Movies & TV Shows

10 Rules Of Vampire Movies

Considering how popular shows like Midnight Mass and What We Do in the Shadows have become in recent years, it’s safe to say that vampires continue to be one of pop culture’s favorite monsters. Although there have been several deviations from the formula, such as Edward Cullen or The True Knot, vampires have always returned to their sensual and shadowy form so popularized by movies and literature.

These traits are relied upon so much simply because good vampire movies and shows stick to a formula. Thanks to movies like Dracula, The Lost Boys, and Interview with the Vampire, the titular bloodsuckers have had their fangs neck deep in audiences for decades.


Fearsome Fangs

Although some have ulterior methods of piercing the flesh, the standard issue vampire weapon of choice is a pair of sharp, protruding fangs. Whether it’s two noticeable incisors or a mouth full of piranha-like teeth, a good vampire will always leave a mark after feasting on their victim of choice.

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And many scenarios, it’s the vampire bite that leaves the evidence of some strange entity prowling around. Whether that’s to puncture wounds or a full bite mark is left entirely up to the filmmaker’s discretion, but it’s happened so many times in so many films that it’s become practically mandatory.

The Blood Is The Life

As evidenced by many iconic Dracula portrayals, vampires can take different forms and come from different cultures but one thing that unites them all is the never-ending thirst for blood. It is what many notable vamps constantly crave, and what makes humans so terrified of them.

Fresh blood is the secret to a vampire’s immortality, ergo it is their base necessity for survival. Although some mild-mannered exceptions choose to ethically source their diet instead of biting their victim’s throats, most vamps will think nothing of feasting on fresh human prey.

Romanticized Immortality

Vampires are immortal creatures thanks to their blood feasts, but that’s not something they automatically reveal at their orientation meetings. Since the method of establishing their immortal status is so revolting, the concept of “vampires in mortality” has been made highly romanticized by both writers, filmmakers, and the bloodthirsty creatures themselves.

It’s hard to make the consumption of blood look appealing, but when it’s paired with eternal youth, superhuman powers, and charismatic influence, suddenly, that notion doesn’t look so bad. Dracula, Lestat, and even some obscure vampires have died young so they could live forever (but not without a price).

Beloved And Bitten

A common victim in many vampire movies is often someone either the vampire or the protagonist loves. This might be a reincarnated bride, a family member, or the garden-variety love interest, but someone is getting bitten, and it’s usually to serve a less than amicable purpose.

The reason for this is that it creates a more interesting conflict, whether that’s for the vampire in question or his mortal nemesis. It’s one thing to be exposed to a vampire, but it’s another when they attack closer to home. Whether this is done as an act of love, vengeance, power, or salvation from a worse fate, using vampirism to gain another member of the undead is a very common practice.

Superhuman Powers

Long before the days of characters like Blade and Morbius, vampires came equipped with a set of sinister superpowers that seem to be used sparingly in more modern adaptations. Characters like Dracula head several superhuman abilities that would make them top-tier candidates for teams like the Fantastic four or Magneto’s brotherhood of mutants.

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Super strength, shapeshifting, invisibility, mind control, and wall-crawling are all superpowers that have been associated with classic vampire characters, and many benefit from them. Modern movies might have tapered many of them off but a return to form could result in scarier undead.

Professional Help

Since vampires are one of pop culture’s most popular monsters, logic dictates that there would be a need for strong vampire hunters. From the original Abraham Van Helsing to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, protecting the world from violent vampires has been a time-honored profession in the realms of horror for decades.

As prestigious as many hunters are, they are normally introduced to the plot when a professional needs to be called upon by the heroes. Armed with all the typical tools of the trade, such as holy water, stakes, and garlic, the hunters are typically the most prepped members of the cast and many of them could star in their own movies, continuing their legacy of monster slaying.

Creepy And Charismatic

One of the vampire’s most underrated, yet devastating, weapons in their arsenal is their disarming charm and charisma. They might start out eerie at first, but sooner or later, a vampire’s victim will succumb to their supernatural charm. Made iconic by Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula, vampirism has a history of being an alluring affliction since the genre began.

From Dracula to Lestat, to Barnabas Collins, many of the industry’s most successful and famous vampires are dark, mysterious, and intriguing. It’s only when they reveal their truly monstrous forms do these attractive facades slip away and reveal the bloodsucker beneath.

Beautiful And Beastly

On the other hand, vampires tend to come in two main varieties with little in between. They are either the engaging and mysterious charmers, or fiendish carnivores with bat or ratlike features who feast on the blood of screaming victims. Oftentimes, they have the ability to shift between the two forms, but certain species like those seen in 30 Days of Night make for truly terrifying creatures of the darkness.

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When they’re not under their beguiling guises, some vampires are absolutely terrifying. Watching Dracula transform into a giant bat monster or Lestat going into a wild-eyed feeding frenzy serves as a reminder of their status as pillars of the horror genre.

Strength In Numbers

Many viewers/readers might ask why vampires do what they do, and the short answer is simply to expand their numbers. Vampires like Dracula have been compared to viruses or diseases seeking to grow and multiply, eventually covering the world. It’s not just about feeding and eating; it’s about control.

As seen in shows like Netflix’s Castlevania, humanity is merely a food source for many vampire overlords, essentially livestock for a more advanced race. The goal for vampires biting victims and turning them into vampires is simply to add to their legions, either as mindless thralls or other members of the nest.

Victory To The Underdogs

In many horror films where the hunters triumph over the fanged fiends, they are often overwhelmed and outmatched by an unholy supernatural entity. However, as the traditional formula so often dictates, the heroes overpower the vampire with teamwork, faith, or other noble abstracts to put the monster back in the grave.

Whether it’s Van Helsing and his rag-tag crew of slayers in the original Dracula or Charlie Brewster in Fright Night, it’s the underdogs who overcome the villainous vampire and triumph over evil as the sun rises on a new day, and typically the ashes of a defeated monster.

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