Over the years there have been many popular horror films that have featured vampires, or even the original Dracula villain. Each have had their own take on the vampire legend and each character has had common vampire characteristics, such as pale skin and the need to drink blood. However, these films do not always portray vampires the same; some can even walk in the daylight!
Vampires are one of fiction’s most popular recurring monsters. They have been a common feature in horror movies for decades and are also popular in many other forms of entertainment too. These monsters have not only featured in many films and TV shows but have also featured in video games and online casino games too. With so many stories out there, the vampire legend has gone through many different forms throughout the years. No matter which vampire film you are watching, here are just some of the most common features you’ll find for these creatures of the night:
- They have pale skin
When most people think of vampires these days, they think of the near-white skin of Bram Stoker’s Dracula or the so-pale-he-shimmers Edward Cullen in Twilight. Whether you are watching a new vampire film or one made decades ago, they all seem to have the common feature of pale skin. In films and television shows, the pale skin characteristic has helped add to the lure and mysteriousness of the character that captivates their many unsuspecting victims.
- They don’t have a reflection
In Dracula, one of the first clues that something is not right with this creepy character is that he has no reflection in the mirror. Stoker’s masterpiece novel was actually the first to introduce this element to the vampire, and it has been used or ignored by many other pieces of vampire fiction to follow. For example, in the classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu as well as in Marvel’s recent Blade films, vampires are seen in reflections just fine. TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), on the other hand, they don’t cast a reflection, and in BBC’s 2008 series Being Human, vampires cannot even appear on film.
- They have a weakness to sunlight
If mere humans ever hope to stop a creature as powerful as a vampire, it has to have a serious weakness, right? For many vampires, that weakness is sunlight. Depending on the story being told, sunlight can weaken them, burn them, or in most cases turn them into a pile of ashes. Bram Stoker gave Dracula the twist that he was weaker during the daytime, but also stronger during midday. Even though sunlight is a big weakness for him, Dracula is nevertheless in the list of top ten horror movie villains of all time. In Anne Rice’s beloved Vampire Chronicles series (including Interview with the Vampire) sunlight is completely fatal to the bloodsuckers. Many more recent works of vampire fiction, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, and Twilight, have either dropped the weakness to daylight altogether or found workarounds to make it possible for vampires to live relatively normal lives and be outside during normal hours.
- They are immortal
From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice and everything in between, immortality is one of the most prevalent and rarely discarded traits of the vampire legend. Part of the allure of vampirism is that it allows the ex-human to live forever, as long as they keep snacking on blood and avoiding their weaknesses. Even the BBC’s recent Dracula series embraces this piece of lore to much controversy. In a few cases, such as Doctor Who’s take on vampires, the creatures are not technically immortal but just have extremely long lives. But for the most part, vampires across fiction will go on living as long as they’re able.
- They can turn into a bat
Bram Stoker’s Dracula first drove home the enduring image of a creature of the night transforming itself into a bat in order to get into and out of the open windows of its victims. What some people forget, however, is that Dracula features many other transformations as well; throughout the novel, the evil Count took on the form of a wolf, turned himself into mist, and even impersonated other characters. The shapeshifting characteristic has provided a lot of room for creators to explore and experiment, with some vampires becoming bats, others becoming wolves, and some not even transforming at all. For example, Anne Rice’s vampires do not transform at all, while the vamps of 2004’s Van Helsing turn into a massive winged demons.