When the FX series “The Strain” airs on July 13, its vampires will probably get compared to those in the El Rey Network’s “From Dusk Till Dawn.” However, there are a few aspects of Guillermo del Toro’s vampires that make them a bit more frightening than Robert Rodriguez’s bloodthirsty beings.
Until recently, vamps on TV have all been of the hot “Twilight” variety. Robert Rodriguez tried to change this by having his “From Dusk Till Dawn” vampires morph into scary snake monsters right before feeding; however, the reptilian bloodsuckers get to look like hot humans a majority of the time. Guillermo del Toro’s vampires aren’t so lucky. If you get infected with the strain, you’re going to look like Nosferatu, not Santanico Pandemonium. Del Toro’s vampires are giant bald parasites with bright white skin and built-in weaponry that includes talons and terrifying serpent-like appendages that spring from their jaws. They’re also nose-less and sexless (that’s right – you lose your genitalia if you become infected in del Toro’s dark world).
It’s obvious the “Till Dawn” vampires have retained most of their humanity, and they have enough control over their urges that they don’t try to snack on people who they care about. However, “The Strain” vampires are the exact opposite – they first people they want to kill are those that they love most. David Bradley, who plays vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian, described the vampires as “vermin.” They’re mindless drones that can’t talk, much like the zombies in “The Walking Dead.” But unlike the zombies, they have a leader: an ancient vampire called “The Master.” Unfortunately for humanity, he’s not a brainless being.
We haven’t met the top of the food chain in “From Dusk Till Dawn,” but it’s hard to imagine the Nine Lords of the Night looking more frightening than The Master. He might be smarter than the many members of his bloodsucking army, but he’s just as ugly. The Master is a behemoth being who hides under a coat of rags. Del Toro told Entertainment Weekly that his cloak moves like tentacles when he moves, which is a very Lovecraftian image. He also wants to turn the world as we know it into his own dark domain, which is a very Lovecraftian ambition.
How They Feed
The “From Dusk Till Dawn” snake people suck blood just like your average vampire, but they’ve also been shown eating people’s body parts. “The Strain” vampires might not throw cannibal dinner parties, but the way they feed is pretty terrifying. They use the long stingers that shoot from beneath their tongues to latch onto prey, and del Toro describes the way they suck blood from their victims as being “like emptying a Capri Sun” (but do their favorite beverages taste like cherry lime?). Like the “Till Dawn” vampires, The Master’s minions are sensitive to the sun. However, they don’t have to sit around a strip club and wait for dinner to come to them – they’re free to feed wherever they want. They just hang out in hives and wait for night to fall.
How They Spread Vampirism
When it comes to spreading vampirism, “The Strain” and “From Dusk Till Dawn” both feed on peoples’ fear of creepy crawlies. However, there’s a clear winner in the worms vs. snakes battle. The “Till Dawn” vampires simply turn their victims by biting them with their snake-like fangs, whereas “Strain” bloodsuckers are created when tiny capillary worms infect humans by crawling into orifices like eyeballs (this is way ickier than being bitten). There don’t seem to be too many “Till Dawn” vampires, but the squirming eye invaders of “The Strain” are threatening to wipe out mankind in del Toro’s apocalyptic world (sometimes the biggest threats to humanity come in the smallest packages).
Are you planning to check out “The Strain” next month?
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