

The trouble with staking vampires through the heart is that they do tend to make a little bit a mess. Blood tends to shoot at in alarming force and volume.

A pre-watershed vampire is subject to being killed via contact with silver. This allowed the creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv-show to get on the pre-watershed schedule by making contact with the stake be enough to kill the vampire. No penetration, no gore, and no way I'm watching this shit. I was at high school sixth form when the show was at its most popular, and used to get endless fun from pointing out to fat, ugly girls the amazing similarity between their favourite "horror" TV show and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Obsessive Compulsive Vampires
As seen in "Sesame Street"


  1. I was wondering what I considered the definitive vampiric icon to be as I was reading this article... and then I got to the final image and realised that The Count from Sesame Street knocks all other vampires on their butts.

  2. Why only lesbian vampires? Don't forget Poppy Z. Brite's horribly written "Lost Souls" and that whole universe of gay fan fiction about vampires, written by those fat teen girls. Actually, that might be Anne Rice's fault as well. Good thing she moved on to write about Jesus and left horror alone.

    The "Monster Vampire" subgenre in films starts with Murnau's "Nosferatu", and has just about survived, with such new revivals as "Shadow of the Vampire"