Ranking 8 Kinds of Pop Culture Vampires
By Amber Appel
Vampires: fictional creatures known primarily as blood-sucking immortals who live at night and used to be humans before they were changed into monsters. But as with any myth, each story they are featured in has their own way of defining them. Sometimes the vampires can turn into bats or sleep in coffins. Some can be killed with wooden stakes while other stories denounce that idea as a myth in their own fictional universe. The question I pose today is not based off of which rendition got it right, since there is no “right” when dealing with fiction, but instead, I would like to deduce as objectively as possible: if you were to be a vampire, which of these seven pop culture vampires would be the best... and which would be the worst?
The Passage (Book/TV Show)
Vampires from The Passage rank the lowest. If you were to become this kind of vampire, you would lose all sense of self and become a true predator to the rest of human kind.
Transition: Scientists attempted to create a drug for longevity, but caused a highly infectious virus instead, vampirism. The infection can be carried to new hosts by bats or from a vampire bite.
Relationship with blood: They hunt for blood constantly without hesitancy or morals.
Appearance: Veiny, grey skin. Yellowish, cat-like eyes. An overall monstrous appearance.
Sun effect: Cannot tolerate sunlight. Will slow down, get confused, and die from the UV rays.
Power Level: Enhanced strength and agility.
Healing ability: Enhanced healing.
Fatal wounds: Stabbed/shot in thymus gland (heart area) and prolonged exposure to sun.
Weaknesses: Sunlight and mirrors, which make them sad.
Unique Abilities: Psychic abilities.
Life span: Immortal.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Show)
These vampires have more benefits and drawbacks than the others, but in this universe, vampires are not reformed people, but soulless, reanimated corpses possessed by a demon. Therefore, if you were to become a vampire, you wouldn’t really be yourself and would not receive any benefits.
Transition: Humans must be drained of all blood, drink some vampire blood, die of blood loss, then rise hours later at night.
Relationship with blood: Vampires need blood to survive, and both the vampire and their victim find the experience pleasurable.
Appearance: Vampires will either look human or take on a transformed appearance in which their face is made more monstrous with changed eyes, enlarged brow ridges, and fangs. As vampires age, their transformed face becomes more deformed and unchanging as they forget how to look human.
Sun effect: Death by combustion.
Power Level: Enhanced senses, agility, and strength.
Healing ability: Rapid healing.
Fatal wounds: Wooden stake through heart, fire, sun, decapitation, and drinking holy water.
Weaknesses: Wood, holy objects, and garlic.
Unique Abilities: Potential rare abilities appear in certain vampires. They can’t enter homes uninvited and they don’t have reflections.
Life span: Immortality.
Van Helsing (Movie)
As a Van Helsing vampire life is fairly decent. The transition is simple and they are naturally hardy beings. They have two forms they can choose from, and even through one of those forms is a large demon bat-like humanoid, it does mean that they are one of the only vampires on this list that can actually fly.
Transition: A human must be bitten by a vampire.
Relationship with blood: Vampires must drink blood to survive and the bloodlust severity is unclear.
Appearance: These vampires have two forms, either a human appearance or that or a fear-inducing bat creature.
Sun effect: Direct sunlight will make them combust.
Power Level: Superhuman strength and agility.
Healing ability: Rapid healing.
Fatal wounds: Sunlight, decapitation, severe heart or brain injuries, and extreme blood loss.
Unique Abilities: Transformation into a bat demon and subsequent flight abilities.
Life span: Immortality.
For this evaluation, Dracula himself represents vampirism and not his sires. Dracula ranks higher on this list due to the immense benefits of his powers. Sunlight does not wound him and he can only be killed by one kind of attack as far as we know. He has many supernatural abilities, making him a formidable foe. The biggest drawbacks to Dracula vampirism are a multitude of specifics rules such as not being able to exit a coffin that has a rose placed on top of it. This is the highest maintenance and highest powered vampire.
Transition: Dracula himself is rumored to have received his powers through dealing with the devil, but he can turn humans into vampires through a bite.
Relationship with blood: Blood rejuvenates Dracula’s powers and he cannot survive without it. The blood lust is uncontrollable.
Appearance: Vampires have fangs but no other physical changes from their human form.
Sun effect: Sunlight neutralizes Dracula’s powers, but causes no burning or death.
Power Level: Incredible strength and agility.
Healing ability: Invulnerable to most attacks.
Fatal wounds: Stabbed in the heart. Other methods unknown.
Unique Abilities: Dracula does not cast a shadow or a reflection. He can defy gravity, for example walking up walls. Possesses shapeshifting abilities and a wide array of other super natural powers.
Life span: Immortal.
Interview with a Vampire (Book/Movie)
These vampires are one of the most straightforward on this list. They can only be killed by fire and the sun, and they spend the day resting in a coffin where they don’t sleep, but actually lie dead until night comes again. So, if being dead in a coffin half the time doesn’t bother you, then this is a pretty fair kind of vampire to be. It’s also one of only two vampires on this list that are made more attractive through the transition.
Transition: A human is drained of blood, drinks vampire blood, dies because of it, then awakens as a vampire.
Relationship with blood: They will crave blood but can survive a very long time without it. The drinking of blood is noted to be pleasurable for both the vampire and human prey.
Appearance: Beauty, fangs, and pale bright eyes.
Sun effect: Fiery death and turned to ash.
Power Level: Superhuman strength, senses, and emotions.
Healing ability: Vampires can heal from anything that doesn’t manage to kill them.
Fatal wounds: Sunlight, fire
Weaknesses: Consuming dead blood, fire, sunlight, being drained of blood.
Unique Abilities: Vampires over 1000 years old will gain extra abilities and strength.
Life span: Immortal and they get better and stronger with age.
Supernatural (TV show)
What makes the Supernatural vampires outrank Interview with a Vampire vampires is that, while they are both fairly similar, Supernatural vampires can survive sunlight. These vampires have most of the default advantages such as immortality and strength, but what’s even better is that becoming a vampire doesn’t change who a person is on the inside and the only outside change is a nasty second set of retractable, shark-like teeth.
Transition: A human must drink or have blood-to blood-contact with vampire blood to begin the transition and drink human blood to complete the transition.
Relationship with blood: Vampires crave blood and need it to survive.
Appearance: When a vampire is about to feed, long, thin, sharp fangs grow out and layer over their normal human teeth. Otherwise, they appear human.
Sun effect: Their eyes are sensitive to sunlight, but it can’t kill them.
Power Level: Enhanced strength, senses, and agility.
Healing ability: Can heal from most injuries except for loss of limbs.
Fatal wounds: Decapitation.
Weaknesses: Blood from an already dead being.
Unique Abilities: They like to gather in groups and mate for life.
Life span: Immortal.
Vampire Diaries (TV Show)
Though Vampire Diaries vampires can be killed in multiple ways, always crave blood, and have a few regulations such as not being able to enter a private home uninvited, they are one of the best kinds of vampires to be. When a human becomes a vampire, they are essentially the same person that they once were now with amazing power. They can control the minds of humans and have supernatural strength in all areas. They can also be moral and choose to not kill their prey, allowing for vampire/human friendships.
Transition: A human must drink vampire blood, be killed, reanimate, then drink human blood within 24 hours otherwise they will die again, for good.
Relationship with blood: Vampires will crave blood at all times, but some are better at self-control than others.
Appearance: No change upon transition. They look normal unless they are about to feed in which retractable fangs emerge and they get dark veiny accents under their eyes. Though by coincidence, every vampire on this show is incredibly attractive.
Sun effect: Fiery death.
Power Level: Supernatural speed, agility, and strength coupled with more sensitive hearing and sensation.
Healing ability: Can recover from any non-fatal wounds and they are immune to sickness.
Fatal wounds: Wooden stake in heart, ripping out heart, decapitation, prolonged exposure to sun, burning to death, and a werewolf bite.
Weaknesses: Vervain (a herb) and wood.
Unique Abilities: Controlling humans with mind compulsion. Healing humans with their blood. The vampire’s personality will be amplified compared to their personality as a human. Can’t enter homes without being invited. They can shut off their humanity by choice.
Life span: Immortal.
Twilight vampires are the best kinds of vampires to be and my mind can’t be changed on this. Becoming a vampire only amplifies the beauty, personality, and abilities of your human self. You might have superpowers unique to only you. The sun won’t burn, and so as long as you’re fine with being a disco ball in the sunlight you don’t have to live in darkness for the rest of your immortal life. The only downsides are a painful transition and the need for blood though the latter is pretty par for the course with all vampires.
Transition: A human must be bit by a vampire to be infected with their venom. The transition is excruciating and lasts two to five days.
Relationship with blood: Their cravings are intense enough for it to be tough for them to be around humans without feeding but not impossible. When thirsty, their throat burns uncomfortably/painfully.
Appearance: Pale skin. Incredible beauty. Eye color that is either red or gold based off of whether they ingest human or animal blood. No fangs.
Sun effect: Sunlight is harmless to these vampires, instead it makes their skin sparkle.
Power Level: Increased strength and senses. Granite-level durability.
Healing ability: Mostly invulnerable. If for example an arm is removed, it can be reattached without trouble.
Fatal wounds: Being torn to pieces and set on fire.
Unique Abilities: Certain vampires can be gifted with supernatural abilities including: mind reading, future vision, elemental powers, and other offensive and defensive powers. Cold to the touch.
Life span: Immortal.
The Count von Count (Sesame Street)
The Count is reminiscent of Dracula, complete with cape, castle, and a specific accent, but the most unique thing about this vampire, is his love of counting. The Count’s love of math isn’t as random as you might think since many instances of folklore refer to a vampire like creature that can be thwarted with rice due to their insatiable desire to count; they will spend the night counting rice instead of hunting in the nearby villages.
Count Chocola (Cereal Box Mascot)
Count Chocola is a version of Count Dracula, but this Count is devoted to selling yummy chocolaty cereal during Halloween. Therefore, he is always worth mentioning.
Edited by Emily Chance.
Paint and Mermaid Scales
By: Rachael Teelander
“Have you considered it any more?” asked Zahra, dark shoulders peeking out of the crystal blue ocean.
As soon as she saw Zahra, Grace got that tight, tingly feeling in her chest. Just like every time she had first seen her.
Grace had considered it more than she’d like to admit. How could she have known that coming on vacation with her parents during spring break would have brought about such a life changing decision. And such a crazy one, nonetheless. This was the kind of thing that she had only read about in the books she had read when she was younger.
Zahra was not only strikingly different from anyone Grace had seen before, but she was also heartbreakingly beautiful, with large, round, endless brown eyes framed with dark lashes, and hair that flowed like delicate seaweed in the water. Her figure was slim, but womanly, and her dark skin was perfectly smooth and free of any blemish. Not only was she beautiful, but she was magical with her torso ending in a graceful fish’s tail.
Grace felt like a dingy pigeon standing in front of a beautiful peacock whenever she was in Zahra’s presence. To say she had a crush on her was an understatement.
They had only known each other for a few days, and had met when Grace accidentally stumbled upon a private beach when going for a walk the first day she had arrived in southern California. Grace had been not only stunned, but eventually thrilled to find a specimen such as Zahra to draw. As an art student, actually finding a muse was becoming increasingly difficult as she had to draw things on command rather than when she actually wanted to.
Meeting a mermaid was probably the best thing to ever happen to Grace’s art, and probably her life as well.
“Grace, I asked you a question.” Zahra asked again, breaking Grace out of her thoughts.
“Sorry. Yeah, actually I have.”
“A lot.” She added.
“I dunno, Zahra. I can’t just give up art school.”
“But you said you hate art school! Why would you want to keep doing something that makes you hate what you used to be passionate about?”
“Okay, well what about my parents, or my friends? I can’t just disappear on them!”
“What, so everything you told me about them not really caring about you and what you want was a lie?”
Grace sighed and sat down, burying her feet into the soft, white sand.
“You realize this is crazy, right? I feel like I’ve been on drugs for the last four days.”
Meeting what had previously been something one only sees in myth had shattered Graces’ entire world. She still had a hard time believing that Zahra was real, and in fact actually a mermaid. And not only was Grace dealing with the fact that mythical creatures were real, but also with the fact that she had an immense attraction to one.
Zhara wasn’t only beautiful. She was also one of the most interesting people Grace had ever met. She had been all over the world, since her group, or “pod” as Zhara called it, migrated around the ocean waters year-round. She had what seemed like endless stories of the places she had been, and the different people she had seen. Zhara’s passions were so otherworldly, and yet completely relatable. Grace loved that she had a passion for music, and that they could relate Grace’s art with Zhara’s music. Or the fact that Zhara came from a long line of merpeople that had the ability to control weather. At the time she could only make small clouds and create weak static electricity, but Grace thought even that was amazing.
Zahra swam closer to Grace, using the outcoming tide to get as close to the dry sand as possible. Now exposed to the sun, the iridescent shimmer of her jade green scales shone with an ethereal glimmer. Though she was half fish, Zahra looked nothing like any fish Grace had ever seen before. She had a bright, magical presence that just drew Grace’s eye to her, and kept her from looking at anything else. Grace found it both alluring and infuriating.
“I know. I’m sorry I keep pressuring you. I just really don’t want to lose you after only knowing you for five days.” Zahra said with her silky, lyrical voice.
“I’m the one that should be saying that. You could find a million girls like me.” Grace replied emptily. She hated admitting that she wasn’t different, but deep down she knew it. She was the “art kid” in high school, which had made her feel unique at the time. But after going to art school, and seeing all of the “art kids” from the other schools, who were just as or even more talented than Grace, she just felt like another face in the crowd.
“Stop it. You’re Grace and I only want Grace.”
“You say that now. Everyone gets tired of me.”
“No, I’m sure of it. I wouldn’t ask you to come with me if I wasn’t sure.” Zahra reached forward to grab Grace’s hand, but she was only able to lightly graze her with her fingertips.
Grace smiled wryly and took Zahra’s hand. It felt soft and delicate compared to hers, though she had been told the same by the boys she had dated in high school. Looking at the contrast between her pale fingers and Zahra’s sepia-brown gave Grace the urge to paint a simple piece of art that was just her and Zahra’s linked hands. How could someone she only met five days ago relight a passion that had died in her years ago?
“Can I braid your hair again?” Zahra asked, changing the subject if only for a moment.
Grace nodded and scooted herself into the beginning of the crystal water where Zahra was sitting.
“I like how dry hair feels. I wonder if mine would feel like this.” Zhara said as she grabbed a few strands of Grace’s straight, lavender and silver dyed hair.
“Probably not, most people with your skin tone have different hair then I do.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right. It looks fluffy like clouds, right?”
Grace nodded. She didn’t want to talk about hair.
“Would it hurt?” Grace asked, bringing the topic back to where it had started.
“Yeah.” Zahra answered regrettably, finishing the plait in Graces’ hair.
“A lot?” Grace asked, turning so that she could face Zahra again.
“Does it matter? You won’t sacrifice a few moments of pain to be with me forever?”
It wasn’t that simple. Grace knew it would hurt, how couldn’t it? But that wasn’t what she really cared about. What mattered was all that she would have to give up in order to do this. As much as she said she hated her life, when she thought about it more, there wasn’t too much to complain about. There were people that didn’t even have a roof over their head, and Grace was complaining about not having the passion for art like she used to? The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she wasn’t as bad off as she originally thought. Her degree was almost finished, and she had plans on moving to New York, of living in a big city like she had always dreamed and painted about.
But then again, Zahra was everything Grace had ever wanted. She was beautiful, had been all over the world, kind, and always wanted to hear about her. They just seemed to click. But most of all, she relit Grace’s passion for art. She had drawn and painted more in the last five days than she had in the last two years. Grace WANTED to create, unlike before when she had only done it out of necessity for school. That was something she was afraid she’d never find again. The more she drew and painted Zhara, the more things she found that she never wanted to give up. Like the way her singing voice seemed to reach through Grace’s entire body, and into her soul. Or the way that her face relaxed while she observed the clouds above to learn how to create them herself.
“You know I want to.” Grace said, though not as confident as her words implied.
“Then why are you hesitating?”
“Because giving up my entire life for someone I just met five days ago is fucking crazy!”
Zahra jerked back in surprise. Grace could see tears begin to form in the corners of Zahra’s eyes.
As soon as it came out of her mouth, Grace felt as if she shouldn’t have said it, but she also knew it wasn’t a bad thing for her to say what had been in the back of her mind ever since Zahra proposed the idea. How could she not see that Grace giving up her life to turn into a freaking mermaid and live in the ocean isn’t something anyone would actually consider? Though Grace had actually considered it a great bit, it wasn’t wholeheartedly. She didn’t want to become a mythical creature. She didn’t want to have to live in the ocean forever. Grace loved the feel of grass on her feet, and rain on her cheeks, or snow on her eyelashes. She couldn’t give up her dreams of a bustling city in the morning, or of walking to a coffee shop every day to sketch out the ideas floating in her head.
Grace knew that what they had right now could easily develop into the love that only existed in romance novels and fairy tales. But was that really worth throwing away what she had been working for for the last three years?
“Zahra, I’m sorry.” Grace started, softening her voice.
“You know I can’t.” She added.
The tears that had started to well in Zahra’s eyes spilled over, streaking across her smooth cheek.
“I know.” Zahra said, voice shaky with sadness.
“It was stupid of me to even ask. I don’t want you to have to give up your life.” She added.
“I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I know I could have loved you more than anything.” Grace hated how cliché she sounded, but she had no other way to express what she was feeling.
“You’re leaving tomorrow, aren’t you?” Zahra asked.
Grace laid down, with her waist down in the warm, shallow water, and everything else in the soft sand.
Zahra laid down next to her, putting her head in the crook of Grace’s shoulder.
“You won’t forget me, right?”
That one, Grace knew. She couldn’t possibly forget Zahra. Even if she wasn’t a mermaid. Grace would be drawing those huge, dark eyes, and soft, round face for the rest of her life.
Edited by Emily Chance
3 Tips to Conquering your To-Be-Read Pile
By Klancy Hoover
What’s always in a pile and never seems to shrink? To-be-read lists! I’ve heard numerous readers say that when they finish one book another two are mysteriously added to their TBR lists a short time after. It’s a cycle that Goodreads reading challenges love us for, but the reason why our TBR piles silently judge us. So if you’re struggling with your TBR pile, you’re not alone. Life happens. You’re not always going to feel like reading, and sometimes real life situations are going to demand the majority of your time. But, hopefully, the tips in this blog post will help you conquer your TBR struggles.
Set a monthly goal for yourself!
But make sure your goal is realistic with your current situation. Is work going to be busy next month? Are you currently in a reading slump? Are you wanting to make more time for your family instead? It’s important to ask yourself questions about your current situation in life so that you’ll have a better idea of what you can handle. Finding time to read is hard. By giving yourself a reading goal that you can attain, it’ll be easier to find the motivation to carve out the time to read and conquer your TBR list.
Make picking what you’ll read next fun!
Sometimes, looking at all of the unread books on your TBR pile can feel daunting. If you’re like me, you probably have multiple books stacked haphazardly on your bedside table that you reassure yourself you’ll get to eventually, but never do because there are too many books to choose from. Next time you feel like deciding what to read is too difficult, try making it fun for yourself! I like to write the titles of the books on my TBR list on strips of paper and place them all into a jar. Whenever I can’t decide what to read, I pull out one of the strips of paper out of the jar and let whatever forces are out there decide what I’m going to read next. It eliminates the pressure you may feel whenever you glance over at your TBR pile and makes choosing your next read so much easier!
Unhaul the books you know you won’t get to!
The fastest way to tame your TBR pile is to unhaul all of the books in the stack that you don’t want to read anymore. A rule I like to follow when unhauling my books is: if the books have been on my bookshelf more than two years and I haven’t got around to reading it, then I sell them or give them to other people who want them more. Periodically unhauling books from your shelves will give you more space for new books you know you’ll enjoy, and will help you organize your TBR piles.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed about your TBR piles, most readers do. There’s a limited amount of time throughout the day to find time to read, which makes TBR lists seem more like a chore than a goal. With the tips from this blog post, however, I hope that anyone who wants to conquer their TBR piles are able to find helpful advice!
Edited by Emily Chance
So You Wanna Write?: Basics of Fiction Writing
By Rachael Teelander
Being a writer in the world of fiction takes a lot more than one would normally think. Not only does it involve a lot of writing, but it also involves many different types of writing. Fiction writing encompasses many different genres, such as novels, short stories, screenplays, etc. Though this is not a chosen career for many, due to the fact that most would consider it hard to make writing one’s sole job, but those that dedicate themselves enough to it may find success.
One step many fiction writers take is research. Depending on the subject or genre they are writing, there are many things that writers need to learn about in order to be convincing in their work. For example, if an author is writing a novel in which the main character is a doctor, that author would have to do some research on medical terminology and other related things so that their doctor character would be believable. This goes for more basic things as well, such as setting or time period that the piece is written in. If the author is writing a screenplay that takes place in a country they have no experience in, they will have to do research on the culture of that place so that they can give an accurate representation. As fiction author J.F.Penn said, “Pretty much 95% of what’s in my books is based on true locations, true historical objects, real research.” This is true for many authors.
Another thing many fiction writers start with is planning or outlining. When writing a longer work such as a novel or a screenplay, it can be very hard to just write it without having a plan in mind. Doing this may cause the pacing to be off, or cause the writer to get stuck and not know how to move forward with their piece. Planning out the sequence of events that leads to the climax, and then what will happen afterwards can help writers stay away from writer’s block. However, the writing process is different for every writer, and many have issues with planning their works out beforehand. New York Book Editors say making an outline for a novel can even make it harder for one to write. For some, having an outline makes the writing of the novel more like translating one medium into another, rather than just creating, and when a writer just starts their work without a precise plan in mind, it can give them more chances to uncover things as they write (NY Book Editors).
Next to actually writing a draft, revision is one of the most important parts of writing fiction. “Perfect first drafts don’t exist.” (MJ Hyland) For most writers, editing is the most time consuming and difficult part of the writing process. Many writers run into the problem of feeling inadequate or that their work is not very good when they reach the editing process, because they feel as if it should “sound like writing.” However, according to MJ Hyland, when he stopped trying to sound “like a writer,” his writing greatly improved, and it became a much more enjoyable experience. For many, the revision process isn’t a single step, but one that requires many attempts. It’s necessary to make sure each writers work is the best it can be.
Another large aspect of writing fiction, or any type of writing, is publishing. Now, many writers do this for fun and do not wish to publish, however, if one is doing this as a career, publishing is a must. Back in the day, there were not many options for writers when they came to the publishing stage of their work. There are basically two options: send the manuscript to a traditional publisher (which usually requires a literary agent), or self-publish. Both are completely valid and reasonable options, and each option has its pros and cons. When publishing with a traditional publisher, one can expect a few things. Some publishers require the writer to have an agent and are very choosy about what they publish. Secondly, it may take some time. With traditional publishing, books are usually published in either the spring or the fall. And lastly, they will do all of the editing, production, design and printing. The other option, self-publishing, has a lot more freedom for the writer. This option gives the author the option of when, how, and where to publish. There are also many places for authors to publish, such as createspace, lulu, or many more. Authors can choose to use ebooks, print on demand, or both. This option also allows the author to create their own cover for the book, or hire someone to do it for them if they’d like. However, with this method, it can be harder to ensure that the author will make a lot of money from their book.
In all, there are many things that one must, or at least should, do when writing fiction. There are many steps involved that most don’t consider. Writing in the genre of fiction requires lots of research in order to be convincing, it can involve planning, or not, depending on what works best for the writer, and it always involves lots of revision. Writing fiction, while fun for many, is a lot more work than initially thought. It’s easy to undermine fiction writing because most don’t know it requires more work than just the writing itself, but it can be just as legitimate and rewarding as any other type of writing in other fields.
Edited by Emily Chance