The Evolution of the Vampire: Has the Classic Character Gone Completely Soft?

  • August 15, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

The Vampire is one of the most traditional characters out there when it comes to Halloween costumes.  It’s hard to know these days, however, what defines a real Vampire and what doesn’t.  In recent years, the lines that traditionally have created distinction in this used-to-be scary character, have become somewhat blurred.  Whether your preference is for a more classic Vampire look, or for the more modern take on this traditional Halloween favorite, here’s a few things for you to think about!

The Truth is Exhumed!  It may surprise you to know that in ancient days, the idea of vampire-like beings came from overly superstitious people looking for ways to explain away terrible events that they couldn’t even begin to understand.  Unexplained deaths that were more likely caused by disease or illness were instead blamed on night stalking beings that were suspected of arising from their graves in order to feast on the blood of living people!  To prove that indeed the suspected deceased persons were vampires, graves were frequently exhumed and the corpses  within were then examined for unexplained activity.  Most people expected to see dried up remains inside the coffin--so imagine their surprise when a bloated, purplish body was found instead, with blood oozing out of its mouth!  In horrific terror, these bodies were desecrated again, with a stake being stabbed through the heart!  What was occurring in these bodies was just part of the natural decomposition process, but these simple-minded (not to mention very superstitious) ancient folks found the vampire explanation far more easy to use.

Glamorous?  The image of an ancient vampire is far from glamorous and definitely is a far cry from anything most of us would call sexy.  The metamorphosis into what we visualize in today’s vampire world can likely be traced back to Bram Stoker and his book entitled, “Dracula”.  Count Dracula still retained his monstrous roots as well as his very deadly intentions, but this suave foreigner also had a bit of smoothness and sexual allure in him as well as he seemed to be utterly irresistible to women. The ultimate bad boy was born!

Anne Rice was noted for her book series, “The Vampire Chronicles” which further perpetuated the theme of Vampires as blood sucking monsters, but Anne’s vampire characters definitely had substantially more “personality”.  The vampire was changing; no longer just a monster with a mission, now the vampire had charisma.

The Twilight series and other television programs as well as feature films, have brought to us an entirely new vampire figure.  Today’s vampire is brooding, conflicted and at times, almost compassionate.  Can you imagine a vampire referring to himself as a “vegetarian”?  These are the kinds of references that the new generation of vampire has associated with himself.  The sun, which once would cause a vampire to burst into flames and turn instantly to ash, now simply makes his skin glisten and sparkle.  Is the vampire even evil anymore?  A character that once absolutely commanded fear; now is tender. Rather than conspiring to kill, the vampire now fights his innate bloodthirsty urges in the name of… love?  This new vamp is stronger, faster and far more attractive than his vampire predecessors, but is he really even much of a monster anymore? 

No matter what vampire character you are looking to recreate this Halloween, be sure to check out our complete selection of classic to modern vampires.  From the truly monstrous and frightful versions, to the sexy and somewhat sensual, you can easily make your vampire character something that is uniquely yours!