Why Love the Vampyre?

What good is a vampyre story? Sure, they provide some entertainment and create a little bit of mystery in our history, but what do these stories provide for humanity’s culture?

The vampyre started out in many cultures as a being to fear. According to an article from, many cultures across western Europe and India frequently referred to blood sucking demons that hunt in the night. Vampyres resided in villages and were thought to be the center of demonic cults. 

How did the vampyre become a mainstream media staple? 

I’d like to think a lot of the fascination behind vampyres, ghouls and all the undead tropes came from Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and other gothic romantic writers. Their nightmarish stories exploited the human conditions and emotions of fear and death to look at parasitic immortality and rotten flesh. The attention these authors received 

Stoker’s novel, “Dracula”, inspired many of the modern day vampyre stories like “Nosferatu the Vampyre” by Werner Herzog, “Twilight” and maybe even Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red”. The following stories are only a select few of the hundreds that are inspired by the vampyre. 

Succulent Stories

“What We Do in the Shadows” by Taika Watiti is probably one of my favorite comedy films and vampyre flicks I have seen to date. This mockumentary is set in New Zealand and criticizes the common vampyre tropes by making the vampyre community a welcoming place and explores roommate relationships too. 

Here’s a great clip from the film (it does involve a bit of swearing):

This scene is from YouTube, uploaded by IGN.

I have written an article that looks at another vampyre film, “Only Lovers Left Alive”. I love this film and story because of how it looks at the music culture and influences of vampyres on the world from the shadows. If you want to read more about this film, you can read my article.

Another one of my favorite and more culturally unique vampire films is “Thirst” by Park Chan-wook, an elegant Korean director. This vampire film treats the affliction more like a virus that has spread rather than romanticizing the bloodthirsty nature in more common myths. 

It focuses more on the romance and relationship between the priest and Tae-ju, which means Park Chan-wook uses the vampyre affliction as a medium of storytelling rather than a central plot point.  

Here’s a clip from “Thirst” in which the priest and Tae-ju first start their relationship:

This video is on YouTube, uploaded by Focus Features.

Bland Bloodsucker

There are a lot more really great vampyre films, but I am going to focus on how some directors and authors don’t use the setting well.

I found Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” boring. I have never been a fan of found film or the book version, letters and found writings, as an interesting way to tell a narrative. I would have much preferred Stoker’s massively influential novel to be more narratively focused, but at least it created more vampyre stories that I enjoy far more.

One cool thing I found recently is a website/ company that will email the original Stoker story piece by piece as it follows the dates of the story. Dracula Daily might be a better way to experience the original Dracula story than his novel, so if that interests you, be sure to check it out. 

Undrinkable Narratives

“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” is one of the worst vampyre adaptations I have read. I still am not sure why I decided this book would be a good idea to read cover to cover, but it was extremely tropey and also blames most of American slavery on vampyres. I haven’t seen the movie and nor do I plan to. 

In “Dracula Untold” and “Dark Shadows”, these films involve vampyres just for the sake of entertainment. I found them to be lazy additions to the original “Dracula”, and if they tried to do something new to the story, it wasn’t handled well. 

Bad Blood but Fun Times

“Twilight” is not a good film, but it provides enough entertainment that the movies are almost watchable. Just look at these clips of Kristen Stewart and Billy Burke interacting as father and daughter.
This video is on YouTube, uploaded by OFFALICK.

The acting is fine, but their script is awful and cringey. These are not normal teen to parent interactions, but they’ve made the relationship funny to watch and gawk at. 

Another rough but enjoyable vamp flick I’ve seen is “The Lost Boys”. There’s a whole lot going on in this movie, but between the fun cast, music and cheesy scenes it’s hard not to enjoy it. The trailer puts on a show and makes the movie seem a bit better than it actually is, but if you like tropey 80’s goth and vampyres, then you’ll probably enjoy the movie. 

Into the Sunrise

Vampyre aesthetics seep into music culture, architecture and clothing too. The romanticized gothic architecture of Dracula’s Castle is seen worldwide and the dark, dreary and sleek coats and styles that people wear all add so much beauty to the horrific nature of a vampyre. It’s interesting how much people love a bloodsucker and serial killer. 

All these vampyre stories have enough differences in them to add to the beauty of the vampyre genre. They create mystery, spill blood and have some beautiful costumes and aesthetics. The vampyre genre adds more than entertainment to the world. It adds a sense of glory and love to death and immortality.