Five Vampires Who Need A Holy Water Baptism

I love the mythology surrounding vampires as much as anybody, but I think a lot of us fans are in agreement that the vamp’s portrayal in pop culture is screwed up a lot more often than it’s done properly. An immortal creature who feeds on the living really has to be unspeakably charismatic and alluring, and equally vicious and horrifying. Vampires are to humans as humans are to cattle, and too often the vampires in literature and film don’t do the species justice. As a self-proclaimed vampire purist, here are the five vampires who I think are ruining everything.

1. The Vegetarian Vampire

If all of us fans could band together and ram a stake through the chest of just one tofu-sucking vampire who is ruining the genre for everyone, I would like to think most of us would vote for this prissy fruitcake. Vampires are diabolical serial murderers. They have to kill people to survive. That’s the whole reason that being a vampire is a curse. As soon as a writer abandons the vampire’s need to kill human beings, he abandons the occult in favor of Happy Fun Fairy Tale Fantasy Land.

Here’s why: If vampires can survive without drinking human blood, let’s all be vampires. Hooray! We can cure all of the world’s diseases just by drinking each other’s blood. Nobody ever has to die again! Then we can all feed on gophers and sing songs and dance in the sunshine! Well, I suppose they don’t make sunblock strong enough for us children of the night, do they? What’s that? They do…?

2. The Day-Walker

Fuck the day-walker. Fuck him and his family, and his friends, and whatever era he was reborn in. A vegetarian day-walker vampire (for some reason the two go together more often than not) is the equivalent of a zombie who can tap dance, play the oboe, and carry a stimulating conversation in English and Portuguese. To clarify, he isn’t a goddamn vampire! Vampires are a staple of horror, and they belong in a horrific world. They’re frightening. They stalk their prey in the night and they keep hidden away in the dark at all times. And whether they look like Robert Pattinson or Wesley Snipes, they sure as hell die in horrible, agonizing pain whenever sunlight hits them. Remember in From Dusk Till Dawn when George Clooney says, “Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them. I don’t give a fuck how crazy they are.” Well, vampires do. I don’t give a fuck how friendly they are. And speaking of your local Sesame Street vampire…

3. The Compassionate Vampire

Yeah, I know. They’re sexy, and charming, and they sweep you off your feet and they just seem like such great people. But trust me, it’s not because they think you have such a great personality that they want to get to know you better. It’s because they want to rip your fucking neck open and drink your goddamn blood. We’re talking about beings that have eternal youth. Often they’ve been alive for hundreds or thousands of years, acquiring vast knowledge with their forever-youthful minds, murdering humans every night, or at least most nights. And this creature—this impossibly intelligent creature who has long since distanced himself from humanity, who surely views himself as a god, who looks upon humans as one might a Charleston Chew—you’re telling me he’s going to meet a pretty young human girl who pulls at his heart strings? Believe me, when she’s a child of the 90’s and you’re a child of the French Revolution, there’s a bit of an age gap, and she’s not going to be able to engage you in intelligent conversation. She’s your lunch, or a play toy at best. And if she gets hit by a bus the only depression you’ll feel over it will be for the fact that you didn’t get to kill her yourself. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of depression…

4. The Manic-Depressive Vampire

If I were diagnosed with a terminal disease at seventeen years old and a ninety year old man started whining to me about how much it sucks to get old and how I should count my blessings, I’d want to stab him in the retina with a tuning fork. I don’t want to hear a godlike being bitch about his eternal youth. This creature can live for a thousand years and he’ll never find himself making a sound when he stands up from the couch, he’ll never hate this new generation’s music, and he’ll never develop type two diabetes or be told to start watching his cholesterol. His life kicks ass. “Oh, but all the people I know die.” “Yeah? Go hang out with vampires! They don’t die. What, they don’t want to hang out with you? Maybe it’s because you’re a goddamn downer!”

If a human being spends his whole life hanging out with only mice, he’ll find that they all die too. It’s not because human life is so hard; it’s because this particular guy is a dipshit. I don’t want to hear whining from a creature that is superior to me in every way. Vampires are smart, charming, seductive, sexy, strong, they never age, and they’re wounds have a tendency to heal at an alarmingly fast rate. When they put on pouty faces and say that life sucks, it’s a bit like me bitching to my dog about how much it sucks to be me. If he could talk he’d say, “Well, Greg… at least you’re not a fucking dog. Now go have fun engaging in meaningful conversation and understanding artwork, and I’m going to chew on my ass for an hour or two.”

5. The Feral Vampire

And that brings me to my final point, a point regarding stupid animals who chew on their asses for hours at a time. Please note that vampires are not among this class of animal. When vampires are portrayed as savage, brutal monsters that speak only in hissing, roaring sounds and run around like wild animals; I have to wonder if they’ve spent the last century huffing garlic fumes. When you’ve stopped aging and your human brain has been working at full capacity for five hundred years, I imagine you’re able to speak nine languages, read people’s emotions by the faintest tics in their faces, wield a samurai sword like it’s nobody’s business, and kick the shit out of any grandmaster in a game of chess—you have time on your hands after all, and you should be able to master any skill you like. But why in the HELL, after five hundred years of life with a fully functional human brain, can’t you understand English? Why can’t you speak? I’ve only been alive for twenty some years and I can speak, I can write, I can dress myself. These vampires who run around like wild beasts are embarrassing.  Much like humans, vampires should never “go full retard” in a novel or movie, and unless a vampire has been bitten by a zombie, he’s probably smarter than any human you’ve ever met. Okay? Can we agree on that? Case closed.

Am I forgetting someone? What other vampires are ruining the genre? Or maybe you have a compassionate, feral vampire in your novel you’d like to defend. Am I wrong? Feel free to discuss.

If you’re with me on vampires, check out my novel Thicker Than Water available in Amazon’s Kindle Store. Also, please take a moment to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Got a Goodreads account? Shit, friend me there too!

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17 Responses to Five Vampires Who Need A Holy Water Baptism

  1. Oh, I enjoyed this post, I really did. I have to admit, I have a story were vampires can risk going feral, but they don’t chew on their asses. They just really like drinking blood when they’re feral and don’t engage in deep conversation with anyone. Plus, it’s not permanent. Other than that, yup, I like my vampires killing humans or at least sucking on their necks.

  2. Greg Sisco says:

    Thanks, Patricia. Maybe some of these 5 rules can be bent, but probably none of them should be broken. Honestly one of the vampires in my book is a little bit more compassionate than I’d really like to admit.

  3. Eddie O'Halleron says:

    You know, I don’t mind Blade (at least the first one) or the idea of a half-breed that can walk during the daylight hours. As long as said vampire mutt is going to be just as vicious as the purebreds. Although I’m not so sure about a half-breed wanting to kill part of his own kind or anything like that. And that whole idea that a vampire can just put on sunscreen or wear dark clothing outside is a bit fishy.

    Other than that, fuck all of those vampire types. This was hilarious to read by the way. I agree probably 99% (because of the Blade thing).

    I always get annoyed when a vampire acts more like a zombie or a retarded grizzly bear. This is why that 30 Days of Night or whatever sucked. If they’d been intelligent vampires, that movie would’ve been tops.

    Anyway… fuck Twilight.

  4. Greg Sisco says:

    Blade is a terrible vampire. He cares more about humans than I’d like him to, he survives off of serum, and he walks around in sunlight. As far as I’m concerned, he’s not a vampire at all. He’s a human being with big teeth.

    Now Stephen Dorff’s character, that’s a pretty decent vampire. It’s not Kiefer Sutherland in Lost Boys, but it’s good.

    I’ll agree wholeheartedly with your final thought.

  5. My James wants to be a compassionate vegetarian. Unfortunately that little thing called blood lust gets in the way and usually a human dies. I do have a daywalker, but she is half human.

  6. Greg Sisco says:

    Hmm. You and I might not get along. Haha. I’m glad your “compassionate” vampire at least kills people sometimes. That way I can forgive his compassion, but not necessarily his vegetarianism. Please tell me your day-walker at least drinks human blood.

  7. That was hysterical. I don’t write about vampires, but I do love them. I am more on board with the Lestat type of vamp that basically does whatever the fuck he wants, whenever he wants to. Because..fuck humans.
    I do have to say that I am a huge fan of True Blood on HBO. But, I find that that is more of a romance/soap opera that just happens to have vampires in it. Plus, the vampires aren’t hard to look at. :) I totally agree with you on most fronts, though. Feral vamps, ok, if there is a reason. Veggie vamps, maybe. Daywalkers like those fairy boy banders in Twilight, no. Movies are trying to find a way to make vampires more appealing to all, and move away from the Bela Lugosi type. The problem is, all they seem to do is neuter them and make being a vamp more angst ridden and emo than anything else. It would be nice to read a real vamp novel that captures the cool, suave, yet bloodthirsty chessmaster vamps that you speak of. I will definitely be checking it out! Thanks again!

  8. Greg Sisco says:

    Thanks, Christine. I hope you like the book. If you like Lestat, I think you’ll absolutely love the Loki character in my book. He’s just a fun-loving, hedonistic, fuck-humans kinda guy.

    I liked Lestat a lot in Interview, then I read ‘The Vampire Lestat’ and he got all whiny and bitchy and started acting like Louis. Then I got to the end of the book and Louis showed up feeling like a badass. I gave up on The Vampire Chronicles after that.

    Also, I’d rather have a day-walker than a veggie vamp. At least a day-walker has to drink the blood of the living in order to survive. A veggie vamp isn’t even a vampire. He’s just an immortal human. I kill cows for sustenance (I mean, not personally, but I eat them) how come I don’t get eternal youth?

    • If cheeseburgers gave you eternal youth, I would have eaten more of them at about the age of 22. I agree about the vampire chronicles. I gave up after a while, because it got kind of drawn out and Lestat did become a whiny ass. I will get your book as soon as I can. Sounds like I definitely will enjoy it. Thanks again!

  9. Great post! Vegan Vamps??? C’mon, you can’t be serious! If I were a vamp, I’d love blood, bath in it, decorate in it, hell, I’d savor it like a fine wine…no blood banks for me!!

  10. Pingback:Horror Fans, Let's Take Back the Vampire

  11. SeleneM says:

    I hated Lestat, for the record, but I went through the “romantic vamp” phase in my late teens/early 20s–I think it was the Antonio Banderas/Brad Pitt scene in _Interview_ that really did it. Homoerotic hotness, yeehaw!

    But as I “grew up,” whatever that means, the vampires got goofier and goofier, as they took themselves more and more seriously. So I wrote a novella about my university friends, all of whom played vampire role-playing games. I’m editing it now (badly)…It’s tongue in cheek but I think it gets the message across. :) Hopefully a publisher will share my sense of humour someday.

    The trouble is, it’s hard to do anything at all new with the vampire genre. It has literally ALL been done before. Maybe it’s time to give them their un-rest for a few years, then go back and rediscover what made vampires awesome in the first place.

    • Greg Sisco says:

      A lot has been done before, but to me there hasn’t been a great story told from the vampire’s point of view. Anne Rice got close, but I found her protagonists were so miserable and emotionally exhausting and her prose was so needlessly long-winded (when you’ve been describing a table for two pages, I understand that there is a table in the room).

      I think the mythology behind the vampire, an immortal being who feeds on mortals, has as much potential as Greek or Norse or Egyptian mythology. I think it would be possible to create a story using vampires that would be as powerful and fascinating as any religious text. I’m trying to touch on that a little bit with my ‘Blood Brothers’ series, to really celebrate them as gods. I haven’t seen anybody do quite what I’m trying to do.

      Of course, I’m a vampire writer. I have to defend vampire writing.

  12. Dave Brzeski says:

    There are always exceptions to any rule, but when the exceptions become the new rule we have a problem.

    For what it’s worth, Blade isn’t a vampire. I don’t care what they did in the later comics, or the movie versions, the original Blade was a human who, because his mother was drained by a vampire during his birth, was simply immune to the vampires bite (this being a story in which a vampire’s bite always led to the victim becoming one of them.) & mesmeric abilities. He was made somewhat more vampiric much later when bitten by Morbius, Marvel’s scientifically created (as opposed to supernatural) vampire character.
    I never thought much to Anne Rice’s writing, although ‘Interview’ was a good idea. Saberhagen did it much better in ‘The Dracula Tape’. I had to give up when she got Lestat involved with the lamest rock band in fiction.

    We all know exactly what the band would have really been like. There are enough goth-rock bands around that would fit the bill.
    Her band wore dungarees & brightly coloured shirts…

    This always reminded me of a British comedy duo, called Hale & Pace, who had a regular series of sketches about Billy & Johnny, a pair of presenters on a pre-school kids’ show, who dressed pretty much as described above. They’d always end each sketch with the words, “We know a song about that, don’t we Johnny”…

    The band had a female keyboard player who called herself. ‘Tough Cookie’. Not ‘Blood Empress’, or ‘Dark Witch’, or any of the sort of names so beloved of goth & metal bands, but ‘Tough Cookie!!! For fuck’s sake, they’d have been laughed off the stage!

    The best, scariest vampire scene I’ve read in many, many years, occurs when Dracula finally makes an appearance in Elizabeth Kostova’s ‘The Historian’. That scene alone makes the book brilliant. It’s such a shame she blew it by having Dracula dispatched so easily at the end.

  13. *rubs chin* Yes, I must admit that I have one of those critter-eating protagonist vampires in my novel. *sigh* On the other hand, all of the others are the more traditional. Any chance I can still be in the club?
    Please?
    Your novel sounds great and I look forward to checking it out. Great post!

    -Jimmy

    • Greg Sisco says:

      I think Anne Rice did okay with the vegetarian vampire thing. Her manic-depressive vamps got on my nerves, but the vegetarian aspect didn’t entirely ruin it (she bent or broke all five of these rules and a lot of the time she was getting away with it). I just think these are five areas where an author should tread very carefully.

  14. Victoria Salter says:

    I’m going to be totally honest about this. A lot of people are not going to agree with me. I may even get teased about this.
    I actually only really enjoy vampire stories if they feature good vampires. Good vampires can feed from blood banks, blood substitutes and animals. They can survive quite well this way, especially if they drink a lot of human blood from blood banks.
    I think that good vampires can help to show us that there really is good and bad in everything, even vampires. They can also help to show us that we can manage on ethical lifestyles. Vampires often have cravings to do things that are unethical, but a lot of them still manage to be at least semi-ethical. My point is that, if they can do it, we can be ethical as well.

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