How Vampires Die: A Comparison


How do you kill a vampire? There are various orthodox answers to this question, dating from way before Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But, as last night’s episode of True Blood reminded us, pop culture vampire mythology is actually quite diverse. After the jump, we look at what can kill vampires and how they die in a variety of movies and TV shows from the past 30 years. Let us know which you think is the “right” way or suggest your own favorite vamp deaths in the comments. [Note: If you haven’t seen last night’s True Blood, you may not want to read beyond this point.]

True Blood What kills them: A stake through the heart, staying out for more than a few minutes in the the sunlight. (Silver seems to wound but not kill.) How they die: In a massive, gory explosion of blood (if they’re staked) or in a glowing, purple flame (if they’re exposed to sunlight)

The Twilight saga What kills them: Twilight diverges from most vampire mythology in one major way — sunlight won’t kill its vamps. It only makes them glittery, to the delight of starry-eyed teens the world over. Instead, you have to tear them to pieces and then burn those pieces so they don’t reassemble. Really. How they die: They shatter like pottery, revealing crystalline innards, of course!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer What kills them: A stake through the heart, too much sunlight. (Crosses will burn them.) How they die: They “poof,” leaving only a pile of ash.

Interview with the Vampire What kills them: Fire, sunlight, a more powerful, older vampire How they die: Depends on how they’re killed

The Hunger What kills them: Some ancient vampires (like Catherine Deneuve’s Miriam) were never human, which is why they can endure for millennia. Newer vamps only make it a few centuries before they begin to age rapidly into decrepitude and immobility. How they die: They don’t really. Instead, their minds become trapped in bodies to old and broken down to work.