A fascinating investigation of what strikes fear in an immortal’s heart
Vampires exist. And in every culture with a legend about bloodsuckers that rise from the grave to prey upon the living, there are rules and rituals for how to destroy them. How to Kill a Vampire is the first book to focus specifically on all known ways to prevent vampirism, protect oneself against attacks, and ultimately how to destroy the undead, as documented in folklore as well as horror film, TV, and books.
Covering everything from obscure legends to contemporary blockbusters, Ladouceur’s unique approach to vampires traces the evolution of how to kill the fictional creatures and celebrates the most important slayers.
In exploring how and why we create these monsters and the increasingly complex ways in which we destroy them, the book not only serves as a handy guide to the history and modern role of the vampire, it reveals much about the changing nature of human fears.
The author of 2011's Encyclopedia Gothica leads readers through a tour of the rich world of vampires in the popular imagination, especially those fanged villains born in the years since the publication of such seminal works as John William Polidori's 1819 short story "The Vampyre," James Rymer's serialized Varney the Vampire (published between 1845 and 1847) and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's classic 1872 novel, Carmilla. Although the primary focus is on the recent evolution of the vampire, Ladouceur also explores the centuries-old origins of the modern vampire myth. Drawing from European legends and tales from around the globe, historical anecdotes, and fiction in various media, Ladouceur provides an informative discourse on vampires, focusing in turn on why they were thought to exist, what narrative purposes they serve, how they may be detected, the various methods people have invented to dispatch them, and what these developments say about their authors. Contagiously enthusiastic about her chosen subject but also grounded about what is a fairy tale and a narrative trope Ladouceur delivers in this brief, dense book. Readers hungry for more will be happy to note the inclusion of extensive lists of vampire-related texts, novels, films, and television series.