I have nothing against vampires. I like them. But I like my vampires as legend intended them. Proud, beautiful monsters.
If you like your vampires sparkly, that’s fine. Good luck to you. I prefer mine bloody. Each to her own.
I haven’t included any vampires in my books (yet), but I have just finished a Shivers which features some soul eating, vampire-like creatures. And that got me thinking about my favourite vampires and what it is about them that makes their appeal as characters so enduring. Here are three of my favourites the first time we meet them.
His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.
Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine. But seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal.
The Count, evidently noticing it, drew back. And with a grim sort of smile, which showed more than he had yet done his protruberant teeth, sat himself down again on his own side of the fireplace. We were both silent for a while, and as I looked towards the window I saw the first dim streak of the coming dawn. There seemed a strange stillness over everything. But as I listened, I heard as if from down below in the valley the howling of many wolves. The Count’s eyes gleamed, and he said.
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” Seeing, I suppose, some expression in my face strange to him, he added,”Ah, sir, you dwellers in the city cannot enter into the feelings of the hunter.”
The Vampire Lestat
I am the Vampire Lestat. I’m Immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire – these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not.
I’m six feet tall, which was fairly impressive in the 1780’s when I was a young mortal man. It’s not bad now. I have thick blond hair, not quite shoulder length, and rather curly, which appears white under fluorescent light. My eyes are grey, but they absorb the colours blue or violet easily from sufaces around them. And I have a fairly short narrow nose, and a mouth that is well shaped but just a little too big for my face. It can look very mean, or extremely generous, my mouth. It always looks sensual. But emotions and attitudes are always reflected in my entire expression. I have a continuously animated face.
My vampire nature reveals itself in extremely white and highly reflective skin that has to be powdered down for cameras of any kind.
And if I’m starved of blood I look like a perfect horror – skin shrunken, viens like ropes over the contours of my bones. But I don’t let that happen now. And the only consistent indication that I am not human is my fingernails. It’s the same with all vampires. Our fingernails look like glass. And some people notice that when they don’t notice anything else.
Barlow in Stephen King’s Salems’s Lot is described as ”a tall, extremely thin silhouette”. His ”cheekbones were high and Slavic, his forehead pale and bony, his dark hair swept straight back” and ”his teeth curved out over his full lips, white with strong streaks of yellow, like ivory” We can even assume that he has a similar taste in clothes as Dracula, although he has adapted it to his period somewhat since he is ”all tricked out in a suit, vest and all”.