Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
Vampires. They’re probably the most well-known monsters in horror movie history, first showing up on screen as far back as 1922 in the German film aptly titled Nosferatu. For most people, vampires are just that – the stuff of movie magic. But these monsters have been feared way before the silver screen existed, and in more parts of the world than you can imagine. They take many forms but all have specific traits in common. To different cultures, vampires are more than just guys who twinkle in sunlight (thank goodness) and if you think the ones you’ve seen on screen are scary, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
So grab your crucifixes and get that bottled water you’re drinking blessed (you just might need it) as we take a look at my TOP 5 SCARIEST VAMPIRES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
#5 Ghoul (Arabic)
Only the most rabid of horror fans (like myself) probably know a ghoul is a type of vampire. Most people tend to think it’s just another name for zombie, but a Ghoul is actually more like a demon-vampire, originating in the pre-Islamic Arabian religion. They’re usually found hanging around cemeteries and ghouls are just as likely to drink your blood as they are to eat the dead.
Don’t worry too much about these guys though as, unlike other blood suckers on this list, they aren’t immortal. So a couple good whacks on the head or, if you have a shotgun handy, a blast to the face will take one down pretty easily.
#4 Dhampir (Balkans)
Sometimes spelt Dhampyr, this type of vampire has shown up a lot in pop culture, in animated series like Castlevania and anime films Vampire Hunter D, video games, and, of course, arguably the most famous dhampir of them all, Blade of Marvel comics and movie fame.
Creatures that are the result of some super sexy time between a vampire and a human, dhampirs are known to have super strength, practice magic as well as have the advantage of being able to go sunbathing if they wanted. There’s also no need to worry if you come across “those who drink through their teeth” (loose translation of what dhampir means), as legends state they tend to become vampire hunters. They’re the good guys y’all!
#3 Odokuro (Japan)
Leave it to Japan to come up with the weirdest vampire out there. Odokuro (literally translates to “giant skeleton”) are said to be people who died of starvation, that formed together like the most terrifying Voltron you’ve ever seen. These guys roam around after midnight, grabbing up lonesome travelers and biting off their heads to drink from their necks. Ewww.
They’re said to have powers of both invisibility and indestructibility, which totally sucks if you’re the lonesome traveler in the story. But fear not, you can tell one is nearby from the sound of loud ringing in your ears and Shinto charms are said to ward them off. So maybe stop by your nearest Japanese shrine or Buddhist temple before hitting those dusty trails, or bamboo forest. And maybe leave the headphones at home.
#2 Draugr (Norse)
And here I thought the Odokuro was the stuff of nightmares. The Draugr, a creature from Norse mythology, likes to hang out in their own graves, often guarding treasure buried with them. They can also dwell on both the land and the sea, making them more of a threat than most vampires as blood-suckers tend to have an issue with bodies of running water. #TheMoreYouKnow.
Super strong, super smelly and with the ability to increase their size at will, these undead monsters love to mix a little flesh eating with their blood drinking and even have the ability to drive animals mad. Throw in some magical abilities, the power to control the weather, and to see the future and Draugr seem like the Supermen of vampires. There doesn’t even seem to be a weapon that can defeat them. Stories say, if you’re strong enough, you can wrestle them back into their graves, trapping them there.
So…yeah. If you happen to work for the WWE, you’ll have no problem coming up against a Draugr. For everyone else, might I suggest studying yoga, so you can put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.
#1 Soucouyant (Caribbean)
Originally depicted as an old woman (that description changed with the passage of time) the Soucouyant is a shapeshifting being who sheds her skin and flies across the night sky in her true form, a fireball, as she searches for a victim. She can enter a home through any sized hole, crack or crevice (tee-hee) and prefers feeding from the softer body parts, like arms and the inner leg. If you’re unlucky enough to be fed on by this vampire, you might become one, or if you die, she goes around wearing your skin like she’s cosplaying at a Buffalo Bill convention.
So that’s the bad news! The good news though is you can slow this fiery entity down by throwing a heap of rice around the house (she has to stop and count every grain) until the sun comes up and if you’re really adventurous, re: crazy, you can try to find her skin and place it in a mortar filled with salt, so she dies when she puts it back on.
So whether you know her as Ole Haig (Guyana, Jamaica) Loogaroo (Haiti, Grenada) or Soucouyant (Trinidad, Dominica, Guadeloupe), we can all agree, a vampire that turns into a ball of fire, can get into your house no matter how well secured, and can wear your skin after you’re dead, is better off left to the professionals.
Did I mention her skin is powerful and can be used in black magic? And you guys thought Dracula was a bad-ass. THIS is a vampire that deserves to be on screen.
Speaking of which, the pilot screenplay for Soucouyant is being pitched at two amazing festivals:The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival and TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Set in 1498, just before Chris Columbus and his Spanish compadres discover Trinidad. Let’s just say they discover more than they bargain for.
And yes, I just used my article to let you guys know about this awesome screenplay. I can have my cake and eat it too!
For more info on Soucouyant visit facebook.com/mangrovestt/ and feel free to share and get the word out. Let’s get this screenplay turned into the binge-worthy television series I know it’s gonna be.
Until next time horror fans.
Note to self: Must buy rice and salt.
For my ranking of the Top 10 Ugliest/Scariest Vampires you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby!