Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/25/23: Vampires Around the World

The handsome Peruvian vampire


Vampires are a horror staple and one that has, in the Western world, a stereotyped appearance: pale and with elongated canine teeth. They are generally evil, allergic to daylight, and have  magnetic eyes and hypnotizing powers. The mockumentary movie What We Do in the Darkness takes this trope to a whole new level with several vampires living together in a house, Real World style. One is a poetic, Byronic vampire (played by the movie’s director, Taika Waititi), another a Romanian Vlad the Impaler type, one a horrific Nosferatu, one a modern Emo youth. Other modern takes on vampires emphasize that they can look like just about anyone, as in the series True Blood, but even so, there’s always something special about them.

Other cultures have different takes on the idea of an undead that preys on the living. Phillippino vampires are called Pennangallan. They are always female and suck the blood of mothers and children. The horror comes in that they can detach their heads from their bodies and fly this cranial drone around, while trailing their internal viscera behind them. That right there is why Pennangallan never caught on in the Western world. Plus, it’s a very hard special effect to do properly, as opposed to a vampire’s fangs and threatening stance.

To have some Halloween fun I AI-generated a series of pictures of vampires from a variety of different countries, and used these to help novices identify these creatures should they go traveling.


Vampires Around the World

Tanzanian Vampire: These are secretive and stay away from large cities, preferring villages and small towns. They have glowing teeth, dark blue skin, and bat wings attached to the back of their skull. They are pretty hard to miss. When biting they attack with pointed canine teeth in their lower jaw, not the upper.

Siberian Vampire: Has horse’s hooves instead of feet. Their faces are distorted and they carry long, thin daggers to stab their prey, ambushing them with a flying leap. During the day, they sleep deep within the ice, not in coffins. Again they are pretty hard to miss.

Icelandic Vampire: Recognizable by their blank white eyes which they conceal with sunglasses when among humans, they are fond of long capes and mudboots which aid in chasing victims across the melting snow.

Canadian Vampire: They often partner with werewolves, were-bears, or were-bats. After eating they paint their faces with their victims’ blood. In towns or cities, they wear black suits with a fedora hat and have pale, flaking skin.

Libyan Vampire: Appear as young male children wearing suits with red bow ties. They appear innocent but can be recognized by their hollow eyes.

Sicilian Vampire: An elegant dresser, the Sicilian vampire wears black suits with bowler hats and caped overcoats. Their left hands bear two elongated fingers with sharp nails they stab their victims with; afterwards, they drink the blood from cordial glasses. When among humans they will always use their right hands and keep the left one hidden. Female Sicilian vampires are the archetypical femme fatale, wearing slinky red dresses. They will conceal their left hands by carrying a little clutch purse.

Greek Vampire: Always male and extremely masculine. If undressed, they can be recognized by the red ribbons they wear over their nipples.

Sri Lankan Vampire: Has a yellow-tinted complexion and too many teeth to fit comfortably in their mouth. Since they use their heads to batter down victim’s doors, they can be spotted by the red scars on their foreheads and unusually broad, flat noses.

Ottoman/Turkish Vampire: They transform into pterodactyls, not bats. Their eyebrows are dark and bushy and if they have a mustache, it is displaced onto their cheeks.

Australian Vampire: Can be recognized by their large number of blackheads.

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