Over the years vampires have taken on various appearances, be it sophisticated or monstrous. The most popular and well known vampire look mostly due to Bela Lugosi and his role in the old Dracula flick. Christopher Lee and Frank Langella later helped to reinforce Lugosi’s look. You’ve got the male vampire dressed impeccably in classy evening wear, slick hair, satin cape and long white fangs. Then the female vampires (who are also horribly stereotyped) are usually tall, perfectly pale, have bright red lips and are found wearing incredibly sexually provocative clothes. Sounds familiar right?
Fast forward a few years and you have today’s idea of how a vampire looks (it usually involves glitter). Most modern vampires haven’t strayed too far from the vampires in those old films, they may have ditched the cape but they still dress impeccably smooth. Perfect body, perfect hair, perfect face, perfect eyes…etc. The men are still seductive and the women are still sexy.
Now, if you ignore the entertainment world and take a look at traditional folk vampires you have a whole different view. The common vamp in Europe usually appeared in its raggedy burial clothes or its grave shroud. Its stench from the dried blood of victims was so awful it instantly triggered the gag reflex. It often had red glowing eyes, long blood-covered fangs and was totally grotesque in every way. Sexy huh?
But in other countries vampires weren’t always completely human. The Chinese kuang-shi was covered in greenish fur, the African adze looked like a deformed dwarf or a firefly. Then you have folk vampires that don’t look humanistic at all. There was the vampire cat of Nabeshima, the giant bird-like aswang, the watermelon vampires of Yugoslavian lore, and even a vampire chair.
So what have we learned today? That vampires have countless looks, it just depends on what book you’re reading or movie you’re watching, or even what time period you live in.