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Friday, 4 April 2014

AtoZ Day 4: D is for Darkness, Dhampir, Dracula's Widow

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Darkness

Let's be frank, if vampires wandered around in bright sunshine and flip flops they would be nowhere near as interesting.

Humans have been afraid of the dark for a very long time. It's a natural instinct because it limits the sense we use the most; sight. We cannot see what is coming or where the predator might be lurking. This is part of what makes vampires so exciting/horrifying - they lurk where we cannot detect them. Is that a shadow in the corner or a creature with fangs waiting to such our blood?

I don't actually mind when vampire fiction gives the vampire a way into the sunlight, but I do like there to at least be a nod towards the issue. I find a vampire that can simply walk around in the daytime without thought to be missing part of what makes them a vampire. For example in Kindred: The Embraced the vampires can go outside in daylight as long as they have fed, but too long or without sustenance and they go up in smoke. I like that balance.

What is the most interesting death scene for a vampire due to sunlight you have seen/read? As for me, I have to say Hammer's original Dracula always springs to mind for me; the way Christopher Lee's foot just dissolves off his leg is very visual.

Creature Feature:

Dhampir/Dhampyre/Dhamphir/Dhampyr

Now this is the child of a vampire and a human. They have most of the powers of a vampire, but none of the usual weaknesses.

They are fast and strong and require blood to survive, but they are immune to sunlight and other vampire protections thanks to their human half.

According to Wikipedia, in the Balkans male vampires are said to have an insatiable desire for women and hence return to have sex with their wives after they have died. There was a case recorded where a woman blamed her pregnancy on her dead husband who was now a vampire.

If you are interested here is a list of fictional Dhampirs.

Movie Recommendation:

Title: Dracula's Widow (1988)
Rating: 18
Summary: Raymond is the somewhat eccentric owner of a small waxworks in Hollywood. His troubles begin when he receives and extra crate with his delivery of Romanian antiques. Unfortunately for him, inside the crate is Vanessa, widow of Dracula and she devil second to none.
Why should you watch it? The effects in this are pretty terrible and it's low budget, but I think the character of Raymond is simply brilliant. The setting is different even if the plot is pretty standard and it just has something I really enjoyed. I think in some cases it comes under the heading 'so bad it's good'.

The Absence of Light 
(#4 in The Diverse Life of Ianthe Jawara, Vampire)
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Peering out of the window Ianthe noticed that the sky was beginning to lighten and she grimaced. Unlike in many of the films and literature, sunlight was not fatal to vampires, but it could be uncomfortable and darkness was definitely their preferred medium.

"Oh, Anthie," Cal, her current companion said as he followed her gaze out the window, "I'm so sorry, I didn't realise the time."

"Not your fault," she replied and gave him a pat on the hand; "I didn't notice either."

She was supposed to be attuned to the rising of the sun, but she was blowed if she could figure the whole thing out. When she had first been turned her maker had made a small attempt at teaching her how to be a proper vampire, but they had discovered irreconcilable differences before she'd picked up that particular trick.

"I'll just call a taxi," she decided, "I'll be fine."

Cal gave her an appraising look and then sniffed.

"You're worried," he pointed out.

Damn werewolves and their sensitive noses. She had been very glad to find not all supernatural creatures were as stuck up as vampires.

"Not really," she replied, "I just don't have my glasses."

All modern vampires had at least one pair of sunglasses with special filters to protect their sensitive eyes. Ianthe hadn't thought she would be out long enough to need them, so she had forgotten to put them in her bag.

"Why not stay?" Cal offered. "I have to go to work in a couple of hours and you could sleep the day away in my very comfortable bed."

It was tempting for several reasons, not least of which was that she would go home stinking of werewolf and wouldn't that cause ructions. One of the things she had found hilarious was that vampires were prudes. Having sex with humans was considered part of the feeding routine so that didn't count, but 'having liaisons', as it was known, with other supernatural creatures, now that was frowned upon. Even amongst their own kind vampires had about five levels of courtship to go through before there was any bedroom activity.

"As much as I would love to see Alex's face if I arrived back smelling of your bed, I'll have to decline, but thank you for the offer. I have people to see tonight and I need to get up early to make arrangements," she eventually decided.

"If you insist," Cal said and stood up anyway, "but just wait there. I'll call a friend and then I'll get you my Oakleys. They're not specialised like yours, but they should help."

"Thank you," she replied, "you're a love."

It wasn't too light yet when she left Cal's flat, but she was glad of the glasses he had leant her.

"There are sunshades you can pull down, Miss," the taxi driver said as soon as she climbed in.

"Thank you," she said and did so; it was very useful to have a network of other supernaturals in the know. Being on top of the food chain also helped.

It was as they were pulling away that she saw a figure stepping backwards into a side street. She didn't catch much through the shade, but something about what she saw cause a flare of recognition. It was nothing clear, but an unsettled feeling gathered in her stomach.

"Did you see that man?" she asked the driver.

"What man, Miss?" the driver replied.

"Never mind," she said and sat back, trying to track down why she no longer felt relaxed.

~~*~~
A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

get the InLinkz code to add to your blog

46 comments:

  1. Only vampire death by sunlight that comes to mind is from Interview With the Vampire and it's been years since I've seen it so I don't remember much. I do remember it scared me.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

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    1. Oh yes, have to agree, that is a great scene, with Claudia and Madeleine.

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  2. The most interesting one I remember seeing is in Interview with a vampire with Lastat...

    Decadent Kane (blog)

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  3. Hi Tasha .. I'm just not keen on vampires - so never got to watch them reach sunlight ... worried me far too much! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Not even Dracula in the Hammer classic :) Thanks for dropping by anyway.

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  4. So you're obviously not a fan of Twilight ;)

    Love to see where this story's going!

    anna @ Deeply Shallow

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    1. Nope, 'fraid not. Just not my sort of vampire story. I prefer my paranormal romance with gay relationships and more sex :).

      Thanks, it does actually have a plot, promise :).

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  5. The way the vampires die by sunlight in Near Dark is very gritty.

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    1. Oh yes, lots of flames and then boom - that was very eye catching :)

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  6. I'd have to say Dragonetti's death in Blade. The lead up is awesome. Not to mention the actual death! ;)
    Story is moving alone, loving every aspect of Ianthes tale. She's brilliant. She you again tomorrow. :)

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    1. Definitely that was great, I had forgotten that one. Thanks for reminding me.
      See you tomorrow, thanks for stopping in again :).

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  7. Your book example reminded me of another series I'be been reading. The vampires can be in the daylight, but it requires them to have extra blood in order to recover from the damaging sun rays. Looks like I've got another book to add to my reading list.

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    1. Now that sounds like a good balance. I always like a nod in the direction of creatures of darkness, but I can see why it is a limitation some don't want to use. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I think Dracula is the only vampire movie I watched... that was many, many years ago...
    But I did read a very interesting story about a vampire, titled Polar Night by Julie Flanders... which I enjoyed... hey, there's hope for me yet...

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    1. There is always hope to catch the vampire bug ;) Thanks for commenting and I shall have to check out Polar Night.

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  9. A big part of the thrill is the lurking in darkness aspect.

    I've read of Vampires with a heavy factor suncream, shades and umbrella but it just made me laugh - hope that was the intention but I'm not sure.

    I've definitely read scenes of 'meeting the sun' old tired vampires (not necessarily 'good' ones) choosing their end, but I forget the source. I definitely go for lighter fiction not horror.

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    1. They used suncream etc in Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (which is my film rec for S) and it was very funny :).

      There was a good scene in The Librarian 3 and 30 Days of Night with meeting the sun. Both sad.

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  10. Diary of a Vampire had a good sunlight death scene. Liking the glimpses into Ianthe's world! :)

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    1. I don't think I've seen that one if it's the one I found when I googled the title (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2353941/) - ooh, shall have to find out more.
      Thanks, I do have fun with Ianthe.

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  11. Nicely done!

    A to Z: deborahdera.com

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  12. Really cool what you did to the A to Z logo to fit with your blog. Thanks for stopping by my own site. I don't mind a few vampires either.

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    1. Thank you - I stole the idea from my sister who made her own ghostly banner for her theme :). I'm a confessed vampire addict. Thank you for returning my visit.

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  13. When Stephenie Meyer wrote the Twilight series, she said she had never read a vampire book or seen a vampire movie. Also, the town she set the story in? She had never visited it. So this is an author who literally made stuff up. It wasn't the case of an author who was trying to be creative by having vampires sparkle like Christmas sugar cookies under the sun. She wrote her books born out of ignorance. ~~ Of course, we all know it worked for her. She created a romance that readers fell in love with. That's why those books were so successful.

    Precious Monsters

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    1. There is no doubting their success, Sometimes I think it's about being in the right place at the right time too - clearly the market was open and Twilight exploded. My problem with Twilight is it doesn't really make a whole heap of sense to me and I like my supernatural creatures to make sense within their own reality. The press is also stupid and now can't see the word vampire and not compare it to Twilight even if the stories are polar opposites.

      I enjoyed the first movie, but I think I may have laughed at the wrong places quite a lot. IMO it was by far NOT the worse vampire movie I have ever seen - there are so many more that claim that spot (and I own a good few of them) :).

      Frankly I prefer my vampire love story reading gayer ::g::.

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  14. Vampire Hunter D! :D The first anime I ever watched. That was a hardcore start...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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    1. Awesome anime - I remember watching that early on in my anime watching too. I think I might have seen Akira first though. It's hard to remember :)

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  15. Another great post!

    My favorite Dhampire is Rayne from the Bloodrayne video game series. But not the movies, they are so, so bad.

    I just put Dracula's Widow on my watchlist the other day. Looking forward to seeing it.

    --
    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

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    1. I liked the first Bloodrayne movie, but they go exponentially downhill from there :). The second one is bad and the third one is OMG what were they thinking ::g::. I'm pretty sure the third one was just an excuse for some ladies to get their boobies out on screen.

      I really enjoy Dracula's Widow, I first saw it on Sky Movies back around 1991 and when I found the DVD I was so pleased.

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  16. One of my favorites is vampire hunter d! Awesome dystopian. Loved his hand!

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    1. That is an awesome movie; the hand is a little bit of genius :)

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  17. I always like the way they destroy the vampires in Lost Boys. *shrugs* Admittedly, I haven't seen every vampire movie out there, so I'm just giving you what I can. I thought the light bullets in the Underworld series were pretty cool too.

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    1. The Lost Boys had some superb vampire deaths - my personal favourite was "Death by stereo!" :) Yes, the UV rounds were intriguing. Thanks for commenting.

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  18. In Vampire Diaries, there have been some near misses with sunlight, but I can't remember if anyone actually died from it. Someone tried to commit suicide due to sunlight, but again, I can't remember who. Looks like I have a good excuse to re-watch the seasons on Netflix!

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    1. It's always good to have an excuse :) Thanks for dropping by.

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  19. Hmm. I can't think of any memorable vampire death scenes from sunlight. I like the story of male Balkan vampires, though. Blaming a pregnancy on the dead husband-who-is-now-a-vampire just seems very convenient ;)

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    1. Very convenient, nice get out for the widow :)

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  20. That part about the children of a vampire and a human was so interesting! I'd never heard that before.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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    1. Glad you found it interesting - Dhampir are quite popular in certain areas of vampire fiction.

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  21. There is something ominous about the dark, isn't there?

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    1. Totally, I think the fact are main sense is sight just creates this paranoia in us and we can never completely shake it.

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  22. My vote is for Claudia and Madeleine too. So heartbreaking when Louis finds them.

    I think its time vampires return to the dark. No more daylight rings ;)

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    1. Totally - makes me cry.
      Vampires are definitely creepier in the dark :)

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  23. My next book serieis is going to have Dhampyrs in them. Though they were made after being human, so they are not true Dhampyrs, which plays an important note later.

    In my universe, Vampires don't really crave sex so much. They are addicted to causing harm, even playing with their food before eating it, like Orca whales. Male vampires can still give human women offsprings, though Female Vampires cannot get pregnant. However, only 1 in 1000 women who become pregnant from a Vampire, is able to bear a Dhampyr. They are rare, especially since Vampires don't really try to procreate.

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    1. Your vampires sound like a bundle of laughs :) I'm fond of a good nasty vamp. Hope the series is going well.

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