True Blood starts up this weekend, and being Houston Press's resident high-five inspector, astrologist and vampire/vampyre expert, I will once again be bringing you my particular brand of coverage of the show as I have for the four years past. It's still a good show, though I suspect it's time to maybe pack it in and move on, and even in a world somewhat bloated on vampires, it still has its charms.
Between True Blood and the last Twilight film (Finally! Thank you, Vampire Jesus!), it's going to be another year not only of vampires, but of a particular kind of vampire. Namely, sexy vampires. Ashley Greene, Deborah Ann Woll, Jackson Rathbone, Alexander Skarsgård and on, and on, and on. These are extremely attractive people because apparently only underwear models become the undead.
Frankly, as much as I enjoy looking at any of these people without their clothes on, I've always been against the idea of the erotic monster. A vampire is really horrifying if you think about it. It's a rotting corpse that leeches off you. Now they're basically porn for people that think HIM is edgy. Well, I like my vampires hideous and horrible, so here's my tribute to the ugly.
Typically, Doctor Who took the established order of going from vampires to werewolves and did it in reverse. The Tenth Doctor battled alien lycanthropes in Scotland, eventually uncovering a line of werewolf blood in the Windsor line. Then, the Eleventh Doctor traveled to Venice, where a finishing school for girls was apparently a breeding nest for vampires.
Now, they weren't earthly vampires, they were a fish race called the Saturnyne that were using holograms to walk amongst us. Still, they had fangs, were invisible in mirrors and drank the blood of the living in order to transform them into creatures like themselves. That's pretty vampiric.
Usually, they appeared as normal humans with anglerfish teeth. Once their disguises were lifted, they looked like a cross between Lovecraft's Deep Ones and lobsters. As far as hidden parasites wearing the skins of men go that's pretty bad, but there is worse...
If you haven't picked up Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner's comic book Witch Doctor from Image, then you are missing out on one of the best things happening in comic books today. The book is on hiatus until the team gets the next story arc ready, but I just reread the first trade paperback and it's still phenomenal.
The book stars Doctor Vincent Morrow, an occult physician. In his world, all the monsters are descended from the parasites, gut fauna and other microbes that came on the bodies of the Old Ones. Morrow treats these magical infections with a clinical approach that makes the comic feel like House meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Vampires in the comic manifest as slug-like parasitoids that live in the gut of the corpse they're controlling, but that can reach out through the mouth like the second jaws from Alien. Even when nestled in the body, they still make the corpse's mouth look like the Sarlacc pit. Of course, if it's teeth you're interested in, it's hard to beat...
Stephen King isn't very consistent when it comes to his vampires, but they're always an interesting lot when he uses them. One of the best is Dwight Renfield, the antagonist of the short story, and later film, The Night Flier.
Renfield flies from small airport to small airport in his Cessna Skymaster killing people and draining their blood. He dresses like Dracula, has to keep graveyard dirt in the hold of his plane and finally answers the question of whether vampires piss blood in the affirmative.
Supposedly, he can be charming, even making one of his victims want to go to the beauty parlor to get all dolled up before meeting him. He does have a fairly normal look, but when it's feeding time the above picture is what comes out. The gaping jaw and spike-like fangs enable Renfield to grip the victim's throat all the way around and puncture both the jugular vein and carotid artery at the same time for maximum blood recovery.
Before Marvel stood up and really took control of the cinematic adaptations of its properties, Blade and the first sequel stood apart as rare, faithful and amazing comic book films. Wesley Snipes played Blade to a total tee, and Stephen Dorff remains a criminally underused bad guy. I like to pretend that Deacon Frost is Cecil B. Demented after he was saved from being set on fire and turned into a vampire. I digress.
Pearl is Frost's computer genius and IT manager, and while all the other vampires in the movie follow the Hollywood tradition by casting the likes of Arly Jover and Traci Freakin' Lords as vampires, Pearl is obese. Morbidly obese. Like he makes the gluttony victim from Se7en look athletic obese. He is a pale, gibbly, naked, whiny, horror that Frost tosses aside as soon as he's used up and Blade bakes alive with a UV lamp.
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Of course, all the previous entries come from the realm of fiction, and no matter what, there is an artistic purpose to them. Though horrifying, they still mostly serve simply as contrasts to the pretty people. Even the vampires of legend were still human, and most probably looked totally normal.
Yeah...about that. See, vampires are like dragons. They are a pretty much universal phenomenon, and each region has their own version. Southeast Asia has the Krasue, and it is the least sexy vampire of all time.
First of all, she's just a head, a crawling head with bloody entrails dangling out behind her like she got the job as the victim of Sub-Zero's fatality, and hasn't been able to find work since. Her face is supposed to be beautiful, but nobody's pretty with all the inside bits just writhing in the moonlight.
Her blooddrinking is even grosser. She does the standard bite and suck, but is also fond of using her long, prehensile tongue to enter a woman's birth canal and feasts on her fetus and placenta. And if you're not pregnant? Don't worry, she also has a taste for bloody poop, and prefers her meal hot out of the oven. So if you fall asleep in Thailand and wake up with a bloody butthole, comatose sexual assault is actually not the worse scenario.