Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 5 Most Ridiculous Vampire Weaknesses

Vampires continue to be a go-to classic for fiction, with a wealth of films and novels that mine the collective folklore to create everything from easily-expendable villainous henchmen to all-powerful agents of Satan, from brooding anti-heroes to shining champions of good.

One thing that always remains the same about vampires is that they usually can’t be killed by the kind of conventional machine-gun, sword-slinging violence that has seen so many action movie villains bite the dust over the years. Vamps typically have more creative achilles heels, possibly one of the reasons people are so fascinated by them. We all know the classics - the stake through the heart, burned to death by sunlight, soaked in holy water, etc. Some of these actually exist in the real-life folklore surrounding vampires, others are just a result of excited storytellers (or cynical movie producers) just trying to dream up a creative deathtrap.

Unfortunately, centuries of folklore and popular culture has lead to the point where if ever there existed a vampire with every ridiculous weakness documented over the years - they’d pretty much be allergic to everything and would die instantly.

Here's a list of the the five most pathetic ways vampires have been warded off or killed over the years.

5. Running water

Typically, Holy Water has worked as a kind of Vamp-acid, capable of burning their flesh or sometimes even killing them. Unfortunately, actual vampire lore extends that to normal, non-sanctified H2O, as long as it's in motion. Some lore states that they can pass freely through the slack end of a stream, but at high tide, they're screwed.

The best example of this is in 'Dracula: Prince of Darkness', where the man in black is taken out at the end of the film when he falls into a river and drowns. You could at least make the argument that falling into a stream is a fairly strange, easily avoidable thing to happen to a person and that trying to trick Dracula into doing it would involve enough creativity that it wouldn't be easy to just push him in. The problem is that they go even farther with it in 'Dracula 1972 A.D.' (a film as ridiculous and amazing as it sounds), where Van Helsing manages to subdue a vampire by turning on the shower and pointing it at his face. Seriously, that happened in a film.

4. Fire

The concept of vampires not being able to move around in direct sunlight has been heavily employed through many different films and stories, with the consequence often being that they'll burst into flames if they do (interestingly this was not the case in Bram Stoker's original 'Dracula' novel, where moving around during the day was no problem). Many would argue that this is an interesting, creative addition to the lore and has been employed well in various films and television series (Buffy gets a lot of mileage out of it).
Many series though, (Buffy especially) go beyond merely having sunlight be the debilitating force and extend it to normal, everyday flame as well - essentially meaning you can kill a vampire with a shot of tequila, as long as it's on fire. Perhaps many won't agree with this, but the fact that vampires are bothered by such an ordinary, human weakness has always irritated me. In many stories, vampires are supposed to be spectral beings anyway (sometimes this is given as the reason they don't cast a reflection). It just feels a bit easy and it's boring - we see people get burned in films all the time.

3. Garlic

Nobody is less of a fan of garlic than I am, but it's ludicrous that a vicious, immortal creature of the night could be subdued by a particularly pungent pasta sauce. Surely if someone ate enough cloves of garlic, their bad breath alone would be enough to cause a vampire to lose their appetite?  Vampires basically wouldn't be able to kill anyone who'd just been to an Italian restaurant.

2. Crossroads 

Ancient lore says that if vampires come to a crossroads, they will become confused and won't be able to decide which way they need to go. This makes vampires about as threatening as foreign tourists. If this was still an issue for modern vampires, surely it would be alleviated by Google Maps?

1. Arithmomania

Now we're really into the weird stuff. Some folklore suggests that if you drop a large collection of beans or coins or oats or any smattering of small objects in front of a vampire, they will be compelled to count them all, thus giving you an opportunity to skedaddle. Mercifully, the only vampire who's ever shown this disorder has been The Count on Sesame Street, but the TV show 'Supernatural' did use it as a way of defeating a leprechaun in one episode.

This weakness would basically make it impossible for vampires to be able to kill anyone in the 21st Century - you could incapicitate a bloodthirsty menace by emptying a packet of peanuts on the ground.  

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