Vampire Analysis: The Underworld Franchise

The Underworld franchise began in 2003 with action horror movie directed by Len Wiseman. The premise of the vampire in Underworld is quite unique spanning both old and new ideas of vampirism. Revolving around the secret history and conflict between vampires and werewolves, it not only showcases some of the old legends and myths surrounding vampires but also casts light on the possibility of their evolution with time. I feel that his makes these vampires more formidable because they can adapt and survive some of their common weaknesses. Another unique quality of the vampires in the movie underworld is their origin which is rooted in a recessive genetic anomaly that makes an individual’s blood resistant to some viruses, such as the plague. This gene is also able to incubate and mutate certain viruses, such as those carried by vampires.

The idea that other vampires came from a single one is a common theme. In Bran Stoker’s Dracula, he is the most powerful vampire and the father of all others. In the movie Underworld, vampires come from a single parent strain of the Corvinus Clan. Alexander Corvinus, a Hungarian warlord in the 5th century, survives a plague that ravaged his whole village. His blood has a genetic mutation that alters the virus making it improve his body rather than destroy it. He has twin sons Marcus and William who have inherited this gene. Markus Corvinus is bitten by a bat becoming the first vampire after the virus is mutated by his blood. He is therefore the first – and most powerful vampire pure-breed.

I once read a definition of vampires in Essays on Russian Folklore and Mythology, that said the vampire  is a creature that derives physical or emotional sustenance from a victim. While I did not see emotional sustenance in the films, they seemed to be able to absorb an individual’s memories from even just a drop of their blood, and memories are a part of emotions.

Perhaps the most vital determinant of any entity’s power is how easy they are to kill. Sunlight is their greatest weakness – a common denominator in most films. However, this weakness is not permanent for all of them. In Ann Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, vampires are able to walk in the sunlight. In the franchise, vampires possessing the active Corvinus gene are able to walk in the Sunlight. When Alexander Corvinus gave Selene his blood, she was able to walk in the sun without disintegrating.

Before Dracula, vampires were often perceived as blood thirsty creatures without control. But, later films have shown them becoming they became organized and managing to live together. This is perhaps a reaction to their being hunted by human beings since they have had keep their existence a secret. The vampires in modern works are often wealthy, attractive, strong and intelligent. Their choosing to turn people with these characteristics could also be an adaptation to ease hunting.

Underworld presents the vampire in one of the most unique ways on film. Their story is somewhat believable. There are often cases of people being immune to plagues and viruses around the world. Their blood could possess genes that possible make them capable of being so much more.