Friday, July 11, 2014

Modes of Vampiric Transmission, from Least to Most Weird

by Sara N.

The Strain premieres Sunday on FX (At last! Hey, Corey Stoll!), and if you've seen any of the ads, you know that there's some gross stuff happening. With worms. And eyeballs. Worms and eyeballs together.

I'm here to tell you, friends, that the way vampires are made in The Strain is bonkers. And it's not the only piece of vampire fiction with odd rules for the transition to blood sucker-dom. I've compiled a list of some of my favorite methods, from least to most weird. ("Weird" is maybe not the word I want here; maybe "deviating from the traditional vampire creation mythology norms" is better.) Anyway. Enjoy.

Anne Rice's vampires — Drain someone to the point of death. Have them drink vampire blood. Bam. Vampire.

Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer  — Same as above, but it takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days to awaken as a vamp.

Charlaine Harris/True Blood — Ditto the previous two, but you have to bury the vampire-to-be for a day with his or her sire. You can try this with humans near death from non-vampire means, but they could come back wrong. (See: Tara, Bubba.)

The Vampire Diaries — Someone has to die with vampire blood in their system, then they have to drink human blood to complete the transition or they'll die.

Stephanie Myer's Twilight vampires — A simple bite can turn a person because of the venom in vampire saliva. It's hugely painful, which good. You should suffer to sparkle. (At some point, didn't Bella have a syringe full of Edward's venom? I can't quite remember if that's the case and if so, how she got it. Did he spit into a tube over and over?)

Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series — Vampires are made either by someone having his or her blood drained or, if the vampire is powerful enough, through a single bite (or a few bites in rapid succession). No blood exchange is needed.

Bram Stoker's Dracula — No blood exchange necessary here, either. Dracula feeds on Lucy night after night, she gets weaker and weaker, then she's revived to health, then kerplut, she dies, then she awakens as a vampire. She proceeds to eat babies, but YMMV.

The Blade vampires — Saliva from a vampire bite will turn a person after 72 hours, whether or not he or she dies after infection first. Also, some of them have crazy split-apart mouth structures that I don't 100 percent understand.

J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood — It's completely hereditary; you have to be born of a vampire bloodline to turn. They're puny, small and basically human until they hit about 25, then they transition and become enormous leather-wearing muscle-beasts (if male) or raving beauties (if female). The transition process is painful, and some of them die during it.

Modern Vampires — Infection by vagina. Yes, indeed, this 1998 movie features a vampire Kim Cattrall luring her captor into having sex with her, which turns him into a vampire. I don't think I've ever really recovered from seeing this happen. But it is certainly different.

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain — A six-foot long stinger pops out from under the vampire's tongue, allowing it to feed and infect. Tiny blood worms actually cause the infection by getting into a human's body through a bite, but they can also wriggle independently and enter through any orifice. Hence, worms and eyes. Worms and eyes.

Brian Lumley's Necroscope — An leech-like parasite from an alien dimension invades your body and gives you vampire-esque qualities while rebuilding you from the inside out. (Eh, I'll stick with sexy blood exchange, thank you.)

Justin Cronin's The Passage — A South American bat carries a virus that scientists start to tinker with. It goes wrong, naturally, and makes the original test subjects psychic vampire overlords who spread the virus throughout mankind, creating mindless blood-thirsty drones who don't much resemble humans. And then there are infected who don't age and who heal quickly, and others who drink the blood of the infected to stay young and strong, and somebody else who gets infected and takes a serum to limit the changes in her — you know what? Never mind. These books are all over the map. Suffice it to say, it's weird.

Did I forget any noteworthy vampire transmission methods? Let me know in the comments!

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