I vant to get your views!
Okay, so vampires are considered passé now. But that doesn’t mean we don’t all still love them, at least a little bit. Plus, there’s so much lore around them! There’s no one right way to do the vampire story. Their manifestations vary so much from culture to culture. I’ve read so many great books and watched so many great shows that include these unique takes on the vampyre. What a perfect thing to write a Top 5 Wednesday post about! The topic this week is our favorite books about a paranormal creature of our choosing. Obviously, I’m choosing Children of the Night. After all, they are the kings of the paranormal world. But what books and shows have my favorite versions of these nocturnal beasts? Allow me to share:
- Carmilla (Web Series)
Did you know that in pre-20th century European mythos, vampires could walk in the sun? Even though vampires were still largely nocturnal, the sun didn’t affect them negatively. It wasn’t until F. W. Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu that this bit of lore was changed. Since the novel this web series is based on was first published in 1871, these vampires follow these old rules. Aside from that, they pretty much fit the European vampire archetype to a T. Well, except for the whole sacrificing-girls-to-a-fish-god-because-their-mother-who-is-secretly-a-goddess-said-so thing. Which happens to all of us.
The web series is a modern retelling of the Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu classic. It follows Laura, a college student vlogging her investigation into the disappearances of some of her classmates. Things become more complicated when she gets a new roommate, a mysterious, broody girl named Carmilla. This show extends beyond the original canon, eventually becoming its own original (and super gay!) adventure.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Is it even possible to talk about one’s favorite vampires without mentioning this show? I mean, it’s probably the best vampire show of all time. What’s cool about these vampires is that their faces turn monstrous when they “vamp out.” They also lose their souls when they become a vampire. Beyond that, they’re not too involved. But this show sure does know how to remind its audience that these sexy vamps are hiding a monster within. Too much media forgets to do that, so BTVS gets props for that alone. All that said, if I had to choose between the vamps and the Slayer, I would always choose the Slayer.
The show follows Buffy Summers, a teenage Slayer in charge of taking out vamps and occasionally stopping the apocalypse. With the help of her friends and mentor, Buffy is unstoppable!
- Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
While most of Europe thinks of a vampire as the Dracula archetype, Eastern Europe has their own version. Or should I say versions? Eastern Europe has three types of vampire: the Moroi, the Strigoi, and the dhampir. Moroi are living, breathing vampires. In some lore, they’re also magic users. Strigoi are undead vampires, born either from being forcibly turned or a Moroi committing murder. They are evil and, naturally, the only one of the three types that are immortal (though they can still be killed). Dhampirs are half-Moroi. Vampire Academy and Bloodlines (interconnected series in the same world) use this lore. In the world of these books, Moroi can use magic. Dhampirs are their protectors, trained their whole lives to become Guardians. Not only are these two series the best YA vampire stories out there (and, for the record, I love both but I prefer Bloodlines), but they have some pretty unique vampires as well.
Vampire Academy follows Rose Hathaway, a dhampir who would do anything to protect her Moroi best friend Lissa Dragomir. Things become more complicated when Rose has to be coached by the sexy Dimitri Belikov and Lissa starts using a mysterious new magic.
Bloodlines is a spin-off that takes place shortly after the events of Vampire Academy. It follows Sydney Sage, who is part of a secret society of humans called Alchemists that hide the existence of vampires from humans. She is tasked with helping to protect a Moroi princess, so blending in with regular humans has never been harder. Things become more complicated as Sydney unearths dark secrets about the Alchemists. But the worst part? She may be falling in love with a vampire.
- From Dusk Till Dawn (TV Show)
Much like how Eastern Europe has its own vampire lore, Mexico (and other central and South American countries and cultures) has its own lore too. These vampires are called culebras and they’re a lot more snake-like than their European counterparts. In the show (I’ve never seen the original Tarantino film), the culebras are ruled by gods and other demonic beings. But that doesn’t stop Kisa AKA Santanico Pandemonium from being worshiped as La Diosa. In addition to drinking blood, culebras also each have their own specialized ability. For example, Kisa can grow wings and fly. Much like the BTVS vampires, when culebras “vamp out” (or “snake out,” as it were) their physiology changes. Their eyes turn reptilian, their fangs extend, and they form scales on their face and body. In addition to the usual methods of killing vamps, higher echelon culebras can be killed by removing and killing the snake that resides inside them. In fact, that’s the only way to kill them. I really need to watch this show again because, not only is it full of some of the coolest vamps I’ve ever seen, but it’s full of antiheroes.
The show follows the Gecko brothers— Seth and Ritchie— who are professional bank robbers. After a particularly big score, the brothers “hitch a ride” with a family and flee to Mexico. Meanwhile, they are pursued by a Texas Ranger and Ritchie begins having strange visions. From there, it’s blood-sucking chaos. Though the first season of From Dusk Till Dawn is mainly a remake of the original 1996 film, the second expands upon the characters, story, and lore in ways that blow the movie out of the water.
- The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
Though I haven’t yet done that reread I’ve been teasing, I still remember these vampires well. Even though the characters are no longer favorites, I have to praise this story’s use of lore. While its vampires are mostly compliant with post-Nosferatu European lore, the author also added a neat twist. As long as they wear a lapis lazuli jewel, these vamps can walk in the sun. Additionally, they have access to an entire vampire realm, in which they are treated as nobles and kings. Why they would instead choose to remain in the human world is anyone’s guess, but it’s still a cool way to explore their origins and darker side. They’re also able to compel humans to do their bidding (which is perhaps why some stay in this realm). On top of all this, these vamps can be turned human again. Granted, it takes an arduous journey into the demon realm, but it’s still possible. This is unique because vampirism is usually irreversible. As trashy as these books may be, their vampires are still pretty sweet.
The series follows Elena Gilbert as she begins her junior year of high school. A mysterious new student named Stefan Salvatore joins her class and she just has to have him. But as he spurns her advances, Elena is pursued by another dark stranger— Stefan’s brother, Damon. As Elena becomes entwined with the feuding brothers, she becomes central to a battle that is centuries in the making.
I also have to give an honorable mention to Moonlight.
The vampires in this show aren’t incredibly unique, but it’s a hugely underrated show that actually does the reluctant monster trope right. It follows Mick St. John, private investigator and self-loathing vampire, as he uses his vampiric senses to help the living. But when reporter Beth Turner comes into his life with claims of seeing him in her dreams, things become a little more complicated for Mick.
What are some of your favorite vampires? Let me know in the comments!