Thursday, October 20, 2011

Upon the Classification of Vampires

A word of warning--my tendency is towards being inclusive rather than exclusive when it comes to vampires and their tales. Should, in my opinion, something be able to fit into the Wold Newton Universe, that will tend to find a way in here.

Perhaps controversially, I regard the material from White Wolf as of real (albeit very limited) use. The theory that they got ahold of an incomplete copy of THE BOOK OF NOD as well as hearing some rumors appears perfectly workable in my eyes. However, using White Wolf terms creates the wrong impression. With that in mind...

PRIMORDIAL vampires aren't so much a bloodline as they are a category, including the Turok-han (Buffy) as well as creatures like the Great Vampires (Dr. Who) and other beings encountered in pre-history such as the adventures of Conan the Barbarian. Most of these have vanished from the world we know, did so before the sinking of Atlantis.

Most other vampires arose from efforts by a coven of powerful magic users to create a new (or recreate an old) kind of demon/monster. Since this occurred on the lost continent of Atlantis, the bloodlines that arose can be called ATLANTEANS. But there were several such types, probably because of the different sorcerors involved and/or different demons used to "create" vampires.

ORLOCKIAN vampires are a bloodline named for their most famous member. They don't look very human, dislike sunlight, and when they do gather in groups behave like predatory packs--obediently serving the Alpha Vampire. In fact, killing such an Alpha in combat confuses these undead, making them unwilling to attack the successful vampire hunter in front of them since their instincts evidently say this is the new Alpha. Examples: Graf Orlock in "Nosferatu" and the creatures in both 30 Days of Night films as well as the nameless vampire in Shadow of the Vampire but the Asian Seven Golden Vampires likewise belong to this bloodline.

DACIAN vampires are so-called because that area (roughly equivalent to modern Romania) seems their ancient stronghold. Dacians in many ways are the most 'human' vampires, looking normal as well as not requiring great quantities of blood. They are, however, not hurt by sunlight. But, they are weakened when separated from their native soil.  The most obvious such vampires are Dracula Prime and the Count of Saint Germain, as well as their many progeny.

SUTEKHITES vampires originally arose in the land of Kemet, or Egypt. Whereas some vampires burn in sunlight, Sutekhites combust. More, they find holy objects intensely uncomfortable. Their founder, Qu'ra, seems to have been an acolyte of evil who initially sought out the most horrible examples of humanity to turn. His powers stirred the worst instincts of all his get until Dracula Prime committed the crime of devouring his blood and power sometime around 1500. Thus Dracula Prime gained many of Qu'ra's powers but many of his get also gained Sutekhite weaknesses. All vampires in the Forever Knight series are Sutekhites, as is (indirectly) Denrom. (Note: A web comic provides a crossover between Dr. Who and Forever Knight providing the vital clue showing Sutekhites as part of the WNU)

KARNSTEIN-TYPE vampires predate that notorious family by many centuries, but have become associated with it. Immune to sunlight, gifted with powers to control men's minds (this ability can be learned sometimes by others), they however suffer from a terrible thirst that often leads them to kill their prey in one feast. Also, relatively few people can become Karnstein-type vampires, which is why the Patriarch (aka Red Death, Barlow, etc.) fostered that family and tried to spread it throughout the world. In fact the Karnstein-types have dwindled in numbers and influence, especially over the last two centuries. Apart from the Patriarch, vampires in films like The Vampire Lovers and Vampire Circus as well as The Moth Diaries belong to this type.

[Note: Although Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla about one of these creatures is accounted as part of the WNU, it remains difficult to say for certain that the Karnsteins are indeed part of the WNU.]

BESTIAL vampires also burn in the sun, but do not combust. They assume a 'game face' while feeding or hunting, and have very powerful predatory instincts although not so much as the Orlockians. These two bloodlines may well be related. Examples include the undead in Buffy and Supernatural as well as The Lost Boys.

WAMPHYRI come from an alternate earth known as Starside where an ecological catastrophe occurred. Only a few were exiled here, where conditions forced the evolution of their governing parasite into a more covert form. Apart from the Wamphyri in Brian Lumley's Necroscope novels it seems certain those in the novel Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Linqvist as well as the film Hanna Queen of the Vampires are this type.

[Note: that Wamphyri exist in the WNU remains speculative]
CORVINI vampires seem pretty clearly to be an experimental hybrid created by the Patriarch, a blend of the Karnstein and Wamphyri. In particular they share a rare ability with the latter--that of fertility. Corvini vampires can breed rather than infect, as can the Wamphyri. Apart from Victor, Selene, etc. from the Underworld films the Dracula soul-clone in Van Helsing are all Corvini.

[Note: that Corvini vampires exist in the WNU remains speculative]

OCEANIC vampires originally come from many thousands of years in Earth's future, as noted by renegade time lord The Doctor. One was pulled to the 9th century CE by an ancient evil entity called Fenric. From then, other such creatures have been created. The so-called mermaids of Pirates of the Carribean 4 would be an example, as would the priest in Children of the Night. It seems likely the Patriarch tried to experiment with them as seen in another Dr. Who adventure, "The Vampires of Venice."

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