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From Sparkly to Sexy to Scary: A Statistical Analysis of 6 Popular Vampire Myths

Posted: 02/28/2012 11:15 am

Originally posted on indiereader.com

Vampires--the always young, never dying creatures of the night--have a long and colorful history in our culture. From characters in books (indie and traditional), movies and television--even a former President has been suspected of hunting them!--the legend of the vampire is so persistent that it's hard to believe there isn't at least a little truth to their existence.

In fact, the history of vampires in literature can be traced to the 1720s, but stories and warnings of vampiric creatures go back much further. Some even claim that vampires were featured in the Bible, citing either Lazarus (raised from the dead by Jesus) or Cain (condemned by God to forever to wander the Earth).

This vampire reference, dated 1797, is from The Bride of Corinth by Goethe.

From my grave to wander I am forced
Still to seek the God's long sever'd link,
Still to love the bridegroom I have lost,
And the lifeblood of his heart to drink.

The mythos and portrayal of vampires vary greatly by tradition and region, but in popular culture the vampire is almost always defined by an unquenchable thirst for blood, skin that is cool to the touch, avoidance of the sun and garlic and the lack of soul. And a consistently reliable way to slay these creatures is via a wooden stake that pierces their unholy hearts.

What gives these creatures of the night such staying power? Perhaps it's that Vampires touch on the universal themes of Good vs. Evil, including the sub-topics of religion, soul, the afterlife and of course, sex. The power of love also plays an important role in many vampire stories, as does the inherent draw of the broken dark figure hiding in the shadows. What could be more appealing than a creature which embodies both redemption and damnation all wrapped up in a sexy leather overcoat?

We've listed the top criteria that go into the making a great vampire below.

Mythos - What are the rules of the vampire world? Are they consistent?
Creation - Where do the vampires come from?
Sex appeal - Admit it, that's part of the draw--danger mixed with good looks has always been appealing.
Danger factor - Vampires are killers. They drink blood. They should be scary!
Seclusion and Secrets - Creatures of the night, vampires must hide from the human population.

Below we've rated (just for the heck of it, based on the above criteria, on a scale of 1-10) some of the most beloved vampires--from books, film and television.

Source: Twilight (books into film)
"Twilight", a vampire-meets-high-school-girl romance novels, was written by Stephanie Meyer and published in 2005. It was followed by "New Moon", "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn". The first movie was released (to major hysteria) in 2008.

Main Vampire: Edward Masen was turned in 1918 when Carlisle Cullen
found him dying of the Spanish Flu. Belongs to a small clan of vampires who do not feed on humans but live on the less appetizing blood of animals. Edward is telepathic and falls in love with Bella Swan at 109 years old.

Mythos - 8
Original in many ways. Vampires can live in light, they are hard as stone and their skin reflects direct sunlight, giving away their existence. They have forgotten most of their human life but do not become as "other" from themselves as other myths.

Creation - 5
Not addressed but in line with the Dracula Mythos. However, they do not have fangs and instead infect those they bite with venom.

Sex appeal - 10
There is significant evidence given that the Cullen clan's appeal is not only emotional, but also bio-chemical. A strong case is made that these vampires are created to seduce. Their voice, their breath, their smell, everything about them is designed to draw their prey in.

Danger factor - 7
Newborns are extremely dangerous and unpredictable, however, other vampires have it within their control to not feed on humans, should they choose. They talk about being dangerous a lot but it appears to be a choice.

Seclusion and Secrets - 7
This point is contradicted during the story. They stay secret from the humans, but live among them closely, in houses, not aging. Also, the Cullen's are pretty conspicuous with their five adopted children who date each other. Plus they are wealthy, not exactly below the radar.

Total Count: 37 out of 50