Vampires should be evil. They shouldn’t be ordinary folks who just need to get an infusion of blood every once in awhile to keep them going and give them the strength to do good deeds. Dracula as written by Bram Stoker was not a nice guy. He existed to feed, feeding was to drain the victim of all life, and he spread his kind like a plague through whatever region he was in. He was a merciless killer who fed on babies and old people as he found them. Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee were not nice guys in their portrayals of vampires. They took life and put people into the ground, to rise again as their kind. They avoided churches and crosses and any other symbols of good, and holy ground was torture to walk upon. Barnabas Collins was evil. He may have protected his family and his property, but he still was a creature of the night who killed to live. The vampire in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot moved in and wiped out the entire population of a small town in Maine, infesting the area with creatures like himself. Without a hint of remorse. Vampires were not just ordinary Joes and Janes who got severe and instant sun poisoning when exposed to the light of day. They were creatures of the devil, an even when fighting for a good cause they still carried the taint of evil within them. I tried to capture this taint in my avenger vampire in the book The Hunger. Even when good they are bad.
Some modern vampires, even those deviating from the old standard, are still evil. Blade battles vampires who are sometimes seen in business suits and go out clubbing for the night. But they are still evil. They victimize the herds of humans, though they don’t always kill them. The vampires in the Underworld series are for the most part evil, but not always, while the vampires in The Kindred are evil or not according to their clans. Even the vamps in Buffy were for the most part slime balls that really didn’t care what damage they did as long as they got a blood feast in the end. Angel was the exception, but Angel had been cursed with the return of his soul, which for a creature who had caused untold damage through the centuries was not really a gift. I used vampires in my first Refuge book, Doppelganger, and use them in my upcoming Refuge series. In Doppelganger they were for the most part little better than beasts, though there was an exception. The vampire who had been around so long that he regained his soul and now only fed on other blood suckers, keeping up his strength and riding the world of his evil brothers at the same time.
For the most part Vampires are still strong, predatory and frightening. They have some serious weaknesses in most treatments. Sunlight for most, holy symbols and garlic for some, and stupidity for the vast majority of them.
What, Vampires stupid? Seems that way. For all the talk of immortality very few of them seem to make it past the first week. A select few make it a century or more, even fewer to multiple centuries. Most bite the stake soon after rising. Not sure if this is because they were regular people before the turning who have no idea how to be a night stalker, the urge to feed overcoming all reason, or they are just so arrogant in their power that they overlook their weaknesses. It is not a good idea to stir up the ant nest, and gaining the attention of an opponent that outnumbers you a hundred thousand to one, can move at times you can’t, and can send your sorry soul back to hell, is not a good idea. When lots of people disappear people begin to notice. As the plague grows the number of people disappearing grows night by night. When ministers with connections to the National Guard notice this the happy times are over, and immortality turns out to be a campaign promise that is not kept.