By RM Peavy
(Last Warning – Spoilers if you haven’t caught up!!!!!!)
In the recent years, we have been inundated with vampires, vampires and more vampires. But most of the lore of today portioned out the most romanticized aspect of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and embellished it. Thus giving us the sappy, hemorrhaging love potion that we know as “vampire culture” in our modern day media.
There are the handsome Anne Rice Vamps tormented by love while living forever and slowly watching their loved ones grow old and die. And if high school wasn’t annoying enough, blood sucking love triangles had to be added to the list in True Blood, Buffy, Twilight & Vampire Diaries.
One of our favorite pop-culture vampires of course is the “good” vampire, Angel played by David Boreanez first introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then eventually his own series, Angel. We are enamored with the handsome monster who has lost his soul, and for some reason overlook the fact that he is a mass murderer.
They are the brooding, beautiful, melancholy vampires of our age. The kind that fight their thirst for blood so that they can be with the woman they love.
But not in The Strain.
Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro, acclaimed and masterful storytellers have their own breed of vampires that has made everyone rethink their idea on the bloodsuckers. I will be talking about the Strain as a television series vs the novels for this article, just to keep it in the right ‘verse. We have a disease-riddled colony of vampires that are led by their leader, “The Master” with a hive-type mentality. They swarm, they hunt independently but ultimately follow the Master’s will towards a destroyed earth.
This makes them unfeeling, unrelentless, and inhuman. Which makes them leagues more terrifying than your local vamps shopping at Abercrombie. And although fear is not a tangible emotion I have thought of the 8 things that make these vampires scarier than the average ones.
When someone gets infected Edward Cullen’s hair blowing in the wind… as he carries Bella on his back through the woods and sparkles.
Once the humans evolve, the parts that are no longer necessary fall off. They become eating, defecating machines. Yes, they defecate while they are feeding. They have the ultimate eating disorder. They become bald with whitish blue skin, taking away their human characteristics.
- The Hair Factor
You don’t have to worry about long-winded, angst ridden, sexually charged vampire attacks. The Strain Vampires usually have their genitals fall off in the first week so sex is the last thing on their mind. Seducing their prey isn’t really on the list.
At The Strain panel, creator Guillermo del Toro explains, “They suck out your blood, smash your skull to a pulp so you don’t become a vampire and they leave… and that’s what they think of you.” Del Toro says that they aren’t “romantic” and brooding. That they are just “fucking hungry.”
- Hungry Vs. Sexy
In second episode of The Strain, a grieving father loses his daughter in the plane crash that sets our story in motion. A night after he is at the airport, and releasing his daughter’s body, he comes back to him in corporeal form. The father, Gilbarton is so distraught and grief stricken he doesn’t notice or care. He just knows his daughter is tangible and right in front of him, solid. But he doesn’t know the daughter he knew isn’t there anymore but someone has taken over her earthly form.
We forgot about Stephen King’s vamps in Salem’s Lot. The victims were children in the woods, the Glick brothers. One of the boys was taken while they were heading home, and then a few days later, he floats to his brother’s room, with glowing eyes, scratching at his window for his brother to let him in. The older Glick boy let’s his brother in and is bitten by his sibling. A few days after that the older Glick boy goes to his best friend’s house in the same manner, glowing eyes, long teeth… absolutely terrifying. I stayed awake for weeks with the notion because what appears to be safe… is that our most trusted friends and loved ones can die.
But the worst part? They don’t stay dead.
Once you are Strigoi the first people you go after are your loved ones, the ones nearest and dearest to you. The vampire disease has taken over the body, the master’s hive mind is controlling their actions, but there is still a human portion left that wants to connect with the infected ones loved ones.
This to me hit me the hardest when I was a child watching Salem’s Lot, and as a mother watching the Strain. My relationships with my friends and siblings were my world. I couldn’t imagine them in death much less have them come back to me to make me one of them.
- The Dear Ones
Strigoi in The Strain have long tongues that can be used like a toads to catch their victims from two leaps away. There are pinchers at the end of these “stingers” or tongues that can start sucking blood before the victim even knows it. This is very much like the Filipino monster the Aswang, that uses its tongue to eat the fetuses out of a pregnant woman’s womb. This makes for a much more interesting hunt, and they don’t have to get that close.
- Tongues or stingers not fangs
The holy water and crosses have no actual effect on the strigoi, which means you don’t have to be a devout Catholic to be scared of a vampire. I can’t think of anything that doesn’t die from a beheading, or severing a brain stem from its body, while the silver still gives it a very nice ancient effect.
- Beheading and Silver instead of Holy water and crosses
Luckily with Strigoi, all it takes is a knick or a bite from the monsters and the worms go inside you, hair falls off, you become one in a matter of hours. You don’t even have to necessarily die and wait for the next sunset. The infection has no qualms about who it infects, everyone gets it. Unless, whoever infects you destroys your brain. Children, old people, middle aged people… it’s a disease simply looking for a host.
- Infection vs. Affection “They have to suck your blood, you have to suck their blood, it’s a whole big sucking thing,” -Buffy The Vampire Slayer, explaining how one is “turned” into a vampire.
When you are infected, tiny little worms that multiply are what moves the Strigoi disease along. There isn’t a rich, dashing vampire who looks at you with mesmerizing eyes and then feeds on you with carnal pleasure, so you eventually fall into his or her open arms and are bitten and then killed and turned. Nope, nothing as fun as that. The worms crawl in… the worms crawl out…
- Worms not hypnosis
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- Vasily Fett –
There was a slayer, there is a Daryl Dixon, there is always a badass warrior that kills the evil… and Vasily Fett, the city Exterminator is that guy. He will not hesitate to end you… I think there is a lot more of Vasily we will be seeing in the later episodes of the show. But we need a physically larger warrior on the show to defeat these crazy creature.
- Everyone dies not just good looking teenagers –
Strigoi aren’t about to be on the cover of GQ like the dudes in the Vampire Diaries, but they for sure do not discriminate.