“Hey dad, where do vampires come from?” whispered the little boy.
The father have long dreaded having “the talk” with his son, but he knew it was time. He took off his glasses and put away his naughty magazine (he was reading it for the articles) and sat cross legged on the floor next to the boy.
“You see son…” he started with that slight hesitation in his voice – a mixture of embarrassment, and shame. “You see… When mommy vampire and daddy vampire really love each other they… They get really close, you see and daddy vampire puts his… You know… His wee-wee…”
“Dad, this is gross… Vampires are dead… Their bodies are essentially corpses held in stasis by some evil magic fueled by the life force they draw by drinking human blood. As romanticized as they are, Vampire sex is kinda revolting if you think about it. Besides, most movies and books agree that their reproductive organs don’t actually work. I mean, mechanically maybe they do. But vampires would not actually be able to conceive a child since they don’t produce sperm or ova. They reproduce by turning other people into vampires.” said the boy. “So when I asked you that question, I was thinking more among the lines of whether getting bitten by a vampire automatically turns you, or do you have to do something more – like drink vampire blood. What do you think?”
“You… Uhm… You seem to know a lot about this stuff already young man.” The father suddenly realized that he would not have to explain the technical details of sex to the impressionable youngster sitting in his study and he wiped his brow with a sigh of relief.
“Yes dad, I’m 28…”
“Ah… Yes… Ahem… That you are my boy… That you are.”
Fade to black, roll credits (make them funny dammit, cause this skit was shit).
So… Vampire reproduction. How does it work folks?
There seem to be two main schools of thought here. Some vampire stories say that if you get bitten, you will turn into a vampire within days, or even hours. We have seen this portrayed in Daybreakers, Blade films (and I assume also the comics) as well as in most interpretations of the Dracula related stories.
This method of reproductions is a bit problematic for vampires. Their condition is more like a viral disease that will spread and spiral out of control if not kept in check. If a vampire infects a victim with almost each bite, and he bites at least one victim per night, the vampire population will grow exponentially. Eventually the vampires will outnumber humans and many of them will starve to death. This is exactly what happened in Daybreakers which is one of the reasons why I like this movie. It shows you a logical outcome of a Vampire like infection getting out of hand.
If you wanted to control the vampire population you could try just killing your victims after feeding on them. This could work for a small group of vampires living in a large city where people go missing every day. Still, having to kill a human each night is risky. If Hollywood movies have taught me anything it is that for each serial killer (and for all intents and purposes a vampire who kills all his victims would probably be treated like a serial killer by the law enforcement) attract alcoholic, chain smoking, burned out cops and their enthusiastic but inexperienced portages. They become their life long obsession, and they will pursue it even if they have to ostentatiously give back their gun and their badge to the police commissioner.
The third option is of course not to bite humans, but drain their blood in a more unconventional way – you know, syringe, blood bag or if you want to be crude and rude a knife and a straw maybe. Unfortunately most vampires do not do that because sipping blood from a rubber hose attached to someones wrist is not nearly as bad-ass and romantic ans biting someone in the neck.
Many writers have realized that treating vampirism as a infectious disease is problematic. Since the image of vampires worrying about disposing bodies of their victims, or drinking blood through a straw did not fit into their vision, they have devised a workaround. They see vampirism as a gift – something that cant be caught like a nasty case of flu, but must be given and accepted. They have devised this ritual of turning which usually involves draining the victim and then making it drink vampire blood. I’m not sure who started this trend, but it might have been Anne Rice and is used in movies based on her novels. This is also how it works in the popular HBO series True Blood.
This method is very practical, since vampires can now bite people left and right with impunity. Rich and powerful vampires have harems of willing donors who give up their blood willingly hoping to one day receive the gift of immortality from their master. And since the act of turning usually requires a conscious act of acceptance from the turned victim, vampires who are bitter about their condition can’t lay all the blame on the one who turned them. They must also hate and blame themselves a little bit for accepting the gift. This approach romanticizes the vampiric condition making it something that is to be sought after. Mortals are promised eternal life an eternal youth, but soon discover their new un-life is bleak and dehumanizing. They are plagued by hunger for human blood, they find themselves in the middle of cutthroat political games played by the elder vampires. They must lie to, hide away from and hurt people just to stay alive. Many vampires learn the lesson that you should be careful what you ask for, the hard way. Their punishment is nothing less than eternity in hell on earth.
Needless to say stories about infectious vampires tend to be more action oriented. Vampires spread fast, but don’t live long because their outbreaks attract attention and they are quickly put down by humans. On the other hand vampire stories of the second kind tend to be more cerebral. They often contemplate what it means to be a vampire and they give you a glimpse on how vampirism could affect human psychology. This is of course not a rule – just an observation.
Which type of vampire reproduction do you prefer? Are there any other ones? Let me know if I missed some interesting movies that shown alternate methods of making new vampires.