True Blood fans waiting for the final season to start on June 22 have lots of other vampire works they can explore. The recent spate of popular vampire stories has a rich past, and the curious can learn all about it in How to Kill a Vampire: Fangs in Folklore, Film, and Fiction by Liisa Ladouceur.
Ladouceur’s thorough and detailed research delves into vampire mythology and its key moments. Breaking her study into five sections, Ladouceur shows readers the origins of bloodsuckers in different folklore, how to avoid vampires and how to slay them, a history of the slayers themselves, and the desire by vampires to end their own immortality.
Ladouceur documents the following interesting findings:
- F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu marks the first time we see vampires die from sunlight (p. 109).
- Van Helsing, first created by Bram Stoker for his Dracula, is the slayer most widely adapted to spin-off stories and movies (p. 144-147).
- Anne Rice’s Lestat may have been the first vampire with feelings. According to Ladouceur, “It’s how we get from Nosferatu to Twilight…Lestat is a cultured, angst-ridden romantic who yearns desperately to be understood, and to be loved” (p. 24).
- Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga may have met the most financial success, but the vampire-human-werewolf love triangle in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series predates it by 10 years.
I highly recommend How to Kill a Vampire for anyone who’s ever wondered how to make the undead the true dead.
More Vampire Reads/Watches/Listen’s
To go on your own hunt for vampires, here’s a list to some of these books, movies, and TV episodes, with links for finding them in ICPL’s collections:
Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897, book)
Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922, DVD)
Nosferatu the Vampyre (Werner Herzog, 1979, DVD)
Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice, 1976, eAudio)
Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994, DVD)
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series (Laurell K. Hamilton, 1993-2014, multiple formats available)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Joss Whedon, 1997-2003, multiple formats)
Sookie Stackhouse series (Charlaine Harris, 2001-2013, multiple formats)
True Blood (HBO, 2008-present, DVD)
Vampire Diaries (L.J. Smith, 2007-present, multiple formats)
Twilight saga (Stephanie Meyer, 2008-2013, multiple formats)
Queen* may have predicted the latter-day phenomenon of vampire angst and loneliness back in 1986. Happy hunting!
*Queen guitarist and astrophysics PhD Brian May is also connected to the undead. His book, Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell, features French stereo cards from the 1860s with images of devils, satyrs, and animated skeletons.