marla pachter takes a bite out of…oh, you know, just read it…
Y’all like vampires, right? I know you do, because the media tells me so. Me too, which is actually odd because I’m a bit of a realist. I don’t believe in the supernatural, and I need my television to make sense. “Making sense” doesn’t necessarily mean the TV show exists in the real world, though. It’s okay for things to exist in an alternate reality–one where vampires are real and apparently always sexy and amazing in the sack — so long as that reality creates its own set of rules and follows them.
Admittedly, most vampire shows do this pretty well, which is why I’m able to enjoy them. But the more vampire shiznizzle I get into, the more the particulars of the whole vampire mythology in the first place baffles my mind.
(Important side note: I’ve never said the word “y’all” before in my life. Vamps bring out the country in me.)
Every vampire show, movie, book, comic book, etc has its own twist on the basic vampire lore: how vampires live, react to sunlight, react to crosses, make vampire babies, and all that good vampire jazz (and there is some GOOD vampire jazz, let me tell you). Some of it is genuinely cool, but most of it is more than a little outdated and makes little to no sense whatsoever.
What you’re about to experience is an analysis of some of my favorite TV shows and movies about vampires, a breakdown of what it means to be a vampire in each universe, and why I think it’s RIDICULOUS. Buckle up, because its gonna be a bumpy ride.
…That should’ve been a vampire joke, but I’m all out of them. So, uh, here we go:
1. All Them Shows – Basically
First, let’s talk about the basics — there are basic vampiric principles that carry over through every vampire show you could imagine. Vampires are undead humans, meaning they are technically dead but they are animated creatures that used to be living humans. Cool, so they’re zombies…nope, no. Vampires are cooler than zombies because they walk and talk like humans, virtually indistinguishable. To become a vampire, first a vampire must drain you of all your blood. Here’s how that goes:
Vampire: Slurrrrrrrp. Yumyumyum. Thanks for all the blood, bro. Mmmm can’t stop, so tasty.
You: Ow. Hurts. Stop.
Vampire: Naw bro, it’s totes cool. Soon you’ll be dead and stuff. I can make you undead like me, if you want.
You: Ew. Gross. Drink blood? Ick. Also please stop, still hurts.
Vampire: You’re a pretty cool dude. I’mma totally make you my new vampire sex friend.
You: Lost…so…much…blood…can’t…even…respon- ……………….
Vampire: Aw, nuts. I finished you. Here, now that you’re completely dead and can’t do anything, drink my blood! HOORAY!
Then you get buried and wake up in a grave underground somewhere. BOOM. That’s how you become a vampire. I guess the logic is that if you drain a human of their blood and give them vampire blood, the vampire blood will replace their old stinky human blood and start pumping through their veins. J/K there is no logic involved, that makes NO sense. Also, there is no pumping involved since vampires don’t have heartbeats and are cold and then wait – how do they even have blood then? When you open their veins they totally bleed, yet there is no heart pumping involved?
While you’re lying unconscious in that cold stinky grave, you grow fangs so that when you wake up you can easily pierce human skin with your teeth and then just slurrrrrp on up that nectar of life from whatever neck you can find. Convenient! You will also find you’re suddenly really fast, athletic, and have super strength. I really don’t know why, and neither will you. The sad part is you will no longer be able to enjoy the sunlight because it will burn you to a crisp. So when you inevitably fall in love with a human, you will be doomed to sleep all day while they are living their lives and you will never be able to have a picnic with your living lovebird. But the really good news is that it turns out all humans who fall in love with vampires don’t actually need sleep, so they will go about their business all day and then have adventures with you all night. NBD.
And finally, I have yet to find any vampire lore in which a vampire does not need to be invited into your home in order to enter. Ugh. Somebody just explain that one to me. Go ahead and TRY. I dare you.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Die, Vampire, Die.
My favorite show of all time. Back when I never thought about why vampires did the things they did. My brain had not yet ripened into the delicious smelling think-melon it is today. Probably because I had not been exposed to many other types of vampires. Luckily my ripened to perfection think-melon knows how to think back and reanalyze things for you good people.
So the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Buffy is the way you kill a vampire, because, after all, she was The Slayer. (Look it up: Slayer, The.). Buffy went the traditional route, if at this point you can consider any vamp lore “traditional”. In other news, I might consider this vamp lore traditional because its what I knew first. LOL tra la la. This is how we learn things.
Anyways… fairly straightforward. In the world of Buffy you kill a vampire by staking it in the heart with a wooden stake. But actually, you can kill it with anything to the heart. She carried a lot of wooden stakes and was always whittling more when preparing for battle and stuff, so I guess it was just one of those cool “I’m The Slayer” for show things? But like. Sometimes she also hit them from far away with CROSSBOWS. Why didn’t she always do that? Crossbows are hella awesome.
When you stake a vampire (or crossbow it, or just like throw a wooden knife at its heart with excellent aim and whatnot) it instantly turns to dust. And… that’s it. Poof. What once was a solid being is now ashes in the wind. …Hold up, WHAT? How the mother flipping does that make sense? Those are some serious messed up laws of physics. One minute, the vampire is solid. Then hit the bulls eye and it literally disintegrates in front of your eyes. Where did that logic come from? The TV logic of not having millions of bodies to dispose of every episode, I suppose. It’s actually a very clever bit of TV magic, but it makes my ripened think-melon hurt! Should I stop referring to my mind as a fruit that sounds like an inedible fifth grade science project?
Another thing about this show is the religion aspect. A lot of this lore is based on Christianity. Crosses and holy water burn vampires. Literally all you have to do is bless some water to make it dangerous to the undead? As an Atheist who grew up Jewish, I have a hard time believe the idea that vamps are evil based on Christian values is a universal concept. And yet, somehow its engrained in “traditional” vampire lore.
3. True Blood – Sex, Drugs, and Really That’s It. A Shitton of Sex and Drugs.True Blood probably takes place in the weirdest universe. Vampires are these over-sexualized beings whose blood is literally a drug. The thing here that never made sense to me is that vampire blood serves two purposes, but only one at a time apparently? For starters, vamp blood has very strong healing powers. Seriously you could be a like a minute away from death and this stuff will completely heal you, as if you were a cheerleader on Heroes. Sure, I kind of buy that. These are supernatural beings so they have to have some kind of cool things they do other than draining humans of their delicious red life force.
However, the life elixir of the undead also has very strong hallucinogenic properties. They call it V and it’s treated like a drug. There are severe V addicts, seriously this stuff is worse than heroine. V also enhances your senses, makes you feel stronger, and increases your sex drive, but for the most part you’re just trippin’ balls all over the place. One time on this show Ryan Kwanten (HOT) and Lizzy Caplan (HOTTER) took a bunch of V and then had a joint hallucination where they started out on their bed together but then suddenly they were in a field frolicking, and I think they were supposed to be having sex? Like I said. Trippin’ balls.
Whenever someone is healed with vampire blood, they start having sex dreams about the vampire who healed them, and that little bloodsucker can sense when the human is in danger. But like, that doesn’t happen to the V drug addicts at all? People who get healed with V should have hallucinations, and the addicts should be completely invulnerable. During that aforementioned trip, Lizzy Caplan was MURDERED. If she had enough V in her system to think having sex was rolling around in the grass and giggling like a school girl, shouldn’t her wound have instantly healed?
FYI, a derogatory term for a human who has sex with vampires and allows them to feed off their body for pleasure is a “fang banger.” I just think that’s a hilarious bit of ridiculousness.
And Last But Certainly Not Least, 4. The Vampire Diaries – I Got Yo Number, Boo
The Vampire Diaries actually has some really interesting properties. Instead of the whole draining and reloading process of making a baby vamp as outlined in Section 1 – and I actually love this – to become a vampire you just have to have vampire blood in your system when you die.
That’s so cool, right? It changes the stakes (pun intended. Pun is always intended.) and the psychology behind it completely. Then in your first 24 hours of undeadness you have a choice. You can drink human blood and complete your transformation, or abstain and die. Of course you only know that you have a “choice” if you understand what’s happening to you, and they’ve played it both ways on the show. This is done really well, no complaints.
But here’s this really weird thing they do. In later seasons, VD (yes, I’m calling it that. Deal with it) decided to create this thing called the Sire Bond. Turns out if you have humany gushy love feelings for the vampire who turned you, then as a vampire those feelings will become intensified and also kind of enslave you to that vampire? So like… now your love is no longer real and you’re not the person the vampire fell in love with because you’re just like this dumb shadow of the vamp who sired you and you do everything they tell you to. Pretty effed up, am I right? Also it’s just like a new rule they created later in the series to create drama, so naturally it made a ton of sense that we hadn’t seen or heard of it before.
Oh, VD. Did you guys know that vampires also have the ability to “turn off” their emotions? Yeah, dudes. When things are getting too real and they’re feeling intense emotional pestery feelings, they can just like flip their Mormon switch and turn it off. Not having emotions means they’re just like a lifeless drone, right? Haha, oh reader, you are so wrong. Not having emotions obviously means you’re an angry evil spiteful bitch. A-durrr. But aren’t some of those things emotions? I guess not to vampires. LOL.
And thus concludes this lesson in ridiculous vampire lore that hurts my now fermented think-melon and turns it into a delicious alcoholic melon beverage. To sign off, I will leave you all with this amusing little piece of knowledge: On The Vampire Diaries, vamps often drink out of blood bags like they’re juice boxes. Too cute.