In the style of another online magazine, Cracked, I invite you to consider the implications of vampires if they actually existed!
Wait! You may say. What kind of vampire are we talking about here? A valid point! For purposes of this discussion we shall use the most classic image of the vampire from our popular culture — a corpse re-animated by night with fangs, mesmeric eyes, shape-shifting and the ability to remain eternally young by drinking fresh human blood. Further, we’ll presume undeath is very much as portrayed in Hammer horror films, in shows like Dark Shadows and indeed the overwhelming number of Dracula adaptations over the past ninety-plus years.
Keeping that in mind, consider:
Nothing is more addictive than a vampire bite. Cocaine and heroin are aspirin by comparison. Nicotine might as well be chocolate milk. Again and again we see the reaction of a vampire’s bite is devastating in the extreme. The individual loses every trace of free will, becoming the slave (sexual and otherwise) of another entity. Victims often loathe their new state, but cannot give it up. Quite apart from the genuine physical damage caused by blood loss, these wretched people find themselves able to commit any crime for the parasite that now feeds upon them. They will kill to protect the monster. Kill anyone. Family, friend, stranger — it doesn’t matter. They will also lure loved ones into the vampire’s clutches to share the same degrading fate. More, this effect is all-but-instantaneous. Within seconds after having fangs rend into your flesh, you become the equivalent of Renfield or Gollum. If you’re unfortunate enough to be physically attractive, then you’ll experience another whole level of being used. Consider all the devastation wrought by drug addiction decade after decade. Human lives wasted. Relationships destroyed. Violent crimes committed, often revealing a degree of ruthless horror worthy of Clive Barker. Now double it, because each victim in turn becomes another source of addiction. Finally, lets examine one more type of horror. Vampires are predators. Humans their prey. Which members of the herd do predators so often prefer as being the most defenseless? Children.
Vampires are immortal serial killers. Jack the Ripper slaughtered five prostitutes, nearly slicing their heads off and disemboweling them. Peter Kurten was a rapist, pedophile, necrophile, arsonist and was into bestiality. John Wayne Gacy liked to torture and rape young men before killing them. Andrei Chikatillo nearly always went after boys and girls under the age of seventeen. Albert Fish killed little girls and ate them. No one knows who killed the Black Dahlia, who was cut in half and had a smile cut into her face. But that killer as well as all the others mentioned above are at least dead. They trouble our world no more. Unless of course they were vampires. You know, unaging and impervious to almost any harm. Maybe not all vampires would begin as sociopathic sadists, but the lifestyle certainly encourages it. Worse, you only need a few to spread horror across the decades and centuries. Right now the number of serial killers at large at any one time remains relatively stable. But with vampires factored in, their population would slowly, steadily rise. Forever.
Plus, being a vampire would really suck (pardon the pun). Hunting your own kind all the time, having to deal with other vampires in the same territory, having to keep secret the fact you even exist, not daring stay too long or make any real friends lest they begin to notice those odd details (like how you never eat and avoid sunlight as if it were fatal). Lets say you do make a friend. A good friend, someone who can handle the fact of what you are. Now you have a few options. Watch them wither and die. Turn them into a vampire like yourself, increasing your own competition for a limited food supply. Keep in mind vampires are hideously outnumbered and must remain so or they starve. Yet mankind now has the technology to wipe them out (napalm anyone?). So in effect you’re a member of a secret society with extremely rigid rules that can kill you if you violate them (leave no evidence, for example, and certainly leave famous people alone) and are almost certainly totally alone while the world keeps changing in ways you don’t understand. Me, I’m still adjusting the existence of twitter! Imagine someone who finds the idea of steam power hard to wrap his head around! Is this not a recipe for gradual insanity?
There would indeed be slayers. Odds are, they’d be nothing at all like Buffy (although I love that show) and a lot more like Blade or maybe the leads in John Carpenter’s Vampires. Tough, no-nonsense vigilante killers who’ve studied and come prepared. Remember it isn’t as if vampires are actually immortal — only that it is hard to kill them. Or at least tricky. If you know exactly how, though…
Wood through the heart. Cut off the head. Fire. Direct sunlight. Most nosferatu need their native soil, are repelled by crosses or garlic or something, maybe take damage from silver. Like any niche profession, slayers would develop experts and if working in teams might easily wipe out any undead that come in their radar. While this is bad news for the vampires, it is in some ways worse for the rest of us. Because in effect these are professional killers, a group not known for being fussy about collateral damage. Let’s face it, the most effective way to kill a vampire is to burn own its lair in broad daylight — burn it to ashes. If you happen to live in the same apartment building, too bad. Or if the neighborhood turns into a fiery inferno, so much the better! The vampire almost certainly is a goner. Too bad if you burn to death in the process. Given the supernatural abilities of vampires, these slayers would pretty much have to shoot first and ask questions later. Maybe not all, but enough to instantly kill a lot of folks who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or who seem suspicious (like being photosensitive and/or fairly gothic in lifestyle). More, such slayers will probably figure vampire victims are too big a risk to let live. Better to put them down. Like rabid dogs. In other words, murder them. Then burn and/or mutilate the bodies just to be sure.
Gives one the creeps does it not? Mind you, that’s probably why so many assume story with vampires in it belongs under Horror. Even they they clearly don’t, like Twilight or Bunnicula.