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Vampire Supercut - character design

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As a follow-up to my Zombie Supercut, a couple of people suggested I do a Vampire Supercut, featuring memorable or unique vampires from fictional universes. I was initially skeptical as I wasn't sure there would be enough unique 'types' to make it visually interesting. However, making a list I quickly realised I was looking at an even bigger project than the zombies. In the end I produce portraits for 45 vampires, including 5 of my own creations. There are literally dozens of mythological vampires across different cultures (frequently overlapping with what we today would call the 'demon', the 'zombie' and the 'ogre') and I have deliberately tried to focus on fictional depictions of vampires, though I couldn't resist doing my take on some of the weirder legends from around the world.

The green fade indicates living beings with vampiric qualities, though the distinction isn't always clear-cut.

Lord Ruthven (The Vampyre, 1819)
Dracula, some may be surprised to learn, was not the first English-language novel to focus on the theme of the vampire. That honour goes to John Polidori's 'The Vampyre', with only Byron's unfinished manuscript, sometimes called 'The Burial' (which inspired 'Frankenstein'), written earlier that year contesting the claim - 'The Burial' includes the legend of a vampire and an old man who Byron intended to appear again after his death, but the fragment is unfinished and ends with his burial. Polidori's 'The Vampyre' is thus left as the genesis of English-language vampire novels - even more shockingly, it depicts a kind of vampire that would not seem out of place a hundred and fifty years later; a dashing noble whose 'irresistable  powers of seduction' and 'licentious habits' make him the subject of scandalous rumour. Ruthven has no fangs (only his 'deadly hue' and 'dead grey eye(s)' seem to hint that he may be more than he seems) and no weaknesses to speak of; he does not immediately regenerate harm done to him, but when he seemingly 'dies' from a gunshot, his body revives when placed under the first light of the moon (and he may have been playing dead anyway). His strength is described as 'superhuman' (!) and it seems like he has some powers of compulsion, as once a promise is sworn to him it cannot be broken.

Count Dracula (Dracula, 1897)
The line between werewolf and vampire in traditional myths has always been hazy, so it's not a surprise to read that Stoker's Dracula is actually characterised by hirsuitism - he has a monobrow, a long, dropping moustache, a beard, profuse curling hair (with the widow's peak that has formed a vampiric visual aid ever since) and, bizarrely, hairy palms. 'Red eyes' are also mentioned later, though it's unclear whether he means the eyes are bloodshot or actually have reddish irises (the interpretation much vampire fiction has taken since). Dracula is a monster, so is described as bestial. In contrast, Lugosi's clean-shaven take on the character plays down many of these elements. Even as Dracula is rejuvenated, Stoker is at pains to reinforce that he is never attractive. Dracula has a long list of powers - he can control animals; transform into a wolf or bat; has enough strength to bend metal bars; can read the minds of those he has fed on at any distance, making them dangerous to speak near; summon storms and control the weather; crawl up walls even in human form; and turn into mist and shadow. He is NOT vulnerable to sunlight but cannot change shape during the day. In the book, he is NOT staked - instead, he is stabbed in the heart and throat at the same time by a bowie knife and kukri just before the sun goes down (implying that shapeshifting would make him immune to physical damage of this sort), though we are also told that decapitation, the burning of the heart, or the driving of a stake through the heart will kill the 'Un-Dead' (capitalisation in original).

Count Orlok (Nosferatu, 1922)
Nosferatu, when it comes down to it, is essentially Dracula with the serial numbers filed off. Orlok is Dracula, the Hutters are the Harkers, Knock is Renfield, Bulwer is Helsing, etc. However, Max Schreck's performance as Count Orlok was dramatically different to existing interpretations of Dracula; hairless and slimy, with the fangs being his incisors rather than his canines, he plays Orlok as corpse-stiff, a dead thing animated by malign will, who is identified, not with wolves, but with plague rats. Murnau also creates perhaps the defining vampiric weakness of the modern age - his nosferatu is not 'stronger at night', or even 'weaker in daylight', but is actually killed by the cleansing rays of the sun, leaving smoking ash.

Salt Vampire (Star Trek, 1966)
We can't really have a list of vampires in popular fiction without including the villain of Season 1, Episode 1 of Star Trek, 'The Man Trap', broadcast on September 8, 1966. The Salt Vampire (or to give its canon name, the M-113 creature) is a leech-like humanoid creature with long white hair, that drains salt from its victims through the suckers on its fingers. Crucially, the Salt Vampire is telepathic and can cause others to see it as a human (most typically as an attractive woman) - though when multiple observers are present together they may disagree on what exactly they see. It is weakened by draining Spock's blood - Vulcan blood apparently containing a form of sodium that is harmful to it - and killed with repeated phaser blasts. Curiously, its first victim, Darnell, has a name that resembles the character intended to be revealed as a vampire in Byron's 'The Burial' (Darvell).

Morbius the Living Vampire (Marvel Comics, 1971)
Morbius first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #101 as a villain; the issue was originally slated to include Dracula but Stan Lee insisted upon a costumed super-villain. The outcome was the tragic villain Morbius, who, born with a fatal blood disorder, transformed himself into a 'pseudo-vampire' through electrical and chemical experimentation upon himself. The result is intensely photo-sensitive skin, superhuman strength and speed, accelerated healing flight, and, of course, the thirst for human blood. The curious stipulation that he is a 'living vampire' and NOT undead is apparently not, as fan folklore around the character would have it, a reflection of Marvel's cautiousness around the Comics Code, which had already been revised to allow the portrayal of the living dead, but simply an attempt to differentiate Morbius from more traditional vampires (and would shape his fate as it would allow him to continue to appear in Marvel comics after Dr Strange used his powers to destroy all vampires in the universe). The result was a living man, transformed into a vampire by artificial means (and eventually though temporarily cured via a lightning strike). The character has since become an anti-hero, pursuing a permanent chemical cure for his condition.

Blade (Marvel Comics, 1973)
Blade is rightly remembered as the first Marvel made-for-cinema superhero movie, but his first appearance in 1973, was in The Tomb of Dracula #10, duelling the by this time public-domain vampire. By the early 70s the Comics Code Authority had relaxed its rules on horror comics and Marvel wanted to test the waters on a vampire serial. One of the breakout characters in the series was Blade - a 'half-vampire' whose mother had been turned during childbirth. He would go on to star in his own series and eventually films while other Tomb of Dracula characters like Dracula descendant Frank Drake or reluctant vampire PI Hannibal King have failed to find purchase. Unquestionably partaking of blaxploitation tropes in his original appearance (one year after the release of vampire-themed blaxploitation film Blacula), Blade has since developed a unique style - I merged several of his appearances to create this archetypical Blade, including the one-piece shades from his first appearance and the beard and crazy triple-widow's-peak which have informed his post-movies look. Blade lacks most vampiric weaknesses, critically allowing him to walk under the sun. He maintains the superhuman strength, speed, agility and regeneration of Marvel vampires (and is sometimes depicted as even more powerful). In most appearances his bloodthirst is sated by a specially designed serum, which he must take daily. Other vampires in his universe demonstrate a wide range of vulnerabilities- to holy symbols, garlic, silver and ultraviolet light, which he uses in his extensive arsenal.

Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview with the Vampire, 1976)
Ann Rice's 'Interview with the Vampire' began a trend in Western fiction which would transform the image of the vampire in popular culture. Rice's 216-year-old vampire Lestat de Lioncourt is seductive, sophisticated and unquestionably a protagonist, not an antagonist, despite occasionally despicable acts. Rice vampires' main giveaway is their pale skin and clear, glassy nails; they have superhuman strength, speed and grow stronger with age, developing telepathy, telekinesis and pyrokinesis. Other rarer powers include flight, the ability to kill at command, and mind control. Newborn vampires must feed each night, though the need wanes slowly over time and ancient vampires can go years without blood. They can survive on animal blood, but will slowly decay on this diet and must have human blood to regenerate. Uniquely, Rice vampires have two sets of fangs - the canines and the lateral incisors. The process of turning a human into a vampire is complicated - they must first be drained almost to the point of death, then drink of a *vampire's* blood. They will then die and rise the next night as a vampire. The longer a vampire keeps the 'Dark Gift' without creating new vampires, the most powerful their next fledgeling; also, the shorter the connection to the original vampire, the 6000-year-old Mesopotamian vampire Akasha, the more powerful the fledgling. Rice vampires are immune to most vampiric weaknesses except fire, decapitation or sunlight, but make some interesting additions to the roll call - elder vampires can inflict wounds on lesser vampires which do not heal; and if a vampire is tricked into drinking blood from a dead body they will be greatly weakened.

Meier Link or D (Vampire Hunter D, 1983)
Vampire Hunter D, based on the series of novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi has inspired anime, manga, film and audio dramas. Depicting a post-nuclear-war world where vampires (the 'Nobility') have emerged from the shadows to reinstate their rightful rule. D, the protagonist, is a half-vampire (this time legitimately the offspring of a vampire father and human mother coupling in the ordinary way). Nobles are grouped into Houses, each with their own signature bloodline abilities. Series villain Meier Link can transform his hands into razor-sharp claws of 'organic metal'. Vampire Hunter D vampires have enhanced strength, speed and senses; Greater Nobles like Meier also have telekinetic power and can withstand the sun for short periods of time, though direct sunlight is extremely painful.

Pillar Men (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, 1987)
JoJoverse vampires may be worth including in their own right because of their unique creation (created via an ancient Aztec mask which hooks into your skull and drinks your blood) but I felt like I should include their creators, the OG vampire gods of their universe, the Pillar Men. Based out of Centroamerica, the Pillar Men ruled the planet in prehistory, using humans as foodstock, and created vampires as overseers and extra-tasty snacks. After gradually disappearing into hiberation they left only legends of long-lived kings and gods who demanded blood sacrifices. I depicted a composite Pillar Man with elements of several we see in the series - Pillar Men are in general vastly stronger and faster than even the vampires of their universe; they feed by just sort of phasing their hands through living flesh and consuming it through skin contact. They can compress their flesh and bones to squeeze through tiny spaces, are super-intelligent, and can extend their blood vessels out of their skin to make contact with someone and then superheat their blood to burn their victim alive. They aren't killed by sunlight, but any ultraviolet wavelength causes them to assume a stone-like state. Once freed from this weakness (via light reflected through a rare gemstone) they become even more ridiculously overpowered, able to reconstruct themselves on a cellular level, and integrate any DNA they come across to make themselves stronger. After drawing this guy I remembered that Pillar Men had a goofy 'true form' with a long unicorn horn and weirdly split lips around huge fangs. Oh well.

Buffy Vampire (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be largely credited, together with 1987's Lost Boys, with modernising the vampire genre, which had largely become lost in Gothic retreads. Vampires in Buffy dress in modern styles and hunt their victims in clubs and other urban settings. They are corpses animated by demons from an alternate plane of reality - humans do not 'become' vampires; rather 'you die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it's not you'. Buffyverse vampires are vulnerable to sunlight, wood, fire and holy symbols, though as they grow older these lose their potency. Noteably, Buffy codified the occasionally used but little documented feature of vampires only appearing demonic or feral when they strike. 'Game face', the name given to the gruesomely contorted demonic visage vampires adopt to feed, is actually the vampire's true form, and their normal, human appearance, requires at least some effort to keep up. Also interesting to note: Buffy vampires can become intoxicated but have a higher tolerance than humans; tobacco has no effect however.

Alucard (Hellsing, 1997)
Hellsing depicts a world where the events of Dracula more or less played out as written, with at least one rather important difference. In the modern day, the Hellsing Organisation exists to track down vampires as they arise and slay them. In the Hellsingverse, only true vampires can convert others into vampires, and they must be virgins, of the opposite sex to their sire. Failure to meet these conditions results in a ghoul, a mindless husk controlled by their master. True vampires have truly ludicrous powers including shapeshifting, ability to move through shadows and assume a Lovecraftian shadow form, telepathy, levitation, intangibility, and the ability to absorb others entirely and regurgitate them later as mindless puppets. Those whose blood they take are also 'stored' within the vampire somehow, and can be used as essentially 1-Ups, or unleashed in a tide of undead. Artificial vampires can be created by scientific means and are generally weaker, and can only create ghouls. The chief weaknesses we see in action are silver, impaling, and decapitation, though other traditional weaknesses are mentioned.

Raziel (Soul Reaver, 1999)
Honestly I could have gone crazy with the Legacy of Kain series, but I've kept to the most unique elements. Pre-series, Raziel as a vampire could just about fit into Anne Rice with the exception of his three claws on each hand and foot,* but after Kain threw him into the water of the Abyss (water noteably scorches vampires like acid, though only fledglings need to worry about sunlight) he came back as something far more interesting; a wraith, which in the LoKverse is a un(un)dead vampire who now feeds upon souls, sucking them in from afar through his ruined maw. He primarily exists in the spectral realm, and can either form a new physical body at certain places or possess and reshape a buried corpse into his own likeness. Oh, and as a vampire he grew wings; his master Kain (apparently in a fit of jealousy - but the plot is way too convoluted to go into here) tore out the bones and as a wraith they are simply flapping ragged skin which he holds with his arms and uses like a glider; he regenerates harm to his physical form by draining souls, but this only returns him to the jawless, skinless, burned corpse appearance he had when he died, and not to his living appearance.
    *    It's a long story. LoK vampirism is an interesting subject in itself; Kain himself was resurrected by necromancy and he created his lieutenants by imbuing a portion of his own soul into long-dead corpses, not by turning the living - however, his lieutenants were apparently able to sire legions of vampires in a fashion suggestive of a standard Vampire Apocalypse, since by the time period of Soul Reaver there is only one human city.

Future Vampire - Dumahim (Soul Reaver, 1999)
Awakening far in the future of the world of Nosgoth, Raziel discovers that the descendants of the vampiric empire he served under have devolved into monstrous, savage creatures, incapable of any civilisation, while his once-master and sire Kain broods in the ruined remains of his palace. I chose to depict the warlike Dumahim, but there's also the Melchiahim who cannot completely regenerate and must replace their decaying flesh with that of corpses, Rahabim who have learned to swim, and Zephonim who are *spider* vampires, wrapping their victims in cocoons and returning to suck them dry later. The three claws on each hand and foot is a unique feature of LoKverse vamps and ultimately comes from the original ancient vampires, cursed by the Elder God to un-life. The ancient vampires looked pretty human except for their claws and ... wings and blue skin? Yes, they looked suspiciously like post-re-undeath Raziel, for reasons that are ... eventually? ... explicated in Defiance.

Red Court vampire (Dresden Files, 2000)
In the Dresden Files, vampires are split into three Courts, delineating three different types of vampirism. The Red Court is the most bestial and inhuman-looking, with a true form described as resembling a slimy bat. However, older Red Court vampires can create a 'skin mask' which can allow them to pass for human. While I had the impression reading Grave Peril that they had to kill a human for skin to create a mask, it is apparently an ectoplasmic mask created by magic. They can infect humans with their thirst; humans will gain vampiric powers once infected but will not transform until their first kill. Their saliva induces euphoria and bonds the victim to their vampiric master. I took a second pass at the Red Court as my first design seemed too 'cute'.

White Court vampire (Dresden Files, 2000)
White Court vampires appear as highly attractive humans with enhanced physical stats; their unusually pale blood is the giveaway. White Court vampirism is the result of hereditary demonic ancestry and someone with this ancestry will 'awaken' around puberty, feeling the need to feed. White Court vampires feed not on blood but on emotions - lust, despair, or fear. The feeding process (which makes the victim feel better by removing these negative emotions) is addictive and the victim will return on their own, but will eventually result in something like brain damage. White Court vampires have few traditional weaknesses and can even enter thresholds uninvited (a big no-no for Dresdenverse vamps), though they leave their powers behind when they enter. They are however harmed by proximity to the opposite emotion to the one they feed on - true love, courage, or hope.

Black Court vampire (Dresden Files, 2000)
Black Court vampires are true undead; they appear like corpses, with sunken eyes and cheeks, and are accompanied by the smell of decay. Interestingly they are one of the few vampires in fiction to be described as having lividity marks where blood has pooled under their skin (suggesting no heartbeat). As they get older they will become visibly more withered until ancient vampires appear as mummified corpses. They are subject to most vampiric weaknesses - interestingly Dracula was published in-universe and is the reason the Black Court have lost most of their power and influence; they are just too easy to kill now Stoker gave away all their tricks.

Marlow (30 Days of Night, 2002)
The vampires in 30 Days of Night are 'apex predators' - while true undead, they are created by a virus which alters their bodies and they will rapidly regenerate any damage done to them. They possess vast speed, strength and superhuman senses, with few of the mythological weaknesses - sunlight and decapitation seem to be the only way to destroy them. Despite their bestial appearance they are not mindless and communicate via a gutteral, ancient tongue.

Reaper (Blade II, 2002)
The result of artificial experimentation on the vampire virus, Reapers are stronger and faster than regular vampires, with a bone-encased heart to prevent staking. Noteably, their mouth is split to the chin and splits open to create a hideous maw; the fangs secrete a paralysing agent while blood is drawn through the tongue (Guillermo del Toro directed Blade II and you can definitely see the influence on the Strigoi from The Strain, who also feed via a grotesque tongue).* Unlike other Bladeverse vampires they are feral and must feed every few hours to stave off coma. They are immune to silver and garlic, though they remain vulnerable to sunlight.
 *    Note: this seems to be based on some actual vampire folklore; the legendary strigoi and also the Polish upier are said to either have barbed tongues or a stringer beneath their tongue.

Karin (Karin, 2003)
While conventional vampires do exist in the Karinverse, Karin is a reverse vampire or 'Spring of Psyche', who produces excess blood and must donate it to others, using her fangs to inject blood into their system. If the blood is allowed to build up, she will suffer massive nosebleeds and eventually enter a berserk state where she attacks the first person she can find to give blood. Unlike other vampires she can endure daylight and is not susceptible to silver or garlic. Vampires in the Karinverse have powers such as memory erasure and telekinesis, though Karin has only demonstrated weak telekinesis. Her blood also temporarily quickens conventional vampires to life, allowing them to reproduce (which is the evolutionary purpose of reverse vampires).

Eli (Let The Right One In, 2004)
Frequently vampires are supposed to remain physically the age at which they were turned (although as we've seen not in Stoker's Dracula, who visibly ages when starving and de-ages after each meal). This is the case in the world of Let The Right One In (adapted in the US into the film 'Let Me In'*), where Eli is physically around 12 but has lived for 200 years. Eli's main weakness is invitation - if a LTROI vampire enters a dwelling without permission, they will begin to bleed out from every pore until permission is granted or they leave - sunlight and decapitation/heart damage will also work. Eli also demonstrates vastly superhuman strength, speed, and limited mind control/telepathy. When hungry, LTROI vampires exhibit a noticeable smell of decay and look more 'dead', which may indicate that rather than ageing/de-ageing, they rot without blood and regenerate with it.
*    Especially vexing given that 'Let The Right One In' is not a dodgy translation from a Swedish phrase but a quote from a Morrissey song.

Edward Cullen or generic Twilight vampire (Twilight, 2005)
Twilight has been vilified for its presentation of a vampire-human-werewolf love triangle, however Meyer's vampires aren't as harmless as some of the memes imply. They lack proper fangs and feed instead by brutally biting and tearing their victims open with superhuman strength; they can go out in sunlight, but direct sunlight reveals them as no longer human (the much-maligned 'glitter' effect showing their crystalline skin). They are nearly indestructible and the only way to kill them is to behead or comprehensively dismember them before burning the parts. Interestingly, a newborn vampire is much stronger than normal, due to still having their own blood in their veins, and weaken over time, reaching a plateau after a year. Noteably, Twilight vampires can survive on animal blood (though they much prefer human); vampires who feed on humans can be differentiated by their red eyes (as distinct from 'vegetarians' who have golden eyes).

Mandrakk (Marvel Comics, 2006)
Arguably the most powerful recognisable 'vampire' depicted in mainstream fiction, Mandrakk was once Dax Novu, the Radiant One, the first Monitor created by the Overvoid to observe the multiverse. Corrupted by the stories he encountered, Novu became (or rather, was the first Monitor to realise he had inherently become) a parasite, feeding on the Bleed between the worlds. Mandrkk dwarfs universes and considers himself 'the end of all stories'. He is eventually defeated by a giant thoughtform in the shape of a robot Superman, piloted by the actual Superman, then his mini-me clone/disciple Rox Ogama is killed with a giant stake created by the entire Green Lantern Corps (comics are weird).

Soldier vampire (Daybreakers, 2009)
Daybreakers presents a world where a vampiric virus has all but defeated humanity - vampires are in charge and all but a few humans are kept in blood banks to supply food. Vampire commuters sip blood lattes on underground trains, or ride cars with blacked-out windows for day travel, guided by cameras on their exterior fed through to a HUD-style screen. The film sees the price of blood skyrocketing as demand exceeds supply, and the military is called upon to suppress blood riots. Daybreakers vampires are burned by the sun and explode into ashes if staked; they appear to have enhanced strength and reflexes but otherwise the chief advantage of vampirism is immortality ('immortality is the miracle - we are blessed'). Vampire soldiers still use guns though police also use shock collars to restrain blood-crazed vamps. They also used tracked drones to go into the daytime sun.

Subsider (Daybreakers, 2009)
Daybreaker vampires who cannot satisfy their bloodlust devolve into bat-like monsters called Subsiders; their hair falls out and their fingers and arms web into wing-like structures. Subsiders have greatly increased strength and speed and will feed on anything they can find, human, animal or vampire. They cannot fly but can leap and glide, using their claw-like feet to hang upside-down. They are however even more vulnerable to the sun than regular vamps and will burn to death in seconds. Significantly, it doesn't seem possible to reverse Subsidence - while a vampire can be 'cured' with, essentially, shock therapy (exposure to the sun then rapid cooling and resuscitation), subsiders remain subsiders even if they get blood.

Note: I realise after uploading that I actually made a mistake with the Daybreakers vamps - looking at screenshots their fangs are quite clearly the lateral incisors, NOT the canines. This seems to have been a design choice to keep the fangs visible whenever the mouth is opened.

Igor (First Bite, 2008)
From Jack T Chick's fundamentalist tract 'First Bite'. Included for its unique but also surprisingly traditional take on vampirism; in Chick's universe vampirism is a curse induced by Satan worship, which can apparently be inherited. Vampires enjoy blood (but do not necessarily require it) and have unspecified 'powers' which may include illusion and clairvoyance. They appear to be living beings (Igor has teenage acne and suffers in cold weather) and it is not even clear that vampirism extends life. Vampires have no power over Christians and Christian prayer can repel them, but religious symbols on their own have no effect. Crucially, religious conversion nullifies vampirism and the vampire's fangs disappear - since they are presumably a gift from Satan and disappear when he withdraws his 'blessings'. This even applies to Igor, the vampire messiah prophecied by Satan himself (who is left muttering that he lied, of course, being the Father of Lies).

Strigoi (The Strain, 2009)
One of the most repulsive depictions of vampires in recent years, Guillermo del Toro's Strigoi are humans taken over by a wormlike parasite which infests them and transforms them into slimy, corpselike creatures; their lungs invert into a 'stinger' through which they suck blood and 'excrete' the worm-parasite. All body hair falls out and their nose and genitals atrophy and fall off. They cannot endure sunlight and are highly vulnerable to silver. All strigoi are under the control of one of seven ancient vampires from whose 'strain' of the parasite they descend - the ancient can see through their eyes and command them from afar. In the books and comics the ancient vampires are parts of a fallen angel who was torn apart as punishment for participating in the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The ancient vampires can swap host bodies and are much more resistant to sunlight. Strigoi are closely linked to the soil of their ancient's birth (in the series the Master must stuff infested soil into his victim's mouth to take their body) and if their birth site is irradiated all their strain will die; to make things interesting they do not necessarily know or remember where this site is (which the Master exploits to quietly have nuclear power plants on the birth soil of his rivals, only to have them melt down, poisoning them at a distance).

Charlie Manx (NOS4A2, 2013)
I was torn whether to include Manx or one of his 'children' - in the end, I opted for the titular NOS4A2. Charlie Manx is one of a few humans in the universe with strange and usually very limited powers. Manx's is the ability to drive to Christmasland, a deathly cold theme park-paradise that seems to exist in an alternate universe. Transporting children to Christmasland in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith regenerates Manx, allowing him to stay vital despite his advanced years, and turns the child into a ghoulish frost-creature with no pulse and hook-like lamprey teeth. Although unquestionably a despicable villain in NOS4A2 who partners with the serial rapist the 'Gas Mask Man' to abduct the children he 'saves', he has since appeared in the comic series 'Wraith' as an anti-hero protagonist. Worth noting that he does NOT need the car - the comic establishes that he first travelled between dimensions as a child on a snow sledge - but as he has used the Rolls-Royce for decades he has become identified with it so closely that in Wraith when he is 'killed' with a headshot, his head pulls itself back together and he revives when someone *else* starts up the Wraith, and he says putting the bullets in the car engine block would have done him more harm, because it is his true 'heart'.

True Knot (Doctor Sleep, 2013)
The sabbatha hanti, AKA the True Knot, are psychic vampires who roam the country in RVs, preying on children who have psychic potential ('Steamheads' - their word for those with the Shining) and feeding on the 'Steam' produced when they die. When someone with the Shining looks at them they see them as having a single, monstrous, tusk-like fang jutting from their mouth; it's unclear whether this is their 'true' form or just a vision of their souls. They are rejuvenated by Steam but are highly vulnerable to disease and the older they get the more likely they are to begin to 'fade', becoming steadily more invisible until they simply cease to exist. They can also bottle Steam in oxygen cylinders for lean times, suggesting it is actually a real gaseous substance.

Crimson Court (Darkest Dungeon, 2015)
Noteable as a rare example of mosquito vampires! Nobles afflicted by the Crimson Curse, they feed through their proboscis, spreading the Curse on those they feed from. They are delusional, believing themselves still to be human. The Curse warps the entire area they inhabit into a swamp-like ruin, infested by mosquitos who spread the Curse.

My works:

Draak (Zorian Saga, 2002)
One thousand Draak were created at the beginning of time by Zor, the being who is dreaming the multiverse into existence. He left their mission ambiguous enough that some believe they are simply charged with watching, others with intervening against anything that could cause imbalance, and others that they have the mandate to rule all other species. Draak are obscenely powerful, able to destroy entire universes, fly, teleport, walk through walls, as well as having the ability to generate flawless, all-senses illusions. They feed on human souls, which they can draw out through their palms at a distance. If they do not feed they will shrivel into a husk but cannot be fully destroyed save by powerful reality-warpers. They are the secret patrons of the Alternacy, the largest resistance against the Ordo's multiversal conquest, however the Alternacy believes they are dealing with an entirely different (and in reality non-existent) race called the Greys (think X-Files aliens), due to the Draak's powers of illusion.

Rhava (Zorian Saga, 2002)
The Rhava are a species of 'experiential vampires', who feed on intense emotions felt by humans. Some specialise in terrorising and torturing humans, feeding off their pain and misery, while others offer extreme experiences and feed on the resulting adrenaline rush. All Rhava have considerable physical power but their oldest and most powerful (the so-called Rhava Demi-Gods) additionally have telekinetic, telepathic and energy projection powers. They also have advanced technology which can be used to create waking-dream-like experiences, and live in pocket dimensions accessible only through certain passphrases and rituals to open portals at certain locations.

Tradd (Zorian Saga, 2002)
The third race of vampires in Zorian Saga. The Tradd* are not vampires in the sense of feeding on human blood, though they fly using their capes as wings, consider humans as cattle and sleep upside-down like bats on meat hooks; rather, they use humans as forced slave labour to manufacture vast supplies of munitions that they sell to the resistance (who are - mostly - unaware of the provenance of most of the weapons on the multiversal black market). The Tradd are telepaths - human thoughts sound like screeching nails on a blackboard to them, so they are constantly trying to minimise higher thought amongst their workers while maintaining quotas. As part of this they use the Jacks - human collaborators - to beat and brutalise their workers and force them to spend all their short lives focused on the assembly lines before them. They have increased strength, speed, and limited telekinetic power; they are passive telepaths who read the minds of others but can't turn it off - not quite a hive mind, their social experience is a frantic buzz of voices, like a psychic Twitter that forms a consensus as to what each should do. They can 'beam' power into another Tradd; when they do this en masse they can create a supremely powerful champion with vast telekinetic and energy projection power, and speed sufficient to challenge Zorian Saga speedsters like Timoteus Gilgamesh.
*    Variously pronounced by characters as 'Trad', 'Trath', and 'T-wraiths'

Koning (Taiyou Sou/Solar Phase, 2003)
The Koningen (Danish for 'kings') from my rather undeveloped setting Solar Phase are the origin of vampire myths in their universe - pale, anaemic near-immortal aristocrats who must receive regular blood transfusions to stay alive. Crucially, human blood is no use to them - their blood type is XA, so they have long developed the means of producing their own blood in vats. They heal very slowly and must sleep in technological sarcophagi to regenerate any damage done to them. The Koningen we see have managed to keep themselves secret by observing a strict rule of 'solar phases' - periods of taking human identities and masquerading as normal people, and then, as it becomes obvious they are not ageing, a 'lunar phase' where they go underground again, mostly living nocturnally and going completely off the grid.

I should note here that in the next slot I intended to depict the Belle Dame Sans Merci (AKA the Leanan Sidhe), from Falling As They Might. However, I couldn't honestly justify her inclusion on the basis that she is not undead, does not suck blood, and either just appears as a beautiful woman or a silhouette of a woman with an eye staring out of the center (i.e. something looking through a woman-shaped hole in space). The Belle Dame Sans Merci is a fox spirit with no true form - she can take on any appearance, though she prefers to appear as a beautiful woman. As with all kitsune/katajan ('cut-AH-han'), when in human form she is not necessarily entirely aware of her own true nature. The Belle Dame Sans Merci cannot generate her own kitsune energy/katamin ('cut-AH-meen') and must drain it from others, which she does by inducing sleep paralysis and summoning demons to pull it in the form of a silver thread from her victim's navel. She controls her victims by placing on them a metal band (a crown, ring, or torc) which she can constrict at command, forcing them to obey her in waking life. Noteably, holy symbols vanish in her presence rather than vice versa.

Gangland Vampire (The Shadow Massive, 2018)
An example of a vampire from my latest property-that-might-eventually-become-something, The Shadow Massive, which would introduce vampires to the British gangland scene, with echoes of AD2000's Cradlegrave. Initially vampires in TSM are hunched-over ghouls who hunt naked in nature reserves at night, mostly feeding on animals. Thanks to the efforts of our 'hero' (who seeks them out to turn him into a vampire), they gradually regain their memories and personalities and are persuaded to form a mafia. TSM vampires noteably lose their ears, nose and lips (which means they develop a form of patois that avoids labial consonants - e.g. 'I say us go kill 'en'), with the skin becoming shrunken and greenish, but what remains is almost unkillable, with decapitation the only surefire way to kill a vampire. Their chief weaknesses are sunlight and running water (which give them seizures*) and inability to enter a dwelling unless invited (this is a psychological weakness - a genetic fear of occupied places - which can be overcome). They cannot eat human food other than very rare steak (which still generally causes indigestion) and are virtually immune to the effects of intoxicants other than LSD. Vampirism in TSM is inherent in the human genome** and is the remains of a third stage in the hominid life cycle - child, adult, vampire. A rebellion 12,000 years ago saw most of the elder class wiped out, leading to legends of ancient long-lived kings and human sacrifice. Humans can be 'turned' only by feeding from the blood of a vampire - a regular bite causes permanent paralysis. TSM vampires are not particularly stronger or faster than humans and the titular Shadow Massive use knives and 'shooters' to get what they want; their main advantage is that they can take a shotgun blast to the chest and get back up.
*    Joyrising stolen sports cars over a bridge fast enough to avoid crashing and passing out as a dare is a pastime the Shadow Massive take to readily.
**    I should mention an entry I have not included here due its lack of visual distinctiveness - Peter Watts' 2006 sci-fi novel Blindsight, which amongst other elements introduces the idea that 'vampires' are pre-human hominids, long extinct by the present era but revivable by splicing their genes into humans. Most noteably they are pseudo-autistic (explaining the 'counting' weakness of legend) and must take medication to counter the 'crucifix glitch', which produces a fatal seizure if they see straight lines intersecting at right-angles. This explains both mythic vampire weakness to crosses and their inability to enter a home without permission (they would need to close their eyes and be led into any building with a door or windows); this glitch led to the destruction of the sub-species as right-angle framed buildings predominated.

Myth:

Vampyr (Eastern European mythology)
Many traditional depictions of the Vampyr lacked fangs and in fact were much closer to what is now called a zombie - a walking corpse who rises to trouble the living. The way the Vampyr feeds on its victims varies dramatically - some simply call their victim's name to kill them (reminiscent of the banshee); some suck out the blood through a kiss without breaking the skin. However, most often they are simply depicted as using some kind of implement to pierce the skin and suck the wound.
Note: There are countless versions of the basic myth, varying by country - the Upyr has iron teeth and chews its way through the frozen earth each night; the Wampir has a stinger beneath its tongue (and explodes into a swarm of vermin if killed, all of which must be exterminated to stop it coming back) and the Strigoi has a barbed tongue, which have both inspired del Toro's vampires; the Upier bathes in blood as well as than drinking it to restore a lifelike appearance, and will explode in a tidal wave of blood if killed; the needle-toothed Nelapsi kills just by looking at you, and if it climbs a church spire can kill your whole village with its gaze; the Bosnian Blautsauger has no skeleton and can shapeshift into a rat or wolf; the Czech Olgolgen must carry its grave soil wherever it goes and chooses to stash it in its navel; the Hungarian Nora walks on all fours and has a taste for pregnant women; and the Greek Callicantzaro has a black face, always smiles, and spits a foul venom. The very first 'vampire' in European folklore appears to be the Roman Striges, from whence the modern 'strigoi' comes; these were supposed to be nocturnal blood-drinking birds, most likely owls; later, they were given human heads, becoming similar to harpies! Interestingly, owls have been largely abandoned as the animal with whom the modern vampire identifies).

Obour (Bulgarian Mythology)
The infamous single-nostril vampire. I was fired up to draw a very decayed vampire with a ragged nose-hole, but as it turns out, that's really not what the Obour are about. Rather, the Obour is a murder victim, who initially rises as a *spirit* (resembling a Will-o-the-Wisp) with telekinetic power, who will cause indescriminate havoc in its anger, sucking the milk and blood of livestock, and defacing religious relics (interestingly, they aren't scared of them but are driven to violate them). If a vampire-hunter isn't called to deal with the Obour, after 40 days it will rise from its grave looking exactly as it did before death - but now with one nostril (and the legend very specifically says that it ISN'T a centrally located nostril, but rather, one nostril is present and the other is blank skin). The Obour will now move to another town where they aren't known and begin a new life. Sometimes the resurrected Obour has traditional Vampyr-like habits and needs - more often not.

Neuntöter (German Mythology)
A plague vampire, the Neuntöter's body is covered in sores and spreads a virulent plague that kills, sustaining the vampire. The name literally means 'killer of nine'; each Neuntöter slays nine people with their plague, who each rise as a Neuntöter themselves to kill nine more - showing an early understanding of the operation of a pandemic. Sometimes the plague is spread, bizarrely, by the vampire eating himself and his shroud in his grave; accordingly I chose to depict my Neuntöter as having gnawed his own lips off.

Ustrel (Bulgarian mythology)
Probably one of the saddest vampire myths. A child born on a Saturday but who dies before baptism was believed to claw its way out of its grave after nine days and attack cattle and sheep by latching onto them and draining their blood. The way to deal with an Ustrel would be to extinguish all the lights in the village, drive your flock to a crossroads and pass them between two bonfires. This was supposed to make the Ustrel drop off the belly of whatever animal it was clinging to and remain at the crossroads, where it would be eaten by wolves.

Varacolaci (Romanian mythology)
One of the most powerful vampires in folklore, the Varacolaci's name literally means 'werewolf' (and is sometimes portrayed as a werewolf who wasn't properly put to rest and has graduated to vampiredom), but is unquestionably a vampire. Living a profane or sacrilegious life, being buried in unconsecrated ground, dying excommunicated, or even eating the meat of a sheep killed by wolves (again, a werewolf connection) means one may rise as a Varacolaci. I found two versions of the Varacolaci - one of whom bloats into a great red monster by drinking blood, and the one I depicted, whose skin cracks like porcelain. They can kill by calling your name (sometimes only if you answer the door), have poltergeist-like powers, and kill by sitting upon sleepers (i.e. sleep paralysis, responsible for mythical night-mares,* hags, incubi/succubi, and kitsune). Most impressively, they can cause an eclipse whenever they wish by ***swallowing the Sun*** - but must be asleep to do this. I experimented with a couple of depictions of how this might work without looking goofy and this is what I settled on.
* 'Nightmare' originally referred specifically to sleep paralysis, not just a bad dream. A night-mare did not refer to a horse; 'mare' meant a goblin or demon. This can be seen in Norwegian and Danish where the word is 'mareritt/mareridt' - 'mare ridden'. Another relic of this in English is saying that someone who hasn't slept looks 'hagridden'.

Jiangshi/Chiang-Shih (Cantonese mythology)
The Chinese 'hopping vampire' is typically pictured as a stiff, greenish corpse dressed in the garments and fashions of a Qing official, whose touch steals qi (the political implications of the tax collectors of an ethnically foreign dynasty being depicted as life-draining monsters seem to have largely been overlooked in commentary on this). They typically have a paper talisman hanging from their hat or forehead which drives its spirit to find its way home. The 'hopping' movement of the Jiangshi has been rationalised as the effects of rigor mortis, but probably derives from the practice of undertakers going from village to village with corpses strapped vertically to two sticks held over the shoulders of two undertakers, creating (from the distance) the illusion of a bobbing line of corpses.
(As a special note, my great-great-grandfather Gerald Willoughby-Meade authored 'Chinese Ghouls and Goblins', for a long time the definitive English-language documentation of Chinese mythical creatures)

Penanggalen (Malay mythology)
This disturbing Malayan vampire is a floating woman's head and spine (sometimes with the principal organs attached) with long flowing hair, who preys on pregnant women and babies. Often, by day the Penanggal appears as a normal woman who may even be unaware that when she falls asleep her head detaches and roams as a vampire. Penanggal typically smell of vinegar as they must pickle their organs every night to fit them back into their body (!) and since they enter a house by squeezing through the floorboards, they can be stymied by planting thorny plants under the floor. Pregnant women were advised to keep scissors beneath their pillow, as the Penanggalen fears having its organs severed and will avoid anyone who sleeps armed.

Asasabonsam (Ashanti mythology)
The Asasabonsam lives in trees and uses the iron hooks it has in place of hands and feet to ensnare passers-by. As with many mythological vampires in Africa, the vampire also overlaps to a great degree with what we might call the *ogre*, a powerful cannibalistic monster, and indeed there are two versions of the Asasabonsam; a risen corpse and a giant who was never human.

Brahmaparusha (Hindu mythology)
The spirit of a Brahmin who abused his knowledge or committed evil deeds will become a Brahmaparusha (literally 'Brahmin demon'). Immensely strong and powerful, the Brahmaparusha wears its victims' intestines over its face and their skulls around its neck. It carries the blood of its victims around in a cup made from their skull and will drink it for thirty years.

Yara-ma-yha-who (Australian Aboriginal Mythology)
One of the most disturbing mythological vampires, the Aboriginal Australian Yara-ma-yha-who is a short, red creature who drops down on its victims from fig trees (Drop Bears!) and sucks their blood with suckers in its fingertips. It then swallows its paralysed victim and vomits them up again repeatedly. Each time, the victim becomes shorter and redder until - you've guessed it - they also become a Yara-ma-yha-who. I had to revise this several times as I discovered they were hairy, had no teeth, and resembled a frog. I wanted them to look like their skin is irritated and partially dissolved by stomach acid.

Even as I was working on this I was thinking of new examples. Do you think there's a missing link in terms of a key fictional portrayal of a vampire I've missed? Let me know! Some ideas I didn't include:
 - Blindsight
 - Carmilla
 - Castlevania
 - Discworld
 - Elder Scrolls
 - Fright Night
 - From Dusk Till Dawn
 - I Am Legend
 - Last Blood
 - Salem's Lot
 - Underworld
 - Vampire Academy
 - Vampire: The Masquerade
 - Warhammer
 - What We Do In The Shadows
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Andres79561240's avatar

Which of those vampire types has fangs?

loverofcarnage's avatar

Witcher vampires deserve a mention, especially the higher vampires

CristusMancus's avatar

You should try these ideas:


  1. Alien Supercut

  2. Elf Supercut

  3. Ogre Supercut

loverofcarnage's avatar

Dont forget Werewolf supercut

CristusMancus's avatar
loverofcarnage's avatar

American vampire is a good addition. Also do werewolves next

CatharsisofCarcosa's avatar

I like how there are so many varieties of the same creature for both zombies and vampires. Very cool.

monstermaster13's avatar
While I would exactly call them 'vampires', the cat-like creatures in Sleepwalkers have sort of a vampiric vibe. And also I definitely think that Lifeforce and Lair Of The White Worm should have gotten honorable mentions.
hypebender's avatar
what about melty blood(Tsukihime) a Japanese vampire story.
didj5's avatar
What about dio? He's a vampire too
MetalBrony823's avatar
Does it say what country in West Africa?
SRegan's avatar
It's specifically an Ashanti myth so it would be modern-day Ghana.
MetalBrony823's avatar
Huh. Intersting. Is that what it's called?
SRegan's avatar
Thanks! Just to clarify, the myth belongs to the Ashanti people (actually the Akan originally but seems to have spread throughout the region). The monster is the Asanbosam/Asasabonsam/Sasabonsam, which all seem to mean something like 'earthly devil'.
Pathetic-Virgin's avatar
How about Varney from "Varney the Vampire, or Feast of Blood", en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varney_t… a pre-Dracula vampire, or Varnae, the first vampire in the Marvel Universe www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/var…
maxvision92's avatar
For lack of a less unwieldy name, I always just refer to the M-113 Creature as "Nancy", since that was the form it was using as a disguise most often. (Interesting side note: I had a book of monsters given to me as a kid by my dad from when he was a teenager, and an entry on Star Trek monsters called it the "Terrible Salt-Sucking Monster"; it also misidentified it in the pictures by using a picture of one of the witches from "Catspaw" by mistake, but that's neither here nor there)
menapia's avatar
And then there's Terry Pratchett's Vampires which royally take the piss out of the old Hammer films, he also has them as members of an organisation called The Black Ribbon ~ think A.A. for Vampires where they try to transfer the old lust for blood to lust for an alternative...like Black Puddings or in once case Coffee=P (Razz) 
SRegan's avatar
Oh yes - I mention Discworld vampires in the description as something I could have included but opted to leave out. They're actually pretty powerful as well, with the full raft of powers from Dracula, all their weaknesses are psychological and can be overcome with training, and they can come back even if burned to ashes.
menapia's avatar
Oh hell I thought that book "Carpe Jugulum" was hilarious, and his book "Monstrous Regiment" also had a good vampire character who had weened himself off the red sticky stuff and become a coffee addict instead.
Do Darkseekers from I Am Legend count (they are basically Rage zombies, but daylight is lethal to them, are smart and lick, not suck, blood)?
menapia's avatar
sorry don't have a clue, it's been years since I read the original "I Am Legend" book
Will Smith movie adaptation.
menapia's avatar
oh, sorry I never really got to see the movie version, I first read the original book and listened to the radio play version of it done by BBC(British Broadcasting Corporation) very atmospheric and guaranteed to give the listener goosepimples....it's available on CD, don't listen to it on a dark night after drinking too much Spanish wine.

There will always be people reusing this old monster legend and re-inventing it - check out "Chronos" by Guillermo Del Toro, there's also a decent story by 
Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez* that was real good, although no vampires.

The book is called "The Club Dumas" about a antique book dealer and collector who is trying to find a lost secret version of "The Three Musketeers" by Alexander Dumas, there's lots of well researched detail on old and lost books and how they can be forged, you'd never guess the supernatural part of the story.  There's also a movie version of it called "The Ninth Gate"

*really enjoyed all his "Captain Alatriste" stories
Or Quarantine and REC.
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