Draculaura and I are pleased to bring you the first four in our Vampire A to Z.
If I can just say, by way of quick introduction, I tried to choose from a variety of vampire fiction and lore.
I obviously have my favourites, which will become clear (and already are if you’ve read me previously).
And I admit there are some movies, series and so forth that I have skipped completely. Some, because the letter was already taken by another I thought was a better choice, others because there is simply so much vampire … stuff … out there that I can’t possibly know about it all.
I look forward to educating comments.
So with that said…
The Vampire Chronicles are a series of books revolving mainly around a vampire named Lestat. Armand is introduced in the first book – Interview with the Vampire (1976) and makes regular appearances throughout the series.
Born somewhere in the late 15th century in Kiev he was an icon painter in a monastery until he is taken by slave traders to Constantinople and then to Venice, where he is purchased by a 1700-year-old vampire named Marius who is living in luxury as a painter with a number of apprentices and things start to look up.
Marius chooses Armand for his beauty, youth and painting skills. He loves Armand and first schools him in becoming a vampire, then turns him while he is still quite young. Shortly after, a coven of vampires attack Marius’ home, kidnap Armand and the human apprentices, and burn the villa where they live. Marius is believed to be dead. The coven spares Armand and educates him in their laws. He later goes to Paris and creates his own coven under Cimetière des Innocents. Later selections in this series might continue this tale, so we’ll leave Armand for the moment.
B is for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The opening credits from the TV series, which ran for seven seasons beginning in 1996, sums it up pretty well:
Into every generation, a Slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one.
She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.
The idea was originally conceived as a movie in 1992, where a California Valley Girl cheerleader learns it is her fate to hunt vampires. Starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry it had a mixed reception from critics. The film took a different direction than its writer – Joss Whedon – originally wanted and he came back a few years later with the critically acclaimed television series.
Throughout the series, Buffy and her friends, known as the Scoobies, move through high school, college and into young adulthood fighting vampires, monsters and saving the world a lot while struggling with all the issues involved with growing up.
To this day, it is still my favourite show. I’ll stop there, because this also won’t be the last stop in the Buffyverse on the A to Z.
For anyone who missed the last decade, or isn’t a teenage girl, Twilight is a series of four vampire novels written by Stephenie Meyer between 2005 and 2008 which were then turned into major motion pictures. They focus on the life of Bella Swan, an average teenage girl who moves to Forks, Washington and falls in love with vampire Edward Cullen.
He’s 104, but forever 17. Vampire and doctor Carlisle Cullen turned him in 1918 to prevent him from dying of influenza. Carlisle and his vampire wife Esme adopt him and have a vampire family that also includes vampire kids Emmet, Alice, Rosalie and Jasper who all go to school with Bella. Carlisle is an exception in the vampire world because he teaches his kids to refuse to consider humans as food.
So they are “good” vampires. They also sparkle.
I’ve written previously about my lack of love for this twinkly set, so I won’t rehash it here. But regardless of my feelings, I certainly couldn’t ignore them on a vampire list, so I figured I should go big or go home and went with Meyer’s main vamp: the only vampire who has EVER made me hungry for the wolf. [Sorry, couldn’t help myself – I’m done now].
So that brings us to D.
There really wasn’t a choice. Maybe he used his powers on me, but I feel compelled to talk about Vlad.
D is for Dracula.
He made his pop culture debut in the 1897 horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The book tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from his decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania to England and his battle with a small group led by Abraham Van Helsing.
Count Dracula is basically (more on that later in the series) the vampire from which all subsequent fiction in the genre is based. The image of the vampire as a charming and proper aristocrat? That’s Dracula. Superhuman strength? Turning into a bat? Drinking blood? Dracula. Crosses, stakes and holy water? Yup. Dracula.
There have been numerous movies and retellings of the tale since publication. Indeed, there’s one – Dracula Untold – in theatres now.
Many – recent movie being a good example – believe Count Dracula was inspired by the 15th-century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler, who was also known as Dracula.
Born in 1431, Vlad was by all accounts a charming fellow. While he was revered as a folk hero in Romania for his protection of the population, as his nickname indicates, he was also known for his excessive cruelty and the practice of impaling his enemies on stakes.
With that lovely image, we’ll bring day one to a close.
Who do you think I missed? Let me know in the comments! And for those of you who wish to follow along and keep track, here’s our helpful chart:
Go ahead and guess who’s next!
Today’s photo credits: