This weekend, the Underworld series returns, and once again vampires will resume their endless war against the Lycans. (Plus the humans, this time.) These days, we're used to thinking of vampires and werewolves as mortal enemies — but vampires have also fought an assortment of much weirder foes.
Here's a semi-complete list of all the bizarre creatures that vampires have gone to war against, in science fiction and fantasy. Spoilers ahead...
In the Doctor Who episode "State of Decay," we learn that the Doctor's people once waged a huge war against a race of super-vampires. The Time Lords had to build a huge fleet of spaceships that fired massive stakes, to kill the vampire overlords. This war was so ancient, the only way the Time Lords kept a record of it was on punch cards. Ancient Gallifreyan punch cards! About giant space vampires! This actually happened.
True Blood season four is about the conflict between vampires and witches, whose necromancy allows them to control vampires' technically dead bodies. This only gets worse when Marnie, a powerful witch, gets possessed by another witch, Antonia, who tried to cast all vampires out into the sun 400 years earlier. The conflict culminates in the Battle of Bon Temps Graveyard.
There are also some dead witches in the Vampire Diaries TV series who seem to hate vampires a lot, although witches also help vampires pretty often on that show.
The Dresden Files novels, a vampire organization called the Red Council decides to launch its long-planned war against the White Council of Wizards, after Harry Dresden kills a vampire nobleman in Grave Peril. In the end, Harry destroys the Red Council with a backfired blood ritual.
In Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice, the origins of vampires turn out to be intertwined with witches in the ancient Middle East, as two witches named Maharet and Mekare are ordered to share the secrets of necromancy with the nobles, but summon an evil spirit instead. Somehow this turns the queen into the first ever vampire. The witches are imprisoned in coffins for centuries, but eventually Mekare takes her revenge.
Meanwhile, in the novel Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway, witches and vampires have been at war for years. And a young girl struggles with her half-vampire, half-witch heritage. The novels All Just Glass and Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes follow a girl from a long line of vampire-hunting witches.
The X-Men fight vampires in the Curse of the Mutants series, when a swarm of vampires invade San Francisco. Blade shows up and reveals the vampires are led by Dracula's son Xarus, and the X-Men actually resurrect Dracula to help them fight his son. But it all goes wrong when first Jubilee and then Wolverine are bitten, and turned into vampires. The X-Men must face a vampire army led by vampire Wolverine.
Also, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fought vampires on several occasions, including on their TV show The New Mutation ("Unchain My Heart") and in the most recent issues of their comic book. Raphael actually gets bitten by a vampire and further mutates into a kind of dinosaur creature.
In the movie Live Evil, there's a subplot in which some vampires have been mutated by polluted human blood that was adulterated by drugs and disease. These mutant vamps go to war with regular vampires.
In The Dead Undead, some vampires are infected with a zombie plague that makes them eat flesh — including other vampires' flesh. The unaffected vampires have to team up with humans to survive.
And then there's Blade II, where some vampires get upgraded with a "Reaper Strain" that removes traditional vampire weaknesses and allows them to feed on regular vampires. Once again, vampires have to fight against these super-vamps.
Likewise in the novel The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren O'Shaughnessy, a group of ruthless, more murderous vampires declare themselves a new species, the vampaneze, and they go to war with regular vamps.
Dhampirs are usually described as half-vampire, half-human hybrids. The most famous Dhampirs include Vampire Hunter D, who's a direct descendant of Dracula fighting against a race of cruel vampire overlords in the year 12,090. There's also Blade, who's a half-human mutant known as the Daywalker — his mother was bitten during labor and died in childbirth, so Blade was born with all of vampires' powers but none of their weaknesses.
There's also Saya in Blood: The Last Vampire, who has a human father and a vampire mother. She fights against vampires known as Teropterids or Chiropterans using a deadly katana. And the video game Castlevania features Alucard, a Dhampir who fights his father Dracula. (Thanks to Mr. Gilder for the heads up!) Also, from video games and lamentable Uwe Boll movies, there's always Bloodrayne. (Thanks Vinylrake!)
In the anime series Hellsing, some artificial vampires who are implanted with the FREAK chip raise an army of Ghouls, who are slow-moving, zombie-esque vampires. An old-school vampire, Alucard, is forced to team up with the Hellsing organization, plus another "real" vampire, Seras, to save the world from the Ghoul invasion.
In the Japanese series Kamen Rider Kiva, stained-glass-based vampires (known as "fangires") are wiping out the other 12 Demon Races, including the Wolfen, the Merman and Franken races. It's up to Wataru Kurenai, the Kamen Rider Kiva, to stop them.
Also, in the anime Bleach, there are quasi-vampires known as Bounts, which eat souls instead of drinking blood. They go to war against the Soul Society of Soul Reapers — who guide human souls to the afterlife — in revenge for their creation.
In the Image Comics series Turf, a group of vampires decide to take over New York's gangs during Prohibition — but they reckon without a group of alien bootleggers who crash to Earth around the same time. One of the aliens winds up supplying the humans with laser cannons 'n' shit.
There's also C.S. Friedman's novel The Madness Season, where an ageless vampire decides to rise up and free the human race from the Tyr, some aliens who have ruled Earth for the past 300 years.
National Lampoon made a short film called Dracula's Daughter Vs. The Space Brains, in which two vampire ballerinas are touring across the U.S.A. with their ballet troupe. But after a meteorite crashes to Earth, a whole town is taken over, and one of the vampire girls risks having her brain fly into space. Or something. And yes, that is the ubiquitous Neil Patrick Harris.
The Green Lantern Corps fights a giant space vampire at the end of Final Crisis. (Thanks, Gregory!) In the IDW comics series CVO (Covert Vampire Operations), vampires fight aliens, along with demons and Elder Gods. (Thanks, EternalCharax!) And David Weber's novel Out of the Dark also pits vampires against alien invaders.
In the short film Bloodtraffick, the world is torn by the war between vampires and angels, and one human vigilante is lured into a nest of vampires. This short film is reportedly being developed into a feature-length film. We can't wait!
And then there's Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter. The lemonade-drinking Messiah hangs out on the beach, blessing people and comparing the kingdom of Heaven to a sandcastle, until vampires attack. Then He turns into a vampire-slaying machine — and that's before God decides to send Santos the Mexican wrestler to help His only son. Unfortunately, Santos gets put to sleep by a lesbian vampire, and Jesus must surrender Himself to dismemberment.
There's actually a movie called Vampires Vs. Zombies — although by all accounts, it's actually a soft-core porno which does not feature any scenes of vampire/zombie combat. And it is reportedly "worse than Troll 2." The New York Times once accused Bill Gates of being a zombie and Steve Jobs of being a vampire.
In the graphic novel Last Blood, there's a zombie outbreak, and vampires battle to save the last remaining humans, to protect their food source. In Charlie Huston's novel Already Dead, a zombie virus breaks out, threatening a society of vampires (themselves created by another virus). It's up to vampire detective Joe Pitt to contain the zombie outbreak, by any means necessary.
SpikeTV also pitted vampires versus zombies on its show Deadliest Warrior last September. But there were many complaints of inaccuracies — like the fact that the vampires shouldn't have had heartbeats at all, and their blood should have flowed slowly, if at all.
There's also that pinnacle of wrongness, Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl, if you consider Frankenstein Girl to be a zombie.
Well, this sort of an edge case... but in the Transformers TV show there's an episode ("Dweller in the Depths") in which an energy creature called the Dweller starts turning Autobots and Decepticons into "energy vampires," which chase the Transformers around. The Autobots and Decepticons risk being wiped out by these energy vampires, until Rodimus Prime figures out that an energon surge will turn them back to normal. Meanwhile, the Dweller gets ejected into space.
Well... it's sort of vampires, anyway.
Additional writing/reporting by Ben Vrignon, Jennifer Griffith, Julia Baritz and Daisy Joo.