At first, I tried to reach Wesley Snipes. See, the way I do these pieces is that I generally try to get three experts on a given topic, then ask them a bunch of silly questions, like when I asked real Swedish chefs about The Swedish Chef or when I asked skydivers about D.B. Cooper. When it came time to do a piece about the cute little Disney vampire Vampirina, I already had two scholarly authors who were experts on vampire lore in my rolodex, so I thought I’d get someone a bit more unexpected for my third choice — and who’s more awesome than the original Blade, Mr. Wesley Snipes?
No one, that’s who.
Unfortunately, he never got back to me, but I still had it in my head that I wanted to do something a bit unique for my third expert, so I thought that maybe I could reach a “real” vampire. No, I don’t actually believe vampires exist, but I know there are people out there who refer to themselves and think of themselves as actual vampires — some even drink blood — so why not see what one has to say about Vampirina? Won’t that be fun!?
After digging around on various social media platforms, I found a vampire who replied to my DMs. She was willing to talk anonymously, but said she couldn’t do the interview without her “siblings” which, from what I could gather, were fellow ‘vampires’ that she met online. After about two weeks, it all worked out and I found myself in a group chat with three vampires, asking them about a blue Disney Jr. character.
It did not go well.
Despite the fact that I was saying things like, “This interview is about Vampirina,” “What about Vampirina?” and “Hey, can we talk about Vampirina now?” they didn’t really want to discuss Vampirina and seemed to get annoyed every time I steered the conversation back in that direction. Clearly, they were intent on doing a sort of intense, brooding, Interview with the Vampire type interview, but I didn’t want to do that. That’s been done. I wanted to talk about Vampirina, goddamnit!
While I did manage to get a few Vampirina opinions from them, I mostly just succeeded in pissing them off. After more than an hour of going back and forth with them, I was blocked from the group chat — one too many questions about Vampirina, I guess. I also may have ended up on something called “The Red List,” which is basically the vampire community’s enemies list.
Anyway, below you’ll find my interviews with the two vampire scholars and three people who call themselves vampires. One thing I’d like to clarify, though, is that I sincerely wasn’t trying to make fun of these people. While I don’t believe in vampires, I genuinely thought they could provide some unique opinions on Vampirina, plus a light-hearted look into their community. What’s ironic about this whole thing is that, because I couldn’t reach Wesley Snipes, I got myself into a situation where I might really need Blade.
That is, if vampires were actually real, which, of course, they aren’t. Right? RIGHT?
What are your thoughts on Vampirina?
John Kachuba, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning book Shapeshifters: A History: In my book, I talk a lot about vampires in popular culture and my five-year-old granddaughter clued me into Vampirina. She’s a great example of not only how vampires have gotten into our popular culture, but how they’ve shifted. There’s nothing scary about Vampirina, she’s a cute little kid, her family is great, she has little ghost pets and skeleton pets. So we’ve remodeled the vampire image in many ways to be something much lighter and more fun.
Vampire 1 (female): I’m familiar with that character. My niece watches her. Vampirina is a fictional children’s show. She isn’t like how real vampyres like myself and my siblings are.
Vampire 2 (female): I’m not really familiar with the cartoon. Its audience is for small children. I own no children so I haven’t had any interest when it comes to it.
Vampire 3 (male): Ask anything stupid – like Twilight stuff or Underworld, anything to do with fiction – and I shall not be pleasant. Are we clear?
Vampirina is eight-years-old — can vampires be children?
Richard Sugg, author of The Real Vampires: Death, Terror and the Supernatural and Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians: Yes, actually — for something that actually happened, there is a record in Bulgaria of a couple of British army officers in the 19th century, and one of the people they met was a young guy called Theodore. Theodore was convinced that he’d inherited vampirism — it was the family curse — and Theodore was going to give up smoking for lent as a way to combat it.
Theodore also married a woman, and the local priest tried to have their child murdered because it was going to be vampiric. The British officers actually intervened and threatened the priest that he’d be hung if he murdered the child. But yes, hereditary vampirism is something people were concerned about.
Vampire 3: Turning is bullshit. You must be born.
Vampire 2: It’s of random selection. On the off chance, it can be passed to children of our own. It’s almost like someone chooses it for us.
Do vampires ever get “a case of the batties”?
Kachuba: Well, Vampirina turns into a bat spontaneously pretty often, but that’s not how it is in most vampire stories. In fact, vampires never used to shapeshift at all. When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, there was a passage in there where this bat is fluttering outside this woman’s window, and the next thing you know, Dracula materializes. As far as I know, that’s the first recording of vampires shapeshifting.
Vampire 1: We also do not turn into bats. That’s all Hollywood and TV BS. [But] we have certain abilities regular people do not have. I have some psychic abilities, and I’m extremely good at reading people.
Vampire 2: I’m natural at witchcraft. I have premonitions and forebodings. I can also see into people’s pasts.
Vampire 3: I’m a necromancer. I sense and see the dead.
Vampire 1: I’m also empathic and a light worker.
Vampire 2: I’m a dark worker.
Vampire 3: I’m also a paranormal investigator. I’ve seen some pretty messed up stuff. Once I saw a shadow being in a graveyard. I own a cursed sword of an S.S. officer and a human skull. I’m head of a clan. My sister [Vampire 1] is head of my USA chapter. My fiancée [Vampire 2] is head of my U.K. chapter. In the vampyre community, we’re elders. I run something called the red list.
Vampire 1: We put people who are rude to us in any way on there.
Are vampires really “not that different underneath” like the Vampirina theme song says?
Kachuba: For the most part, even though they’re vampires, they’re still human in their anatomy, and they still have most of their human faculties.
Vampire 3: [We differ] in some ways. We heal slightly faster and age slower.
How well would a real vampire adjust to going to a human school?
Kachuba: Well, if you go traditional, they’d have to go to night school for one thing. They might also have some problems with what’s being served in the cafeteria.
Sugg: There might be an answer in the story Let the Right One In. In that, it’s rough going for the vampires, as they need to get blood covertly and they don’t want to hurt their friends. In real life, the stories surrounding vampires are often people just being criminally superstitious. If you looked different in any possible way, you were suspected of being a witch, a vampire, you name it. So since Vampirina has blue skin and bat hair, she might have a very difficult time adjusting simply because of her appearance.
Vampire 3: As a child it was very hard for me, as I awakened to my nature at a very early age. Most awaken during their teen years, [but] I had to deal with the hunger at an early age. At school, I was a good student but was very drawn to darkness. I found peace in walking around graveyards at night, writing poetry and short stories and reading up on history.
Vampire 2: I love to walk and listen to classical music.
Vampire 3: One of our greatest flaws is when the beast/demon within takes hold. That is a metaphor. As a normie, you couldn’t know the blood rage.
How long do we have before Vampirina feasts upon the blood of her friends?
Kachuba: I don’t know. She seems like a nice kid, I’d hate to put her down. If I had to have a granddaughter that was a vampire, I’d want her to be like Vampirina.
Sugg: There are several stories of vampires with a conscience and they try to resist this as long as possible, or they substitute for animal blood or things like that, but usually vampires still crave the real thing, so it might be inevitable that she will give in.
Vampire 2: We do have to restrain ourselves harshly on a bad day.
Vampire 3: It depends on how much the darkness within took over. Realistically, the feeling we get when we need to feed would cause her friends to be in danger. However, we aren’t people who break the law. We’re good people. [Though] when our darker sides take over, some vampyres have become killers.
So Vampirina’s friends are probably safe, since she’s a nice little girl?
Vampire 3: Please be serious. We are trying to educate you.
Sorry, the nature of this is to be lightly educational, but it is mostly about Vampirina.
[Vampire 3]: Removed you from this group.