Tag Archives: vampires

Werewolf-Vampire Connections

Before the dawn of our modern society, word of mouth was the main mode of transportation for information and stories. Anyone who has every tried to pass on a piece of information via word of mouth would know that this information often becomes jumbled and misconstrued. Some historians believe this process of orally passing along stories and information is what resulted in our current folklore of werewolves and vampires. But, did you know that some Medieval Europe societies believed there was a very strong connection between werewolves and vampires?

During the 19th century, the Greek culture would completely destroy the corpse of anyone believed to be a werewolf. If the corpse was not destroyed, they believed it would rise in the form of a vampiric wolf, which would stalk battlefields and drink the blood of dying soldiers. To save the lives of their soldiers, they had to destroy these beastly creatures and ensure that they never killed another soul. Now, it is one thing for a single culture to believe this notion, but it gets strange when other parts of the world follow it, too.

Werewolf, by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512.

Werewolf, by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512.

Around the same period of time as when the Greeks were destroying werewolf corpses, Germany, Poland, and parts of France were destroying the corpses of people who died in mortal sin. These countries believed that individuals who perished in this manner would come back as a blood-drinking wolf; however, unlike the Greeks, these countries viewed the wolf as an undead apparition, rather than a living creature. During the night it would stalk and hunt its prey, but when the sunlight returned, the creature would take on a human form, making it nearly impossible to discover the identity of the vampiric werewolf.

To destroy the corpse of a vampiric werewolf found in Germany, Poland, or France, priests were brought in to perform exorcisms. If that failed, decapitation with a spade was the next best option. Once the head was severed from the body, it was thrown into a river, where it would sink under the weight of its own sins, supposedly. If there was no river nearby, the same methods for disposing of a vampire would be used on the werewolf.

In Haitian culture, there is a belief in something very similar to the traditional European werewolf the j©-rouges. Resembling a wolf-man, these creatures stalk the Haitian landscape, looking for mothers of young children. Upon finding one, they daze the mother and ask her to willingly release the child into the custody of the j©-rouges. Differing from their European cousins, these werewolves actively spread their lycanthropic disease to as many individuals as possible, resembling a key trait of the traditional vampire.

If you are anything like me, you love werewolves and vampires, and now you can enjoy both of them together, like peanut butter and chocolate, but more horrifying.

Vlad the Impaler: Misunderstood?

Bleh!

If you’re a vampire fiend and happen to be in Bucharest this summer, check out the exhibition “Dracula – Voivode and Vampire”–but not if you want to keep your darkest fantasies about the notorious Romanian prince Vlad Tepes. Turns out, at least according to the exhibit’ curator, Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, was just a regular Medieval prince who was no more brutal than any other powerful Medieval guy. Which, to be fair, is pretty brutal, but still.

So why was Tepes singled out as a monster? Bigotry, apparently: The Western European PR machine painted the Wallachian ruler in such a way that reinforced the notion that Eastern Europeans were evil.

Interesting, but don’t fret! If a quarter of the stories of Vlad’s atrocities are true, he was still pretty monstrous. And, no matter what, he’ll always be known as the guy who set off the original vampire craze.

h/t: @TelegraphWeird

Summer Reading

Everyone needs a little summer reading, to pass the time as you hole up in the basement from the sun’s brutal rays… or, you know, “beach books” to pass the time as ghoulishly as possible on your summer vacation. In no particular order, five books to check out this summer, if you haven’ yet:

1. “The Changed” by B.J. Burrow: Zombie novels from the POV of the undead are tricky. A zombie novel about a zombie running for the Senate sounds like the worst idea ever, but Burrow pulls it off. The key is that everything we think we know about zombies is wrong (not a new concept, of course, Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend” notably dealt with the theme using vampires). Plenty of gore from the very first scene, black humor, and dark romance. If you have a Kindle or a Kindle iPhone or PC app, download a free sample for a taste, and be prepared to drop $2.99 for the full Kindle novel, or purchase it in book form for about 12 bucks.

2. “Toe Tags,” Edited by Brian Barnett and William Pauley III: I picked up this collection of short stories because one of the authors, Jimmy Calabrese, contributor of “The Sleepwalking Corpse,” is a member of one of my very favorite bands, Calabrese. Zombies, vampires, demons, scary tattoos, dolls–this creepy collection has it all. Well worth the $18.00 for the book, or download it in PDF form for $10.

3. “Grande Illusions” by Tom Savini: Brush up on your special effects makeup techniques with the legendary master Tom Savini. Remember, there are only three months till Halloween! $25.

4. “Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your… Brains” by Ryan Mecum: A book of zombie haiku is an awesome enough of a concept as it is, but what makes Mecum’s book of zombie haiku brilliant is that it’s actually a linear story. A quick and memorable read–if you haven’t read this or his “Vampire Haiku” book, you’re missing out. And, FYI, if you’re going to be at Comic Con International in San Diego (and if you are, I hate you), Mecum will be among those featured on the panel for “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction” on Saturday July 24th from 11-12 am in Room 7AB.

5. “Massive Awesome #1” by Stephen Lindsay: Picked this up at Philly Comic Con last month–this is a 215 Ink comic by the creator of “Jesus Hates Zombies.” Basic plot: this anthropomorphic piece of bacon, Commando Bacon, and his buddy Zombie Pickle, a pickle who thinks he’s a zombie, have an extreme-action adventure. Includes a JHZ one shot. Awesome!

(Updated 7/11)

True Love

“Is there something in my teeth?”

Even though I left my Gothic lifestyle behind years ago, I still love vampires. Up until recently, I’ve kept this love under wraps, lest I be labeled a total weirdo. However, with the resurgence of vampires in the media (even though it includes Edward Cullen, who is probably the lamest vampire ever), liking vampires is now acceptable. When I heard that my favorite show, True Blood, was renewed for a fourth season, I thought to myself that now is the perfect time to “come out of the coffin” and treat my friends to a vampire-themed party.

The premise is simple: get a bunch of people together, nibble on some snacks (or a fellow partygoer), and watch vampire movies until the sun comes up. If somebody decides to don a pair of fangs or a cape, well, all the better.

Sounds fun, right? So invite some people, make some vampire bite cupcakes, and celebrate all things undead. Who knows, maybe Dracula himself will show.

Can Charley Defeat Edward?

A couple of years ago, a “Near Dark” remake was scrapped because the producer was afraid that the story, which has a teenage romance element, would come off like an R-rated “Twilight” knockoff — apparently, the planned unnecessary remake was probably a thousand times worse than imagined. Although 1985’s “Fright Night” isn’t quite as awesome as the near-perfect “Near Dark,” it’s up there; “Fright Night” also has a teen romance element, so it’s fair to worry that the updated remake that’s currently in development could tread too close to Twilight territory. More likely, the “Fright Night” remake will be the anti-Twilight, an encyclopedia of traditional vampire lore like the original, with wooden crosses, bats and razor-sharp fangs.

The remake actually looks promising. This week, it was announced that Colin Farrell and Toni Colette have been added to the the cast, in addition to Anton Yelchin (aka teen Kyle Reese) as Charley and rumors that Chris Sarandon will be featured as himself in the Roddy McDowell role, which would be too cool, if true. Now word is the new “Fright Night” will be in 3D, too — how could a ’10s version not be?