Stock Characters in Vampire Fiction

 

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Vampires are unquestionably the most popular supernatural creature. There’s far more you can do with them than you can with other favourites like say Werewolves, Zombies and Ghosts. Vampires can be both the perfect hero and the perfect villain. They can also be integrated into far more settings than many other types of monsters. There have been Vampire westerns, Vampire spy stories, Vampire detective stories, Vampire teen dramas and even Vampire superhero films.

Despite this however there are still a number of character types that we see replicated again and again in many of the most celebrated Vampire stories across all mediums, and in this article I am going to run through them, how they came into being, the most famous examples, as well as what my favourites are.

Just about any popular piece of Vampire fiction of the last 100 years or so will usually have at least two or more of the following characters. I’m not knocking them for doing this of course. I’ve used many of these characters in my own Vampire fiction and I’ll do so again. You don’t have to be totally original. As long as you do something new and interesting or even just enjoyable with an old idea. Who cares?

Still the following character types certainly seem to be the most popular with authors of Vampire fiction. Many of these character types may also be blended together as well, but these basic templates always persist.

We will also be looking at characters in some non Vampire, but supernatural series like Charmed. After all though they may not have Vampires as the main villains, they still ultimately follow the same tropes laid down by Vampire stories.

Also most supernatural series tend to feature a kitchen sink of supernatural creatures too. Even if they aren’t the main threat or focus, Vampires, Demons, Zombies, Ghosts, and Witches are bound to appear at some point in your average supernatural themed series these days anyway.

The Good Guys

1/ The Peter Cushing Style Mr Exposition Guy

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Originator: Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing (obviously)

Other Notable Examples: Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Professor Grost (Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter), Abraham Whistler (Blade franchise) Wesley *Wyndam Pryce (Angel), Bobby (Supernatural), Master Kau (Mr Vampire), Professor Abraham Setrakian (The Strain) 

Peter Cushing’s iconic performance as Van Helsing in 5 Hammer Dracula films, “The Horror of Dracula”, “The Brides of Dracula”, “Dracula AD 1972”, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula”, and “The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires”, helped to lay down the template not just for this type of character, but Vampire hunters in general in popular culture.

Prior to Cushing’s performance as Van Helsing, the Vampire hunter was not really a classic horror movie character. There had certainly been no films that featured a Vampire hunter as a main character. In the classic Universal horror movies, the monsters were always killed by angry villagers, the bland leading man, their own loved ones, or by themselves.

Their deaths were also always presented as tragic moments, with the audience almost always having sympathy for monsters like the Wolfman, the Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula’s Daughter when they died.

The character of Van Helsing obviously did exist in both Stokers original novel, and the 1931 adaptation of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, where he was played by Edward Van Sloan.

Still he was very different to the Van Helsing we would later recognise from popular culture. He wasn’t a Vampire hunter per se. He was simply an eccentric scientist who had many interests, with study into the occult being one of them. He lives an otherwise normal life, and certainly has not devoted his existence to hunting the undead. Indeed Dracula is the first Vampire he has ever actually encountered.

Though he does supply our heroes with the knowledge needed to defeat Dracula, and slays the Vampires three brides, he is ultimately not the one who finally kills Dracula in the book (though he does offscreen in the 1931 film.)

Cushing’s Van Helsing meanwhile was re-imagined as being someone who did devote his entire life to destroying Vampires. Cushing’s Van Helsing, travelled from town to town hunting them, believed it was his duty to exterminate the undead from the face of the earth, and was also a much younger character who would fight the monsters in one on one conflicts. Finally he was also presented as Dracula’s ultimate nemesis who fought with him many times, and was the only person who could match the legendary king of the Vampires.

Cushing’s Van Helsing was also the lead character, and played by a far better known actor than the one who played Dracula. (At that point Christopher Lee was virtually an unknown, whilst Peter Cushing was a very well respected television actor.)

This would pave the way for other films and television series in the ensuing decades to focus on the Vampire or monster hunter, rather than always the monster such as Buffy, Blade, Charmed, Evil Dead, Mr Vampire film series etc.

Added to that traits of Cushing’s Van Helsing, specifically the person who travels from town to town, saving people from Vampires, yet is often blamed by the ignorant locals for the killings the Vampires carry out (as he is always there at the scene of the crime.) Can be found in characters like the Winchester brothers from Supernatural, Captain Kronos, Blade and Whistler and even Ash from the Evil Dead franchise.

Cushing’s Van Helsing is really the daddy of all Vampire/monster hunters, but whilst his influence is far and wide reaching, I think its fair to say that he created a very specific type of Vampire hunter that we have seen replicated in certain characters more than others.

Cushing’s Van Helsing was very much a British gentlemanly, stiff upper lip, no nonsense, serious, dedicated character. There wasn’t any room for little quips, or jokes after he slew a monster like there would be with later characters such as Buffy, Blade, the Winchesters and Ash.

He didn’t hunt Vampires because of some vendetta, or because he was the chosen one or anything like that. Van Helsing simply felt it was the right thing to do to free the world of this unquestionable evil, and he never complained about not being able to have a normal life, or wanted to give up being a Vampire killer either.

At the same time however Cushing’s Van Helsing could also appear somewhat cold and ruthless. He is so utterly devoted to destroying Vampires that at times it could seem like he was willing to do anything. In the above clip for instance he is willing to leave Lucy in her nightmarish state as a Vampire for a short while longer to track Dracula. His actions make sense of course, but understandably to those who knew and loved her in life, it seems abhorrent to even suggest leaving her like this. Even when Van Helsing stakes Lucy at Arthur’s request, we still see a slightly colder side to him.

When she screams in agony, her brother Arthur can’t even look, but Van Helsing doesn’t react at all, showing how hardened he has become to the horrors around him.

Cushing’s Van Helsing had a will of absolute iron. Very few things could faze him either emotionally or physically. We can see this in The Brides of Dracula when after having been bitten by Baron Meinster, Van Helsing rams a seering piece of hot metal into his throat to cauterise the wound.

Cushing’s Van Helsing also whilst being able to take care of himself in a fight, lacked the super strength, and cool gadgets of later Vampire hunters like Buffy and Blade. Instead he had to rely on his wits and knowledge of the Vampires weaknesses. Killing Vampires, even the lowliest minion of Dracula was shown to be a dangerous, drawn out process in the Cushing movies. It wasn’t something our hero did in spades to show how badass they were like with later Vampire killers such as Blade or Buffy.

Van Helsing genuinely felt like he was fighting for his life, and he was famous for often being forced to improvise and turn anything he could into a weapon against Vampires, from candle sticks, to the sails of a Windmill, (both of which he used to form a cross), to mirrors that he used to deflect sunlight onto a Vampire, to even a shower (with clear running water being a weakness of Vampires in Hammer movies, which is something I always personally hated as it kind of undermined their menace.)

At the same time however underneath Cushing’s Van Helsing’s level headed, rational, seemingly unbreakable exterior, lurked a great anger and passion. Whilst he isn’t motivated by hatred, sometimes his strong sense of morals cause his disgust towards the monsters he fights to push him over the edge.

Cushing’s Van Helsing was also in the movies Dracula AD and Satanic Rites of Dracula, a very paternal character. In both movies, Dracula seeks to make his grand daughter, Jessica, into a Vampire to punish the entire Van Helsing family.  The later Van Helsing movies with Cushing, which were made when he was older also show him take on the role of a mentor, even father figure to the young action heroes such as in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.

Cushing’s Van Helsing, much like his literary counterpart is obviously the worlds greatest expert on Vampires, Demons and the supernatural in general. He has an entire library on the paranormal, and would often have to explain how to kill Vampires both to the other characters and through them, the audience too.

Finally Cushing’s Van Helsing, whilst viewing Dracula and the other monsters he faces as repugnant, nevertheless is somewhat fascinated by them. Studying and fighting Vampires is a moral crusade he feels he must do for the good of humanity, yet its also bizarrely a hobby for Van Helsing too.

You can see all of these traits replicated beat for beat in many leading and supporting Vampire hunter characters.

Master Kau played by the late Lam Ching Ying, the main protagonist in the classic Chinese Mr Vampire film series followed Cushing’s template perfectly.

Kau was a taoist priest who fought Vampires, Ghosts, Demons and other monsters. He used a variety of spells and enchantments to not only slay monsters, but tame them. He even kept some tame Vampires as pets. In the movie Vampire vs Vampire, his adopted son is a friendly Vampire child called “Wee Okay Boy”.

Obviously Mr Vampire was a brilliant character and Lam Ching Ying brought an incredible physicality to the role. Still you can see how he was essentially a Hong Kong version of Van Helsing.

Kau much like Cushing is an ultra serious, no nonsense Vampire killer. He hunts Vampires, Ghosts, and Demons much like Van Helsing because he thinks it is the right thing to do. Kau even has compassion for the monsters he hunts. He doesn’t see them as monsters, more souls that are not given a chance to properly rest.

At the same time however just like Cushing’s Van Helsing, Master Kau can come across as a ruthless, callous individual at times because he is so dedicated.

In the movie Spooky Encounters, Master Kau tries to exorcise a young Ghost lady who is not doing anyone any harm. In fact she still looks after her ill mother who is unaware that her daughter has died.

Kau however not only tries to banish her, but also reveals that she has died to her mother which breaks the mothers heart. Kau’s own assistants even attack him for his ruthless actions, but we later discover that he was actually protecting both the mother and her daughter. In the Mr Vampire universe, Ghosts regardless of whether they are evil or good will draw the life out of whatever human they spend too much time with.

Ironically this was why the Ghosts mother was ill in the first place, with the daughter being unaware that she was actually killing her own mother.

Whilst much like Van Helsing using Lucy to find Dracula, Kau may have seemed callous to the family of the loved one who had been cursed, he was ultimately helping them.

Just like Cushing’s Van Helsing there are times when Kau can blow his top despite his iron will and serious demeanour, though usually its in more comical ways, directed towards his bumbling assistants.

Master Kau is also someone who despite being a devastating fighter, is not able to kill Vampires in a straight fight, and often has to use his wits and resources to bring them down.

Finally Master Kau much like Cushing’s Van Helsing is not only portrayed as the greatest expert on Vampires (and thus has to provide exposition on the monsters.) But he also is a much older character and serves as a mentor, even father figure to the younger monster hunters around him, such as Sammo Hung’s character, “the fat man” who appeared in various Hong Kong horror movies.

Whilst they may not have become mainstream hits in the west, the Mr Vampire movies still nevertheless have a huge global following, and among genre fans around the world, Lam Ching Ying is usually regarded as one of the greatest on screen Vampire hunters of all time.

Rupert Giles is obviously another iconic Vampire hunter that follows the Cushing template to a T. (Joss Whedon even based Giles somewhat on Cushing’s performance as Van Helsing, and indeed the Watches Council who originated from Britain were essentially an organisation of Peter Cushings.)

Giles much like Cushing’s Van Helsing is a British gentlemanly expert on Vampires, who has countless books on the subject and who often has to give exposition to Buffy, her friends and the audience on Vampires, Demons and other monsters.

Giles just like Van Helsing is also somewhat fascinated by the supernatural creatures he faces. He even smiles with delight when finding out that there is a Werewolf loose in Sunnydale, commenting that he’s pleased to get a chance to read up on one of the classic monsters, with Buffy commenting “he needs to get a pet”.

Giles hunts Vampires and Demons because he believes it must be done to protect humanity just like Van Helsing too rather than because of a vendetta, or because its his calling. He also has to often convince Buffy to fight them in the earlier episodes and even just take her calling seriously.

Giles like Cushing’s Van Helsing is also much older, ultra serious, no nonsense character, who generally keeps a level head in tense situations.

However once again like Cushing’s Van Helsing, when his loved ones are threatened, he can completely lose it as seen when Angelus murders his lover Jenny Calendar and Giles responds by burning his house down, and beating the Vampire to a bloody pulp with a flaming baseball bat!

Giles like Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing is more than capable of fighting and killing Vampires, but again he obviously can’t take on hordes of them at once, so he tends to have to rely on his wits and skill more when fighting one.

Giles can also like Van Helsing and Master Kau can appear quite ruthless and callous at times. Indeed all Watchers in the Buffyverse are. A Watcher’s job is to basically go to a 16 year old (sometimes even younger) girl, take her away from her family and tell her that she needs to spend the rest of her, (consequently very short), life fighting Vampires and Demons.

There are many examples of Giles clashing with Buffy and other characters over his more callous methods, such as most memorably in the classic 5th season finale, The Gift. Here Giles is actually willing to murder Buffy’s 14 year old sister, Dawn Summers to save the world. Again his logic is sound just like Van Helsing’s with Lucy’s or Kau’s with the Ghost Lady, but its still pretty shocking to see Giles, argue in favour of murdering someone who is essentially like a daughter to him. “Yes we bloody well are!

Dawn isn’t the only member of the team Giles is shown to be willing to sacrifice however. In season 7 he actually attempts to kill Spike, along with Robin Wood, when Spike becomes a liability to the team thanks to the Firsts ability to control Spike.

Then of course there is Giles ruthless murder of Ben, the human host of the evil Goddess Glory, (the most dangerous, and powerful adversary of Buffy at that point.)

Finally Giles much like Cushing’s Van Helsing is also a fatherly figure and mentor to those around him, such as Willow, Faith, Anya, Dawn and of course Buffy Summers herself.

Wesley who began on Buffy and later crossed over onto Angel also followed this template. Not quite to the same extent of course. Wesley was a younger, more naive character than either Cushing, Kau or Giles, and when he did toughen up in the later series he became a much harder, more violent, even unstable character.

Still Wesley like Cushing, Giles and Mr Vampire is an expert on the occult. Like them he regards Vampires, Demons and the supernatural as evil monsters that have to be destroyed, but he is also fascinated by them, with study into these creatures being his greatest passion. In contrast to Buffy who wants to always quit being a slayer, in both instances when Wesley gets fired by Angel, he honestly doesn’t know what else he can do with his life.

Wesley is also obviously very much the stiff upper lip, ultra serious Vampire killer. Though there is some humour with the character, its more unintentional on his part, like when he dances and he has no idea how stupid he looks.

Wesley still takes hunting monsters 100 percent seriously and never makes jokes or anything like Buffy.

Wesley is also shown to be very ruthless and callous just like Giles in both Buffy and Angel. He is happy to leave Willow in the care of the Mayor and Faith (who will surely torture and kill her) to stop the Mayors plan. He also memorably steals Angel’s child to avert a prophecy that Angel will murder his own son, and doesn’t hesitate to strike the Demon Illyria in the head with an axe whilst it has taken control of the woman he loves, Fred (for all the good it does).

Abraham Whistler meanwhile also fulfils a similar role to Blade. In the classic 90s Spider-Man series where the character was introduced and voiced by actor Malcolm McDowell, he was very much a prim and proper older British character like Cushing and Giles. He was also a scholarly expert on Vampires who supplied Blade with knowledge on how to fight Vampires and weapons. He was also both a mentor and father figure to Blade.

In the 90s/00s Blade movie series, the character of Whistler was played by American actor and was re-imagined to be a lot more rough around the edges. His cause for hunting Vampires is also a lot more personal in the film series as well. Still he nevertheless serves as the older, father figure to Blade and the expert on the occult too.

Finally the character of Bobby from Supernatural also fits this template too as again he is the older, father figure to the Winchesters, the expert on the Supernatural, the character who can’t slay Demons as easily as the young heroes, but is still as tough as an old pair of boots and wiley.

The Peter Cushing character is probably the most prolific Vampire hunter character in all of fiction. Most Vampire hunting teams from the Scooby Gang, to Angel Investigations, to the Nightstalkers will have a Peter Cushing type, stuffy old English guy, with countless books on Vampires, who knows everything about them, and serves as the father figure to the group as a whole, and who keeps them in line.

The reason for this is because the Peter Cushing character, unlike a lot of other Vampire hunters who tend to always take centre stage, can be both a leading character and a pivotal supporting character.

There are many advantages to having him as the lead over other Vampire hunters. The Vampires are at their most terrifying when he is the leading character, as again he genuinely struggles against them, unlike the later superhero Vampire hunters such as Blade and Buffy who can undermine their menace when they curb stomp 20 of them without breaking a sweat.

Of course I love these brilliant fight scenes as much as anybody else, but you can see what I mean. Vampires in these instances do kind of become less threatening as we always see them get mowed down in droves. And its by someone who is making jokes about how easy it is to kill them!

With the Cushing character as the lead however you get the impression that taking even one Vampire on requires the utmost preparation, training and knowledge, and even then its still a dangerous experience.

Still in the stories about more modern superhero Vampire hunters like Buffy and Blade, the Cushing character is not obsolete. In fact he is probably the most essential after the main hero themselves, as its through him that the writer can explain what is going on, and develop their own supernatural lore and mythology.

Personally I’d say this is my favourite type of Vampire hunter. I’ve always loved the more old fashioned, fatherly, somewhat eccentric professorial type of hero, who relies more on his wits like The Doctor, and Sherlock Holmes (its no surprise that Peter Cushing played both of these characters too.)

I think it would be interesting to see some more female counterparts of this type of character. I’m not saying that I care about representation or anything self indulgent like that, but since these characters are always men then it might be quite interesting to see a woman play a similar type of character of the old wise mentor, who has to survive on her wits rather than physical strength, and is actually interested in studying the occult.

Of course again rather than just lazily turning an existing male character into a woman, it would be interesting to see someone come up with a new female character like this.

We have seen at least one female version of the Peter Cushing style monster hunter already. The main heroine in Roald Dahl’s version of The Witches. Simply referred to as the Grandmother in the novel, and Helga in the film, she is really a female Peter Cushing almost beat for beat.

She is an expert on Witches, Ghouls, Demons and various other supernatural creatures. Like Cushing’s Van Helsing, she finds them evil and loathsome, but at the same time, has a weird fascination with paranormal creatures. You can sees this when she tells her grandson about the Witches. She clearly LOVES to talk about them.

She also obviously fulfils a parental role to the main character of the novel, (who is named Luke in the film adaptation.) Not only is she his grandmother, but she also raises him too after the tragic death of his parents.

The Grandmother also has a very similar dynamic with the Grand High Witch that Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing had to Christopher Lee’s Dracula in the modern day Hammer horror films.

Both are sworn archenemies who have faced one another many times in the past. One is the old wise Monster hunter, the other the dark, alluring, but utterly loathsome leader of a group of famous monsters, Vampires and Witches.

In both cases the leader of the monsters even targets the grandchild of their archfoe, (Jessica Van Helsing, and Luke respectively.) The monster in both cases foolishly thinks that because their archenemy has now aged and seemingly become frail, that they can’t possibly threaten them, which ultimately allows their old foe to outwit and destroy them once and for all.

Both letting us know what goes bump in the night. 

Both dropping the ball and letting their archenemy get near their grand child.

Both destroying their archenemy in a very undignified and unpleasant way. 

In the film adaptation, the Grandmother was played by the late Mai Zetterling, whilst the Grand High Witch was played by Anjelica Huston.

Both were brilliant in the roles, and to be honest I think Anjelica Huston as the Witch scared me when I was younger more than any Vampire. I mean I love Vampires the most, but all a Vampire can do is just kill or torture you. Being trapped in a painting for 60 years like Erica however is much worse!

Imagine being trapped in one little farmhouse, with nothing to do, no one for company, and worse, being forced to watch the world go by, knowing that all the years of your life were being wasted, watching your family grieve for you. I’d take getting strangled to death by Christopher Lee over that any day.

Sadly however whilst The Witches is rightfully regarded as a cult classic, the Grandmother character hasn’t really entered into popular culture like Van Helsing or Rupert Giles, so this character still tends to always be a guy in most works.

The Outcast, Freak, Good Guy Vampire/Supernatural Superhero

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Originator: Vampirella

Other Notable Examples: Blade (Marvel), Lilith (Marvel), Angel (Buffy and Angel), Spike (Buffy and Angel), Cole (Charmed), Castiel, (Supernatural), Hellboy (Hellboy), Spawn (Spawn), Crowley (Supernatural), D (Vampire Hunter D)

This character in many ways took over from Cushing’s Van Helsing as the new main male hero in Vampire fiction.

This character is usually a Vampire, but he may be some other type of supernatural creature (a Demon is usually the most popular after a Vampire.)

This character is a member of a race that is normally completely evil, but for some reason, he will be a good guy. He will also as a result have devoted himself to fighting other evil members of his kind and ultimately wiping them out. His Vampire or Demon powers will obviously make him a great asset, if not the greatest asset to any team of Vampire hunters he is a part of.

Sometimes this guy will be good just through his own force of will, but usually its because there is something special about him. He may be half human, (Angel who has a human soul, Blade who has a human mother, Cole whose father was human, or Castiel in season 5 when his powers are stripped.) He may have been raised by humans (Hellboy) or he may have been experimented or cursed on and be forced to reluctantly fight the good fight (Crowley, Lilith, Spike, and to some extent Angel too, who only became good after the Gypsies cursed him.)

Point is these creatures are viewed as freaks by the rest of their kind regardless if they are good or not which is partially why they are on our side. Your regular Demon, Vampire, even Angel will refer to this character as a traitor, freak, or mock their humanity.

We can see this the way that Darla tries to kill Angel when he has a soul, the way that other Vampires call Blade “the Daywalker” with disgust, and perhaps most notably in the brilliant Vampire Hunter D series of novels, where the main protagonist D, is a Vampire/human hybrid that both Vampires and humans regard as a filthy mongrel.

Of course ironically when this character embraces his evil side, he will actually be among the most evil of his kind (Angelus the most flamboyantly sadistic Vampire, Cole who was one of the Charmed ones most dangerous enemies and killed hundreds of Witches, Crowley who was one of the Winchesters most evil and dangerous adversaries.)

This character may have even started out as the most dangerous enemy of the heroes (Spike, Crowley, Cole) and they may also flip flop between being good and evil. This usually won’t be their fault. They will often be taken over, or lose their humanity in some magical way. For whatever reason they will be the most unpredictable member of a monster hunting team, and will usually be disliked, or at least not trusted by most of the other members.

Look at Angel famously going bad in season 2 of Buffy, all the times Castiel has fucked up badly for the Winchesters, Spike going evil in season 7 of Buffy thanks to the First, and the many, many, many times that Cole flipped from good to bad.

There will usually be one member of the team who is loyal to this monster above all else, even when it would probably be better for them to just get rid of him, they’ll still protect him. Examples of this obviously include Buffy with Spike and Angel, Phoebe with Cole and even in a non romantic way, Dean with Castiel.

Of course the person who defends this benevolent monster will also later after one too many betrayals come to hate their former friend/lover more than anyone else, and may even try and kill them.

This character also has a habit of dying (after being killed by members of the team) and coming back again and again too.

In many ways its not hard to see why this character ended up becoming the most popular leading male character in modern Vampire fiction.

I personally prefer the Cushing/Van Helsing Vampire killer (though I do love this type too of course.) Still this character was a lot younger, more romantic, and could also take Vampire movies into more of an action oriented direction, allowing them to properly compete with big blockbusters and franchises.

These characters could jump through the air, beat up dozens of Vampires at once and withstand getting shot by hordes of bullets, and thrown off of buildings!

Whilst this character is almost always male, its worth noting that the first ever version of this type of character was actually a woman.

Vampirella, created in the 1960s, was really the first Vampire superhero. We had seen good guy Vampires before of course, but none of them had been comic book characters who used their Vampire powers to fight other Vampires, and other supernatural creatures such as Demons.

Still whilst Vampirella initiated the idea, it was definitely Blade that set the template that these characters were to follow.

Originally introduced as a supporting character in Marvels Tomb of Dracula series. Blade was initially not a Vampire/human hybrid.

In the comics his mother, whilst pregnant with him had been bitten by the Vampire Deacon Frost. She died just after giving birth to him and Blade as a result would gain some Vampiric powers. He aged much slower than a human, and he was also immune to a Vampires bite too.

It was in the classic 1990’s Spider-Man The Animated Series however that Blade was re-interpreted as a half human/ half Vampire superhero. In this series his origins were altered. Now his mother had fallen in love with a Vampire and bore him a child that she later abandoned.

This child had the superhuman strength, speed and healing of a Vampire, but none of their weaknesses. Sadly he also inherited their inhuman thirst for blood, which he has to suppress every day. Blade (real name Eric Brooks) was later found by a man named Abraham Whistler who trained him to fight other members of his kind, as well as other supernatural threats.

Elements of both the animated and comic book origin were later fused together for the Blade trilogy starring Wesley Snipes, with its version of Blade’s mother being bitten and killed by Frost like the comic book version, but Blade also becoming a full Vampire/human hybrid as a result like his animated counterpart.

With Blade you can see so many traits of later characters like Angel. He is a miserable, brooding loner, who is scared of getting close to people, his attempts to control his thirst are treated very much as a metaphor for a recovering alcoholic, and even in terms of his look, Blade dresses in long, black, leather and trench coats too, which is usually the look for these types of characters like Spike, Angel and Cole.

Blade had a huge influence on Angel in particular. There are some strong similarities in their story arcs.

Both Angel and Blade are special, human Vampires who can feel guilt and sorrow for their actions, and both end up living in the gutter, until they are found by a man, who in both cases is named Whistler, who takes them off the streets and teaches them to control their thirst and use their powers for good.

Joss Whedon was/is a massive fan of Blade and Tomb of Dracula and has mentioned it as an influence on the tone and style of Buffy.

Of course Angel would also add a lot to this character too. He would add more of a romantic aspect to this character, which wasn’t really there with Blade.

There have been a few other female examples of this type of character aside from Vampirella. Lilith, Dracula’s anti hero daughter in Tomb of Dracula, who predated Blade was another example. In fact Lilith in some ways actually has more in common with the Blade of both Spider-Man the animated series and the later films than the comic book version did.

She like him is a half human, half Vampire that shares all of their powers, and none of their weaknesses. She also shares their thirst which she struggles to control, and she regularly feuds with her parent who is a Vampire (Dracula in her case, Mirum in Blade’s.)

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Lilith, the original Daywalker.

Ruby played by Lucy Lawless (Xena the Warrior Princess) from Ash Vs Evil Dead also loosely fits this template.

Still overall this character is usually male, perhaps because it tends to be more popular among female viewers ironically when it is male.

It makes sense in a way. As this character will also often be in love with, or utterly devoted to someone to the point where it takes over their entire character like Cole and Spike, a lot of young female viewers would probably find it demeaning to see a woman chase a guy all the time, and even get punched in the face by him, yet still come back for more.

When its a guy however, then that coupled with the fact that he is a badass monster killer, ( and not completely just some creepy guy who is obsessed with her.) And is willing to die for her, get tortured for her, fight off being a monster for her, can lead to this character becoming something of a romantic fantasy for young girls.

I’m not knocking the fan girls for this of course. Everybody has pin ups, its completely natural, and hey the need for this type of pin up has led to some great stories, like the whole Buffy and Angel story arc (which is my favourite story arc from Buffy.)

Still I think this could explain why this character is overwhelmingly male. It was really once the romantic aspect was added to this character from Angel on, that his fate as, as well a he, was solidified.

3/ The Reluctant Vulnerable Strong Female Hero

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Originator: Rachel Van Helsing

Other Notable Examples: Buffy Summers, (Buffy) Charmed Ones, (Charmed) Cordelia Chase (Buffy and Angel), Mandy (Mandy the Monster Hunter), Annie (Being Human)

This character is in many respects the polar opposite to the Cushing/Giles type of Vampire Killer.

This character to start with is obviously a woman. She is also much younger, more vulnerable and also above all else does not want to be a Vampire killer.

She just wants to have a normal life, and will still try to have one, even whilst fighting Vampires. In contrast to Van Helsing who devotes his every waking minute to reading about Vampires, this Vampire killer will be desperate to still go to college, have a relationship with someone who is not aware of the supernatural, have a family, and have a career outside of monster busting.

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At the same time however, whilst she might be more reluctant to fight the paranormal, she will also be the greatest Vampire fighter of them all. She’ll kill scores and scores of them without breaking a sweat, and strike fear into their hearts like no one else.

We can see these traits replicated in Buffy, the Charmed Ones and Cordelia Chase (who develops into this type of character on Angel) and Mandy the Monster Hunter. Incidentally whilst this character is obviously almost always female, we do see a few male counterparts too. Sam Winchester from Supernatural, in the earlier episodes at least tended to fall into this category.

Buffy was obviously the character who propelled this type of Vampire hunter into popular culture, but it is worth noting that she was not the first character like this. Rachel Van Helsing who appeared in Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s was kind of a proto Buffy in some ways.

Rachel was obviously the descendent of the legendary Vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing. The Van Helsing family in Tomb of Dracula were Vampire hunters even before Abraham, with Rachel merely being the latest in a long line.

Like Buffy however at first she doesn’t want to follow in her predecessors footsteps, but she soon ends up becoming Dracula’s new archenemy. Like Buffy she also has a Peter Cushing style, stuffy old English mentor who becomes like a father figure to her (Quincy Harker) and later a boyfriend (Drake) who feels inadequate compared to her as a Vampire hunter like Buffy’s boyfriend Riley.

Rachel much like Van Helsing was also created to try and reverse the image of the little blonde girl in horror movies who would always be lured away and torn to bits by the monster. This would be a common trait among other similar characters that would follow in Buffy’s wake too. They’d often take what had been seen as a weak, demeaning role for women and make it strong, such as Cordelia who was the stereotypical valley girl even after she matured.

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From Rachel Van Helsing, to Buffy Summers, to Mandy, to Phoebe Halliwell, the stereotypical image of young blonde women in Vampire and horror stories has certainly improved quite a bit in the last few decades.

Obviously of the two, Buffy was the better character, and again I’m not knocking Joss Whedon for possibly taking influence from Rachel Van Helsing. Everyone takes inspiration from something else and at the end of the day, for me Buffy and Angel are the greatest supernatural themed television series ever made.

Still its quite interesting that a lot of the things that Buffy became an icon for, Rachel Van Helsing did about 20 years earlier.

Whilst there are undoubtedly many reasons why Rachel is still relatively obscure and Buffy is beloved, I think that ultimately it can be boiled down to the fact that Buffy was her own character whilst Rachel was kind of trapped in the shadow of her more famous relative.

This Buffy/Rachel type of hero has really become the third main Vampire hunter character alongside the Cushing style exposition guy, and the freak hybrid Vampire hunter. Whilst Buffy is easily as well known as Van Helsing (and far better known than Blade or Angel or any other similar character.) Ultimately as this type of character was more recently introduced than the others, then we haven’t seen quite as many imitators yet.

There are some areas where the Buffy/Rachel type of character is superior to other Vampire hunters and others where she is weaker, depending on your tastes.

The Buffy type of hero will tend to drag supernatural stories into soap opera territory. Obviously a part of her character is that we focus on how she juggles her everyday life with being a monster hunter. We’ll see her struggle at college, at school, at her job, going on dates, or even just spend a lot of focus on her relationships with the people around her like her friends, her family etc.

Many fans and critics have said that they prefer this take on not just a Vampire hunter, but a superhero in general, as it helps to flesh these larger than life characters out more, make them seem more human, or even relatable.

Spider-Man similarly made a huge impression on young male readers for being a more vulnerable, down to earth, relatable hero back in the 1960s. In many ways Buffy is kind of like a female Spider-Man.

On the flip side however some people have criticised the likes of Buffy and the Charmed ones for being too whiny.

Whilst I agree at times we did see Buffy complain a bit too much about her calling, in some respects I think this actually made her seem more heroic than other Vampire killers.

The thing you have to remember about the Peter Cushing/Giles type of character is that they actually in some ways like the life they are living. Yes okay no one wants to see their loved ones hunted by Vampires, but as we have been over for a character like Van Helsing, Giles or even Helga from the Witches, they are actually interested in the supernatural. Their free time is spent reading books on paranormal creatures, they can’t wait to give a big bit of exposition about Vampires or Witches.

With the good guy Vampire character like Blade meanwhile, we similarly have someone who chooses to live that kind of life. Okay he doesn’t really have a choice, but still he doesn’t want to, or even know how to just settle down. He wants to go out there and kill monsters almost every second of every day.

With the Buffy/Rachel type of hero however, we have someone who could give it up if they wanted to, who never asked to be part of a war against the forces of evil, and who is basically having to give up all of her aspirations, hopes for a normal life, maybe even her loved ones simply because other people have decided her fate for her.

Its understandable that in contrast to a guy like Van Helsing, Buffy would be a little bit more bitter, and even just terrified. Still the fact that she always without fail, overcomes her fear, if anything makes her more heroic, and yes more human too.

I think the reason that Buffy/Rachel type of character, the Blade/Angel type of character, and the Cushing/Giles type of character have become kind of the big three for Vampire killer characters, aside from the fact that they have starred in the most popular Vampire franchises, is also because they all go really well together.

The Buffy/Rachel type of character being younger, more unsure of herself, obviously needs a paternal figure, and someone to tell her all about monsters, which obviously the Cushing/Giles character can do.

At the same time the Cushing/Giles type of character who is often older, even quite frail needs someone young and strong fight the strongest monsters and creatures out there, so the Buffy/Rachel character is just as useful to him.

Finally the Buffy/Rachel character and the Blade/Angel type of character are obviously a fantastic pair to put together. It can get complicated when you have a Vampire in love with a human, but having a Vampire be in love with the greatest Vampire killer of them all just makes it all the more uncomfortable for both characters, and consequently a more exciting dynamic for the viewers.

These three characters despite being polar opposites in some cases, are such a brilliant fit for one another that its no surprise that they are almost always put together.

The Buffy/Rachel type of character is unquestionably the most popular Vampire hunter of them all to more modern fans and viewers at least.

Young girls obviously love her, because she is not only an empowering role for women, but she is presented as being strong because she is feminine too.

Young boys meanwhile like her because of, well obvious reasons. She’s beautiful, strong, intelligent, down to earth, and brave.

Again the fact that she is more recent than other types of Vampire killers is why we haven’t seen quite as many imitators, but give it time.

The Buffy/Rachel character manages to bring Vampires and Demons into everyday surroundings like no other before her and so in that respect I think she will always be one of the most popular.

4/ The Vengeful Crusader

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Originator: Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter

Other Notable Examples: Blade (Blade), The Winchester Brothers (Supernatural), Jack Crow (Vampires), Tom McNair (Being Human), Kelly (Ash vs Evil Dead) Charles Gunn (Angel), Robin Wood (Buffy) Hansel and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters)

This character is probably the most prolific after the Cushing/Giles character.

This character hunts Vampires and Demons because they killed somebody close to him in the past, usually a family member.

This character will have devoted the rest of their life to exterminating every single Vampire or Demon they find. They will often kill them in far more brutal ways too. In complete contrast to Cushing and Lam Ching Ying respectfully performing the last rites over a slain Vampire, these guys will blow bits of them off while they are alive, stab them hundreds of times, and burn them in holy water.

They will usually have the most impressive arsenal of Vampire and Demon hunting weaponry. Guns that fire stakes, bombs that filter out UV light, even water pistols filled with holy water!

The Vampire or Demon that killed their loved one will often be their archenemy who they spend years chasing. It will also often not just be any old Vampire or Demon that killed their loved one, but a legendary, feared monster, maybe even the leader of their race. It makes sense really as if this character is supposed to be the ultimate Vampire/Demon killer, then the Vampire/Demon that manages to avoid them would have to be pretty special too.

Also there is quite a nice irony that perhaps the leader of the Vampires/Demons who thought he would lead his race to glory, ended up creating their kinds worst nightmare without even realising it.

This character will also perhaps be a bit more ruthless in terms of dealing with human allies of Vampires and Demons. He will kill and even torture ordinary humans who choose to side with Vampires and Demons just as often. Sometimes the writer will use these scenes to show how unstable they have become in their hatred for the undead.

This character was really created by the classic and underrated Hammer Horror film, Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter.

Captain Kronos was essentially like the Winchester Brothers of the 70s. He was dashing, handsome, swashbuckler who travelled from town to town, hunting and killing Vampires alongside his Cushing exposition style, father/mentor figure Professor Grost.

Kronos was motivated by the death of his mother and sister at the hands of Vampires. Both were actually turned into Vampires, though we never see the Vampire that turned them.

He had special anti Vampire weapons, and he often killed them in more explicitly gory ways that reflected his anger towards the undead.

Other characters who would follow this template include Jack Crow, the main hero of John Carpenters overlooked cult classic Vampires.

Crow, played by James Woods, became a Vampire hunter when his own father was turned into a Vampire and killed his mother.

Jack now leads a team of Vampire slayers who kill the undead, first by unloading tons and tons of bullets into them until they can’t move before dragging them helplessly into the sunlight. He also collects their charred skulls as trophies!

Jack is even more vicious than Kronos. In one character defining moment, he goes as far as to torture a priest who with holds information about the leader of the Vampires from him. He beats the Priest, cuts him and tells him how as he had no trouble killing his own father who had become a Vampire, then he would have no problem killing him. The priest gives in almost instantly as he knows Jack isn’t lying!

In some ways Jack was actually my favourite example of this type of character. Others like Kronos, and the later Winchester brothers were still a bit too polished for what is supposed to be a dangerous, fanatical character.

Jack Crow however did seem in some ways as unpleasant as the monsters he was facing. You got the impression that fighting Vampires had crushed almost every bit of compassion out of him. All that’s left is just raw anger and hatred and that’s the only reason he fights Vampires. Its not even because he cares about helping people anymore.

Blade also followed this template to a degree too. Again Blade also obviously not only followed, but helped to set the good guy Vampire character template in popular culture. Still as I said in the introduction, many of these characters can be merged together, and with Blade he obviously followed the Kronos template as well as his own too.

Blade’s mother had been killed by a Vampire, and so he hunted them because he hated them (as well as because it was the right thing to do.) His mother had also been bitten by Frost, the leader of the Vampires too.

As you can see Blade also tended to kill Vampires in a slightly messier, albeit more creative way than the likes of Buffy and Peter Cushing and showed no mercy to their human allies.

Other more minor examples of this character include Robin Wood and Charles Gunn in the Buffy and Angel franchise.

The Winchester brothers from Supernatural meanwhile are probably the definitive take on this type of Vampire killer for most people.

Supernatural is after all the longest running paranormal themed series of all time (stealing that distinction from Charmed.) Like all long running cult series, its quality has gone up and down at various points, but overall I would definitely rate it as a classic series, and Sam and Dean Winchester are both brilliant characters. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelicki’s chemistry is truly unique and the show overall has also offered some brilliant new takes on old classic monsters like Vampires and Demons.

Still Sam and Dean follow the Kronos template almost beat for beat. Both hunt Demons because their mother (and fiance in Sam’s case) were killed by a Demon (much like with Blade and Frost, it was the king of the Demons, Azazeal that killed their mother.) Both travel the road trying to find this monster, whilst hunting other Demons. Both have a Cushing style, exposition guy (Bobby) to help them, both have special anti Demon weapons. Much like Kronos they are presented as a more romantic interpretation of this type of character, as opposed to Jack Crow.

Whilst this character is usually a male, there are some female examples. A recent female example is Kelly from Ash Vs Evil Dead. Kelly’s mother and father were both killed by, and turned into Deadites and so much like Kronos and the Winchesters not only is she motivated by hatred, but she tends to kill her the Deadites in a lot more explicit ways (which is really saying something considering the Deadites are ALWAYS killed in gruesome over the top ways.) Kelly is also hinted to be a bit unstable too.

Dean Winchester and Kelly would make a brilliant couple. They are probably the most well matched pair of Vampire/Demon hunters along with Cushing’s Van Helsing and Helga from The Witches.

This character is quite a good compromise of the main three types of Vampire killer, which is probably why it is so popular among both writers and audiences.

Like Cushing’s character, these Vampire hunters are often ordinary humans and so they can’t just curb stomp Vampires and Demons like Buffy and Blade. The monsters still retain their menace, but at the same time, as these characters are often younger, and are equipped with special Vampire killing weapons, then they can be involved in more action packed sequences than the Cushing Van Helsing character can.

Also as he is younger, then he can be a much more conventional, romantic character too as seen with the Winchesters and Kronos, so you can retain the pin up and romantic elements of characters like Angel and Buffy too.

This character doesn’t always have to hunt Vampires, as seen with Sam and Dean, who though Vampire hunters, still hunt Demons and evil spirits more. Demons are also the monsters who killed their loved ones and who they have obviously have more of a personal hatred for.

The grown up versions of Hansel and Gretel, from the horror/action movie Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters meanwhile fulfil this trope perfectly but they obviously hunt Witches instead of Vampires.

5/ The Slacker, Every Man, Bumbling Hero

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Originator: Ash Williams

Other Notable Examples: Xander Harris (Buffy), Doyle (Angel), Fatman (Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind), Shaun (Shaun of the Dead)

This character is usually male. He’s not exclusive to Vampire stories, but since he does tend to pop up in a lot of Vampire/Demon stories then I felt he should be included here.

This character is obviously not the worlds greatest expert on the occult like Peter Cushing, he’s not the chosen, greatest hero of all time like Buffy, and he’s not a badass, super strong Vampire. He’s just an ordinary guy. He’s not even particularly fit or strong, and doesn’t seem to be that bright. In fact on paper he seems to be quite down on his luck, is maybe is a bit of a nerd, if he has a job, then its a low paying one, and even among his friends, he is generally seen as a bit of a moron.

He will also have an eye for the ladies, but unlike with Dean Winchester and Spike, they usually won’t like him.

Of course when the chips are down he will end up being brave, resourceful and a hero, though he may fuck up a few times along the way and even make things worse before he makes it better.

This character was really brought into the horror genre with Ash Williams, the main protagonist of the classic Evil Dead franchise, played by Bruce Campbell.

Ash was just an ordinary guy who had been thrust into a horrible situation, when all of his friends (and even his sister and girlfriend) are possessed by the spirits of Kandarian Demons.

He stumbled his way through the situation, fucked up lots of times, and even lost his hand (which he later replaced with a chainsaw.) Still throughout it all he did always try and do the right thing, and gradually over the course of the three movies and later tv series he did become a more competent hero, thought he never becomes a full blown conventional hero. He doesn’t always save the day, still tends to bumble his way through things, and also has a more childish, jokey attitude towards the paranormal than other characters like Dean Winchester or Van Helsing.

The massive influence of the Evil Dead series on popular culture would see similar characters like Ash emerge in heroic roles, such as Xander from Buffy, and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead.

All of these character thought distinct, do still kind of follow the Ash template of not being trained monster hunters, being more jokey in the face of danger, screwing things up and making them worse, being seen as an idiot by people around him, but still being brave and occasionally saving the day through his hidden intelligence.

Whilst Ash was really the template for this type of character in western horror movies, he was predated by Sammo Hung’s character, simply referred to as the Fatman who appeared in various Chinese horror movies, Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind, Spooky Encounters, and The Dead and the Deadly.

This character was a well meaning, but slow witted normal man, who again had to stumble his way through his battles with monsters, Demons and Vampires.

In Spooky Encounters, the Fatman would develop a father son relationship with Master Kau from the Mr Vampire series. The bumbling, every man hero often goes well with the Cushing style Vampire hunter. The Cushing character can serve as a stern father figure to him, give him a chewing out when he fucks up, and generally keep him in line, though at other times, the more down to earth, normal character can put the stuffy, pompous, Cushing style hero in his place too. We see this dynamic with Giles and Xander in Buffy too.

Whenever this character is the lead then the story has to be a bit more comedic. Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind, The Evil Dead, and Shaun of the Dead are all horror comedies, and Xander also tended to bring the comic relief to many episodes of Buffy.

6/ The Magic Junkie

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Originator:  Father Shandor

Other Notable Examples: Willow Rosenberg (Buffy), Sam Winchester (Supernatural)

Though not as common as other examples, this character has appeared in a few prominent pieces of Vampire fiction.

Essentially this is someone who tries to fight fire with fire. They’ve seen how their friends struggle against the forces of darkness and come to believe that ordinary people will never be able to take down Vampires, Demons and Monsters, so they will turn to the black arts to fight them.

Their friends will warn them about this. Maybe even fall out with them, or shun them, or abandon them over it, but they will still think they are doing the right thing.

Father Shandor, who first appeared in the Hammer movie, Dracula Prince of Darkness was really the first example of a character like this.

In the movie he was played by Andrew Keir, and was a bad tempered, shotgun wielding monk who had little time for the idiots around him. Despite his rough manner however, he was still nevertheless a brave and heroic individual who eventually slays the newly resurrected king of the Vampires, Count Dracula.

The character proved popular enough that he would be given his own spin off comic book series, Father Shandor Demon Stalker.  In this series Shandor travels to a Demon dimension in order to rescue his friend who has become trapped there after a spell went wrong.

Shandor is despised by all of the other priests in his monastry for using the black arts, even though he only does so to fight Demons and Vampires. Though Shandor is successful in rescuing his friend from the hell dimension. In the process he is cursed by a Demon and when he returns to our universe, he finds that he cannot touch anything without killing it.

Banished from the Monastry and human society, Shandor goes on to travel the world using his new Demon powers to continue to fight the forces of darkness.

Whilst Shandor was a very original character at the time, sadly he is a relatively obscure character today. It would really be Willow Rosenberg that would propel this character into being one of the classic stock paranormal hunters.

Willow, played by Alyson Hannigan, was Buffy’s best friend. Though initially being nothing more than a computer whizz, Willow over the course of the shows 7 seasons, slowly became an incredibly powerful Witch.

Much like Father Shandor, Willow initially believed that she had to use her magic to battle the forces of evil, and she was a valuable ally in this respect. Her magics are what bring down the main villain of season 4, Adam.

However eventually the magics consume her, she becomes reckless, arrogant, abuses her powers, and at one point even brainwashes her girlfriend, Tara (and attempts to do the same to Buffy.) Though she does try to control her addiction to magic, eventually after the death of Tara she goes insane and becomes Dark Willow, who nearly destroys the world!

Willow’s descent into Dark Willow, much like characters such as Angel and Blade’s attempts to control their thirst, is treated very much as a metaphor for drug and alcohol addiction, (with Willow even crashing a car she and Dawn are in whilst driving under the influence of Magic.)

Supernatural would go down a similar route with Sam in season 4. Sam much like Willow discovers that he has magical powers. Specifically the ability to draw Demons out of their host bodies and destroy them completely. At first Sam thinks he is doing great work with his new powers. Not only can he destroy the Demons, but he can save their hosts too.

Of course Dean thinks that Sam’s powers are evil, and even turns on him at one point. Things get worse however when it is discovered that Sam’s powers are fuelled by drinking the blood of people possessed by Demons.

Just like with Willow, Sam’s dependence on his powers, as well as the Demon blood that gives him them is treated as a metaphor for addiction to drugs.

These stories were among the interesting and nuanced in both series. They served as a more sympathetic metaphor for addiction, as we saw how two good people fell into such bad habits.

Indeed in both cases you can understand and even agree with them at first when they start using this dark power. Willow’s dark magics allow her to take on Glory, and play a key role in the hell Goddesses downfall, whilst Sam’s Demon powers allow him to remove the Demon without killing the humans they take over.

However as time goes on you can see how not only reckless they are, but how it begins to change who they are too, slowly but surely, and how ironically whilst their addiction only happened to make themselves seem stronger, its now brought them to their lowest point, with Willow sprawling on the floor begging Buffy not to leave her, and Sam being dependent on the blood of the monsters he used to fight or else he’ll go crazy.

Of course both stories were very controversial among fans, particularly fans of Willow and Sam who naturally hated seeing their favourite characters in such awful states, and doing such awful things, like Willow’s cruel taunting of Dawn, telling her everybody would be happier if she died, or Sam turning his back on his brother for a Demon!

But again personally I thought it was better to have two such normally reasonable and kind people be seduced by the dark forces, as it showed how strong they were, and again was a better metaphor for addiction, by showing how it can affect people who have everything to live for.

Its not just the stereotypical image of addicts being either criminals, or even just people who are depressed and drink and take drugs for distraction. You can get people who have the best quality of life, like Willow who has brilliant friends, a loving girlfriend, yet still ends up falling into this bad habit.

7/ Genre Savvy Hero

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Originator: Peter Vincent

Other Notable Examples: The Frog Brothers (The Lost Boys), Bruce Campbell (My Name is Bruce), Ghostfacers (Supernatural)

This character is someone who knows about Vampires, monsters and the supernatural from movies. He might be a huge geek, or he might be someone who stars in monster movies, but the point is he’ll have a more romantic idea of what its like being a Vampire killer before he actually encounters one.

He’ll be shit scared at first, but much like the everyman hero he will eventually become more heroic and brave, though never a conventional hero.

The movie that really brought this type of character into popular culture was Fright Night.

Released in 1985, Fright Night revolved around a young fan of horror movies, Charlie Brewster discovering that he lives next door to a Vampire named Jerry Daindridge. Charlie is forced to go to his favourite horror actor, Peter Vincent for help. Peter Vincent was named after and based on Peter Cushing, with Vincent much like Cushing being known for playing Vampire killers

At first Vincent is portrayed is terrified, but as time goes on he rises to the challenge and helps Charlie save his girlfriend Amy from Jerry.

Fright Night though only released as a B-movie proved to be very successful and influential on the genre. It was the first of its kind really, to poke fun at the genre in an affectionate way, yet also be a good Vampire movie in its own right.

The fact that its characters were either fans or had starred in Vampire movies meant that they could recognise a lot of the cliches and staples of Vampire movies when they were encountering them themselves.

Among the other examples of these types of characters in Vampire and supernatural films and television series include the Frog Brothers in The Lost Boys and The Ghost Faces in Supernatural.

The Frog Brothers, much like Charlie Brewster are big fans of horror movies, though unlike Charlie they tended to fancy themselves as big macho Vampire killers, but of course they get a rather nasty surprise when they meet a real Vampire and much like Peter Vincent, even when they kill a Vampire its a clumsy, awkward fight where they constantly panic.

The Ghost Facers meanwhile tend to take after the Frog Twins more in that they are wannabe monster hunters who’ve seen Peter Cushing and Buffy kill monsters on tv and think it looks easy. Though even when they do encounter monsters it doesn’t burst their bubble and they even attempt to make a tv show out of their battles against the supernatural which goes about as well as their attempts to be big sexy monster hunters.

Finally Bruce Campbell’s ficitonalized version of himself in My Name is Bruce is essentially a more sleazy version of Peter Vincent. Like the real Bruce Campbell, he is known for playing monster hunters and is asked to fight a real monster by one of his fans. Like Peter he chickens out at first before stepping up and doing the right thing.

This type of character would prove popular enough to appear in stories beyond the Vampire and even horror genres.

Galaxy Quest for instance, though not a Vampire movie follows the Fright Night template bit for bit.

Both Fright Night and Galaxy Quest revolve around actors who are known for playing monster hunters/heroes, who are down on their luck (and are parodies of real life genre icons, William Shatner and Peter Cushing.) Both are asked by their fans to help fight a real life example of the type of monsters/villain they always beat on tv. Both at first think their fans are just having a joke, and when they discover the truth they both want to run away, before finally facing their fear and becoming the hero their fans always thought they were.

These characters are popular, as for those who like the genres they are parodying, then they can be as effective heroes as any other for serious stories, yet to people who don’t like the genres they are parodying then they can be quite enjoyable send ups of all the cliches and staples of the genre.

8/ Vampire Detective

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Originator: Hannibal King

Other Examples Angel: (Buffy and Angel) Nic Knight (Forever Knight)

The Detective genre has been merged with the Vampire genre more frequently and more successfully than any other.

The Detective genre and Vampire genres tend to take place in similar, gloomy, gothic surroundings. Little dark alleyways, seedy little bars, corrupt, crime laden underbelly’s of big city’s where someone can go missing and no one will even notice are the perfect environments for down on their luck detectives and Vampires.

The first ever Vampire Detective was Hannibal King, a recurring character in Marvel Comics series Tomb of Dracula. Hannibal had been turned by Deacon Frost, the same Vampire that killed Blade’s mother. Unlike all other Vampires he resisted the urge to feed on humans, and still continued to function as a detective tracking down both regular and paranormal criminals.

King eventually came into conflict with Blade who mistook him for a common Vampire at first. Blade eventually saw that King was different and together they would form a paranormal agency, the Nightstalkers who faced Dracula, Frost, and various other supernatural threats.

Hannibal King would go on to influence Angel, when the latter gained his own series and became a Vampire detective. Angel and Gunn’s relationship was somewhat similar to Hannibal King and Blade’s.

In both cases you have a character (Gunn, Blade) who live on the streets, hunt Vampires and who despise them fanatically because a family member was killed by Vampires (in both cases it was a young female relative who later became a Vampire and who they then had to kill.) This character then meets a goodguy detective Vampire who is a more reserved, quiet, contemplative character (Angel, King) and at first they try to kill them, and refuse to believe that a Vampire could be a good person, before eventually coming to see that King and Angel are different, after which both Blade and Gunn become part of a paranormal detective agency with Angel and King.

Another example of a Vampire Detective was the Canadian series Forever Knight. Here the Vampire in question, Nick Knight much like the later Angel, is on a quest for redemption after having spent hundreds of years killing people.

Forever Knight was somewhat different however in that he did not face other Vampires or supernatural creatures that often like Hannibal King or Angel. His series was often actually a straight detective series, though much like Angel there were often flashbacks to his mysterious past.

Other examples of Vampire Detective stories include the short lived American fantasy series Moonlight, another Canadian series named Blood Ties, and finally Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective, a Japanese series that revolves around a private detective who is secretly a Vampire named Shido and who by night fights Demons and other monsters including the Nightbreeds.

The Vampire Detective is an effective trope, but it can end up getting a bit more repetitive than some of the other examples on this page, as it is obviously tied to a specific genre.

9/ The Romantic, Conflicted Vampire

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Originator: Carmilla Karnstein

Other Examples Angel (Buffy), Spike (Buffy), Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles), Dracula’s Daughter (Dracula’s Daughter), John Mitchell (Being Human), Salvatore Brothers (The Vampire Diaries),  Gary Oldman’s Dracula, (Dracula 1992), Frank Langella’s Dracula (Dracula 1979), Edward Cullen (Twilight)

Now obviously there can be overlap between this good guy Vampire and other characters like the Vampire Detective and superhero Vampire character.

Still I feel that this character is their own trope that doesn’t always have to be associated with the other two types of heroic Vampires.

This Vampire character can be either male or female just as often, unlike other characters who tend to largely be one gender.

This character will be a centuries old Vampire who in the past may have been one of the most evil. However they will renounce their evil ways when they meet someone they fall in love with who is good.

Unlike Blade who wants to control his thirst for human blood because its the right thing to do, this character is motivated solely by being in love which in some ways can make them seem more unsympathetic, yet in an odd way more human and relatable.

As a result of this, this character isn’t a Vampire hunter per se. They might be, but most of the time this Vampire just wants to try and live as normal a life as they can. Compare Mitchell from Being Human to Blade for instance. Yes Mitchell occasionally helps people and takes on Vampire kings like Herrick, but he’s not out every night actively hunting Vampires like Angel or Blade. Same applies to Carmilla, Lestat, and the Salvatore brothers.

These characters are more likely to be involved in a love triangle than in fighting monsters and they all tend to be quiet, mopey and brooding characters.

Finally this character may also be LGBT too. Carmilla, Dracula’s Daughter, and Lestat are all bisexuals.

In fact Dracula’s Daughter was even advertised as giving female viewers “a weird feeling”.

Image result for dracula's daughter she gives you that weird feeling

Of course some have naturally interpreted the association of Vampirism with homosexuality to be homophobic. It doesn’t help that they refer to women being attracted to women as “that weird feeling” in the poster for Dracula’s Daughter.

Still I think that most of the time, certainly in stories like The Vampire Chronicles and even in the older works, like Carmilla and Dracula’s Daughter, the good guy Vampire was used as a sympathetic metaphor for LGBT people. Much like LGBT people would have been at the time films like Dracula’s Daughter and stories like Carmilla were made, then the reformed, romantic Vampire is a character that is rejected by everyone simply because of who they are.

Humans obviously view them as freaks, but so will regular Vampires. Their love is also be seen as forbidden by all around them too.

Obviously its not a perfect metaphor, as in all fairness its understandable that humans might reject a Vampire, since they are monsters that kill people! Still no metaphor is perfect. The mutants in the X-Men are used as a metaphor for LGBT people (and other persecuted minorities.) However much like with Vampires, and unlike with LGBT people, you can kind of understand why some people might be a bit scared of mutants considering they can (and frequently do) shit like this.

Similarly the Daleks are good metaphors for racial hatred and the Nazis, but again they are obviously far more cartoonish, over the top and evil than even the most twisted and bigoted humans throughout history.

So no metaphor is completely perfect, but still at their core this type of Vampire character would have undoubtedly captured the feelings of loneliness and having to hide the knowledge of who you love, and ultimately just who you are that many LGBT people would have sadly been forced to live with.

This type of Vampire lead is the most popular among mainstream audiences. Most people like a good love story, and these characters are also often played by conventional attractive leads too.

Among hard core genre fans these characters tend to be a bit more polarising however. Obviously some examples such as Angel and Spike are very popular, but others tend to be viewed as more sappy, weak characters. I think a lot of genre fans also prefer Vampires to be evil monsters, so again something like True Blood which turns Vampires into sexy, misunderstood, tormented anti heroes, is obviously not going to be that popular among the Buffy, Peter Cushing crowd.

10/ Agent of Anti Paranormal Organisation

Originator: Hellboy

Other Notable Examples: Gabriel Van Helsing (Van Helsing), Riley Finn (Buffy)

This type of hero isn’t that popular. Hellboy is practically the only major iconic example. The 2004 Van Helsing though having developed a cult following, was largely a flop, whilst Riley is similarly one of (if not the) most disliked character in Buffy.

I think the reason as to why this character is less popular is perhaps because they are less vulnerable than other Vampire hunter characters.

The likes of Sam, Dean, Peter Cushing, even Buffy and Angel, all kind of had to do it themselves in terms of finding things out about monsters, getting weapons to fight them, and even just convince the authorities that they weren’t serial killers!

With this character however they have the backing of an entire organisation behind them, so they have access to an endless supply of weaponry, knowledge on Vampires and even cover ups for the police. There’s very little that can actually threaten them.

Still that’s not to say you can’t ever make these characters work as we have seen with Hellboy, but I think its more of a challenge than with other more famous Vampire hunter characters.

The Darkhorse character Hellboy who worked for the organisation called the B P R D really laid down the tropes that later versions of this type of character would follow.

There are many similarities between Hellboy and the Hugh Jackman version of Van Helsing for instance. Both are supernatural beings (a Demon and an Angel respectively) who arrived on earth under mysterious circumstances. Neither knows why they were sent to earth, and both were found by an organisation that hunts the paranormal, who took them in, and trained them to be warriors for their cause, whilst helping them try to understand their past.

Both also have a connection to their archenemy too, Rasputin and Dracula, though we don’t find out much about either’s mysterious link to the head Demon, or Vampire.

I think the fact that Jackman version of Van Helsing followed this template was why it didn’t really work. Its an enjoyable monster mash, and Hugh Jackman as always is great in the role.

However he isn’t really Van Helsing. Obviously I don’t expect Van Helsing to always be the same in every adaptation. The Cushing Van Helsing was younger and more dashing than the one from the novel.

However the two defining traits of Van Helsing’s character are that he is the greatest expert on Vampires, and that unlike Buffy and Blade, he is just an ordinary man who hunts Vampires. He followed in a long line of scholarly, gentlemanly heroes like Sherlock Holmes, and he was created to be Mr exposition and a way for Stoker to develop his supernatural world and creatures.

The Jackman version of Van Helsing doesn’t know anything about Vampires, Demons or monsters. In fact he has his own standard Cushing/Van Helsing who tells him about Vampires, called Carl.

He also is not just an ordinary man, being a former Angel, who becomes a Werewolf and kills Vampires using his superpowers.

Whilst the Cushing Van Helsing did do something new with the character, it still stuck to the core principles of his Stokers version, but when you look at Jackman’s version you can never imagine him as Van Helsing.

If the Jackman Van Helsing had been a totally original character then I think he would have been better thought of. Its kind of like the 98 version of Godzilla for instance who similarly did not resemble the character he was supposed to be.

The Bad Guys

1/ Vampire Supremacist

Image result for the master buffy

Originator: Bram Stokers Dracula

Other Notable Examples: The Master (Buffy), Herrick (Being Human), Deacon Frost (Blade), Alpha Vampire (Supernatural), Mr Snow (Being Human), Valek (Vampires), Azazel (Supernatural) Muriel (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters)

My favourite type of Vampire villain. This guy is the antithesis to the romantic, conflicted Vampire who just wants to be human.

This Vampire will LOVE being a Vampire. He will regard his species as the ultimate race, obviously far above humans, but also above other supernatural creatures too. (If there are Werewolves around he will usually hold them in a special kind of contempt.)

He will want to create a world where humans are rounded up into cages like animals, bled slowly, and tortured for the Vampires amusement. (Again other supernatural creatures may get a similar treatment too.)

There will often be an alternate what if scenario where we see the Vampire Supremacist has succeeded and created this “perfect world”. All of the main heroes, (except for one who is able to turn things back) will either have been killed in the most horrific ways, or worse become the Vampire Supremacists most vicious minions, such as in the Buffy episode The Wish or Being Human’s 4th season.

This Vampire will be fond of going into big grandiose speeches about the superiority of Vampires and why they should rule the world such as the following.

Buffy: The Wish

The Master: Behold the technical wonder that is about to alter the very fabric of our society. Some would say such an advancement goes against our nature. I say to them. Well I don’t say anything to them because I kill them. Vampires! Undeniably we are the worlds superior race. Yet we have always been to parochial. Too bound to the mindless routine of the predator. Hunt and kill, hunt and kill, titilating? Yes. Practical? Hardly. Meanwhile the humans with their truly plebian minds have brought us a truly Demonic concept. Mass production!

Blade

Frost: Let me tell you what we are. We’re the top of the fucking food chain. Tonight the blood gods coming and everyone in his path will be turned. How are going to cure the whole fucking world.

He will also get angry when his human enemies think they can threaten him. He won’t just look down on humans, he will literally regard them as filth, and may even live under ground because he can’t stand being among them. He will absolutely despise any display of “humanity” he sees among his Vampire minions too.

Supernatural

Alpha Vampire: When your kind first huddled round the fire, I was the thing in the dark, and you think you can harm me! 

Of course he will be a complete hypocrite too in many of his beliefs. He will regularly murder his Vampiric minions in the most horrific ways for trivial failures, in spite of all of his brotherhood of Vampires shit, and will generally show no regard for them whatsoever.

The reason for this is because his belief in Vampiric superiority stems simply from the fact that he is one. If he were a human then he would be the most fanatical Vampire hunter. In some ways this kind of character reminds me of Eric Cartman in the classic South Park episode Ginger Kids.

In this episode Cartman goes on about how much he hates red haired people (he even compares them to Vampires), until Kyle sticks a red wig on him in the middle of the night. Believing he has suddenly become a ginger, Cartman leads a “red power” movement to conquer and exterminate all non red heads. He even says “I will not be part of a god damned minority!”

That is pretty much what the Vampire Supremacist character is. He’s not going to be part of a race that skulks in the shadows, lives in fear of their existence being found out by humanity. He’s going to make sure that his people are the master race for himself.

Yet another example of this characters hypocrisy is the fact that whilst he will often rant about hating human emotions and weaknesses etc. He will still have a favourite lackey that he will love like a child, and whose death may even break him.

Physically this Vampire also may look more monstrous (The Master, Mr Snow) again to highlight how little humanity he has and how much older he is.

This guy will also be far more powerful than any other Vampire. In fact he will probably be immune to most of their weaknesses and whenever our hero tries to take him on in a straight fight it will end in a curb stomp in his favour unquestionably. He will also kill various other Vampire hunters to show how badass he is. The hero will have to use some kind of trick, or dirty tactic to finally take him out.

He will also be very fond of badass boasts too like commenting on all the Vampire hunters he’s killed. He might even boast about having killed a famous figure in history. His age will never be revealed, but he will casually mention having been at an event which establishes him as truly ancient, like the fall of Rome, or he might even mention having met cavemen!

This character to me is the best type of Vampire villain for many reasons. To start with he can give us a Vampire villain that is evil, yet we can kind of understand in a way.

In many ways we don’t really have the moral high ground against Vampires. At the end of the day Vampires kill what they regard as lesser creatures to survive, just like we do. Indeed considering human beings don’t actually have to feed on animal flesh, where as Vampires in many pieces of Vampire fiction DO have to survive on human blood, humans actually could be considered worse.

Of course you might argue that Vampires treat their human victims worse than we do our animals, but really that argument doesn’t hold much water when you consider how poorly animals are treated.

So really in what way are Vampires worse than us? Obviously yes we are not going to root for Vampires, because we are their prey, but at the end of the day, we can’t really say that Vampires are worse than human beings. As Doctor Wu said in Jurassic World “monster is a relative term, to a canary a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.”

If Buffy, Peter Cushing and Dean Winchester go home and have a chicken leg, or a lamb chop or a cheese burger or a few strips of bacon for tea, well then they are complete hypocrites. This Vampire character will be aware of that, which can lead to a very interesting confrontation that does genuinely make the viewer question the heroes righteousness, even though they are up against a monster that is genuinely evil.

Added to that this Vampire also being so powerful, can help Vampires to regain some of their menace too in things like Buffy and Blade, where we see regular Vamps get overpowered and killed easily all the time. This guy will show you that a Vampire, provided its able to live long enough, can still be a truly unstoppable foe, even against the ultimate Vampire killers.

The great irony is that it was Bram Stokers version of Dracula that created this type of character, yet almost all versions of Dracula are not depicted this way.

Stokers Dracula is not a romantic character. He is an arrogant monster who has lived for hundreds of years, and he seeks to make Vampires the dominant race on the planet. This is why he travels to England as he hopes to use the British Empire to spread Vampirism like never before.

Like all of the usual Vampire Supremacists he has his favourite lackeys, but is willing to abandon them for his own safety. He also gets angry when people like Van Helsing think they can threaten him, famously  ranting “They would play their wits against mine. Me who commanded armies and nations before they were even born. Fools!

Sadly however for some reason this aspect usually gets left out of Dracula’s character whenever he is adapted, and many versions actually turn him into more of a low key villain, pursuing someone out of revenge, or because he is in love with them. It would be nice to see someone actually portray the original Vampire king properly on the big screen after all this time.

This character doesn’t always have to be a Vampire. You can have a Demon Supremacist who fulfils all of the same tropes too.

Azazel the Yellow Eyed Demon from Supernatural is a Demon version of this type of character, beat for beat.

Azazel believes that his kind, Demons should rule the earth, and regards humans as little more than filth. He spends years trying to bring this plan about by freeing his father, Lucifer himself.

Azazel also looks unique (with his yellow eyes) and is immune to many standard Demon weaknesses too. He is a sadistic monster who enjoys killing women in the most horrific ways, yet much like the Master with Darla, he does genuinely love his Demonic children, Meg and Tom.

Azazel: (To Dean) As far as I’m concerned this is justice. You know that little exorcism of yours? That was my daughter. That one in the alley? That was my boy. You understand.

Dean: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Azazel: What? You’re the only one who can have a family? You destroyed my children. How would you feel if I killed your family? (Smiles at Dean.) Oh that’s right I forgot, I did. Still two wrongs don’t make a right.

Dean: You son of a bitch.

Azazel: You know, you fight, and you fight, and you fight for this family, but the truth is they don’t kneed you. Not like you need them. Sam? He’s clearly John’s favourite. Even when they fight that’s more concern than he’s ever shown you.

Dean: I bet you’re real proud of your kids too huh? Oh wait I forgot, I wasted em.

Azazel really walked into that one!

Another non Vampire and non Demon example is Muriel, the Grand High Witch and main antagonist from the movie Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Muriel wishes to allow her kind to rule the earth, and she is obviously far stronger than your average Witch. Also whilst preaching about how her kind should come together to rule the world, she memorably sends her minions through the booby trapped woods to see if its safe!

Generally speaking however this character is usually a Vampire, though much like with other stock Vampire characters, a Demon is most commonly used in place of a Vampire as seen with Azazel.

2/ The Just Want To Watch The World Burn Vampire

Originator: Christopher Lee’s Version of Dracula

Other Examples: Angelus (Buffy and Angel), Evil Hal (Being Human), Frost (Blade), Count Karnstein (Twins of Evil)

The most frightening and vicious Vampire villain of them all. This Vampire is a monster right through to his core. He will have no redeeming features, and no plans or ambitions except to torture and kill people.

These monsters will be dangerous to everyone and everything around them, even other Vampires and their most loyal servants. Most of the time he will kill someone not for food, but for his own amusement. He will also prolong his victims torture for as long as he possibly can.

When these Vampires plan something big, then it will be the destruction of the entire world. We’re not just talking about the end of human society like a Vampire Supremacist. His plan will literally kill everything on the planet, including all other Vampires too, and even himself, but he won’t care. For him it will be the ultimate act of horror and the perfect way to go out.

Finally this Vampire will also get the most horrific death. A simple stake is too good for him. In order to really make the audience happy after building him up to be the most evil monster this Vampire will need to really get his just deserts.

Christopher Lee’s Dracula was the one who established this type of Vampire in popular culture. Lee’s Dracula was a bloodthirsty monster who in contrast to later versions of the Vampire count, had no love or affection for the women he went after.

Indeed Lee’s Dracula was probably the least romantic version of the Vampire there has ever been. He didn’t always kill his victims just to feed. In many movies such as Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Taste The Blood of Dracula and Dracula AD 1972, Dracula attempts to turn his female victims into Vampires just to torture their father, fiance or relative who had wronged him in some way.

Lee’s Dracula would also rape his female victims too, as he would force them to sleep with him using mind control. Furthermore after making them into Vampires he would always discard, beat, or even kill his brides because he didn’t want to have to share his kills with them.

In Scars of Dracula, Lee stabs his Vampire bride Tanya to death with a silver blade, and has her body burned in acid, whilst in Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, he regularly beats Zena, his human bride and demeans her. Later when she fails to bring him another woman he plans to make into a Vampire, he tortures her and makes her into a Vampire, before ordering his servant to burn her to death!

In Taste the Blood of Dracula meanwhile he brutally murders one of his Vampire brides when she attempts to get close to him, and dumps her body in the canal for her brother to find. Finally in Satanic Rites of Dracula he is shown to keep his Vampire brides chained up in a cellar, with all of them having been reduced to the level of animals.

Lee’s Dracula also didn’t always kill his victims to feed on them. He often killed for his own amusement, and he often killed his victims in the most horrific ways.

In Scars of Dracula, Lee’s version of the Vampire dispatches a horde of bats to devour all of the women and children in the town. Its one of the most disturbing moments in any Vampire film, as the men of the village, having believed they have finally rid themselves of Dracula after burning down his castle, arrive back at the church where they believe their wives and children were safe, only to find their mangled remains scattered all over the former house of god. Even the local priest himself declares the church to now be a place of evil!

Dracula’s treatment of Klove, his most loyal servant is no better meanwhile. Whenever Klove steps out of line, Dracula beats him with a whip, and then sticks a burning hot sword into his whip wounds! In Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, another example of his horrific treatment of his servants can be found in the way he forces a priest to do his bidding through mind control.

The weak willed Priest is forced to carry out such horrors on Dracula’s command as burning young women alive, bludgeoning other priests to death, and kidnapping young women for Dracula to rape, kill and make into blood drinking monsters! The priest is awake throughout all of it, yet can’t resist the Vampires sadistic commands.

In Satanic Rites of Dracula, the Vampire finally decides to end the world. Having grown bored of his immortal existence, Lee’s Dracula desires to rest forever, but naturally wants to not only go out in a blaze of horror, but take down the entire world with him.

So he creates a plague that is spread by touch, and kills its victims in the most horrific way possible. It literally eats the flesh from the bones, and it stimulates the pain receptors of its victims to the absolute maximum they can be stimulated. It also kills its victims over the course of several days, and can infect and destroy any animal on the planet, not just humans.

Dracula intends to exterminate every single life form on earth with the plague, using his four carriers, (one of which he intends to be his archenemy Van Helsing, with Jessica Van Helsing meanwhile being turned into a Vampire, so that she will be immune to the plague, and be forced to watch as everyone and everything she knows and loves is destroyed!)

Dracula’s servants believed that he was only going to use the plague as a deterrent to force the world powers to obey their commands, and when one of them protests, Dracula actually forces him to infect himself using his mind control. Its one of the most gruesome scenes in the entire Hammer Dracula catalogue as we see the virus slowly eat away his flesh.

Finally Lee’s Dracula would also always suffer an extremely painful and humiliating death too. He was burned in the sun, drowned, impaled on a cross and melted into a puddle of blood, struck by lightening and set on fire, and trapped in a hawthorn bush and shredded.

Lee’s Dracula was the ultimate horror movie monster. A totally evil creature that was devoid of any conscience, who was as cruel to his servants and brides as he was to his enemies and victims, and killed people in the most horrific and painful ways, whilst also dying in the most spectacular and over the top ways too.

He made a huge impact on the horror genre, and naturally we started to see other Vampire villains created in a similar mould, including Count Karnstein from the Hammer movie, Twins of Evil.

Karnstein is shown to be a sadistic, bloodthirsty maniac even before he becomes a Vampire. He kills not just to survive, but for fun and has no regard for his Vampire brides who he regularly beats and sacrifices for his own survival.

There were also elements of this in Frost’s character from Blade. Whilst he wanted to take over for the good of his people, Frost was still an unrelenting sadist who didn’t always kill just to feed as seen here.

Frost also just like Lee’s Dracula suffers a truly heinous death (its definitely the most horrific out of the three main Vampire villains in the series.)

Vampires in general following Lee’s Dracula were made to be more sadistic monsters. For instance in Buffy all Vampires are shown to enjoy torturing their victims. To be fair though this was as a result of the rise of the Vampire hunter as a major character. If we are going to root for the person who kills Vampires, then the Vampire itself has to be a monster that we don’t mind be killed in the most horrible ways regularly.

Still Lee’s Dracula was really the first such example and in many ways the template for those who came after.

Definitely the most successful and iconic example of this type of Vampire after Lee’s Dracula was Angelus, Angel’s evil counterpart from the Buffy/Angel franchise.

Angelus is every bit as evil and twisted as Christopher Lee’s Dracula. He enjoys torturing his victims in the most brutal ways for hours, possibly days on end. He also enjoys breaking his victims psychologically as seen with the likes of Drusilla and Holtz whose loved ones he kills, and who he both drives insane. Angelus is also shown to take a particular delight in torturing and raping his female victims too such as Holtz’ wife or the gypsy girl he spent an hour torturing and raping to death.

Angelus: Chicks just love a good accent. Makes em all buttery in the nether regions. Isn’t that right Fred? You know I had a bit of an Irish brogue back in the day. If you like I can use it on you when I rape you to death!

Angelus also is shown to kill people more often for his own amusement than to feed. Arguably the most infamous example of this can be seen when he murders Jenny Calendar, Giles’ girlfriend and later places her corpse in Giles bed, setting things up to look as though she is waiting for him up stairs.

We later find out he has done this to his other victims too, including one instance where he snapped the necks of several infants and laid them in their crib for their father to find. It was only when the father leaned in to kiss them goodnight and felt how cold they were that he found out the truth.

Finally Angelus is such a bastard that even other Vampires hate him because he is just as cruel to them too. When Spike is in a wheelchair, Angelus sleeps with his girlfriend Drusilla, and taunts Spike about it for months on end until Spike eventually turns against him, allies with Buffy and beats Angelus with a crowbar.

Spike: Have you forgotten that you’re a bloody guest in my bloody home.

Angelus: And as a guest if there is anything I can do for you, any responsibility I can assume while you’re spinning your wheels… (looks over at Drusilla) Anything I’m not already doing that is.

Spike: NOW THAT’S ENOUGH (leans out of his chair to punch him, Angelus laughs.)

Similarly when he first meets the Master he insults the elder Vampire to the point where he beats him to a bloody pulp. I love the way Angelus as you can see here literally can’t stop being an asshole no matter what. Even when he is in the presence of someone like the Master who could kill him in like three seconds flat, he still insults him because he doesn’t know how to not be an asshole.

One thing the Master, Giles, Spike and Buffy all have in common is wanting to smash this bastards face in. 

Finally Hal’s evil persona in Being Human is similar in that much like Angelus he enjoys killing for fun. We can see this when he calmly chokes the Werewolf Larry to death, taunting him before hand, and calmly telling Larry “this is the real me!

The just want to watch the world burn Vampire is obviously not the most complex Vampire villain, but he is still nevertheless by far and away the most terrifying.

He really takes advantage of what it is that makes Vampires such effective monsters. Monsters like Zombies and Werewolves are not really evil. They are just animals who kill for food.

A Vampire however is a thinking creature that is aware that it has to kill other sentient creatures to survive. There are obviously many avenues you can go down as a result of this that you can’t with something like a Zombie, or even other thinking monsters like Demons and Witches who don’t have to kill to survive like a Vampire.

You can obviously have a Vampire try and find another way to survive, or you can have it look at it from a practical way of what its doing is no worse than what humans do to animals, or you can have it actually enjoy having the power to take people’s lives like Angelus and the Lee Dracula, which is all the more terrifying.

This character can obviously only be featured in the darkest type of Vampire story.

3/ The Broken, Vengeful, Twisted Vampire Killer

Originator: Daniel Holtz (Angel)

Other Notable Examples: Gordon Walker (Supernatural), Kemp (Being Human)

The dark counterpart to the vengeful crusader. This character is also quite a nice counterpart to the Vampire Supremacist as he is essentially the same character, just on the other side.

This character will hate Vampires because his loved ones were killed by them. There’s a good chance that he will have had to kill his loved one who was turned into a Vampire too. He will often carry something around that reminds him of his deceased loved one.

This character will seem like a hero at first, as ultimately he just wants to rid the world of Vampires like Buffy, Blade or Van Helsing. However as time goes on we will see that he is far more unstable and fanatical. He will want to kill any Vampire, or Demon regardless of its alignment, and he will also be willing to murder innocent people too. This character will also often suffer an ironic fate, maybe being turned into the very monster he hated, or being punished in the same way as he did others.

Daniel Holtz from Angel was really the first example of this type of character. Holtz was inspired by Xena’s archenemy Callisto. Callisto was a warrior who had been driven insane when Xena burned her village to the ground and killed her family. Callisto is even more embittered when Xena reforms and becomes celebrated as a hero, and tries to make Xena pay through any means necessary.

Holtz was a Vampire hunter whose family were murdered by Angelus. Much like Callisto, Holtz is even more embittered when the murderer of his family reforms and becomes a hero, and still tries to ruin his life any way he can. (Both Holtz and Callisto target the children of Angel and Xena, and ironically are only able to thanks to the misguided, but ultimately treacherous actions of the heroes best friend, Wesley and Gabrielle, both of whom the hero tries to kill afterwards.)

Holtz was a truly fantastic villain who was played superbly by Keith Szarabajka. Holtz would lay down almost all of the tropes that this type of character was to follow.

At first he seemed like he was a genuine hero, as he hunted Vampires to protect the innocent, and even in his feud with Angel he at first wanted to slay the Vampire to actually free his human soul from the torment he was in.

However as time goes on it becomes obvious that all he actually cares about is revenge, and worse he is willing to take away an innocent child’s life and turn him against his father, as well as manipulate other, broken and damaged people for his own ends, and even kill innocent people like Wesley.

Holtz is aware of how twisted he has become, even saying to his right hand woman Justine that he knows he is going to hell before he makes her kill him.

It was a great twist to have what would normally have been the main hero in any other Vampire story become the villain. Holtz is the same as Captain Kronos, Jack Crow, even Blade. All 4’s loved ones were killed by and turned into Vampires and all 4 have as a result devoted themselves to destroying them. With Holtz however unlike those characters he not only comes across a Vampire that isn’t evil, which throws the righteousness of his crusade into question, but its actually the same Vampire that killed his loved ones and so sadly he ends up becoming seen as a villain by the audience.

Another character that would follow a similar template was Gordon Walker from Supernatural. Walker much like Holtz lost a loved one to Vampires, his sister, who was also turned and who he later killed.

Walker at first seems like just another hunter, and he and Dean Winchester even bond. However it soon becomes apparent that much like Holtz he is a fanatic who views all supernatural creatures as being the same.

We see this when he captures and brutally tortures a reformed Vampire named Lenore (played by Amber Benson, best known as Tara on Buffy.)

Later Gordon tries to kill Sam Winchester when he finds out that he has Demon blood, though in the process he ends up getting a wonderfully ironic death when he is turned into a Vampire as punishment for the Vampires he has killed in the past.

Gordon is condemned to an eternity as the thing he hates. In Supernatural, the souls of monsters such as Vampires, Werewolves, Ghouls, Shapeshifters, and Djinns go to Purgatory when they die instead of heaven or hell.

Purgatory essentially resembles a giant never ending forest and the monsters hunt each other there for all eternity. Whenever they die in Purgatory, they will come back to life again and thus are doomed to die over and over again forever.

To me this was the greatest piece of lore from Supernatural, as it made the Vampires and Werewolves far more terrifying than ever before. In other pieces of Vampire fiction when someone becomes a Vampire its tragic, but at least they are freed when they are slain. Here however when you die you are still a Vampire, and worse, you are sent somewhere where you will never see your loved ones ever again, and be forced to fight and kill other monsters.

It doesn’t matter if you were a good person as a human before you became a Vampire, and it doesn’t even matter if you are a heroic Vampire who uses his powers to fight other members of your kind like Blade. Similarly you can be a Werewolf who does his best to make sure that you never escape on the night of the full moon and live a perfectly otherwise normal life, like George Tully from Being Human or Oz from Buffy.

When you die you are still going to Purgatory, away from your human loved ones who go to Heaven, where you will be stuck in your wolf or monster form, having to fight other monsters for all eternity.

With this in mind it truly is the perfect fate for Gordon a man who spent his entire life hunting Vampires, to spend eternity in the forests of Purgatory as a Vampire, hunting them and all of the other monsters.

On the one hand its his worst nightmare being the thing he hates, yet on the other, killing Vampires is what his idea of heaven would look like anyway. One can only imagine he will be chasing the Vampire who turned him forever, though at the same time he will be chased by many of the Vampires who he killed, including his own sister! That will be an awkward family reunion to say the least.

Finally another example of this type of character is Kemp from Being Human. Kemp much like Holtz saw his wife and children killed by Vampires and devoted the rest of his life to destroying them. Though he views Vampires as the most abhorrent supernatural creatures, he is still shown to want to wipe out Werewolves and Ghosts too, regardless of their moral alignment.

Kemp is also shown to be willing to murder innocent people in his quest, including his own assistant who he brutally stabs to death in order to exorcise Annie, and later Jaggat who he kills simply for associating with a Vampire, a Ghost and a Werewolf.

Much like Holtz, Kemp keeps a reminder of his wife and children’s death. Holtz would often sing the lullaby he used to sing to his daughter (and that he sang to her the final time he held her in her arms, after she had become a Vampire, just before he threw her into the sun.)

Kemp meanwhile carries the blood soaked bible he used to ward off the Vampires that killed his family.

Finally Kemp like Gordon Walker also meets a fitting end when Annie, a ghost he exorcised against her will, brings him into her dimension.

This character is obviously always paired against a more heroic Vampire or supernatural creature to show what a fanatic they are, but I think it would be interesting to see this type of character go up against the Vampire Supremacist too.

Obviously you’d still always need a good guy Vampire there, or else this character would just end up being the hero.

Still I’d love to see a Kemp/Holtz/Gordon Walker go up against a Master/Frost/Herrick/Dracula type of character. There’d be room for some brilliant conflict between these two fanatics, who in many ways are just the same, but on different sides.

4/ The Romantic, Conflicted Vampire

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Originator: Dracula’s Daughter

Other Notable Examples: Jerry Daindridge (Fright Night), Count Dracula (Gary Oldman Version)

This Vampire is obviously similar to the good guy, conflicted romantic Vampire character like Lestat, with the key difference being that he just simply isn’t strong enough to give up feeding on humans.

He hates being a Vampire, will actually feel guilt over his actions, and will even fall in love, but ultimately he or she just won’t be strong enough to overcome being a monster. When they die they will often have a look of peace on their face, and may even thank the person who killed them.

Of course this character will still ultimately be a villain, and will still do absolutely horrific things. The fact that they will also often be a love rival for the main hero may also cause them to behave in a more deplorable way than other Vampire villains, as after all love makes us do crazy things.

This Vampire tends to be a polarising villain among fans of the genre. Obviously in some ways he can be a more complex type of villain than say the want to watch the world burn Vampire, but at the same time he can also be a bit more mopey, and is extremely limited compared to other Vampire villains as all he can really be in are love triangle stories.

5/ The Young Upstart Vampire

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Originator: David From The Lost Boys

Other Notable Examples: Spike (Buffy and Angel), Frost (Blade film series only)

This type of Vampire much like the Vampire Supremacist LOVES being a Vampire, but its in a different kind of way.

Where as the Vampire Supremacist will develop an ideology about why his people are the rightful rulers of the earth, this guy will love being a Vampire in a more shallow way. He will love having super strength, being young and sexy forever, being able to fly, being able to drink loads, and smoke and not have to worry about his health etc.

He will be an adrenaline junkie, and have a real love for aspects of modern popular culture, like television series, music, and will often dress in modern clothing too (as opposed to other Vampires who tend to dress in more extravagant, old fashioned clothes.)

Finally this Vampire will be in some kind of conflict with the more old fashioned type of Vampire. Perhaps it will be because he is drawing too much attention to them with his antics, but whatever the case he will not behave in a way Vampires are supposed to, much to the annoyance of his fellow Vampires, and Vampire hunters alike.

David from the Lost Boys who was played by Kiefer Sutherland really pioneered this type of character. Though he wasn’t technically the main villain of the film, he was still nevertheless its most popular character and he would along with Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious be one of the three main inspirations on Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  (Spike’s relationship with Drusilla was inspired by Sid and Nancy, but James Marsters said he based his swagger, and cocky attitude on Johnny Rotten, even telling Joss Whedon “I’m going to give you Johnny”)

One of the main influences for Spike.

Still despite the influence of the Sex Pistols two front men, there is a lot of David in Spike. Even just physically the two are very similar, with their platinum blonde hair and dark leather coats.

Spike’s whole character is based on challenging what we think we know about Vampires.  He rejects the Master and the Order of Aulerius’ way of life from the start, even declaring “from now on there is going to be a lot less ritual and a little more fun around here”. He is also shown to embrace human culture, and have genuine romantic feelings for Drusilla. Later he is even shown to fall in love with a Slayer.

Spike went against what people believed Buffyverse Vampires could do, both in universe and in the real world, which is what made him both a popular and controversial character.

Finally another example of this type of character was Frost in the original Blade movie. As we have seen Frost embodied elements of other Vampire stock characters too, but there were definitely traces of this type of character in him too.

In the comics Frost was a much older, more mature character, and a Vampire supremacist, but for the 98 film he was a much younger, more modern, upstart who wanted to challenge the Vampire traditions of remaining hidden and blending into human society. Much like Spike did with the Anointed One, Frost kills the stuffy, more old fashioned Vampires and takes charge.

This type of Vampire villain though not as common as other types tends to still be very popular among fans and viewers. Not only is he often a lot younger, and more attractive than the stuffy old, often inhuman Vampire kings, but he is also a lot more fun too. He isn’t mopey, doesn’t spend all his time skulking in a crumbling old castle or a crypt. He actually does make it look like its cool being a Vampire. You get to play by nobody’s rules but your own, stay up all night, and kill anyone who pisses you off. What’s not to like?

The fact that he also doesn’t follow the usual Vampire traditions and expectations means that he is also obviously a much more unpredictable character than any other type of Vampire villain too.

6/ Hiding in Plain Sight Villain

Image result for D.D DenhamImage result for Wolfram and Hart

Originator: D.D. Denham (The Satanic Rites of Dracula)

Other Notable Examples: Grand High Witch (The Witches), Dick Roman (Supernatural), The Mayor (Buffy), Wolfram and Hart (Angel)

This monster will be a villain who not only has resources, but is a respected public figure. They will be a philanthropist, known to the public as a kind, generous person in their private life and be the last person anyone could suspect of any wrong doing. Of course behind closed doors they will be the worst, most deplorable monster.

D.D. Denham in the last (and in my opinion one of the greatest) Hammer Draculas really pioneered this type of character.

D.D. Denham was Dracula’s latest alias. To the public he was a powerful, eccentric, reclusive, but generous millionaire, but in secret he was not only capturing girls, torturing them and making them into Vampires, but he was also creating a plague to wipe out humanity!

In a way D.D Denham can be seen as an unintentional metaphor for men like Harvey Weinstein who abuse women and are able to use their connections and influence to not only get away with it, but actually be seen as respected and admired figures in most people’s eyes.

Lee’s Dracula was always portrayed as a sexual predator. He does rape his victims as well as kill them, and the fact that he can now get away with it in the modern world, (and even keep young women essentially as his sex slaves in the dungeon of his house.) Actually makes him more terrifying than ever before.

Like so many of the victims of scumbags like Weinstein, or the victims in grooming gangs in places like Rochdale, Denhams victims are completely ignored, with even Van Helsing not being aware for two years that Dracula is preying on these girls, who quickly go on the missing persons list and are then quietly forgotten about.

The Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl’s novel and the later film adaptation (where she was played by Anjelica Huston) may be an even more disturbing example meanwhile.

She was the head of the leading charity to help children in the United Kingdom. Furthermore all of the other board members of said charity were her minions. In Dahl’s story, Witches are Demons who hate children and use their magics to torture and kill them in horrific ways (like trapping Erica in the painting, or worst of all in the novel, turning children into hot dogs and feeding them to their parents whilst they are still conscious!)

There is a frightening moment in the book, when Luke is playing with his pets in a room the charity for children’s safety is about to take place in, and assumes that these people who love children, won’t mind a little boy playing with his pets whilst they set up their meeting.

He of course gets a rather nasty surprise when they take their faces off! (In the novel this essentially costs him his life, as unlike the happy ending of the film where he is turned back from being a mouse. In the book he remains a mouse at the end and is told that he will die in about 8 years, meaning he’ll only live to 16!)

Just as D. D. Denham was a perfect metaphor for sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein, then the Witches are a perfect metaphor for twisted individuals that target children such as Jimmy Savile who use their public status as a supposed “friend to all children” to both make themselves untouchable and gain access to victims.

Much like with D.D Denham and his victims who suffer in silence, what the Witches do to children as flamboyant as it may seem, has a certain real horror to it in scenes like this.

Here we have a boy attending a meeting that his parents think is made up of people who love children, but who actually want to do him harm, and who are relishing in the fact that he is alone in their company.

The Mayor in Buffy meanwhile is obviously similarly a metaphor for not only how politicians behind closed doors can have shadier personalities and motives, but also how they may even be in the pocket of a criminal underbelly who’ve helped them get to power (with Mayor Wilkins being a Demon worshipper who by paying tributes and making sacrifices to the monsters of Sunnydale has gained the influence and supernatural powers he has.)

Whilst the Mayor was a great villain of course, he was a slightly more humorous example of this type of character than the Grand High Witch and D.D. Denham. In one scene we see that he actually keeps human skulls and bones in his closet!

Joss Whedon played with this trope again in Angel of course with Wolfram and Hart, the Demonic law firm. Wolfram and Hart much like Mayor Wilkins could be used in a humorous way, with the joke obviously being Lawyers as Demons. Still there were obviously darker elements such as a senator who is served by Wolfram and Hart being willing to brainwash her rival into being a pedophile.

Being Human and Charmed also play with this trope too with Herrick, the Vampire king being the head of police, and Cole being both a Demon and a Lawyer too.

The Leviathans meanwhile in Supernatural were also corporate monsters, who played on conspiracy theories of those in the top trying to brainwash us by spiking our food and control how the masses think and act.

These villains bring monsters into our modern world like never before, and so naturally as the setting of Vampire and Demon stories has shifted to modern day, then these villains have become among the most common.

7/ Exotic, Otherworldly, Ghostly Vampire

Originator: Dracula (Bela Lugosi Version)

Other Notable Examples: Dracula’s Daughter, Dracula (Frank Langella Version), Dracula (Buffy Version)

This Vampire villain is almost like a Ghost. They will creep about in the shadows, live in old crumbling castles, and a greater emphasis will be placed on their hypnotic powers.

Unlike other Vampires who use their super strength and physical powers, these guys will instead place people under their thrall with just one glance.

There will always be a certain romantic aspect to these Vampires personalities. They may not be in love in with their victims, but they will at the very least not hate them. They will view turning someone into a Vampire as a positive thing as they are making them young and beautiful forever.

This Vampire will also often be somewhat more exotic looking and very beautiful physically, yet there will be a certain stiff, cold aspect to their mannerisms and appearance.

These were among the original movie Vampires and in some ways set the template for almost all who followed.

Bela Lugosi, the original and for many still the greatest Dracula, pioneered this type of Vampire in the original Universal version of Stokers novel. Lugosi’s Dracula was an alluring, attractive, icey character in contrast to the more savage, powerful monster from the book.

Lugosi even became something of a sex symbol for his role (at one point he received more fan mail than even Clark Gable!) This would of course twist the public’s perception of Vampires into being more attractive creatures in popular culture, setting the stage for later more romantic Vampires.

For the next few decades almost all film Vampires would similarly be portrayed as more hypnotic, otherworldly, charming characters.

Gradually however these types of Vampire characters would be phased out following the onset of the Hammer movies.

Hammer focused more on the Vampires physical powers, such as their superhuman strength, and the horror around Vampires was more visceral and explicit. Rather than watch Vampires creep about in the shadows, and hypnotise people, we would see them burst into a room with blood stained fangs, grabbing people by the throat and tossing them across rooms.

As the decades rolled on, later Vampire films and television series would expand on what Hammer started to the point where we have modern day Vampires jumping hundreds of feet in the air and ripping people to pieces.

You can see how Vampires physical prowess and powers overall have changed over the years.

This brilliant sketch from Armstrong and Miller pokes fun at how much Vampires have changed over the years.

Whilst this type of character may be seen by some as old fashioned, it still nevertheless set the template for romantic and appealing Vampires in general in popular culture, whilst the image of Dracula is still largely Bela Lugosi too.

The black widows peak, the long flowing cape, the penguin suit, and the thick Hungarian accent all come from Lugosi, rather than the Stokers novel.

Occasionally writers may return to this model such as the Buffyverse version of Dracula.

8/ Jiang Shi (Chinese, Hopping Vampires)

Originator: Chinese Mythology

Other Notable Examples: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, Mr Vampire, Mr Vampire 2, Encounters of the Spooky Kind, Mr Vampire 4, Vampire vs Vampire.

The Jiang Shi were originally completely different monsters to Vampires. They were undead monsters from Chinese mythology who fed on the souls of their victims. They were as single minded as animals, never spoke, only roared and had hideous rotting faces. Myths about the Jiang Shi developed entirely independently from European myths about Vampires, but when Western stories about Vampires began to make their way to China, then the Chinese began to associate European Vampires with their own Jiang Shi. Dracula was even referred to as a blood sucking Jiang Shi in the Chinese translation.

It would be in the 1970s Hammer movie, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires that the Jiang Shi would actually be made into Chinese Vampires for the first time. The Jiang Shi in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires were as single minded as animals like the Jiang Shi from myths. They also had hideous rotting faces, and whilst they drank blood, they could also steal people’s souls and turn them into mindless zombie servants (who like the Jiang Shi from myths would hop up and down when they moved.)

The Jiang Shi make their film debut.

Whilst The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires did introduce the Jiang Shi to film audiences and gave them more Western Vampire traits such as a thirst for human blood. It would later be the Hong Kong Mr Vampire film series that would cement their place as a classic movie monster around the world.

Starring the late Lam Ching Ying, the Mr Vampire film series led to a massive horror boom in the East, comparable to the one that Universal kicked off in America in the 30s and 40s, and that Hammer studios kicked off in Britain in the 50s and 60s.

The Jiang Shi from the Mr Vampire movies were referred to as both Jiang Shi and Vampires, and they had a number of traits of both European Vampires and Jiang Shi. They feed on blood like European Vampires rather than souls, but they have hideous rotting faces, are as single minded as animals, and move by hopping up and down like the Jiang Shi of myths.

Their weaknesses are also a combination of European Vampires and Jiang Shi. They are killed by piercing the heart like European Vampires, but are vulnerable to Chinese herbs and enchantments like the Jiang Shi.

The Mr Vampire films were hugely successful in China and Hong Kong, and they would develop a very strong cult following in the west too. From that point on the Jiang Shi have not only appeared in some Western works such as Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series, but they are now almost always referred to as Chinese Vampires.

The Jiang Shi are almost always depicted as villains, but the most common heroic Jiang Shi in films is a friendly Jiang Shi child. This character will often be presented in a more comical way. He will be a sweet friendly boy who likes using his Vampire powers to play harmless tricks on people. The first example of this type of character was Wee Okay Boy in Mr Vampire 2.

Whilst there are myths about undead Demons that feed on people to survive in almost every culture. the Jiang Shi have undoubtedly become the most famous around the world, alongside the classic Western Vampire and Zombie.

9/ Degenerate, Aristocratic Vampires (British Vampires)

Originator: Christopher Lee’s Dracula

Other Notable Examples: Baron Meinster (The Brides of Dracula), Doctor Ravna (Kiss of the Vampire), Count Karnstein (Twins of Evil), Count Mitterhouse (Vampire Circus), Dracula (Marvel Version)

This Vampire is most commonly found in British fiction, and in many ways they could be considered British Vampires, the same way the Jiang Shi are Chinese Vampires.

These characters will have been aristocrats in life, and probably cruel, horrible people before they became Vampires too. In contrast to the Lugosi Dracula who lives in crumbling castles, these Vampires will live in polished, luxurious castles, filled with beautiful art and fancy furniture. He will be pompous, arrogant and dress in fancy over the top clothes. He will also be a colossal pervert, with his crimes almost always being sexual in nature.

Everyone in the local village will know this character is a Vampire, and they will want to kill him, but will be too terrified to even lift a finger against him. It won’t just be because of his power as a Vampire but his influence as nobleman or a count.

The Vampire will be aware of this and will always taunt and laugh at the villagers for being pathetic cowards.

Whenever the villagers do finally rise up and strike out against him, then it will end very badly for them. We see this in Scars of Dracula of course when the villagers attempt to burn Dracula’s castle, and in response Dracula sends bats to slaughter all of the women and children in the village who are hiding in a church, and in Vampire Circus, where Count Mitterhouse after being staked, curses the villagers that they will all die, their children will die and their town will die (all of which comes true!)

This character grew out of Hammer’s habit of portraying their villains as vicious members of the upper class. In movies like Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Curse of the Werewolf, and Frankenstein Created Women, the monsters are all created by spoiled rich brats, land owners and lords.

These Vampire characters continued this tradition brilliantly and served as the perfect metaphors for corruption and decadence at the top of society.

10/ Fists and Fangs, Thug Vampires (American Vampires)

Originator: The Lost Boys

Other Notable Examples: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, Supernatural

The opposite to the British, Aristocratic, pompous Vampire. This Vampire will live in crappy, rundown, abandoned warehouses, mouldy old crypts, or even in the sewers.

They will grab people off the streets at night and kill them, though they may also take them back to their lair and torture them for their own amusement.

These Vampires can look human but will almost always revert to a more monstrous form when feeding. They will tend to dress in more toned down, normal clothes like leather coats and they will talk in a more casual, common way.

These Vampires are used as a metaphor for thugs, street predators, rapists and gang violence. A classic example of this can be found in the Angel Episode, Warzone.

Here the fight between Vampire hunter Charles Gunn’s team and a local pack of Vampires is written as being more like a gang war than anything else. When the Vampires all pile on top of Charles Gunn’s sister to feed on her, its treated almost like a gang rape.

Just as the British Vampires were the perfect metaphors for corruption at the top of society, these Vampires were excellent metaphors for the worst kind of scum at the bottom of society.

These Vampires only tend to pop up in American series like Blade, Supernatural and Buffy. Thus just as the Jiang Shi are the Chinese Vampires, the perverted, corrupt Aristocrats are British Vampires, then these guys can really be seen as the modern day American Vampire.

11/ Vampires Who Can Make Their Blood Into Weapons (Asian Vampires)

Originator: Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl

Other Notable Examples: Vampire Detective

These Vampires appear to be quite common in Asian films and television series such as the Japanese film Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl and the South Korean television series, Vampire Detective. They have the power when to turn their blood in weapons such as axes, swords or projectiles that can cut their victims to pieces.

These Vampires however are almost always presented as the protagonists, as after all a Vampire this powerful would be a lot harder for Buffy, Peter Cushing or Blade to kill.

These Vampires will tend to be somewhat more surreal, over the top and even somewhat comical compared to other Vampires.

Asian Vampires are fucking awesome!

12/ Ugly, Freak, Outcast Vampire

Originator: Count Orlock (Nosferatu)

Other Notable Examples: The Master (Buffy), Count Orlock (Klaus Kinski version), Nomak (Blade 2), Kurt Barlow (Salem’s Lot)

This Vampire character is utterly repulsive to look at. He will be bald headed, have rat like teeth, pale skin, and long, dirty talons.

He will usually be an evil Vampire that despises humanity and is not presented as being romantic on the surface, but underneath unlike the Vampire Supremacist he might be full of self loathing and guilt. He will only be so evil, and twisted because he has been rejected for ever his appearance, and knows he will never fit in.

This Vampire will show us how horrible it actually is being a Vampire. In a lot of other works Vampires can end up being more of a teenage fantasy. Being a Vampire can even look quite cool. You get super powers, never get sick, never age. Yes there’s the whole bloodlust thing, but even that often looks quite easy to control in certain films and tv series.

This type of Vampire however shows a different side to the myth. Here when you become a Vampire, you end up as an ugly, foul smelling, rotting, beast, condemned to spend eternity alone.

These monsters are both terrifying and pitiful, and ironically despite their more demonic appearance, in some ways they can end up having the most complex personalities of any Vampire villain.

In many ways this is the second most popular image of Vampires in popular culture after the attractive, alluring Vampire. In some ways, all Vampire characters can broadly be split into these two categories.

13/ Monster God

Originator: The Old Ones (HP Lovecraft)

Other Notable Examples: The Old Ones (Buffy and Angel), Lucifer (Supernatural), Eve (Supernatural), Captain Hatch (Being Human),  La Magra (Blade) The Dark Ones (Ash vs Evil Dead)

This character is an ancient monster responsible for creating the main race of monsters in the franchise, be they Vampires or Demons. He will have been sealed away in another universe many centuries ago and passed into legend, even among the supernatural.

Still the Vampires and Demons (who he may have created as a way of escaping) will naturally worship him, and seek to bring him back to our world so he can overrun humanity and allow the Vampires or Demons to finally rule the earth.

The great irony is that this monster will often not care for the Vampires or Demons he created. He will view them as nothing but cannon fodder at best, and may even be disgusted at them for some reason, and ultimately seek to wipe them out once they have fulfilled their use.

The Old Ones from Buffy followed this template beat for beat. They were the original Demons who ruled the earth and were far more powerful than any other breed. They created Vampires, after feeding on and infecting a human, who became the first Vampire.

Many Vampires want to bring the Old Ones (who were banished to another universe before human history began) back, including the main season 1 villain The Master, who in the season finale manages to open the Hellmouth and briefly bring the Old Ones back into our world.

The irony is however that the Old Ones are shown to regard Vampires as nothing but half breeds, and look down on the greatly as seen with the Old One Illyria. Had the Master succeeded in bringing the Old Ones back it probably would have spelled trouble for him and his kind, as they would have been Z-class citizens at best in the world the Old Ones would have created.

In Supernatural we see a similar relationship between Lucifer and the Demons (the main antagonists of the series.)

Lucifer created Demons in Supernatural before he was sealed away in hell. Azazel and many other Demons not only view him as their god, but seek to free Lucifer from his cage.

Unfortunately for Azazel and the rest of his Demons, Lucifer actually despises them. He does just regard them as cannon fodder to use in his war against the Angels, but actually despises them. Lucifer in Supernatural after all hates humanity because he views them as corrupt and decadent. Imagine what he must think of his own children!

Unlike the Vampires in Buffy however, at least one Demon in Supernatural, Crowley comes to this conclusion and tries to help Sam and Dean stop Lucifer, simply to save his own skin.

CROWLEY: I want you to take this thing to Lucifer and empty it into his face.

DEAN: Uh okay and why exactly would you want the Devil dead?

CROWLEY: Survival. Lucifer isn’t a Demon.  He’s an Angel remember. An Angel famous for his hatred of humankind. To him, you’re just filthy little bags of pus. If that’s the way he feels about you. What can he think about us.

SAM: But he created you?

CROWLEY: To him we’re just servants. Cannon fodder. If Lucifer manages to exterminate humankind, we’re next.

In Being Human, Captain Hatch (The Devil) similarly created Vampires, Ghosts and Werewolves and is shown to regard all of them as nothing more than fodder and a food supply.

Finally Eve in Supernatural is similarly the mother of all monsters, though unlike Lucifer she does actually care about her “children”. Still she fulfils the same basic idea of being a monster God who was sealed away for many centuries only to be brought back by her monster followers in the hopes that she can create a world where they will rule.

The original monster Gods were of course the Old Ones created by HP Lovecraft. The Old Ones were ancient monster gods who were banished from this universe and imprisoned centuries ago, with many of their servants wanting to bring them back.

Not only did the Old Ones serve as the inspiration for other primordial monsters, but other franchises such as Buffy and The Evil Dead would actually utilise Lovecraft’s Old Ones themselves.

3/ Other Supernatural Creatures

1/ Other Vampire Breeds

Originator: Hammer Films

Other Notable Examples: Marvel Comics, American Vampire, Fright Night 2011

Some pieces of Vampire fiction will play around with the idea of there being several different Vampire species.

There are many advantages to this of course. First and foremost it can allow you to to do various different types of stories, and it can also allow you to explore different Vampire myths too. As we have explored almost every culture appears to have its own myths about undead monsters or demons that exist by feeding on the blood or life essence of people. In India its the Vetala, in China its the Jianghsi, and in Europe its Vampires, but they are all essentially the same. Monsters who were once people, who have returned from the grave, who now feed on blood or at least the life force of the living, can only be killed by certain rituals, and are weak against certain herbs, foods and religious symbols that are sacred to their culture.

When you have multiple Vampire breeds you can obviously incorporate aspects of all of these wonderful myths and stories about Vampires from all over the world, and throughout history into your work, and it can also be quite interesting seeing how these different Vampire breeds view each other. For instance maybe the British style Vampires would view the American and Chinese Vampires as nothing more than runts, whilst the American Vampires may view the British Vampires as degenerate, stuck up, pompous cowards.

At the same time you can also show us how certain Vampire hunters might only be useful against certain breeds. For instance Buffy and Van Helsing wouldn’t know how to deal with a Jiang Shi that would be immune to all of their usual anti Vampire repellents, whilst the reverse would be true for Master Kau going up against a Western Vampire.

The Hammer movies were really the first to explore this wonderful idea. In The Brides of Dracula, the second entry in their Dracula series, Van Helsing reveals that there are many different types of Vampire and that the Vampire he is facing, Baron Meinster is of a different breed to Dracula’s.

Meinsters breed of Vampire is able to shapeshift and has greater hypnotic powers than Dracula’s, but they also lack super strength which Dracula’s obviously had.

In the later Hammer film Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, Professor Grost reveals that there are as many species of Vampire as there are birds of prey, and the Vampire in question is shown to drain its victims youth rather than blood.

Finally The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, the final Hammer Dracula film, sees Cushing’s Van Helsing travel to China where he battles Chinese Vampires who just like the myths are as single minded as animals, have hideous rotting faces, and can steal people’s souls.

Fittingly in the later Chinese horror movie, Vampire vs Vampire, the east’s greatest Vampire killer, Master Kau would come up against Dracula himself.

Vampire vs Vampire was actually intended to be an unofficial sequel to The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, though Dracula is obviously played by a different actor.

Just as Cushing’s Van Helsing was inexperienced in dealing with Chinese Vampires, then Kau at first struggles to deal with Dracula as all of his usual anti Jiangshi weapons don’t work on the Count.

Marvel comics meanwhile would also play with the idea of there being various different Vampire breeds too, as would the recent comic book American Vampire written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King.

The idea of there being multiple breeds of Vampires is yet another idea that Hammer movies pioneered in Vampire fiction.

2/ Second, Feral, More Powerful Vampire

Originator: Nelapsi (mythology)

Other Notable Examples: Reapers (Blade 2), Turok Han (Buffy), Apocalypse World Vampires (Supernatural)

Obviously this is a similar idea to there being more than one species of Vampire, but this is a little bit more specific. This Vampire is the only other species of Vampire to the main one, and it is far more powerful, vicious and all around dangerous than the regular kind of Vampire.

It will also be far more hideous and monstrous looking than regular Vampires and will be as single minded as an animal, living for nothing but the kill. Regular Vampires will live in fear of it, and it might even kill and feed on them regularly. It will essentially be the Vampires, Vampire.

The Nelapsi were the first such examples of a second race of more dangerous Vampires. They originated in Slovakian mythology and were said to be so powerful that they could kill you with just a glare. They also could not be killed and could only be prevented from rising at night through certain rituals.

Whilst the Nelapsi have gone on to appear in a few pieces of Vampire fiction, sadly the second, more powerful race of Vampires has not gone on to be featured quite as prominently in other pieces of Vampire fiction. I think its a great idea personally, but still it hasn’t caught on quite as much as some other tropes.

Still both Buffy and Blade featured Vampires that Vampires fear. In Blade there were the Reapers, an attempt to create the ultimate Vampire, which instead created a mutant race called the Reapers who fed on both human and Vampire blood. The Reapers entered into popular culture for their famous, 3 way leech like jaws.

The Turok Han in Buffy meanwhile were described as being to Vampires, what Neanderthals were to humans, an ancient and entirely separate race.

Both the Turok Han and the Reapers also looked quite similar too. Both had bald heads, monstrous features, both never spoke, only roared, and both had similar powers, with both having a bone plate over their chests which protected them from staking for instance.

The Nelapsi and the Reapers and the Turok Han are such a simple idea, which is probably why the are so appealing. What are the monsters that keep monsters awake at night?

3/ Monster Supremacists 

Originator: The Scourge (Angel)

Other Notable Examples: Leviathans (Supernatural), Illyria (Angel), Glory (Buffy)

Similar to the Vampire Supremacist, this character will believe that his race are the chosen people, destined to rule the world and will seek to make humans into nothing more than cattle for his people, or wipe them out completely.

The difference is that he will be an original monster, and furthermore he will not only regard all of the classic monsters like Vampires, Werewolves and Demons to be lesser than his people, but he will regard them as inferior to humans as well. He may even plan on wiping them out, which will force humans and Vampires and Demons to enter into a very uncomfortable alliance with one another to bring him down.

The Scourge from Angel and the Leviathans from Supernatural both follow this template perfectly. The Leviathans are ancient monsters, older than Angels themselves. They are shown to view humans as nothing but cattle, but in quite an interesting twist they appear to view Demons and Vampires as being even less deserving of respect than humanity and memorably chew out both the leader of the Demons (Crowley) and Vampires (the Alpha Vampire) when they both attempt to make alliances with the Leviathans.

The Scourge meanwhile are pureblood Demons who despise any Demon species that is tainted with humanity and plan to wipe them all out (they regard Vampires as the lowest of all half breeds.)

Illyria meanwhile along with Glory from Buffy aren’t so much a monster supremacists like the Leviathans and the Scourge in that unlike either of those two examples, neither wants to kill other monsters that they regard as inferior per se. However they still demean them, have no quams about killing them, and regard them as filthy and repulsive.

Glory is shown to take a particular sadistic delight in torturing the Vampire Spike.

This monster can help flesh out the supernatural world the main characters live in as we can see how there is a hierarchy in the Demon world just like the animal kingdom and the monsters we fear the most like Demons, Vampires and Witches are ironically quite low on the pecking order.

Its also quite a nice irony to see Vampires, Witches and Demons that always seem so terrifying and powerful to us, get victimised and persecuted, like Spike and Tara ( a Witch) being tortured by Glory, or Crowley being helpless against the Leviathans who reject him as a bottom feeding mutation. It just goes to show you how there is always a bigger bully out there.

Image result for Glory tortures SpikeRelated image

Even Christopher Lee and Anjelica Huston would be small fish compared to Glory. 

4/ Werewolves

Image result for Werewolves

Originator: Return of the Vampire.

Other Notable Examples: Underworld Film Series, Being Human series, Van Helsing, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight

Werewolves are the favourite sparring partners of Vampires in popular culture. There are almost too many examples to list across all mediums, film, television and video games.

The irony is however that its really a recent thing in comparison to how long Vampires and Werewolf myths have been around.  It only really begun in the 30s with Bela Lugosi, the most iconic (and for many still the greatest) Dracula who fought a Werewolf enemy in The Return of the Vampire. It wouldn’t be until the Underworld film series however that the trope became fully solidified in popular culture.

Vampires vs Werewolves has been used as a metaphor for everything from the Nazis persecution of the Jews such as in Being Human where we see Vampires in the bad future round Werewolves up into concentration camps, torture them, and brand them with L for Lycan. To even just rival football teams, such as in the comedy “What We Do In The Shadows” where the Vampire/Werewolf feud is presented as being more like mods and rockers, rangers vs celtic, IE a tribal, petty thing, than a full blown race war.

Still despite this, there are certain tropes that can be found in Vampire vs Werewolf stories. There will often be a love triangle between a Werewolf, a Vampire and a human woman. The Vampires will also have the advantage in terms of numbers and influence. It makes sense after all as Vampires have the power all of the time, whilst Werewolves usually only change on the full moon.

Vampires may even have driven Werewolves to near extinction, such as in Twilight and The Vampire Diaries and will often demean them in various ways (which can often lead to a Werewolf who becomes a badass Vampire hunter who kills scores of Vampires.)

Of course Werewolves and Vampires are often put together simply because they are also the two most popular monsters. Still over the years a number of writers have found a way to give the two monsters a very special relationship.

After Werewolves, Vampires tend to get paired with Demons the most. Vampires and Demons tend to more just regard each other with contempt however in things like Buffy and Charmed, rather than be sworn enemies like Vampires and Werewolves. Vampires and Demons may even in some instances be shown to be friendly with each other, such as in Angel, where the main Vampire hero works alongside several Demons.

Zombies meanwhile may often be paired with Vampires, but they will usually be their pets that they feed people too such as in the Blade film series or Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.

Vampires and Ghosts meanwhile aren’t brought together that often in western popular culture (though there are a few exceptions such as Being Human and The Vampire Diaries of course.)

In Chinese horror movies however, the reverse is true, and Vampires and Ghosts appear together in many films. This is probably because Ghosts are far more popular film monsters than Werewolves in the east.

Rather than simply pit Vampires against Ghosts however, Chinese horror movies will often contrast their two most popular monsters by depicting them in entirely the opposite way, rather than simply have them fight.

The Ghosts in Chinese horror movies, are often female, and are presented as sympathetic characters. In the original Mr Vampire film for instance there is the Ghost of young woman who falls in love with Master Kau’s assistant after he lays a tribute by her grave. In life the woman had no family or friends. No one even came to her funeral, or notices her passing, except for Kau’s assistant which causes her to follow him home, where she eventually falls in love with him after seeing what a hero he is.

Unfortunately however because she is a Ghost, whenever they are together she ends up draining his life force, and Kau is eventually forced to chase her away. Even Kau however is shown to take pity on the lonely Ghost and ultimately spares her.

Spooky Encounters, a crossover film with Sammo Hungs Fatman character and Master Kau features a sympathetic Ghost lady who helps our main heroes defeat the evil Wizard.

The classic A Chinese Ghost Story film series meanwhile also revolves around a tragic female Ghost character, as does of course Rouge.

The Vampires meanwhile as we have been over in Chinese horror movies are almost always male, always presented as being utterly hideous in appearance, but as single minded as animals and have no desires except to maim and kill.

Thus Vampires and Ghosts in Chinese films serve as quite interesting foils for each others. The Ghosts are almost always beautiful, alluring and likable, whilst the Vampires are always scary, and monstrous. The Ghosts show Master Kau’s crusade as not being quite so black and white, as whilst he does ultimately have to exorcise them. Ghosts are not actually evil. They can’t help the fact that they will drain the life out of any human they get close too, so Master Kau can come across as cold and unfeeling when dispatching them. He is in a way murdering innocent people, but he has no choice as if he doesn’t then more innocents will die.

With the Vampires however it is of course completely black and white when Kau slays them, and we never doubt that is hero when he goes up against a roaring, bloodthirsty, ugly Vampire.

In some ways the first Mr Vampire movie almost feels like two different horror films merged together because of how it depicts its two main monsters. One a tragic, moving supernatural love story about a lonely Ghost, the other a straight forward, action packed Vampire flick.

Interestingly enough however, despite being two of the most popular supernatural creatures, Vampires vs Witches doesn’t tend to be a very popular pairing in any part of the world. They have appeared together in a few prominent works, like in True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Buffy, but even then in a lot of cases they don’t have much interaction. Sometimes Vampires are depicted as being immune or at least having a greater immunity to a Witches Magic unlike other supernatural creatures.

We see this in Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy (where Vampires are immune to some, but not all magics, such as Glory’s spell that makes people forget she and Ben are the same.)

It would be interesting to see Vampires pitted against other types of supernatural creatures in the future.

Settings

Monster Club

Originator: Monster Club (R Chetwynd Hayes novel)

Other Notable Examples: Caritas (Angel) Willies Bar (Buffy) LL Secundo (Supernatural) Blood Clubs (Blade film series), Titty Twister (From Dusk Till Dawn)

As its name would suggest, this type of setting is a club, or a bar where monsters of different kinds go to relax, enjoy a pint of blood and socialise with other abominations.

It was first featured in R Chetwynd Hayes novel The Monster Club and the subsequent 1980s film adaptation starring Vincent Price and John Carradine.

The premise sees a friendly Vampire named Erasmus invite a horror author to the local Monster club where he tells him three stories about monsters for inspiration.

The stories include one about a Shadmock ( a monster hybrid) who is used by two scam artists with tragic results, another about a Vampire family, and finally one about a horror movie director who ends up trapped in a town called Loughville, that is populated by flesh eating Ghouls.

I must admit the last story about the Ghouls terrified me as a child. In fact I’d go as far as to say that this sequence and Erica being trapped in the painting terrified me more than any other two scenes in a horror movie.

In this scene below the film director manages to escape to a small church where he finds the skeleton of a priest, as well as his diary which details how Loughville was overrun by the Ghouls.

Ironically it was priests fault. He found the first Ghoul in a graveyard, and whilst the rest of the villagers wanted to kill it, he hoped that he could rehabilitate the monster. Despite his efforts however, he later found the monster feeding on the remains of one of the villagers it had killed and chased it away, but by that point it was too late, and the monster returned with more of its kind to take control of the village.

The Priest ended up trapped in the church where the monsters couldn’t enter. He was forced to listen as they tore everyone else in the village apart, before he eventually died of starvation.

The reason these two scenes scared me was because of the idea behind them. Blood and gore is horrible to look at, but a horrible idea sticks in your head for longer and keeps you up at night.

 

I’d always be scared when I went to bed that I would wake up in Loughville in the Church and hear the howls of the ravenous Ghouls outside!

Whilst the Ghoul story was terrifying, the actual Monster Club itself was portrayed in a very comical way with the monsters all being very friendly. Vincent Price’s Vampire character is by far and away one of the most likable monsters in anything, and at the end of the film, he even manages to convince the Club to include his human friend as a member.

In both Buffy and Angel we’d see two more Monster Clubs, Carritas and Willies. Much like Wyndham’s Monster Club, these were both portrayed in a more comical way, with the monsters singing Karoke and having a fun time.

Supernatural also featured a monster club in what was intended to be the pilot episode for its first spin off, bloodlines.

The Blade film series featured blood clubs where Vampires would gather together and literally drip blood from their ceilings. They’d often bring at least one live person in there to torture and kill for fun.

Obviously unlike Caritas, or Price’s Monster Club this was a far more terrifying depiction of the idea.

Finally the monster club would be the premise for Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriquez Vampire trilogy, From Dusk Till Dawn which features a bar run by Vampires that lures truckers and passers by in to feed on.

I’d definitely rather visit this Monster Club.

The Monster Club is a fun idea. I think overall it tends to lend itself better to comedy. Even the From Dusk Till Dawn movies have a certain tongue in cheek aspect to them (much like the Evil Dead films.)

Still overall it can be adapted for moments of genuine horror too. Its always a frightening idea when you are alone with someone who is secretly a monster. Now imagine being in a room full of monsters!

Anti Paranormal Organisation That Goes Evil

Originator: The Initiative (Buffy)

Other Notable Examples: The British Men of Letters (Supernatural) Men in Grey (Being Human) Kemp and Lucy Jaggat’s organisation (Being Human)

These characters will be part of a secret underground military organisation who not only hunt Vampires, Demons, and monsters, but capture and experiment on them. They may even try and cure them, though often these cures will be brutal and even possibly lethal. (Spikes chip, the attempts at curing Werewolves in Being Human.)

There will often be someone close to the hero who works for this organisation who is able to seduce the main character into working for them, or going along with them (Riley, Jaggat).

However it will become apparent that this company is disrupting the natural order and has sinister plans to use the monsters powers for their own benefit. They will almost always unleash a far worse threat (Adam, Captain Hatch, Mitchell and Daisy’s bloody rampage in revenge.) Eventually this organisation will be torn apart by the very monsters they hoped to contain in a spectacular way.

This type of setting tends to be a bit more controversial than others. The Initiative for instance is generally regarded as one of the weaker arcs in Buffy, whilst similarly season 2 of Being Human is often regarded as the weakest series.

I think a lot of fans tend to see this as a “humans are the real monsters” type of a story, which if not done right can end up as the most terrible cliche.

Personally thought I think it can be quite an interesting to see how the military can attempt to utilise magic and the paranormal the same way would any natural resource, only to learn the hard way how out of their league they are.

These stories can also I feel reinforce the threat of creatures like Vampires and Demons, as the failure of organisations like the Initiative and The Men in Grey, who have all the resources and weapons in the world, but still not only fall to the monsters, but also usually end up playing into a far worse evils hands, shows the audience how these monsters really cannot ever be underestimated.

Vampire Town

Originator: Vault of Horror

Other Notable Examples: Sunnydale (Wishverse version, Buffy), Loughville, (Monster Club), Purgatory (Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat), 

An extension from the Monster Club idea. What’s scarier than one Vampire? A club of Vampires. What’s scarier than that? A whole town, maybe even city of Vampires!

Possibly the first example of this trope in action was the Amicus movie Vault of Horror. Vault of Horror, like many of Amicus’ best movies was an anthology piece, and the first story, called Midnight Mess saw a corrupt man named Harold Rogers murder his sister, Donna who had recently moved to a mysterious town in the middle of nowhere, in order to get their father’s inheritance.

When Harold explores the town, he is warned by the locals to get in before the sun goes down. Foolishly ignoring their warning, he then settles down in a local restaurant only to discover that it is run by Vampires when they ask him how he likes his blood clots!

The Vampires then string him up, and Harold discovers that Donna is in fact the leader of the Vampires and she personally cuts his throat open.

Like all of the stories in Vault of Horror, Midnight Mess was a great mixture of comedy and genuine horror. In the final scene its somewhat humorous watching a room full of posh Vampires talk about how blood is always the nicest when its fresh, but the final shot of Harold’s twitching corpse, strung up like an animal in a slaughter house, whilst his own sister drinks a glass of his blood, is truly disturbing.

Amicus would play withthis trope again in their final horror movie, The Monster Club with the town of Loughvile. Loughvile as we have explored was a town that was overrun by Ghouls.

Its not quite a Vampire town, but its obviously still a similar idea. A remote place where people are literally nothing more than cattle for a race of hideous, undead monsters that prey on humans.

Loughville for reasons I’ve explored terrified me the most growing up. Unlike the Vampire town in Vault of Horror, no people lived in Loughville, except for a Ghoul/human hybrid, called a humgoo.

The humgoo character named Luna is a young girl who is forced to help lure passing travellers into the monsters village. She is shown to befriend the film director however and helps him escape to the church for which the Ghouls attempt to devour her.

She later attempts to flee the village with the director, only to be killed by the Ghouls. In contrast to Harold, the Humgoo is a sympathetic and tragic character. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, is constantly mistreated and abused by the Ghouls (including her own father) and yearns to escape to the city, only to be murdered seconds before she is about to finally escape her nightmarish existence.

In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode The Wish, we are introduced to an alternate version of Sunnydale, when Cordelia Chase inadvertantly makes a wish to the vengeance Demon Anyanka that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale.

This version of the famous town is not too dissimilar to the Vampire town in Vault of Horror. Unlike Loughville people still live here, but they obviously don’t go out after dark, and live very frightened, miserable lives.

The Vampires meanwhile just like those in Vault of Horror don’t just bite people, but drain their blood out through machines and serve them in glasses and cups!

Cordelia can be seen to occupy the role of Harold from Vault of Horror in that she is the ignorant outsider who doesn’t know why everything is so strange, and later discovers that her rivals are now Vampires. There’s even a similar scene where Cordelia is warned to get in before the sun goes down just like Harold.

Finally another notable example of this trope is the underrated cult classic Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, which blends the Vampire and western genres together.

Starring Bruce Campbell and David Carradine this movie flips the Vampire town idea on its head by having the Vampires all be reformed, well most of them are. The film revolves around a civil war between the good guy Vampires (led by a rare heroic version of Dracula.) And those who don’t want to give up their old way of life.

One thing that the Vampire town stories all seem to have in common is bleak endings. The Wish, Vault of Horror and The Ghoul story from Monster Club all end with the main characters being killed (though Giles is able to undo the Wishverse, and Harold was a pretty horrible guy, so you don’t care that he ends up dying.)

Really I don’t think you can have a character escape a Vampire town, as it just ends up undermining their menace too much.

Post Apocalyptic Vampire Ruled Earth

Originator: I Am Legend

Other Notable Examples:  Being Human (Season 4), Anno Dracula

The final extension from the Monster club idea. You can’t really top a planet of Vampires. This idea was originally conceived by classic horror and sci fi author Richard Matheison for his novel I Am Legend.

Its no exaggeration to say that I Am Legend is one of the most important horror novels ever written. Its up there with Dracula and Frankenstein in terms of helping to reshape the genre.

I Am Legend marked the first time that Vampirism was explained away through rational, scientific means, rather than supernatural. It also marked the first time that we saw the last human surviving in a world now populated by undead monsters that wanted to eat him!

Not only would it inspire 3 film versions, but it also inspired George A Romero, with his iconic Dead trilogy, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. All 3 films revolved around a similar premise of the last people on earth having to survive against hordes of undead monsters.

The only difference was that Romero called his monsters Zombies (and Ghouls in the original Night of the Living Dead) and had them eat their victims flesh instead of just drinking their blood. He also made them less intelligent too, but essentially the Zombies in the Romero movies were the same as Vampires in Matheison’s I Am Legend.

Both classic undead monsters, who are normally supernatural, but are now created as a result of science gone wrong. Both are horrible, shuffling, rotting corpses who physically are very weak and easy to overpower, but are scary because they move in packs.

Of course as we know the Romero films would spawn countless imitators, influence many other major franchises such as Resident Evil and The Walking Dead, and propel the Zombie to being one of the major movie monsters. There were Zombie movies before the Romero films of course, but they were to Zombies what Jurassic Park was for Velociraptors, in that they propelled them to being a monster everyone would know.

Essentially the modern Zombie genre grew out of a Vampire story. Its funny when you remember this article where Charlie Brooker said that Vampires were the worst monsters and Zombies were the only good ones.

Charlie Brooker Hates Vampires

“Real serial killers are so mental they can scarcely tie their own shoelaces. So bollocks to the screen version. And don’t even think about mentioning vampires, with their gothic pretension and crappy teeth. They’re annoying, not scary. Fuck vampires. But zombies — now there’s a threat I can relate to. Zombies are the misanthrope’s monster of choice. They represent fear and disgust of our fellow man. The anonymous animal masses. The dumb, shuffling crowd. Them — the public. They’re awesomely stupid. They have an IQ of one. Proper zombies can’t operate a door handle or climb a ladder. Toss one a Rubik’s Cube and it’ll bounce off his thick, moaning head. All they do is walk around aimlessly, pausing occasionally to eat survivors. The idea for the show came about one night in 2004 while I was watching 24. Jack Bauer was performing a tracheotomy on a terrorist with a splintered peg or something, and another terrorist came running through the door. ‘I’m enjoying this,’ I thought, ‘but these terrorists are just ridiculous. They’re like waves of Space Invaders. They might as well be zombies.’”

Oh the irony! The very Zombie genre he loves wouldn’t exist without a Vampire story. The Zombies he claims are the best monsters begun as just a variant of Vampire!

Of course while the modern Zombie has taken over the post apocalyptic genre, there are still a few examples of a Vampire apocalypse such as in Being Human’s 4th series.

Conclusion

As you can see there are a lot of tropes and ideas that pop up in Vampire fiction from time to time. Again nothing wrong with that, as long as you can provide a new and interesting take on it.

Of course it could be a challenge for a writer to try and write a Vampire story without ANY of these characters or ideas. Or alternatively, you could try and write a story that incorporates all of these characters and ideas which hasn’t actually been done yet.

Buffy and Angel I think incorporate the largest amount, but even then they leave out quite a few major tropes such as the Vampires vs Werewolves feud.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Top 10 Vampire Hunters

Stories about Vampire hunters have in many ways always interested me more than stories that centre on the Vampires themselves. I generally tend to prefer my Vampires to be evil, bloodthirsty, vicious monsters and so naturally something that’s about people who kill them is going to portray them that way, rather than as misunderstood, sympathetic victims.

In this article I am going to run through my 10 favourite Vampire hunters. I will not be including Vampire hunters who are actually Vampires or monsters themselves such as Angel, Blade or Spike. I feel they deserve their own category and so instead I will simply be looking at human characters who kill Vampires.

So without any further delay then lets look at the 10 most kick ass killers of the undead.

10/ Peter Vincent (Fright Night)

Played by the late great Roddy McDowell (in what was one of his favourite roles.) This character was named after the horror actors Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, though he was really more based on Peter Cushing who was best known for playing Van Helsing.

Vincent is as a washed up horror star who hosts a late night tv series about horror movies called Fright Night. He is soon forced to deal with a real Vampire named Jerry Daindridge however when a fan of his called Charley Brewster, who is Jerry’s neighbour, comes to Peter for help.

It was a fairly original idea at the time of someone who was only a horror actor being forced to deal with a real monster, and one that we would later see replicated in other cult films such as My Name is Bruce and Galaxy Quest.

Though Peter starts out as a complete coward. Eventually he overcomes his fear and helps Charlie slay Jerry and save his girlfriend. I always liked Vincent not just because he was funny but because he was a very human character. He certainly wasn’t a classical, dashing hero. At times he was selfish, greedy, and cowardly, yet at the end of the day he does do the right thing and helps to slay the evil demon.

I felt he was a more believable hero in some ways who always remained likable even in spite of his faults. Roddy McDowell managed to find the right balance of adding plenty of humour, yet some pathos to the character who in some ways was quite a sad lonely person longing for the days when he was relevant.

McDowell would go on to reprise his role in one sequel to the original which saw Vincent go up against Jerry’s Vampiric sister Regina. Sadly the sequel was not quite as strong as the original, but it was still a fairly enjoyable horror flick overall. My only problem with it really was that it was essentially just the same story as the first film again, but with a Vampire going after Charley rather than his girlfriend.

The character of Vincent would return in a 2011 remake where he was played by former Doctor Who David Tennant. This version of Peter was actually shown to know about Vampires and had an extensive knowledge of them. He still didn’t hunt them however as he was a miserable coward, though by the end of the film much like the original he faces his fear and helps Charlie slay Jerry. Its quite a nice twist to have a character know about Vampires and be interested in studying them, yet not actively hunt them, and David Tennant puts in a good performance. Still the definitive Peter Vincent will always be Roddy McDowell to me.

9/ Gordon Walker (Supernatural)

The Vampire hunter isn’t always the good guy as seen with Gordon Walker who is in Dean Winchesters words “a sadistic bastard”.

Gordon began hunting Vampires when his beloved sister was abducted and turned into one of the undead. Gordon apparently later tracked her down and killed her and in his own words didn’t blink once as he knew it wasn’t his sister anymore.

Gordon later earned a fearsome reputation among both Vampires and hunters with Ellen Harville describing him as a good hunter the same way that Hannibal Lecter is a good psychiatrist.

Despite this when he first meets Dean, Dean ends up taking a shine to him after they kill a Vampire together. He soon sees him for what he truly is however when Gordon captures a friendly, reformed Vampire named Lenore and begins to brutally torture her.

Later Gordon after finding out from a Demon that Sam is destined to be the vessel for Lucifer himself tries to kill him, leading to more confrontations with the Winchesters.

He is later captured after another showdown with Sam and Dean by a Vampire named Dixon who turns him into one of his own kind as a punishment.

After becoming the very thing he hates the most. Gordon still tries to kill Sam and Dean for the greater good of humanity but is ultimately killed by Sam in a final showdown when Sam takes his head off with a piece of barbed wire.

Gordon to me was an excellent character. He was undoubtedly a villain, but at the same time you could understand where he was coming from. Ultimately he was right about Sam being the Anti Christ. Sam later frees the Devil himself! Unintentionally of course, but still he did kind of kick of armaggeddon and whilst they managed to stop the Devil, pretty much all of the shit that’s happened since, Eve being free, Leviathans being free, civil war in Heavan etc, has been fallout from the Devil getting free.

At the end of the day if Gordon had killed Sam just think of how many people would still be alive today.

However the best thing about Gordon is his ultimate fate of being turned into a Vampire. Its horrible the way that Gordon is completely aware of how evil he has become, yet is unable to control his Vampiric urges and ends up turning a young girl into a Vampire and tearing his best friends heart out with his bare hands!

Worse than that however is the way that as a Vampire his soul will be condemned to purgatory forever. In Supernatural supernatural creatures souls do not go to either heaven or hell. Instead they go to purgatory, which is an endless forest, where they are forced to hunt each other forever.

Thus Gordon will now be forced to roam those endless woods as the very thing that he hates the most, hunting, killing other monsters and being killed by other monsters only to be reborn again and again for all eternity.

He’ll also no doubt have to face the Vampires he killed as well as his sister again. I always loved this aspect of Supernatural lore as it was just so viciously cruel that the people who became monsters were truly damned for all eternity. In other works of fiction when someone who is a monster is killed their soul is normally released but here they are condemned to live in a place worse than hell regardless of whether they were a good person or not.

Thus Gordon is condemned to the worst fate possible. As bad as he is you can’t help but feel bad for him as he is definitely the most tragic character in the entire series.

8/ Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Okay I know what you are thinking Giles is really more of a book guy than a Vampire hunter, but still he has killed more than his fair share of Vampires over the course of the series. He’s chopped their heads off, burned them, he even killed a Vampire with a twig!

Giles was always I’d say my fourth favourite character in the Buffyverse after Spike (1), Faith (2) and Angel (3).

I always liked Giles because he was like a modern day version of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing or Jon Pertwee’s version of the Doctor. Like them at first glance he didn’t seem that dangerous. He was much older, stuffy, posh, refined, wore tweed jackets, but underneath the fuddy duddy exterior he was someone that actually you really did not want to mess with.

Giles was responsible for killing and foiling some of the most dangerous villains of the series.

His most notable accomplishments include the following.

He broke the spell of a powerful witch who had given Buffy a magical terminal illness.

He fought off an old one with an axe.

He set fire to the warehouse of Angelus, one of the most dangerous Vampires of all time and savagely beat the Vampire to a bloody pulp with a flaming baseball bat.

He withstood torture from Angelus the most sadistic Vampire and didn’t break after hours. Angelus was eventually forced to use illusions of Jenny to trick him.

In an episode called The Wish, Cordelia unknowingly makes a wish to a Vengeance Demon called Anyanka that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. As a result of this the Master rose and took over Sunnydale. Most of the population of Sunnydale are either turned into Vampires (including Xander and Willow), horribly killed, kept in cages and tortured, Angel is kept in a cage and tortured every day by Willow who calls him her puppy,  Cordelia is also horribly killed and when Buffy shows up she too is later killed by the Master who snaps her neck like a twig. Giles however figures out what has happened, summons Anyanka, steals her necklace which is her power source and smashes it returning everything back to how it was, and ridding the world of a powerful demon Anyanka too. Had it not been for Giles all of the main cast would be dead.

He blew up the Mayor a 100 foot long snake.

He came up with the spell and the plan that killed Adam the main villain of the 4th series.

He broke one of Glory’s most loyal Demon minions in seconds by whispering something in his ear so horrible that he would rather betray Glory a Hell Goddess, than not tell Giles what he wanted!

He technically killed Glory a god with his bare hands when she morphed back into Ben, a human by smothering him to death.

He faced Willow the most powerful witch in the series, granted he was given power by other witches but still.

Giles may not have been the most powerful character in Buffy but he was still a serious badass nonetheless and so I feel he deserves a place on any best Vampire hunters list.

7/ Jack Crow (Vampires)

The star of John Carpenters somewhat underrated gore fest of a Vampire film. Jack Crow was played by James Woods and is really, really nasty guy. He isn’t an out and out villain, but he isn’t exactly a knight in shining armour either.

The character fits the violent, bleak tone of the film. Jack is someone who lives a hellish existence on the road, fighting with the most vicious and brutal Vampires.

Woods really holds nothing back in his performance and makes Crow every bit as vicious as the Vampires he kills. There is nothing he isn’t prepared to do from torturing priests to beating up women. Even his own team mates aren’t so keen on him. He is a true anti hero in every sense of the word.

6/ Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Someone who would be too wild even for Jack Crow’s team of Vampire hunters, Faith is an all around excellent character who goes from an unstable wild card, to an outright villain, to a tragic mess, to a reformed hero.

The role made a star out of Eliza Dushku who would go on to star in two more genre series Dollhouse and Tru Calling, though she will always probably be the most remembered for Faith.

Eliza was absolutely sensational as Faith. She was sexy, badass, frightening, tragic and cool all at the same time. The great thing about Faith was even at her worst she was never evil. Just someone who couldn’t own up to her mistakes. When she killed someone rather than admit what she did she just ended up digging herself into a bigger hole to the point where there is seemingly no way for her to return. Of course ultimately it was Angel that ended up helping her to reform which later led to her saving him when he became Angelus in a nice twist.

Though Faith was a fully fledged hero who helped save the day by the end of her time in Buffy, sadly Eliza Dushku turned down the chance to star in her own series. Joss Whedon had intended for there to be a spin off about Spike and Faith travelling the world together but Eliza was busy with Tru Calling so Spike crossed over into Angel. I would have LOVED a Spike and Faith spin off as they were by far my two favourite characters and I really wished they had gone back to it after Angel finished, but sadly it was not meant to be.

Still Faith’s time on both shows is enough to establish her as one of the most badass Vampire killers of all time.

5/ Captain Kronos (Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter)

From Hammer’s underrated classic, Kronos is a swashbuckling hero whose family were killed by Vampires and who travels the world avenging them.

It is established that there are many different breeds of Vampire in Kronos and often when hunting them he will have to try all the different options of killing them before he finds the one that works. One scene sees him hang a Vampire, stake him and even try and burn him before he discovers how to kill him.

Whilst Kronos had more of a straight forward personality than some of the others on this list, the idea of a swashbuckling hero fighting various different types of Vampire around the world was an inspired idea and its a shame that it wasn’t expanded on.

4/ Rachel Van Helsing (Tomb of Dracula)

In much the same way as Cushing’s Van Helsing set the template for the later more cerebral, posh English Vampire hunter like Rupert Giles then Rachel was really the one set the template for the feisty, female ass kicking Vampire hunters like Buffy.

Rachel was the descendant of the original Van Helsing who battled Dracula in the 1970’s in Marvels Tomb of Dracula, which Joss Whedon himself has cited as one of his biggest influences on both Buffy and Angel.

Though not quite as interesting a character as the later Buffy and Faith, Rachel nevertheless was a fairly original idea back in the 70’s of a more physical, female Vampire hunter.

Sadly Rachel remains relatively obscure even to this day, though the character of Abigail Whistler in Blade Trinity was based off of her.

3/ Mr Vampire/ Master Kau (Mr Vampire Film Series)

Played by the late Lam Ching Ying, Master Kau or Mr Vampire as he was nicknamed was a taoist priest who used magical spells and enchantments to ward off demons, ghosts and Vampires.

He appeared in his own film series as well as a crossover film series which saw him team up with Sammo Hung’s demon fighter from Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind who is simply nicknamed the fat man.

The Mr Vampire film series naturally incorporated Chinese mythology and thus its Vampires were somewhat different to those we see in Western movies. They were as single minded as animals, couldn’t speak, could only roar, could only really be killed by magic (though they don’t like the sun), were hideously ugly as well, and had virtually limitless strength, though one film in the series Vampire vs Vampire sees Mr Vampire take on a more European Vampire.

The Mr Vampire films are criminally underrated here in the west. Lam Ching Ying was one of the best action stars there has ever been. The fight scenes are very creative, often a great mix of stunning visuals and dark humour.

If you haven’t seen any of these films then you should check them out. There are 5 Mr Vampire films, 2 Crossover films, Spooky Encounters and The Dead and the Deadly,  Vampire vs Vampire and Magic Cop. There is also a remake trilogy called New Mr Vampire and a Mr Vampire tv series too though sadly I have not yet had a chance to view this. I’d say my favourites are the first two Mr Vampire films and Vampire vs Vampire, though they are all entertaining in their own way.

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

One of the most iconic fictional characters of all time, Buffy Summers is Joss Whedon’s most enduring creation and was really in many ways the perfect superhero in that she always felt like a real believable character regardless of how larger than life the situations she was in where.

Buffy is the chosen one, the one girl in all the world gifted with the strength and skill to hunt the Vampires, the Demons and the forces of darkness. Over the course of her own series she saves the world about 10 times, the entire multiverse once, and kills literally hundreds of Vampires, Demons, Zombies, and even hellgods!

Sarah Michelle Gellar who played the role for 7 years was excellent as the character. The character of Buffy I think was a very hard part to get right as she was someone who needed to seem quite sensitive and vulnerable at certain points, more so than even your average hero, as that was part of her appeal that she made mistakes and didn’t always have the answers, yet obviously she still had to seem strong enough to be believable as a hero too.

I think Sarah always excelled as the character and to this day Buffy remains a genre icon, with there having been more essays written about the Buffy series than any other.

Buffy is the most famous Vampire hunter of all time after only Van Helsing himself.

1/ Van Helsing, Peter Cushing Version (Hammer Dracula Series)

Van Helsing is the most famous Vampire hunter and by far away the greatest and most enduring version of Van Helsing is Peter Cushing’s in the Hammer Dracula series.

It was in many ways Cushing’s Van Helsing that made the character into the ultimate Vampire killer.

In the novel Van Helsing is an eccentric professor who has studied Vampires, but he does not actively hunt them. He has a normal life and does not devote his entire existence to destroying them, in fact he doesn’t even kill Dracula.

Cushing’s Van Helsing reimagined the character as someone who devotes his entire life to exterminating Vampires. He tracks them from town to town, he fights with them, he knows more about them than anyone else, he has no normal life.

This would go on to influence nearly all future interpretations of the character as well as other Vampire hunter characters such as Captain Kronos, the Winchesters and even Giles.

To this day Cushing remains more associated with the character than any other actor, so much so that in many ways his name has become associated with Vampire hunters too.

Whilst Cushing brought many iconic characters to life from Winston Smith to Victor Frankenstein, I think its safe to say that Van Helsing was really his most iconic part and for me his Van Helsing is still the greatest of all Vampire hunters.

 

 

 

Being Human Review

Being Human was a British cult series created by Doctor Who writer Toby Whitehouse. It ran for 5 series from 2009 to 2013 and was part of a wave of British cult series that followed in the wake of the revival Doctor Who..

Being Human was perhaps somewhat overlooked compared to other cult series from this generation, like Sherlock and Merlin. Still despite this Being Human has developed a very strong and devoted worldwide following and even inspired an American remake.

I have not yet had a chance to watch the American remake, so this review will only be covering the British version. I will be giving an overview of the series its characters, its lore, its influences and comparisons to other series and ultimately why I feel this supernatural drama was actually the best British fantasy series of the past 20 years.

Overview

Being Human was created by former Doctor Who writer Toby Whitehouse. Originally it was pitched as a comedy, revolving around three twenty somethings, one of whom was a sex addict, another an agorophobe, and another with chronic rage problems, sharing a flat.

Part way through development however, Whitehouse added the supernatural elements, and the sex addict became a Vampire, the agorobobe became a Ghost and the person with chronic rage problems became a Werewolf.

Traces of the original premise can still be found in Being Human, with many stories in season 1 revolving around Annie being too scared to leave the house, Mitchell not being able to control his bloodlust during sex, whilst in season 2 George’s attempts to control his Wolf side result in him developing chronic rage problems (to the point where he almost beats his boss to death.)

Originally Being Human starred Aidan Turner as the Vampire, John Mitchell, Russell Tovery as the Werewolf, George Sands, and Lenora Crichlow as the Ghost, Annie Sawyer.

Its first series revolved around the three paranormal creatures attempts to build a normal life for themselves, as well as Herrick (played by Jason Watkins) attempts to build a Vampire army to sweep the world and conquer humanity. There is also a subplot of Annie discovering that her own fiance Owen killed her.

The series ends with George managing to kill Herrick, and Annie getting her revenge on Owen by driving him mad.

The seconds series sees an anti paranormal organisation target the trio. Its leader Lucy Jaggat is able to seduce Mitchell, who takes over the Vampire community in Herrick’s death and tries to convince them to swear off blood.

George meanwhile also ends up infecting a nurse named Nina that he was in a relationship with, which strains their relationship.

Eventually Jaggat, under the guidance of the psychotic, fanatic Kemp, plants a bomb in the Vampires headquarters which kills them all, save Mitchell and Daisy who go on a massive killing spree in response.

Though Mitchell is able to save George and Nina from Kemp, sadly Annie’s ghost is exorcised to the other side by Kemp.

The second season ends with Daisy and another Vampire minion of Herrick bringing him back through a blood ritual, whilst Mitchell, George and Nina move to Wales, where Kemp (who kills Jaggat along the way) follows them, only to be pulled into hell by a vengeful Annie, who Mitchell vows to rescue.

In season 3, Mitchell is able to cross over to the other side and rescue Annie. On the other side however he is told by the ghost of one of his victims Lia, that he will be killed by a Werewolf soon.

Mitchell and Annie later begin a relationship too, but things get worse for the group when Herrick returns. Lacking any memories of who he really is, the group take him in and try to help him, but unfortunately the police soon discover Mitchell’s role in the box tunnel massacre and he is arrested.

Herrick meanwhile later regains his memories and nearly kills Nina, before going on another rampage, before he is finally killed by Mitchell.

Mitchell, unable to live with what he has done, and terrified that he will lose control of his thirst again, is able to convince a reluctant George to finally stake him.

The third series ends with a member of the Old Ones, a group of elite Vampires promising that very soon their kind will rule the earth.

In between series 3 and 4, Nina gives birth to a child, but the Vampires kill her soon after. The Old Ones are soon preparing to launch an all out attack against the rest of humanity, but they soon discover a prophecy that states that the child of two Werewolves, (George and Nina) will bring about the end of the Vampires.

George is later killed whilst defending his daughter Eve. Annie meanwhile gains a new roommate in the form of Tom McNair, a Werewolf who hunts Vampires, after his adopted father (also a Werewolf) was killed by Herrick.

Later another reformed Vampire named Hal moves into Tom and Annie’s flat, after his best friend a Werewolf named Leo, and his Ghostly lover Pearl move onto the afterlife.

Hal is over 500 years old, and much like Mitchell was once one of the most notorious and cruel Vampires.

Hal, Annie and Tom do their best to protect Eve from the Vampires, but another threat emerges, in the form of a Ghost lady from the future who also wants to kill the child.

The Ghost lady later reveals to Annie that she is in fact Eve herself! At some point in the future, the Vampires, led by their king, Mr Snow will reveal themselves to the world, and wage war on humanity.

The Vampires after 20 years of fighting will gain the upper hand, and conquer not only humanity, but other supernatural races, including Werewolves.

By the 2030s the Vampires rule the world, and both humanity and Werewolves are round up into concentration camps. Tom dies in these concentration camps, whilst Hal returns to being an evil monster, and becomes literally the poster boy for the Vampires. Annie meanwhile after losing all of her friends finally fades away into nothing.

Eve in the future later discovers the final part of the prophecy that states that the Vampire race will only end when she dies. With it being too late by that point, Eve in the future still kills herself, and performs a ritual that allows her spirit to travel to the past to avert this terrible future.

Eve begs Annie to let her younger self die, but she can’t bring herself to do it, until the Old Ones, led by Mr Snow arrive. Realising how dangerous they are, Annie reluctantly blows both Eve and the Old Ones up after a final showdown, which erases the terrible future, after which her soul is able to finally move on.

The final series of Being Human revolves around Hal, Tom, and a new Ghost named Alex who was initially a love interest of Hal in life, before being killed by a former Vampire associate of Hal named Nick Cutler.

The new trinity has to deal with the Devil himself, Captain Hatch who plans to bring about armageddon (with it also being revealed that the Devil created Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts.)

At the end of the series, Hal, Alex and Tom are able to seemingly kill the Devil, by uniting his three curses against him. After the Devils death, all three are rendered human, but sadly it is later revealed that this is just a dream orchestrated by the Devil who is still ravaging the real world.

A bonus scene on the DVD shows Hal, Alex and Tom realise that they have been placed in a dream and go to fight the Devil. Whether they succeed or not is left open ended.

Best Seasons

Being Human can really be divided into two distinct era’s. The George and Mitchell years and the Hal and Tom years. If you wanted too I suppose you could divide it into three different era’s. The Mitchell, Annie and George years, the Hal, Annie and Tom years and the Hal, Tom and Alex years.

Most people I talk to tend to prefer the original series starring the original supernatural trinity of Mitchell, Annie and George. Personally however if I had to pick my favourite series, I’d say it was 4.

I like series 4 the best for a number of reasons. First of all I prefer Hal as a character to Mitchell.

I loved Mitchell. Aidan Turner is a truly charismatic and engaging performer, however Mitchell is a bit more of a straight forward good guy Vampire character. The dark, brooding, sexy bad boy that we have seen a dozen times. Though I did feel the end to Mitchell’s story was quite a good twist on the reformed Vampire story, as Mitchell ultimately fails to be a control his bloodlust. Sadly as he himself says, he always was the bad guy and has to be put down by his best friend.

Still Hal to me offered up a new take on the classic good guy Vampire. He was almost a comical deconstruction of that type of character, being presented as more neurotic in his attempts to control his bloodlust, than dark and brooding.

I think the potential for comedy overall was better with Hal than Mitchell, though at the same time I felt Hal when he was evil was far more menacing than Mitchell.

Mitchell was more like an animal giving into temptation, where as Hal had a certain calmness about him. The scene where he murders Larry in cold blood is far more disturbing than the Box Tunnel massacre.

Hal slowly choking him to death whilst saying calmly “this is the real me Larry” is as frightening a moment as any involving any of the main villains in the series. What’s even more disturbing is the way that Hal does it just for fun. At the very least whenever Mitchell killed it was to satisfy his thirst for blood.

I think it was good that they were able to make Hal and Mitchell such drastically different characters. On the surface they seemed very similar. Both once the most powerful and dangerous Vampires who become good guys, both were turned in the middle of a battle, and both have to deal with Vampires from their past who try to lure them back to their old habits, but really underneath they are polar opposites to one another.

Mitchell is the fun, easy going guy that everybody loves. He can befriend anyone and is the cool guy of the first trinity.

Hal on the other hand is the neurotic, uptight, awkward one who doesn’t know how to interact properly in any type of social situation. When someone is bothering him at work he goes off into some big ridiculous monologue about the old days when he had a horse, and peasants would be tortured for defying him!

As both villainous and sympathetic characters Hal and Mitchell offered a very different dynamic from one another, and whilst both were great characters; ultimately I much prefer Hal and Damian Molony, who is one of my favourite actors overall.

Another reason I liked series 4 the best is because of how it portrayed the Vampires. I love Vampire fiction. Its one of my biggest interests, however I do prefer my Vampires to be evil. I don’t mind one off good guy Vampires, but I feel that most of them should be monsters. I don’t like stories that portray Vampires overall as misunderstood creatures.

My ideal Vampires are arrogant, bloodthirsty monsters. In the first 3 series whilst we were introduced to plenty of evil Vampires like Herrick, we also see more sympathetic Vampires like Lauren, Adam, and even Ivan and Daisy to some extent, whilst in series 2 Mitchell also manages to convince an entire group of Vampires to stop drinking blood.

In series 4 however Vampires with the exception of Hal, who even then has his moments are all irredeemable monsters. We see them take pleasure in not just killing but torturing their victims too. Even the Vampires who do turn on their kind like Cutler and The Vampire Recorder only do so for their own selfish reasons. I also think they felt like more of a force to be reckoned with in series 4 too, and it was cool the way we actually saw what an earth under the Vampires would be like too.

The Vampires are literally like the Nazi’s persecuting other supernatural races, (Werewolves in particular) and herding people in their millions into death camps. I love the opening scene in series 4 where we see the ravaged ruins of a Vampire ruled earth. Its kind of like the Dalek Invasion of Earth or War of the Worlds, but with Vampires!

Finally I also found the story arc in series 4 to be the strongest too. I felt it was quite an unusual idea for a Vampire series. Its not often that you see time travel in a Vampire story.

I also liked Annie sacrificing Eve. Its a very controversial story among fans and I can understand why. Its bit much to have your main character actually kill their best friends baby! Still I felt it was quite an interesting and dark twist on the usual story that we often see, where there is a relative of one of the main characters who is destined to do something bad, and the hero has to decide on whether or not to kill them, or save the world. Other examples of this type of story include in season 5 of Buffy, where Buffy has to choose between sacrificing Dawn to stop Glory, and in Supernatural where Sam Winchester is prophecised to be the vessel for Lucifer, and Dean has to deal with hunters, like Gordon Walker wanting to kill his brother.

In Sam and Dean and Buffy’s case however it all works out. Okay granted Sam goes to hell and Buffy dies, but still ultimately both get brought back and Sam loses all of his memories of hell. Neither Buffy or Dean had to actually sacrifice their loved ones. In Being Human however, there’s not some big magic deux  machina where Annie avoids the horrible future and saves Eve. You think its going that way, when Hal and Tom talk about eliminating the Old Ones, and its really shocking when Annie blows them all up instead. It was heartbreaking, but a very bold ending to the story.

I think series 4 also tends to focus on the fantasy elements more. It expands the mythos, featuring other supernatural creatures like Demons and even explaining where the Vampires came from. The first three series tend to focus more on the soap opera elements.

They tend to more revolve around the main characters attempts to fit in with humanity and their romantic misadventures. Even in series 1, which sees the Vampires try and take over the world, our the main characters more just react to it at the end of the series.

In series 4 however we have characters like Tom who actively goes and hunts Vampires and episodes like Eve of War, that are pure action and fantasy from start to finish.

I think series 4 is more comparable to series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural in that like them its a series about people hunting supernatural creatures and saving the world from them. Series 1-3 however is more comparable to series like True Blood, in that its a series that shows us how supernatural creatures exist in our society, albeit obviously in a different way to True Blood.

I think a large part of this is due to the character of Tom. Michael Socha really brought a physical edge to the series through his performance that allowed the shows writers to do these types of stories with big massive Vampire fights such as in the finale. Its hard to imagine George bursting into a room and killing hundreds of Vampires like Tom.

The only time we ever see George take on lots of Vampires at once is when he has changed partially into a Werewolf in series 4. Tom however can do scenes like that all of the time. Compare Mitchell and George’s fight in the last episode of series 3 slapping each other, to Hal and Tom’s big brawl in the last episode of series 5 and you will see how Socha really brought more of a physical edge to the show.

Having said that whilst series 4 is my favourite and I do prefer Hal to Mitchell, I think series 1 and 3 are better than series 5.

Series 5 is not a bad series. I loved Phil Davis as Captain Hatch. Being Human always benefited from having consistently strong villains. Not only where all the villains great characters, very well written, with great motivations, but they were all played by brilliant actors like Jason Watkins, Mark Gatiss, Donald Sumpter and Phil Davis. Also series 5 has the single best episode of all time too, the finale. Still a lot of series 5 does feel like its reusing old ideas.

Crumb is a similar character to Lauren. Both Vampires who were turned by the main character and both end up killing lots of people before trying to control their blood lust, and ultimately end up just killing themselves.

Larry is also pretty much the same character as Tully from series 1. Both Werewolves who are losers and perverts who manage to somehow serve as role models to the main werewolf character and end up leading them astray, before clashing with the Vampire. There is even a scene in both episodes where Hal and Mitchell threaten Tully and Larry to leave instantly and they refuse.

Hal and Alex’s romance is also comparable to Mitchell and Annie’s too in that its another Vampire/Ghost love story.

Again this is not to say series 5 is bad, but it doesn’t feel quite as fresh as the earlier series and with this in mind perhaps its best that it was the last series.

Series 3 I’d say is probably the best of the Mitchell, George and Annie years. Again its story arc is very strong. Its not a big grand storyline like series 4 or 1. The only threat is to the main characters, but that works in its favor as its a really tight story that pushes our characters to the very limits.

Series 3 is really Aidan’s series. They all have their moments but he really gets to show us so many different sides to Mitchell. He shows us how romantic and sweet he is with Annie one minute, but then gets to show us a really devious side of the character, such as when he tries to feed Nancy to Herrick. Mitchell’s death is also brilliantly handled too. I will say whilst I preferred Hal, I think Mitchell’s relationship with George was much better written.

Series 1 meanwhile is a strong opening series. Jason Watkinns is an effective villain and the series does quite a good job of slowly introducing us to the lore such as the Vampire’s secret society, their feud with the werewolves, the men with the sticks and ropes.

The only problem with this series however is its weak finale. The Vampire takeover is halted far too easily. Compare what they have to do to stop Herrick to what they have to do stop the Old Ones. Granted the Old Ones are a bigger deal than Herrick, but still you’d think it would require more than that to stop all the hundreds of Vampires he had gathered as an army?

Series 2 meanwhile I think is the weakest series. I don’t like its story arc. Again I’m not keen on the Vampires all trying to kick their blood habit, and I also don’t like the idea of an organisation designed to track down the supernatural that goes evil. Its one of these ideas that sounds quite neat on paper, but for some reason it just never seems to work out. Another example of this would be The Initiative in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kemp is quite a good villain however, but overall I think this was when the series was at its most soap operaish.

If I were to rank the series then it would be like this.

1/ Series 4

2/ Series 3

3/ Series 1

4/ Series 5

5/ Series 2

Top 10 Episodes

10/ Eve of War

A great opening episode for series 4. This story to me really shakes things up brilliantly with the deaths of two main cast members. Its sad that Nina dies off screen. She is consigned to the same fate as Tully and Daisy this way. Still George’s death is very moving and its a fitting end for him to die saving his daughter, even if it is pointless. I also love Griffin, the main villain in this episode. He is one of the most ruthless and vicious Vampires in the series, even casually saying that he is going to skin George alive at one point!

9/ The Pack

This episode introduces McNair and Tom properly. Robson Green is brilliant as  McNair. He really captures the characters fanaticism and rage brilliantly. McNair’s scenes with Mitchell are the best. Its interesting watching them slowly develop certain level of trust in each other by the end of the story, when they have to work together to save their loved ones. Sadly it doesn’t last however, as McNair is back trying to kill Mitchell again in his next appearance.

8/ All God’s Children

Though I don’t like series 2 that much, it does have an amazing finale. Its great seeing how Kemp is every bit as bad as the monsters he hunts. He is prepared to brutally kill innocent people in his crusade against the supernatural. Also seeing Annie get sent through the door was really quite shocking the first time, though I don’t think anyone was upset when Jaggat died. Mitchell’s rampage is also great too as is his big confrontation with Kemp. I love George’s line of don’t you tear the world apart in her name when Mitchell tries to kill Kemp for what he did to Annie. Its quite ironic considering Annie later kills Kemp in that very episode.

7/ Floatsam and Jetsam

The first episode of the entire series, this episode sets up the characters relationships with each other nicely. Even here you can see that Annie and Mitchell have a special kind of chemistry with one another. It is also gives you some quite nice insights into the Vampires world with Herrick. I love the moment at the end where he quietly threatens Mitchell and assures him, and the viewers that something big is happening.

6/ Where the Wild Things Are

The penultimate episode of series 1. Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorites because we finally see Annie get Owen. Owen I found to be one the most hateful villain in the entire series. Ironic in a way as he only killed one person, but I think its because he just seemed like a nasty bully, compared to say Herrick or Hatch who at least seemed like dark charismatic villains.  He is a classic example of the banality of evil.

5/ Being Human 1955

This episode introduces Hal into Annie and Tom’s life effectively. From the very beginning Hal and Tom’s chemistry with each other is dynamite. Their final fight in the shop is thrilling and I love the way Annie talks them out of it, pointing out how above all else they will simply be letting both McNair and Leo who were both so proud of them at the end of their lives down. Louis Mahoney as Leo gives a wonderfully thoughtful, nuanced and moving performance, and he and Damian’s chemistry is perfect. As young as Damian may look, you do buy that he and Leo have known each other for decades.

4/ Though the Heavens Fall

This episode is a real game changer. We have the death of McNair, Nancy, Herrick regaining his memories, Mitchell being arrested, and Annie and Mitchell’s relationship finally breaking down. I must admit I loved watching Herrick killing Nancy. Its funny even though we should be on Nancy’s side as Mitchell was behind the Box Tunnel massacre, I still found her too annoying. I

ts sad to see McNair die though, but still you have to give Herrick major credit, for not only killing so many characters, but McNair in full wolf form.

Added to that he also slaughters dozens of police men all by himself, and then to finish it off, stabs Nina in the kidney with a butchers knife! Its definitely Herricks crowning moment of evil when he stabs a pregnant, defencless woman in the kidney! Its even worse when you consider the fact that she saved his life when he had no memories from Mitchell, and looked after him for months, but he just does it to show how he isn’t going soft.

3/ The Wolf Shaped Bullet

The third season finale this episode makes the top ten for Mitchells moving death scene alone. Though all of the main cast would eventually depart the series in tragic ways, this marked the first time we saw main character die and it was a very powerful moment. It was a great twist on the whole good guy Vampire story that for once, there actually is no redemption for our hero Vampire. Unlike Angel or Spike, Mitchell sadly will die a monster. Though perhaps the fact that he willingly gave his life rather than risk anyone else just by his sheer existence, can be seen as a form of redemption. I also love the fact that the thing that is really able to give George the courage to stake his dearest friend is the idea of him being used as a servant of the Old Ones to kill more people.

2/ The War Child

A controversial episode but still one of my faves. Mark Gatiss’s helps elevate this episode alone with his performance as the Vampire king, Mr Snow. He is just mesmerizing on the screen and utterly hideous at the same time. One of my favorite moments is when in the future he says to a rebellious human “I don’t intend to kill you all. You’re far too delicious!” and then smiles to reveal his hideous rotten, green teeth. It makes me shiver every time. I also loves the way he humiliates Nick Cutler. Poor Cutler, Nick Cutler as Mr Snow loves to call him. He always felt he was destined to be a history maker, and then his dreams are completely crushed in a minute by Mr Snow who compares his idea to a child holding its own excrement!

1/ The Last Broadcast

The finale is unquestionably the best episode for me. There are so many classic moments Hal and Tom’s fight in the pub, Leo’s moments with Hal, the final show down with the Devil and best of all Hatch’s speech which has got to be the best supervillain monologue of all time. Phil Davis as Hatch is as good as Mark Gatiss was as Mr Snow. He plays the Devil with absolute evil relish and really captures the characters dark humour wonderfully. Most importantly the episode finishes the series perfectly. Some fans may not have liked the unhappy ending, but it made sense to me.

Each series had had a unhappy ending. In series 1 George infects Nina, in series 2 Annie is lost and Mitchell has given into his Vampiric cravings like never before, in series 3 Mitchell dies, in series 4 Annie is lost again and Eve dies. With this in mind a dark, bleak ending was the only way the show could have finished. Perhaps it would have been better had they kept the extra scene in, and left it open ended as to whether or not they did stop Hatch. Still I like it as it is. Its so creepy, yet I love how understated it is. They don’t come right out and say “they’re still trapped in the dream” its just one little clue, though it is a pretty definite clue that lets you know they ultimately didn’t succeed and the Devil won. Its a horrifying idea that they are just left there lying on the floor dreaming, whilst the Devil is inflicting god knows what horrors upon humanity.

Characters

John Mitchell

John Mitchell was the shows main Vampire from series 1-3. He was definitely the shows most charismatic leading character. In many ways he could be seen as the central character in series 1-3. After all the main villains from all of those seasons are linked to him in some way. Herrick, Jaggat and Lia and its also really his attempts to control his bloodlust that drives the main story arcs of those seasons forward more than anything else.

It doesn’t surprise me that Mitchell is one of the shows most popular characters. He is a Vampire, everybody loves Vampires, he is played by Aidan Turner, everybody loves Aidan Turner and he is just that type of character people love anyway the dark, brooding, sexy loner character.

I think Mitchell offered up a more tragic take on the whole good guy vampire character. Ultimately Mitchell is forced to kill himself in order to stop feeding again. We have seen dozens of characters like Mitchell, but usually there is a happy ending of some sort like they become human, or at least champion for justice.

Even if there isn’t a happy ending at the very least they die as heroes. With Mitchell however, he is ultimately a lost cause and knows that even if he manages to control his desire to kill for now, then in a few years time, or even a few decades after George dies, he will revert back to being a monster.

Often I think its presented as being too easy to stop drinking blood if you’re a Vampire in certain works of fiction. It makes it look like being a Vampire is a cool, fun thing. You just stop drinking blood for a while, and then there are no problems, and you get to stay young forever with cool super powers.

With Mitchell however they show you what a horrible curse being a Vampire is, as not only is Mitchell forced to kill himself for the greater good, but he also doesn’t actually manage to stay completely clean throughout the entire time that we know him anyway.

George Sands

The first Werewolf of the series played by Russell Tovey. George I think is really where most of the comedy comes from in the original three series.

Tovey I think was more of a natural comedic performer than the other two main cast members. There are so many funny moments with George from his disastrous attempts to flirt with Nina on Tully’s advice, to his getting frustrated with Annie making tea, to his correcting the grammar on graffiti even when it’s insulting him “that should be Mr Sand sucks cocks, not suck cocks”.

Tovey and Turner in particular also had a wonderful chemistry with one another. Their’s was more of a straight forward Bromance than the later Odd couple vibe they went for with Hal and Tom

Annie Sawyer

Possibly my fave character. Its a toss up between her and Hal. Annie is arguably the most well developed across the series, though this isn’t surprising considering she is there the longest.

When we first meet Annie its hard to imagine a more helpless, vulnerable character. Even with her supernatural powers at first she is unable to get back at Owen.

As time goes on however we see her take on a much stronger role and get back at Owen, as well as fight off Demons who try and drag her spirit to hell. By series 4 she has become someone who can fight her way through dozens of Vampires whilst screaming “GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING BABY!”

I’d say that Annie is really the main character in series 4. It feels like her show at that point and as a result of that I’d say that is probably her best series.

Hal Yorke

Hal was both much funnier and scarier than Mitchell. As I already mentioned, in contrast to Mitchell, Hal was a more awkward character who could barely interact with anyone. One of my fave moments is when he and Tom have to pretend to be boyfriends in order to look after Eve, and whilst Tom is okay with it. Hal is clearly embarrassed by the whole thing terribly.

However at the same time evil Hal was much more terrifying than Mitchell. The difference between Hal’s evil side and good side was much greater than that between Mitchell’s evil and good side.

With Mitchell he was just portrayed as losing control, whilst with Hal it was shown to perhaps be a split personality. His good side referred to his evil side in third person and his evil side would even refer to his good side as a different man, and later dead.

Damian Molony really excelled at playing the two different sides of the character.

Tom McNair

The second Werewolf played Michael Socha. Tom was more of an action hero. Socha really brought a physical edge to the show, which suited the direction the series was going in at that point.

Tom’s relationship with Hal had more conflict in it than George and Mitchell’s. They were presented as two people you’d never think of as becoming friends. Not only was one a Vampire who had had a long history of persecuting Werewolves. (Hal had even helped kick off a global conflict with Werewolves and had used many of them in Dog fights.) Whilst the other was a Werewolf who hated Vampires with a passion and collected the teeth from every Vampire he killed!

Even without those rather huge differences however, the two still could not be more different. Tom is a more simple minded person, whilst Hal is more of a pompous intellectual with a taste for the finer things.

As a result there are about 6 huge fights between the two in the series. In their first episode together, they end up pointing a shotgun and a stake at each other.

Yet despite this the two do still manage to become good friends and there are a number of rather touching moments between them where we see the depth of their friendship, such as at the end of series 4 where Tom refuses to give up on Hal, because is his best friend.

Alex Millar

Sadly as she only got one full series Alex is the least well developed of all the main characters. She appeared in a few episodes of series 4 and all of series 5, and is the second Ghost character replacing Annie. She is played by Kate Bracken.

Alex was more of a Tomboy in contrast to Annie who was more of a stereotypical damsel in distress when we first saw her. Alex’s more laddette persona made her a brilliant foil for the sensitive, prissy and uptight Hal.

I think its a shame that the second trinity wasn’t given as much time to develop as the first. Even though series 5 does reuse a lot of the same ideas as the earlier series, it does still manage to reinvent the show superbly, with a great new dynamic and its a shame that we didn’t get to see more of their relationship with one another.

Nina Pickering

Nina was played by Sinead Keenan. She is definitely my least favorite of the main characters in the series. Its not that I dislike her, I just felt that she detracted from the main three at times and didn’t really have as well developed a persona as the other 6 main characters.

Having said that though I did enjoy her relationship with George. If nothing else Keenan and Tovey had marvellous chemistry with one another.

It was also a shame that Nina’s death happened off screen. Whilst I wasn’t the biggest fan of the character, she deserved better than that.

William Herrick

The main villain of the first series. Herrick played by Jason Watkins, is probably the shows most famous villain. He is a Vampire leader who plans a massive Vampire takeover of the world. He not only enjoys killing innocent people, but torturing and demeaning other supernatural creatures, though he seems to hate Werewolves in particular. Still in series 3 he mentions his desire to exterminate all Werewolves and Ghosts too in his new world order.

I actually think I preferred Herrick in series 3. Even though he spends most of the series unsure of who he is, in the last two episodes he manages to kill McNair, Nancy, an entire platoon of police men and a police station and very nearly Nina too. I also love the scenes where he torments Mitchell and George in the cage. Its great watching him actually manage to turn the two friends against each other.

I liked Herrick in series 1, but I felt he wasn’t given quite as much to do ironically in almost the full series he appeared in as himself. Though he did get to almost kill Mitchell I still found him more impressive in series 3.

Kemp

Kemp played by Donald Sumpter is main antagonist of the second series. He was in many the ways the opposite of Herrick, yet actually quite a similar character. Herrick believed in the supremacy of the Vampire race and sought to exterminate and subjugate other races like humanity and Werewolves. Kemp meanwhile believes that human beings have more right to exist than supernatural creatures, and so he seeks to exterminate all of them regardless of whether or not they are benevolent. Its a shame we never got to see him face off against Herrick they would have been a good match for each other.

The character of Kemp is primarily motivated by the death of his family who were killed by Vampires. He even keeps the same blood soaked bible he used to fight off the monsters with him to this day. It becomes obvious that Kemp was driven completely insane, as he is later shown to be willing to murder innocent human beings in his crusade against the Vampires.

Definitely his most effective moment as a villain is when he banishes Annie’s spirit to the other side. This also in a nice irony later proves to be his undoing.

Lucy Jaggat

My least favorite villain in the series. Jaggat I think was intended to be a more sympathetic villain. Unlike Herrick or Kemp, she is constantly unsure if what she is doing is right and later feels extreme remorse for the crimes she commits. However I just never really bought her as a love interest for Mitchell. Their love story just happened too fast and its quite funny the way Mitchell doesn’t even mention her after she is killed by Kemp.

Whilst not a bad villain, she ultimately lacked the impact that the other rogues had.

Nick Cutler

A Vampire and villain of series 4 played by Andrew Gower. Cutler served a similar role to Herrick, in that he was a Vampire leader who tried to temp the main Vampire character back to his old ways, however whilst Herrick had turned Mitchell, Cutler had actually been turned by Hal. Despite being a brutal and sadistic monster Cutler is actually one of the shows more sympathetic villains. He was someone who just simply wanted to make his mark on history.

That’s practically his catchphrase “be a history maker”.  At the end of the series however when he confronts Mr Snow, a man who not only is a genuine history maker but has also met other people who have left their mark on history too, including even Jesus, Cutler finally realises how insignificant he really is.

I love the way Snow tells him”I have already forgotten your name”. It’s rubbish as he loved saying “Cutler Nick Cutler” too much to forget his name. He was clearly just saying that to rub it in!

Cutler will do anything to have an impact on history, as seen in his final appearance, when he is literally crawling along the floor in agony in an attempt to wipe out his own species by killing Eve. Ultimately however he is destined to be forgotten. Even as a Vampire he is just a complete nobody.

You can’t help but feel bad for the guy, particularly as it is all Hal’s fault he ends up like this. Not only did Hal make him a Vampire, but it was also Hal who filled his head full of ideas that he was special and destined for great things when he never was.

Mr Snow

The main villain of series 4. Mr Snow is the leader of the Old Ones and thus the entire Vampire race. He is played by Mark Gatiss in what I feel is the performance of Gatiss’s long and varied career.

Snow is one of my favorite ever Vampires. He is repulsive to look at, with his hideous green rotted death and veiny skin and dirty hair. Yet at the same time there is something alluring about the character. He has a certain dark charisma and appeal.

I think Gatiss is able to embody so many different Vampire traits in his performance to really make Snow seem like the ultimate Vampire. On the one hand, he does embody the repulsive, demonic aspect from many Vampire stories. On the other he has a certain otherworldly eerie charm to him that’s like Lugosi as Dracula. Finally he also has a tremendous physical presence like Christopher Lee as Dracula as seen when he casually disembowels a man with his hand.

Dominic Rook

Dominic Rook played by Steven Robertson is the first villain to become a main cast member. He works for the mysterious Men in Grey, an organisation designed to contain supernatural threats. Rook is not like Kemp, in that he is not a fanatic. He is even willing to make deals with Vampires and Werewolves and other supernaturals. He is not entirely evil and is more portrayed as misguided. He believes his organisation is working for the greater good and that any sacrifice is necessary to keep it going. He is also shown to feel guilt for his actions and in the end he ultimately sacrifices himself to stop the devil, (though this is later revealed to merely be part of the Devil’s fantasy.)

Rook was a great villain. A misguided character that you hoped would see the error of his ways, but ultimately crossed the point of no return and like so many others in his quest for the greater good, ended causing far more pain .

Captain Hatch/The Devil

The main antagonist for season 5. Hatch played by Phil Davis was a brilliant villain for the show to finish on. Davis is superb in the role. He is nasty, loathsome, yet charming and strangely likable all at the same time.

The thing I like the most about the Devil is how easily he beats the main heroes. He literally just points his finger at them and that’s that. Its over. It appears that they best him a little too easily at first, but then we see at the end how they have just been trapped in another dream.

Ultimately our main characters had no chance against Hatch. He was the shows ultimate villain and finally managed to bring about the end of the world.

If they were going have our main heroes ultimately fail then they needed to have a villain you would believe would be able to defeat them, and Hatch certainly seemed dangerous enough to fulfill that role.

Lore

Vampires

The Vampires in Being Human represent among my favourite take on the undead. Being a Vampire in Being Human is portrayed as a miserable, violent existence as it should be. Its not a teenage fantasy.

I also felt this series handled the Vampires take on their hatred of Werewolves too. Vampires versus Werewolves is an old trope, but I like the way the Vampires hatred of Werewolves stemmed from fear, and we saw how they demeaned Werewolves by locking them in cages and forcing them to kill innocent people.

On the one hand it felt like they were trying to drag them down to their level, by forcing Werewolves to have innocent blood on their hands, and on the other it felt like a lot of them enjoyed caging these powerful creatures and treating them like they were inferiors.

The show also gave us a wide range of interesting and very different Vampire characters too from the prissy uptight Hal, to the romantic and tortured Mitchell, to the Vampire supremacist Herrick.

Werewolves

Werewolves I felt were the least developed of the three principal supernatural creatures in the series. We never really find out much about them and the Werewolf rules are fairly generic and bog standard. The most interesting aspect of the Werewolves in the Being Human universe was really their relationship with Vampires. Other than that however I felt that Werewolves were the least developed supernatural creatures in the series.

Ghosts

The Ghosts in Being Human have a slightly more well developed background than the Werewolves. Whitehouse really took us deep into the lore and came up with quite a few interesting ideas. In the Being Human universe, Ghosts remain behind because of unfinished business which isn’t always something nice. The other side isn’t always presented as being something nice either. Indeed throughout the series there are a number of moments that suggest something horrible is waiting for even nice people on the other side such as in series 2. Whitehouse keeps his options open. He doesn’t tie the afterlife down to one particular religion, or idea even with the presence of the Devil in series 5 which allows a lot of flexibility when writing his Ghost characters.

Demons

Demons only make a few appearances throughout the Being Human series. Not much is revealed about them, but whenever they do appear they prove to very effective antagonists. The Men with Sticks and Ropes are Demons from the other side whose job is to track down spirits, that refuse the door to the other world.

The Men with the Sticks and Ropes however are not benevolent creatures. They manage to drive one man named Saul insane and force him to kill himself, so that they can use his spirit to help drag Annie to the other side. It appears that they wished to take Annie to hell, as the corridor they try and drag her to is red, and they mention not rewarding her and showing no mercy to her. Later when the men with Sticks and Ropes appear in our dimension they mention taking Alex to hell.

It is possible that when a ghost turns down its door then it becomes vulnerable to being taken to hell by the men with the sticks and the ropes. Prior to this, a Ghost will go to whichever afterlife it deserves, but when it turns down its door then its fair game for Demons to capture it.

They are not the only Demon species that exist in the Being Human universe. There are many different types of Demons. In series 4 we see a Succubus, a hybrid of Demon and human. Succubuses are the children of Demons and people. Yvonne’s father was a Demon who is described as beautiful, but cruel, whilst her mother was a woman. The type of Demon that gave rise to Yvonne must be powerful, as even its child is shown to be capable to taking over Vampires and Werewolves. Despite this however, the Vampires ultimately overran the Demons in the alternate future, as they overran the entire world!

In series 5 we see many Demons serve Satan. Sadly however again we aren’t taken deep into Demons in the Being Human universe. I think had the series gone on we probably would have found out more about, them which would have been a great way to expand the mythos of the show, but sadly we never saw much of them.

Still the fact that they were a more mysterious race made them very effective and scary.

Zombies

Zombies appear in only one episode Type 4. Still Being Human I think gave us quite a nice take on Zombies. In the Being Human universe Zombies are not the usual Walking Dead flesh eating brainless monsters. They retain exactly the same intelligence and personalities they had in life, but their bodies are rotting.

Zombies are rare they are only created when there is an imbalance in the cycle between life and death. They are spirits trapped in a body that has died.

Being Human’s take on Zombies allowed us for once to have a sympathetic Zombie that wasn’t just a salivating monster.

Influences and Comparisons to other Series

Being Human creator Toby Whitehouse

Many have drawn comparisons between Being Human and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However despite this Toby Whitehouse the creator of the series claimed that he has never seen a single episode of either Buffy or Angel. Any comparisons between both series therefore is purely coincidental.

There are many common tropes and characters that pop up across many different pieces of Vampire fiction. Obviously the good guy Vampire trope we see with Mitchell, Angel, Spike and Benny from Supernatural, and the evil Vampire Hunter that we see with Gordon Walker in Supernatural, Daniel Holtz in Angel and Kemp in Being Human. However again this does not mean that Being Human owes anything in particular to these series

Whitehouse has instead cited the old Hammer movies as a big inspiration. You can see quite a few nods to these classic films in Being Human. In the first episode series 3, George is trapped in a prison cell whilst he is changing, which is an homage to the Hammer movie “The Curse of the Werewolf” where Leon played by Oliver Reed is trapped in prison whilst he changes.

Herrick’s method of resurrection by having blood spilled on his remains is also an homage to the Hammer movies, where Dracula, played by Christopher Lee, is brought back from the grave by having blood spilled on his remains.

Whitehouse has also cited Let the Right One In as another big influence on Being Human.

Being Human’s largest influence however was the series Ultraviolet. Toby Whitehouse said of Ultraviolet a Vampire tv series from the 90’s “Ultraviolet was a brilliant piece of television and a massive influence on Being Human” “I would have loved to have written for that show. it was terrific and one of the most underrated shows of the last 20 years”. He also said that whilst he felt it could have ran for years if it did it probably would have “put paid to Being Human”.

Being Human could also be compared with the Blade film series. Both involve Vampires living in a secret society alongside ours, which they are able to manipulate for their own means. In both cases there are Vampires who wish to come out and overrun humanity too. However I have never read that Being Human was inspired by Blade, so again it may just be a case of similar tropes being used by both works.

Why I Prefer Being Human to Other Recent British Cult Series

To me Being Human is the best British fantasy or cult series of the past 20 years. I think its much better than Sherlock or Merlin, or even the revived Doctor Who.

To me Being Human was the best as it remained the most consistent. Unlike Merlin which I feel lost its way to the end, or Doctor Who which I feel took until its third series to really find its groove, and lost its way completely at the end of series 8. Being Human’s writing apart from series 2, remained meanwhile strong for me throughout.

I also feel that Being Human was able to mesh the ordinary and the fantastical better than a lot of other genre series.

Again looking at Doctor Who at times I think it could be quiet clumsy at this. A recent episode called The Caretaker for instance, is just a soap story with a badly thought out robot tossed in. Being Human however I think was actually able to bring the Vampires and Werewolves into everyday environment and show us how they can function in normal situations, whilst still making it seem like a fantasy series.

I also think the villains in Being Human were all very strong too. Merlin and the New Doctor Who obviously had great villains, but a lot of them were villains created years ago like the Daleks or Morgana. Even then I don’t think they have always handled them right. The Cybermen and the Master in New Who for instance, have been badly treated, undermined, miscast, or written completely out of character (don’t even get me started on the SJW pandering female Master!)

Morgana in Merlin meanwhile, though played by an excellent actress,, was turned into a Wile Coyote, Stop that Pigeon type of a character. For ages every plan of hers was “Kill Arthur” a plan which was obviously going to fail, or there would have been no show.

The villains of Being Human however had more wide ranging schemes and they also perhaps most importantly didn’t suffer from overuse. Herrick was the only villain who came back and even then he was only a villain after he returned for two episodes.

Also finally I think Being Human had the best finale of any recent cult series. The ending of Merlin was terrible. It actually threatened to ruin the whole show for me where as Being Human’s ending was fitting and dark, but very understated too.

Overall for me Being Human was the most consistent British cult series of the past 20 years, and I only hope its fandom continues to grow.

Top 10 Vampires

In this article I am not going to be looking at 10 individual Vampire characters. Instead I will be looking at ten different takes on Vampires, in ten different works of fiction such as Buffy, Blade, Discworld etc.

When used properly I think Vampires can be the most effective supernatural creatures, as more can be done with them than many others.

Hopefully you will see that in this list as I look at my ten favourite interpretations of Vampires.

As always all opinions are mine and tell me what are  your favourite Vampires in the comments below.

10/ Doctor Who Vampires

Lesser Vampires

The Great Vampires

Haemovores

Venice Vampires

Also Known As: The Great Vampires, Haemovores, Satuynarians.

Powers and Abilities: The Great Vampires are indestructable and can only be killed by having their hearts completely destroyed. They can drain the blood of billions of worlds at once. Their servants meanwhile possess many of the standard Vampire powers, super strength, immortality, hypnotic powers, control over animals etc. Haemovores have super strength and durability, being capable of withstanding a round of heavy machine gun fire to the chest with no ill effect.

Weaknesses: Great Vampires can be killed by having their hearts completely destroyed, their minions are vulnerable to sunlight, and can be killed by a stake to the heart. Haemovores can be hurt by human belief in something. It creates a psychic barrier that prevents them from coming near.

How Do They Reproduce: The Great Vampires can turn people into creatures similar to them through their mind alone, regular Vampires have to mix their blood with other life forms to make them their own kind.

Unique Attributes: The Great Vampires can drain the blood from all of the life forms in an entire solar system at once.

Monster Relatives: None

Other Supernatural Creatures: Aliens obviously exist in the Doctor Who universe, and though they are not supernatural per se, many of them have given rise to myths about certain supernatural creatures. For instance many myths about Witches stem from extraterrestrials known as the Carrionites and Magic in Doctor Who is explained away as being a form of advanced science that uses words rather than numbers for equations.

Despite this however a few other genuinely supernatural creatures do still exist seemingly in the Whoniverse.

Demons appear to exist. There is an ancient Demon known as the Beast who claims to have come from before the Universe’s existence, and to be the source of all horned creatures in all mythologies across the universe including Satan. He also claims that there are many more giant Demons like him, buried and imprisoned all across the universe waiting to be released.

We later see one of these Demons called Abaddon in the spin off series Torchwood. A similar Demon named “The Destroyer” appears in the 7th Doctor story “Battlefield”. Finally there is also another Demonic entity named the Mara which has the power to possess people that appears in the 5th Doctors era.

Werewolves also exist in the Doctor Who universe, though one alien posing as a Werewolf appears in the 10th Doctor story “Tooth and Claw. A real Werewolf appears in the 7th Doctor story “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”. Apparently they are quite common across the entire universe. Dragons also exist too. In fact the moon is revealed to be a Dragons egg!

There are also several god like aliens including the Black Guardian who is shown to be served by several Demonic creatures. Finally the Grim Reaper who is referred to as Durac also appears in the spin off show Torchwood.

Enemies: Time Lords are the arch enemies of the Great Vampires, having driven their race to virtual extinction.

Alignment: The Great Vampires and their minions are evil destructive creatures who are happy to sacrifice entire solar systems to satisfy their hunger. Similarly the Haemovores are for the most part depicted as bloodthirsty animals regardless of who they were in life.

Appearances: State of Decay, The Curse of Fenric, The Vampires of Fenice.

Vampires have appeared in Doctor Who on a number of occasions. Doctor Who always had a more surrealist, Brothers Grimm aspect to it than other Science Fiction series. Vampires were perhaps more a natural fit for it than other sci fi classics like say Star Trek.

Having said that however Doctor Who, whilst more surrealist in nature is still predominantly a science fiction series. Most of the supernatural creatures who have appeared throughout both Classic and New Who have been given a rational explanation.

Nevertheless there have been a few occasions where it has at the very least been hinted that the paranormal threat is the real deal, such as the Beast, Durac, The Mara and the Great Vampires.

The Great Vampires appear in the Fourth Doctor story “State of Decay”. This story was written by Terrence Dicks. Dicks had previously been the script editor for Doctor Who during the second and third Doctors era’s. He would also go on to write the novelisations of many Classic Who stories.

His contributions to the show are vast, but still despite this he actually only wrote a few stories by himself.

His stories I think tended to touch on horror themes. “The Brain of Morbius” is essentially Frankenstein in Space, whilst “The Horror of Fang Rock” is very much a haunted house story and “Robot” another story of his draws on yet another classic horror movie, “King Kong” for inspiration.

Its not surprising given his track record that Dicks would be the man to bring Vampires into the Whoniverse.

“State of Decay” see’s the Doctor, Romana and annoying stowaway Adric, all of whom are at this point trapped in another universe arrive on a primitive planet that is ruled by three tyrannical Vampires. It is revealed that even the Doctor was unaware that Vampires existed, though he had heard stories of them when he was younger.

Thousands of years ago there were gigantic green skinned demonic monstrosities called The Great Vampires who destroyed entire galaxies in order to satisfy their heinous thirst for blood. Though the Doctors people the Time Lords normally had a policy of non interference. The Great Vampires represented too large a threat to the rest of the universe. The resulting war between the Vampires and the Time Lords was long and bloody, but the Time Lords eventually eradicated the Vampires. The Time Lords using Bow Ships to strike at their hearts. All of the Vampires were destroyed except for one, their leader who escaped into another universe. E-Space.

There he crashed landed on a primitive planet. Unable to leave, he turned three wayward travellers into Vampires and used them to enslave the population. Not only did his three Vampire servants turn the populace of the planet into their food supply, but they also used them as slave labour to build a space ship that could allow their master to escape and terrorise the cosmos once again.

Fortunately the Doctor is able to destroy the King of the Great Vampires. He uses the very rocket that the Vampire intended to escape with, which he launches into the beasts heart. After he dies, his minions crumble into nothing but dust.

“State of Decay” overall is a brilliant story. The Vampires origins are left deliberately vague enough so that its really up to the viewer to decide whether or not they are the genuine article or just very powerful aliens. The Vampires are also menacing too, though at times I feel that Emrys Jame’s who plays the leader of the three Vampires, Aukon is a little bit over the top.

The Great Vampire itself is an interesting concept and fortunately we only get a fleeting glimpse of it. Normally that was Doctor Who’s mistake. It would get too ambitious and try to depict monsters that its budget simply could not portray realistically.

Sometimes this would negatively affect otherwise excellent stories like “The Caves of Androzani”, or the “Terror of the Zygons”.

Fortunately they learn their lesson here and we only see the monsters face on a computer screen for a few seconds, and later its hand reaching out, which gives the idea of a truly immense creature.

The Vampires would go on to serve as an interesting addition to the Whoniverse mythology. They would not go on to appear in future television episodes, but they have gone on to appear in spin off material which has gone into greater detail with their history with the Time Lords.

Apparently the Great Vampires lived during a period known as the Dark Times, when magic was the dominant force and vastly powerful destructive creatures such as the Nestene Consciousness and the ravenous Racnoss roamed the universe.

It was the Time Lords themselves who brought about the end of the dark times by destroying the Vampires and the Racnoss. This made the way for science to become the dominant force instead of magic, which in turn created a more rational universe.

It is also revealed in spin off material that whilst the vast majority of lesser Vampires perished when their great Vampire masters died. A few managed to survive on the earth and other worlds giving rise to Vampire myths on many different planets.

The Great Vampires would not be the only explanation for Vampires that Doctor Who would give us. In “The Curse of Fenric” we discover that certain Vampire myths originate from the Haemovores.

Now whilst “State of Decay” was a great horror story. “The Curse of Fenric” is probably one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever made.

The premise of Curse of Fenric see’s an ancient Demon named Fenric bring about the extinction of humanity, by unleashing a lethal chemical in the future, which mutates most of humanity into hideous vampiric creatures called Haemovores. Eventually however even the Haemovores themselves die out, as the earth becomes too poisonous.

Fenric then brings the last of these creatures backwards in time and unknowingly uses it to unleash the very chemical that will destroy its own world. Fortunately the Doctor is able to warn it, and the creature instead uses the chemical to kill itself and Fenric.

Much like “State of Decay” Fenric mixes fantasy and science fiction to great effect. The Vampires this time are given a completely scientific explanation. Whilst “State of Decay” drew more on old Hammer movies for inspiration, I feel that Fenric to some extent draws on Richard Mathieson’s novel “I Am Legend”.

The world of the Haemovores, being a post appocalyptic wasteland populated by mutant Vampires is not to dissimilar to the world in Matheson’s novel. There are also obvious influences from John Carpenters “The Fog” as well, even in just how the Haemovores look.

Fenric still However has a fantastical element through Fenric himself, who is for all intents and purposes a Demon. The story also incorporates Norse mythology as well as  with Fenric’s apocalypse being the source for Ragnorak.

The best twist this story offers on the Vampire myth is the explanation it has for why crosses affect Vampires. Now normally this is a weakness that most stories about scientific Vampires such as the Blade film series leave it out.

With sunlight and garlic you have it that they are allergic to them, but the cross by its very nature has to have a more fantastical reason for hurting Vampires.

Here however they explain it as being because human belief in something. It can be anything from a person to an ideology. Their faith will create a psychic barrier that prevents the Vampires from attacking. It’s not the cross itself therefore that fends the Vampire off, but a human’s belief in God, which is symbolised by the cross.

This explains why Vampires in other non Christian cultures were warded off by the holy symbols of other religions too.

During the time of the setting of the story World War 2, however the character of Reverend Wainwright’s faith in god has become shaken by the horrors of both World Wars.

Thus when he tries to use the cross to ward off the Vampires it doesn’t work and they rip him to shreds.

At the same time however a communist soldier named Captain Sorin is able to ward them off with his belief in communism. Even when he is without his symbol the Red Star his faith alone is strong enough to allow him to walk through the Vampires unscathed.

This is such a clever twist on the old idea of the cross and faith being able to repel Vampires. Having it that a communist is able to use the red star to ward off Vampires whilst a priest can’t with the bible, is one of the most daring things Who has ever done.

It serves as a nice comment on how in dark times one persons beliefs can shatter whilst another’s can grow stronger. The Reverend cannot possibly believe in an all benevolent creator that is watching over us in a time of global conflict, when innocent people are being slaughtered in ghetto’s and concentration camps. Even the allies are killing children in the bombing of cities like Dresden.

The Communist on the other hand’s beliefs are getting stronger as he believes not only will Russia win the war, but that afterwards there will be a time of great change and things can’t go on the way they are with two world wars in less than 50 years. He believes that people will turn to communism as he does genuinely believe that it is the way forward for mankind.

This story uses Vampires as a powerful comment on human belief as well as religion and man’s inhumanity to man, which is why it is not only one of the best Doctor Who stories ever made, but one of the best Vampire stories ever made as well.

Sadly the last of Doctor Who’s three Vampire stories “Vampires of Venice” is the weakest of the three. Don’t get me wrong its still a brilliant story, but compared to the other two it falls rather flat.

Its more of a lightweight run around type of story. Its not as creepy and atmospheric as “State of Decay” or as powerful and deep as “The Curse of Fenric”. Also I feel it is more of a standard “myths were caused by aliens” type of story. The Vampires in this story are just aliens who have arrived on earth to colonise it, after their own planet was destroyed. There’s no mix of fantasy and science fiction like the previous two Vampire stories.

Its still a good story though and the leader of the Vampires; Rosanna Calvierri, is a very well rounded and even sympathetic character, played superbly by Helen McRory. Unlike the Great Vampires demise; her death is actually very moving.

This story was written by Toby Whitehouse who would had earlier created the Vampire series “Being Human”. Personally I would say that this is his best Doctor Who story to date.

Overall Doctor Who gave us three very interesting takes on Vampires. Its quite interesting the way that not all Vampire myths come from the same source in the Whoniverse.

Most of them come from The Great Vampires, however the cross myths come from the Haemovores and the no reflection myth comes from the Vampires of Venice.

All 3 stories touched on different aspects of Vampire mythology and lore. “State of Decay” showed us powerful, evil, destructive Vampires, whilst Fenric showed us Vampires who were created through solely scientific means, yet at the same time gave us one of the best twists on one of the classic supernatural elements from Vampire mythology. Finally “Vampires of Venice” gave us a more sympathetic Vampire story.

Its just a shame really that Doctor Who which has only touched on Vampires briefly in 50 years has still managed to give us a much more interesting take on the idea than many series that are devoted to them have done.

9/ Supernatural Vampires

Also Known As: Children of Eve

Origin: Vampires were created by Eve, an ancient primordial entity that created the majority of other supernatural races including, Werewolves, Ghouls, Rugarru’s, Djinn’s, Crocotta’s, Wendigo’s, Shapeshifter’s, Vetala’s and Skinwalkers. The first Vampire claims to have been “the thing in the dark” when man kind “huddled around the fire”.

Powers and Abilities: Supernatural strength, greater than that of many other supernatural creatures including Ghouls, Wendigo’s, Skinwalkers, Rugarru’s and Shifters, as well as black eyed Demons as demonstrated by the fact that Gordon, despite only being a Vampire for a few hours was able to take on Sam and Dean single handed, whilst his Vampire bride who again had only been a Vampire for a few moments, was able to overpower Dean too. Ruby meanwhile a high ranking Black Eyed Demon was unable to overpower Dean in a one on one fight.

The older a Vampire gets the stronger it gets, with the Alpha Vampire being so strong that even after enduring hours of torture at the hands of one of the most skilled hunters who would know exactly how to hurt him the most, and being injected with enough dead man’s blood to down a nest of regular Vampires, it still took the combined might of three Demons to restrain him. Even then that was only after a further two shots of dead man’s blood to the neck!. Vampires also possess super speed, agility, healing and immortality and invulnerability with the only thing that can kill them being beheading.

Weaknesses: Dead man’s blood can paralyse, incapacitate and hurt them. Though it is not fatal, it has allowed hunters and Demons who were normally weaker to over power them.

Bullets, arrows and blades coated in dead man’s blood are very useful weapons against Vampires but cutting their heads off kills them. Sunlight hurts their eyes and hurts like a nasty sun burn. They can also be killed by the colt a magical gun that can kill anything, and Angels who can destroy them in a similar manner how they smite Demons.

How Do They Reproduce: In order to become a Vampire you have to consume their blood first. If you drink the blood of the vampire who turned you before you have drank human blood, then you will change back into a human. 

Unique Attributes: Supernatural Vampires have souls and when they die their souls go to neither heaven nor hell, but to purgatory alongside other supernatural creatures souls.

Monster Relatives: Vampires are the children of Eve and thus are related to all other monster races she created, which include Werewolves, Ghouls, Shapeshifters, Wendigo’s, Khan Worm, Wraith’s, Skin Walkers, Djinns, Vetala’s and Crocotta’s. Many of these monster races share similar traits to Vampires, though their closest relatives are apparently the Vetala’s. Vampires are also distantly related to the Leviathans, ancient monsters capable of devouring Demons, Angels and just about anything else. It is believed Eve the creator of the Vampires came from the Leviathan’s or was related to them.

Other Supernatural Creatures: Aside from the other monster races, Demons, Ghosts, Leviathans, Angels, Gods and the Judeo Christian god all exist.

Enemies: Hunters are the primary enemies of Vampires, with hunters by the time of the first season having almost wiped them out. Demons were briefly enemies of Vampires in season 6 when Crowley the king of Hell wanted to know where Purgatory was, he began capturing Monster races and torturing them for information on Purgatory. One of those he captured was the Alpha Vampire. The Alpha however proved to be too tough and later escaped. He would remain Crowley’s enemy with Crowley even keeping tabs on him afterwards. Other than this though Vampires and Demons don’t seem to care about each other. Vampires were also briefly the enemies of Leviathans who wanted to exterminate all monster races to avoid competition.

Alignment: Most Vampires in Supernatural do not seem to mind killing innocent people, but still Supernatural Vampires are somewhat more sympathetic than other depictions. Many of them including Benny Lafette, Lenore and an entire clan of Vampires have shown restraint enough to stop feeding on human beings. Lenore continued not to feed even after one of her pack was killed and she herself was captured and tortured. They also can love and even mate for life and generally care for one another’s well being. One Vampire even killed himself after his clan was wiped out.

Supernatural is one of my all time favourite television series. I have been a fan since pretty much the start of its run.

Still having said that I have always had mixed feelings towards its depiction of Vampires. As Vampires are my favourite monsters I must admit I am always very particular in how I want to see them portrayed.

Vampires for me should always be evil. In fact I feel they should always be the most evil monsters. In Being Human, Werewolves and Ghosts are happy to live in peace with mankind, but its the Vampires who are the ones who want to tear human society down and also at the same time persecute other supernatural races.

In Buffy meanwhile there are good guy Demons of all kinds and good guy Werewolves and Witches, but no good guy Vampires, apart from Spike and Angel who are special occurrences. In the Buffyverse Vampires are the only monsters seemingly incapable of redemption on their own.

In Supernatural however its the very opposite. Vampires are the softest, most emo monsters.

All Ghosts end up as angry spirits in Supernatural. All Demons are evil, sadistic assholes, a good portion of Angels are complete bastards, and all other monster species are also shown to be total dicks too like Wendigo’s, Wraiths and Ghouls. There are no good guy Leviathans either. There are only really good guy Vampires and quite a lot of them too!

Added to that the bad guy Vampires in Supernatural are also very unimpressive. Luther a Vampire leader from season 1 spends more time shagging his girlfriend, and whining about how hunters hunt him than killing people. He is also too afraid to kill a hunter in case other hunters come after him and chastises his girlfriend for doing that.

Honestly what kind of a Vampire is that? Vampires should be bloodthirsty monsters who don’t give a fuck about hunters. If anything they should get angry at the idea that a hunter would dare to challenge them.

Then there is Dixon in season 3 who also spends more time whining about how hunters hunt him than actually doing any Vampire stuff too.

The only Vampires I have liked in Supernatural are Gordon Walker who seemed genuinely dangerous to everyone and everything around him, Benny who was likable and the Alpha Vampire.

The Alpha Vampire seemed genuinely formidable. Even when he was being tortured by Samuel Campbell, one of the worlds greatest hunters and also the king of hell himself.

He didn’t even scream or flinch for a second during the torture. My favourite scene is when he is in his cage and one of Samuel Campbell’s hunters is alone with him and he says calmly “are you afraid of me boy I would be afraid of me if I were you”.

How frightening do you have to be if your torturer is scared of you! Rick Worthy who played the Alpha was also perfect.

I love his confrontation with Sam and Dean, where rather than feel scared of these two notorious hunters who have taken down the Devil himself, he feels angry at the idea that they think they can frighten him. Even though he is the one who is seemingly completely powerless and locked in a cage.

Other than the Alpha Vampire who was brilliant and a few others however. Most of the Vampires in Supernatural were whiny bitches which was even worse as Supernatural ran right through the middle of the public’s obsession with romantic Vampires.

Even though Supernatural mocked the likes of Twilight in the episode “Live Free and Twihard” it seemed to me like that was now Vampires place in the supernatural pantheon to be the romantic, sappy, misunderstood, sympathetic monster, which is a shame as back in the days of Buffy they were always the main villains.

However Supernatural’s take on Vampires still gets major points from me for originality.

I liked the way the creators of the show were so bold as to throw out a lot of the traditional Vampire lore like cross, stakes etc. I think they came up with quite a few new cool ideas and weaknesses of their own. I liked the idea of dead man’s blood being a weakness. It was quite a nice irony that blood, the thing they fed on, under some circumstances could hurt them.

I also loved the lore of Supernatural that all the supernatural creatures could be divided up into different groups, kind of like how in the animal kingdom, we have mammals, reptiles etc.

Finally my favourite aspect of the Supernatural Vampires is what happens to them after they die. I love the idea that Vampire souls end up in Purgatory. It makes the idea of becoming a Vampire much more frightening.

Think about it in other Vampire stories when a person becomes a Vampire its horrible, but after they are slain they are released, their soul is set free. In Buffy their souls aren’t even in their bodies when they become Vampires.

In Supernatural however after you become a Vampire and you are killed by a hunter, your soul will end up in purgatory as a Vampire soul, where you will be forced to hunt other monsters forever. Thus you are truly eternally damned.

If your loved one is made into a Vampire then you will never see them ever again, as if you die you will go to heaven, whilst your loved one will go to Purgatory or vice versa.

If you become a Vampire regardless of how good a person you were in life, after you become a Vampire you will never see your loved ones. You will be stuck in an eternal forest hunting other monsters forever.

It doesn’t even matter if you are a reformed Vampire like Benny or Lenore, the fact that you are a Vampire will still mean that you end up in Purgatory forever. In this respect Supernatural Vampires and Werewolves for that matter are the most frightening of any interpretation.

When Gordon Walker a Vampire hunter is made into one as a form of revenge by a Vampire, then it truly is the worst fate for him as now he will be one for all eternity. Even if he is slain.

The poor young girl who is unknowingly turned at the start of that episode (played by Mercedes McNab, Harmony on Buffy the Vampire Sayer), who had no idea what was happening to her, will now be in Purgatory separated from all of her loved ones forever.

Similarly the werewolf Madison will never be reunited with Sam as when he dies. He will go to heaven, whilst she is in purgatory with the other monsters.

Thus whilst I have some issues with their moping, overall for me Supernatural has provided a very interesting and in some ways more terrifying take on Vampires.

8/ Reapers/ Blade 2

Origin: Created by Damaskinos a Vampire leader in an effort to create the ultimate Vampire.

Powers and Abilities: Super strength, speed and agility greater than that of all regular Vampires. They also possess a leech like three way jaw that allows them to paralyse their victims whilst they feed.

Weaknesses: Can be killed by sunlight and UV lights.

How do They Reproduce: Through a bite

Unique Attributes: Horrible ugly three way jaw (above)

Monster Relatives: Ordinary Vampire race and Zombies

Other Supernatural Creatures: Werewolves

Enemies: Regular Vampires, particularly the Blood Pack and Blade himself of course.

Alignment: The Reapers are savage, animalistic monsters that are a threat to everything and everyone around them.

The Reapers are one of my favourite Vampire variants in anything. They are just such an inspired idea. The Vampires that prey on Vampires. This actually does have some basis in mythology. The Nelapsi were said to be Vampires, who were more powerful and ferocious than regular Vampires, and were feared even by them.

The Reapers are everything people who can’t stand Twilight style Vampires could wish for. Ugly, monstrous, bloodthirsty animals. No one is going to fantasise about being bitten by these guys.

Their loathsome three way jaw has become iconic, and has even been replicated in other monsters such as Professor Lazarus in Doctor Who. Someone needs to show Charlie Brooker who said that Vampires are the worst monsters because they are pussies the Reapers. I like Charlie Brooker, but his article about why all Vampires are crap just because of Twilight is ridiculous. By that logic then all Ghost movies are sappy because of that Patrick Swayze movie.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer would later attempt to do its own take on the idea of there being a second more powerful, feral race of Vampires who regular Vampires fear the Turok Han.

Personally I think the Reapers were a much more effective interpretation of this idea. The Turok Han were scary in their first episode where we saw one beat Buffy almost to death and slaughter dozens of potential slayers. However famously when we saw an army of them in the final episode of Buffy “Chosen” they got thrashed very easily with even the likes of Xander, Dawn Summers and Andrew beating them up.

The Reapers were consistently scary and their leader, the only member of their kind to retain his intelligence Nomak played by Luke Goss has to rank as one of the all time greatest screen Vampires.

7/ Discworld Vampire 

Now these Vampires are very different to the regular kind and I confess I don’t know everything about them yet which is why i am not going to do a bio on them unlike the others. I have only just got into Terry Pratchett recently (I know how could I avoid his work for so long).

Still these guys have to make the cut among my favourites, cause they are just so bat shit mental. Though they don’t always have the largest role, they are always immensely entertaining due to their more eccentric qualities, such as their need to give their prey a sporting chance.

Many have used Vampirism as a metaphor for addiction before but none to quite the same extent as Pratchett. His Vampires having support groups for their blood addiction and even go “Cold Bat”.

Whilst  I generally like my Vampires to be evil I don’t mind more comical takes on Vampires either.

6/ American Vampire, Vampires

The Vampires in this criminally underrated comic book series are among the most interesting take on the creatures I have seen. Rather than come up with one type of Vampire with a set of strict rules. They have instead come up with the idea that there are several different species of Vampires, who have given rise to the many different Vampire myths.

For this reason we wont be including a bio of these guys either are there are simply too many to list. If you haven’t looked at this series yet you definitely should. One story is even written by Stephen King writer of one of the greatest of all Vampire stories “Salem’s Lot”.

5/ Being Human Vampires

Origin: Two brothers who made a deal with the devil to live forever became the first Vampires.

Powers and Abilities: Super strength, speed, immortality and healing.

Weaknesses: Can be killed by a stake through the heart, fire, beheading and cannot enter a house without an invitation if they do they will burn. They are also vulnerable to holy items though only in small numbers.

How Do They Reproduce: It only takes a drop of their blood to turn a person into one of their kind.

Unique Attributes: Werewolves blood is like acid on their skin.

Monster Relatives: Werewolves and Ghosts, who were created by The Devil like Vampires were.

Other Supernatural Creatures: Werewolves, Ghosts, Demons, Succubi, Inccubi, Zombies, Psychics and Warlocks and Witches.

Enemies: Werewolves are the sworn enemies of Vampires, though this is more on the Vampires part.

Alignment: Most of them are racist, chaotic, psychotic, sadistic bastards who enjoy not only torturing and killing people, but Werewolves and Ghosts too. Many of them are shown to violently attack Werewolves in the streets beating them up for no reason other than sadistic cruelty. However they are capable of controlling their bloodlust and a few have done so including Mitchell and Hal. It is implied that they all feel guilt for their actions at some point in their lives, but cover it up as its the only way they can go on.

When I say Being Human I am referring to the British version only here. I haven’t seen the American version. Maybe its good, I don’t know, but I am only talking about the British version.

I loved the Vampires in this series. I felt Toby Whitehouse really fleshed out their characters well, showing us how they integrate themselves into our society, and how they view other supernaturals, particularly Werewolves.

I loved the idea of Vampires hating Werewolves because Werewolves in wolf form were stronger, and also because Vampires were jealous to an extent that Werewolves had “time off”. They could remain human most of the time and live otherwise normal lives whilst Vampires were monsters all of the time.

Whilst the idea of Vampires vs Werewolves is certainly not original, I think Being Human did it best. The Dog fights they subject Werewolves to are truly disturbing. When the Vampires lock Werewolves in cages on the night of the full moon with innocent people, so that the Werewolves will rip them apart, it feels like the Vampires are trying to drag the Werewolves down to their level.

The Vampires know that they can never control their bloodlust and will be destined to be killers, so forcing Werewolves to be as well in some ways makes them feel better about themselves.

I also like the way that the Vampires are the most evil and dangerous supernatural creatures in the Being Human universe. Ghost’s, Werewolves, Demons, Succubi’s are all willing to live in peace with humanity (until the last series at least), but Vampires are constantly trying to create a world where they will rule over all other races. A world they actually do manage to create in an alternate timeline in series 4.

In this timeline we see the Vampires run a Nazi like regime, rounding up human beings and Werewolves into concentration camps, where they kill them for fun, torture them, burn L for Lycan and H for human into their skins, and force them to fight each other on the night of the full moon. They also presumably do the same to other supernatural races Ghosts, Demons etc, as they are shown to rule the entire world. That’s more what I like to see Vampires as the most evil of all the supernatural creatures that exist, rather than as the most sensitive, and caring, and wimpy like in Supernatural.

Also their leader Mr Snow played by Mark Gatiss is awesome too. Personally I think that’s Gatiss’s best performance in anything either comedic or serious. The leader of the Vampires in seasons 1-3 Herrick, played by Jason Watkins is also a brilliant villain as well. He’s a really nasty piece of work.

I mean we are talking about a guy who once stabbed a pregnant woman in the kidney, with a butchers knife, just to prove he hadn’t gone soft. Its even worse when you consider that said pregnant woman, was in fact the only person who was nice to him when he had amnesia, and even saved his life on a number of occasions too.

Other than a few exceptions Being Human Vampires are among the most evil and twisted of any interpretation and that’s why they are among my faves.

4/ I Am Legend Vampires

 

Origin: Strain of bacteria that can infect both living and dead hosts.

Powers and Abilities: None, they are slow moving and weak.

Weaknesses: Stake through heart and sunlight, they are also vulnerable to holy items due to a psychological belief that it can hurt them, but it ultimately has no real effect on them.

How Do They Reproduce: Through an airborne bacteria.

Unique Attributes: They are slow moving, weak and frail creatures, unlike the majority of other super strong Vampires we see in most works of fiction.

Monster Relatives: The infected who have managed to overcome their need for blood and aversion to sunlight.

Other Supernatural Creatures: none

Enemies: Robert Neville and the infected who recover and hunt them down.

Alignment: Not evil per se, they just want to feed. At the end of the book, some are able to overcome their infection and try and build a new society.

Richard Matheson was really the first author to have Vampires as being created by science, rather than magic, something which many other Vampire stories have since emulated.

I am Legend was also very influential on the Zombie genre too. Indeed it could be argued that it created the modern day Zombie genre, as George A Romero drew inspiration from this when creating “Night of the Living Dead” which did literally invent the modern day zombie genre.

The Vampires in this story are more like zombies, deformed, weak shuffling creatures who are scary when they travel in large numbers. Though the book has been filmed three times “The Last Man On Earth”, “The Omega Man” and “I Am Legend” only “The Last Man on Earth” retains the idea of it being Vampires.

Make no mistake however this is a Vampire story and I think it offers one of the most interesting takes on the Vampire myth as well as one of the most influential. When Charlie Brooker went on about Vampires being the worst monsters because they are wimps, whilst Zombies (the Romero flesh eating variety) are the best because they just kill people, someone better tell Mr Brooker that the modern Zombie genre he loves so much, practically comes from a single Vampire story.

The modern day Zombie is almost a variant of Vampire, and owes far more to this Vampire story, ironically than it does to the old Voodoo Zombie myths and legends.

3/Stokers Vampires

Powers and Abilities: Super strength said to be as great as twenty men, Immortality, shapeshifting, hypnotic powers.

Weaknesses: Wooden stake through the heart, cannot enter a house without an invitation, beheading, garlic, they are weaker during the day but, it does not destroy them, and they cannot cross running water at a low or high tide.

How Do They Reproduce: Through a bite, though it may take several.

Unique Attributes: None as everyone has copied the Vampires rules of this story in some way or another, though at the time it was very original.

Monster Relatives: None

Other Supernatural Creatures: Werewolves and Witches

Enemies: Vampire hunters

Alignment: Pure evil seek to overthrow humanity, though they do seem to be able to care for one another, as Dracula despite beating his wives claims to love them very much.

Whilst I would agree that Dracula is the best Vampire story ever written, there are other types of Vampires that I prefer. Still its no exaggeration to say that the majority of attributes of other Vampires come from this tale.

Stoker combines many different old legends together to create what are really the ultimate Vampires. Dracula himself contrary to popular belief, does not embody the seductive Vampire persona. He is a hideous old man, who gets younger the more blood he drinks, though his wives certainly do follow the seductive Vampire model.

The Vampires in this story are generally portrayed as evil monsters too, and it would be later versions of Dracula that would recast him as a more seductive, romantic and even sympathetic character.

Over the years Dracula has been portrayed on film more times than any other fictional character. Whilst there have some amazing films and performances, very few have actually remained completely faithful to Stokers original novel.

2/ Blade Vampires

Origin: Created by Drake though his origin is unknown.

Powers and Abilities: Super strength, speed, agility, healing to the extent where they can regrow limbs, immortality.

Weaknesses: Can be killed by a stake through the heart, or anything made of silver piercing the heart and brain, direct sunlight, UV lights and garlic.

How do they Reproduce: Through a bite only.

Unique Attributes: These Vampires can turn people into zombies as well.

Monster Relatives: Reapers, a mutant race of Vampires, and Zombies who are created when the process of turning someone into a Vampire does not work properly, and the person comes back as a living, rotting corpse with no higher brain functions, and a desire not just to feed on blood but to devour anything (including even other Vampires) that they come into contact with. Thus Zombies in Blade are merely an offshoot of Vampires.

Other Supernatural Creatures: Werewolves.

Enemies: Blade a human/Vampire hybrid who has the strength, speed, agility and healing of a Vampire (as well as their thirst which he keeps under control) but none of their weaknesses. Blade has been responsible for wiping out most of the Vampire race, as seen in Blade Trinity. Though he believed he had killed them all, he later discovered that a few had survived in Blade the Series. Blade is the Vampires main enemy, but there are many other Vampire hunters around such as Blade’s mentor Whistler and the Night stalkers.

Alignment: All irredemably evil except for Blade and that’s only because he is part human.

The regular Blade Vampires I feel deserve a seperate section from the Reapers, as they are a different race after all.

Now the Blade Vampires were effective villains in a number of ways. They were powerful, evil and brutal antagonists to the main hero with Frosts’ torture of Whistler alone demonstrating how vicious they are. However what really scores them so high on my list is the way they worked as a secret society.

I quite liked the idea of Vampires running things from behind the scenes, controlling our police force, covering up their crimes, framing those who hunted them, having human servants who use modern day weaponry.

It made the Vampires seem a little bit more menacing. In most Vampire fiction like Buffy and Supernatural the Vampires are just skulking around in old graveyards fighting anyone who comes near them with their hands. The Blade Vampires however were definitely a lot smarter, in that they would often be protected in their mansions, by hundreds of heavily armed guards, making Vampire hunters jobs a bit more difficult to say the least.

The Vampire society was also really fleshed out too in all three films. It was interesting to see how they had their own language and also how there were divisions in Vampire society, with the pure blood (those who were born Vampires) looking down on those who were merely turned.

1/ Buffy Vampires

Origin: Created when Maloker a powerful old one fed off of a human being infecting him and turning him into a Demon human hybrid who went on to infect others.

Powers and Abilities: Super strength which gets greater when they get older. Older Vampires possess strength far greater than that of most demons as demonstrated by the fact that Angel a vampire over 200 years old (which isn’t even that old for a Vampire) is able to overpower most of the Demons he comes across in his own series. He regularly slaughters entire packs of Demons at a time. Buffy Vampires are stronger than Werewolves too as Angel managed to kill one with spectacular ease using only a pen. They also possess super speed, agility, healing and the ability to morph between human and vampire form.

Weaknesses: The usual weaknesses, a stake through the heart, beheading, direct sunlight, fire, cannot enter a home unless invited, crosses and holy water are also effective.

Unique Attributes: Though they are immortal the passing of centuries does affect them. Their vampire face becomes more deformed and they eventually lose the ability to look human.

Monster Relatives: The Old Ones who created them and other Demon races as Vampires are classed as Demons therefore they are their relatives. There are also the Turok Han another more powerful second race of Vampires who are described by Giles “As Neanderthals are to humans the Turok Han are to Vampires an old an entirely seperate race”.

Other Supernatural Creatures: Many, Demons, Werewolves, Witches, robots and even aliens.

Enemies: The Slayer, one girl in all the world gifted with the strength, and skill to hunt them.

Alignment: Very, very, very evil.

My favourite Vampires, not too surprising, considering how much I love Buffy.

Buffy Vampires, in my opinion manage to combine all the great qualities of other Vampires. We have the tragic tortured Vampire in the form of Angel, the fun, sexy cool Vampire in the form of Spike, and the hideous deformed, bloodthirsty Vampire in the form of the Master.

The Buffy Vampires are also genuinely evil and demonic. Unlike other Vampires they don’t just kill people. They enjoy torturing them too.

Indeed Buffy and its spin off Angel has been responsible for some of the sickest and most nightmarish Vampires seen in any medium.

There is The Master, an ancient Vampire who seeks to exterminate the human race, by unleashing an ancient army of Demons onto the earth, and punishes any Vampire who fails him severely. What does it say when one cuts of his own hand to avoid being punished by the Master! The Master also in one episode that depicts an alternate timeline, is able to overrun Sunnydale, turning it into a place where Vampires rule and humans are kept in cages and tortured for fun. He later builds a machine that slowly and painfully drains the blood from still living human beings turning them literally into cattle!

Angelus meanwhile is a Vampire who thrives on killing and torturing people in all kinds of ways. One of the worst examples of his cruelty is when he snaps several young infants necks and places their corpses in their beds, so that when their father comes to wish them good night he only realises that they are dead, when he leans in to kiss them good night and feels how cold they are. Angelus also does this to Giles, after he kills his lover Jenny Calendar and places her corpse in his bed, and sets things up to make it look like Jenny is waiting for him upstairs.

Then there is Drusilla an insane Vampire who enjoys plucking people’s eyes out including her own servants.

Her lover Spike also earned his nickname by slowly torturing his victims to death with railroad spikes, whilst Marcus is a Vampire who created several of the worst torture methods and enjoys torturing anything, humans, Demons even other Vampires. He also most disturbingly of all enjoys torturing, molesting and devouring children!

The scene where he acquires the Gem of Amarra, a ring that will enable any Vampire who wears it, to become unkillable and selects a group of young children as his first intended victims in the daylight, is one of the most genuinely chilling moments in any Vampire story. When he says calmly “Hello Boys and Girls” with a perverse smile it never fails to send shivers up my spine.

In Buffy, no Vampire is shown to be capable of overcoming its bloodlust and evil nature. Angel only is because his human soul is returned to him, which allows him to feel remorse something which no Vampire is capable of otherwise.

Spike meanwhile only is because initially he has a chip in his head, that prevents him from hurting anyone as it causes him tremendous pain if he tries to. Even with this chip in his head Spike still doesn’t become a good guy.

He does plenty of evil things with a chip. He works alongside Adam, an evil cyborg killer to try and bring about the end of the world. He also later attempts to force a doctor to remove the chip, so he can kill Buffy, and later even when he is involved with Buffy, keeps Demon eggs that are capable of wiping out all of Sunnydale locked in his cellar, which he intends to sell on the black market.

Most telling however is a scene in season 6, when Spike believes his chip has stopped working and rather than tell Buffy that it has, and that he could be a danger to people. He lies to her, and then quietly tries to murder a helpless young woman. He  even toys with her first, with it ultimately only being the chip that stops him from savagely ripping her throat out.

Then finally there is also the notorious scene where he actually attempts to rape an injured and seemingly defenceless Buffy.

It is only when he acquires his human soul something, which no other Vampire except for Angel has, that he finally becomes a good person.

Other than these two exceptions however, no Vampire in Buffy can find redemption and indeed no Vampire in Buffy is ever shown to want too either.

Unlike in Being Human where it is implied that all the Vampires do secretly want to overcome their evil nature but just don’t have the strength to do so, in Buffy they all relish in being as evil as they possibly can.

Its also made worse by the fact that they do not need to feed on human blood. They can get by just as easily on animal blood and thus could live in peace with mankind, but choose instead to prey on us.

Though Buffyverse Vampires can love only a very few of them have been shown too. Most only care for themselves as demonstrated by Darla hitting Angelus over the head with a shovel, and betraying him when they were cornered. Darla also became afraid that after she gave birth to her child, she would kill it as she was only capable of loving it when it was inside of her and its soul was affecting her.

The few Vampires who have been shown to be capable of love always do so in very twisted ways such anyway such as Spike. Though Spike did genuinely love Buffy, it was in a very selfish and perverse way as demonstrated by his attempt to rape Buffy.

The only occasion of a Vampire genuinely trying to better itself without a soul was when Spike won his soul for Buffy in the Demon trials. However even here it can be argued that soulless Spike’s motives were simply as Angel put it “to get into a girls pants”.

Like I said before the Vampires in Buffy are among the most evil creatures in the shows universe, as there are examples of many other types of Demon who are benevolent on their own, such as Clem and Whistler, but all Vampires are pure evil.

Whilst I liked the fact that Buffy’s Vampires were so evil at the same time, I also much preferred Buffy’s take on good guy Vampires too.

Often in other series like Being Human, as much as I like it I think it does look a little bit too easy for Vampires like Hal to suddenly stop drinking blood. I know they portray it like an addiction, but really Vampirism should be more than just an addiction its a curse after all.

The fact that Angel and Spike were only able to reform because of outside interference, such as a soul or a chip, makes the Buffy Vampires seem much more frightening. When you become one of them, you become a monster in every sense of the word.

Nothing of you remains. Its not as though, at one point you can regain your conscience like Hal or Mitchell did because you wont even want to!

Finally another area where Buffy Vampires where my favourites, was I feel their backstory was more fleshed out. Prior to Buffy I don’t think a lot of Vampire fiction had ever bothered to tell us where Vampires had come from.

Buffy however gave us a clear story, that they had been created by the old ones and gave us a full supernatural world for them to fit into. One where ironically, despite their power and evil nature, they were still looked down on by other Demons due to being Demon/human hybrids.

Other series have since followed Buffy’s lead and given us explanations for the monsters, such as Supernatural which has its own unique mythology, but I think Buffy was among the first to really tell us where do Vampires and Demons actually come from?

To me Buffy Vampires will always be the most effective. They are along with the Demons from Supernatural my favourite take on any Paranormal creature.

Top 10 horrible things that have happened to Mark Gatiss

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Mark Gatiss is a tv cult legend. Whether for his roles in “Doctor Who”, “Sherlock”, “Being Human” or “The League of Gentleman”. Gatiss has amassed a truly impressive body of work over his long career as a writer, director and actor.

However I’ve noticed recently that Gatiss frequently has something horrible happen to him in just about everything he is in. I suppose he could be called the John Hurt of comedy, as John Hurt similarly often played the victims such as Mr Olivander, Winston Smith, Kane, The Elephant Man and Quentin Crisp. (Ironically they even mention this about John Hurt in The League of Gentleman itself.) Gatiss similarly I feel often plays the victim and even when he doesn’t something bad will still happen to him.

To date Mycroft Holmes is the only prominent role of Gatiss’s I can think of off the top of my head where he is not either, tortured, killed, humiliated or had all of his dreams crushed before him.

Here are what I feel are the worst fates that have befallen Gatiss’s characters throughout his long career.

 

10/ Mr Snow/ Blown up

A light one compared to some of the stuff that is to follow. Mr Snow is the leader of all the Vampires and seeks to overthrow the world. In an alternate timeline he actually succeeds and murders the Prime Minister on television. (Imagine watching Mark Gatiss rip David Cameron’s throat out on television. That doesn’t seem that bad a future after all.) Snow then establishes a nazi like regime where Vampires rule over Werewolves and human beings. However this is foiled by the ghost Annie Sawyer who detonates a bomb that destroys Mr Snow and all of the Vampires in one swoop.

9/ David/ Turned into a Monster then burned to death

David is the son of Tubbs and Edward and at first is portrayed as a nice, charming well mannered individual. Its hard to believe he could have come from Tubbs and Edward! Unfortunately however when he returns to try and take his mother away from his abusive father, Edward corners David alone and the next time we see him, David has become like his parents, a deranged “local” pig nosed freak.

One shudders to think what Edward did to him. By the time we next see him, David has degenerated further into a hairy, bestial monster that frequently eats people. Even Tubbs and Edward are scared of him. Ultimately however David is burned to death by the angry villagers of Royston Vasey on the night of his wedding to Barbara.

8/ Jason Griffen/ Strangled to Death

Gatiss appeared briefly in Pemberton and Shearsmith’s series Pscychoville as a bumbling actor who ends up stumbling into David and Maureen Sowerbutts flat. David and Maureen are essentially a mother and son version of Tubbs and Edward, with Shearsmith once again playing the more evil, sadistic of the two. At first the two believe Jason to be a detective, but when they discover he is an actor, at first they don’t want to kill him, but finally when he discovers the body of another of their intended victims they are forced to strangle him to death. Though David is still reluctant, Maureen is absolutely loving it which just makes it even more disturbing.

7/ Scarecrow Man/ Strung up in a field

Andrew has an affair with Farmer Tinsel’s wife and in retaliation Tinsel strings him up in a field and tortures him for months on end. Later when two young girls stumble upon him they decide to leave him there as they think he is their friend, where as if they released him he wouldn’t be their friend any more. It is not known what became of him, but it can be assumed he either died or is still strung up in that field being tortured daily.

6/ Mr Chinnery/ Cursed for eternity

Poor Mr Chinnery means well but after his ancestor, (also a vet) was cursed every animal he has treated has been killed in the most horrible of ways. Chinnery has put the wrong dog to sleep, pulled a cows guts out through its arsehole, and electrocuted fish, birds and even their owners on many occasions.  Though it is implied that the curse is broken in the Christmas special, I can’t imagine that the writers of the show would have let him get off that easy.

5/ Gantok/ Eaten alive by flying skulls.

Gantok is a minor character who appears in the “The Wedding of River Song”. He is devoured by several flying skulls after he tries to kill the Doctor for beating him at chess. Despite this the Doctor does still try and save him, but he ends up getting torn apart anyway. This is probably Gatiss’s most OTT death, though not his most horrible.

4/ Hang Man Chan/ Eaten by crabs

An overlooked series in my opinion, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible was a parody of all the old classic British Horror movies like the Hammer and Amicus movies and also of other old classic British series such as Doctor Who and Jason King. By far and away my favorite entry in the series was the second episode which featured Gatiss as the hilariously camp villain Hang Man Chan, known as the “Sinister bony fingered menace from the east”.

The character and the episode in general parodied some of the racism from these old British series, though not in a sneering way as after all its to be expected that television series from the 1960’s might not be quite as progressive as those of today. Anyway Chang meets a very grisly end at the hands of Steve Coogan’s Nathan Blaze who is a send up of heroes like Jason King. First Blaze throws Chan several thousand feet onto jaggy rocks, but Chan survives thanks to his servants (the crabs) who give him a new crab arm. Blaze however then dips Chan’s clawed hand into boiling water and rips the skin off of it. Chan still survives and is then finally finished off when Blaze feeds him to his own crabs who pull him under water and rip him to pieces.

3/ Haig/ Eaten by David

Gatiss seems to get eaten quite a lot. Anyway Haig is some poor bastard who stumbles upon the local shop for a can of coke. After a disagreement over a “can of cant” Haig awakens David, and Tubbs and Edward decide to make him David’s new “friend”. They capture Haig, take him upstairs and throw him in the same room as David who has now become a monster. Edward assures Tubbs that David will “like him to pieces” and Haig is last shown attempting to crawl out of Davids room before being pulled back in. As he is never seen again it can be assumed David devoured Haig though as Tubbs and Edward meant “friend” as in wife, it is possible that David may have done other nasty things to him first.

2/ Les McQueen/ Ruined by his former bandmates

Les is arguably the most sympathetic character in the League of Gentlemen. He was once in a band called “Cremebule” who were on the verge of making it big ,but were then blown away by the Sex Pistols and faded into obscurity. “Then punk rock came along and that were the end of us”. He constantly tries to relive his glory days with disasterous results. In the last episode he appears Les finally meets up with his old bandmates, who it is revealed don’t care about him and actually manage to con him out of all his life savings a few days before his retirement. The look on his face before he is conned out of all of his cash is heartbreaking. In the live show which is of debatable canon he does manage to land a recording contract, but is electrocuted on stage at his first gig.

1/ Builder/ Tortured to death by Tubbs and Edward

Gatiss played many of Tubbs and Edwards victims including the young boy they burn alive and the police man who comes looking for him in the first episode as well as obviously Haig. However by far and away their most memorable victims are the two builders of new road one of whom Gatiss plays. These two unfortunate souls are subject to excruciating and prolonged torture. Edward strips them forces them to watch Tubbs breast feed a pig, smears seering hot tar over their naked bodies and performs insane rituals where Tubbs molests them before Edward cuts them free and shoots them down like animals with a crossbow bolt.

Top 10 most Horrific Deaths on Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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Though Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still celebrated almost twenty years on as a television classic. I feel that sometimes the horror elements of the series are overlooked by contemporary critics. People tend to focus on the themes of female empowerment or the massive impact Buffy had on the industry.

Whilst these are valid discussion points, ultimately Buffy was first and foremost a horror series. It was responsible for some of the most terrifying monsters, disturbing concepts and visceral scenes of horror ever seen on television. At its best I think Buffy can hold up with any classic horror movie.

In this article I’ve decided to compile the most horrific deaths throughout all 7 seasons of Buffy. Please let me know what you think and if there are any you think I’ve missed.

10/ Celia, Buffy’s Cousin/ Killed by Death

Sadly Buffy’s sweet cousin Celia gets one of the most frightening deaths in the entire history of the show. Celia is a victim of the demon called Der Kindestod, who can only be seen by those who are ill. Der Kindestod primarily targets children.

When the monster attacked Celia, Buffy was standing right there but couldn’t see it and assumed that Celia was simply succumbing to her illness. Its only years later when Buffy has an encounter with the demon herself that she realizes what really happened.

The flashback we are later shown where Celia screams and panics as the invisible monster kills her is definitely one of the shows most terrifying moments. This is what Der Kindestod looks like by the way.

Imagine that thing bearing down on you whilst you are a child, ill and no one else, not even your family who are standing next to you can see it!

9/ Sunnydale Swim Team/ Go Fish

The Sunnydale Swim team are infected with a chemical that causes them to mutate into heinous monsters. Its bad enough becoming a horrible fish man, who has to go and live in the ocean for the rest of your life, but the way they change is even more horrific. The monster they become literally bursts its way from under their skin.

8/ The Monk/ No Place Like Home

Not quite as creatively horrible as some of the other deaths on this list. It earns a place for how brutal it is. This unnamed monk is the last survivor of the order of dagon all of whom one by one are tracked down and killed by Glory. A hell goddess who is searching for the Key. The last of the Monks is tortured throughout the entire episode by Glory. Though Buffy does manage to get him out of there, he ultimately succumbs to his wounds. Glory would torture a few other people including Spike for the location of the Key throughout series 5, but none of them died so evidently this poor monk got it the worst.

7/ Catherine Madison/ Witch

Unlike the previous victims on this list Catherine completely brings this on herself (literally Buffy deflects her own spell back at her). Catherine ends up trapped in her own statue seemingly forever unable to move or speak. I don’t know whether to class this as a death, as technically Catherine’s mind survives in the statue. Still she’s dead technically as her body was destroyed. The statue is presumably later destroyed either when the school or Sunnydale are later blow up, so Catherine did later die anyway, but had to spend years trapped in a statue.

6/ Spike/ Chosen

Spike’s death whilst noble and poignant is also pretty horrific when you think about it. The amulet he wears which ultimately destroys the Uber Vampires also slowly burns him to death from the inside out, causing his skin to slowly burn off, his eye balls to melt in their sockets, his organs to explode and his bones to crumble to dust. Worse he’s conscious right until the end of it. Though to be fair Spike does relish in the mayhem he causes and we all know this death didn’t take anyway, as Spike later returned in season 5 of Angel.

5/ Rickie/Anne

Poor Rickie is a victim of the demon Ken. Ken captures runaway’s and forces them to work in a hell dimension for the rest of their lives, where they are brutalized and tortured to the point where they don’t even remember their own name. As time runs differently in hell dimensions, 100 years in hell is only 1 day on earth. Rickie is gone for only a few hours on earth before being spat out as an insane, aged old man who dies from the life of abuse he has endured.

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4/ Student/ Hush

A legendarily horrible scene from possibly the greatest of all Buffy episodes. The Gentlemen steal everyone in Sunnydale’s voices so that they can attack their victims in their sleep and cut their hearts out without being heard. (They need 7 for some nefarious scheme that is never revealed.) One unlucky student is cornered by the monsters and has his heart cut out slowly by the grinning monsters, as hopelessly tries to scream for help.

“You’re gonna die screaming but you wont be heard” 

3/ Caleb/ Chosen

Caleb played by Nathan Fillion is the recipient of one of the most gruesome and emasculating deaths in the entire history of the series. Fortunately he is the one person who you not only don’t mind it happening to, but you are actually happy for it to happen too!

Caleb is one of the shows nastiest villains. Aside from blinding Xander in one eye, Caleb is also shown to enjoy brutally torturing and murdering young women for fun. This makes his gruesome death at the hands of an iconic female hero like Buffy (who kills him by stabbing him in the balls with an axe and then slicing him up the middle) probably the least subtle death in the entire history of the show. Still its nevertheless one of Buffy’s defining moments as both a hero and a feminist icon.

 

2/ Warren Mears/ Villains

I know what you’re thinking shouldn’t this be number 1? Well as nasty as this is I actually think there is one worse. (Which is really saying something!)

Much like Caleb, Warren is not exactly that sympathetic a character. Having already murdered his girlfriend in cold blood (after having attempted to turn her into his sex slave) and also having murdered fan favourite Tara Maclay. He was probably the best person to give this horrible fate to.

Warren is tortured by a vengeful Willow who strings him up, stitches his mouth together so that he cannot scream and slowly sticks the bullet into his chest. Later when Warren pathetically begs for his life, Willow grows bored of him and strips the skin from his body before burning him alive. It is later revealed however in the season 8 comic that Amy, an old witch rival of Willows teleported him to safety after Willow flayed him. However he did still die as the first was able to take his form, so in his later appearances he is technically undead.  Later when magic is banished from our reality Amy’s magic that is keeping him alive after losing his skin vanishes and he finally dies from the flaying.

Sometimes a pic isn’t enough.

1/ Skinned Teen/ Same Time Same Place

Buffy’s most gruesome death is another flaying, but this is even worse than Warrens. The perpetrator is a Gnarl demon that paralyses its victims with poison in its claws, leaving them unable to move or speak. The Demon then uses its claws to slowly peel the skin from its prey’s bodies piece by piece.

This seems to be a common theme throughout Buffy of being attacked, but being unable to call for help. Buffy’s cousin is attacked by Der Kindestod and no one but her can see it, The Gentleman take away your voices so no one can hear you scream when they tear your heart out, Willow stitches Warren’s mouth up so he can’t scream as she slowly sticks the bullet into his chest, and the Gnarl paralyses its victims to the point where they can’t scream for help.

This is definitely more horrible than the others for me. Warren’s flaying whilst vile is at least over in a second, similarly the Gentleman’s victim and Celia’s deaths would have been over much more quickly. This however goes on for hours and added to that the Gnarl looks a lot uglier and nastier than even the Gentlemen or Der Kindestod. Willow ironically very nearly becomes a victim of the Gnarl, but Buffy manages to save her and gives the Gnarl itself a pretty horrible death by putting her fingers through its eyes.

Unfortunately at the start of this episode she is unable to save a young teen from the same fate which is our number 1 most gruesome death in Buffy, (if not anything.)

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