Vampire-like creatures appear in the myths and folklore of ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, and other centuries-old cultures. But the idea of the type of vampire familiar to people in the 21st century likely originated in the 17th century, when the folklore and superstitions of the Balkans region were widely recorded. The first time the word "vampire" appeared in an English-language publication was reportedly in the 1730s. Although in the 21st century vampires are largely confined to folklore and fiction, some people continue to believe that real vampires exist in the world.
In folklore, vampires tend to be horrific in appearance and are purely evil predators. But in literature, films, and television, that isn't always the case. Over the past 100 years or so, vampires have been portrayed as sexually attractive, charming, vulnerable, misunderstood, and even as victims. In films like Twilight and television shows like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, romances between vampires and humans are common, if not always accepted.
Some tropes about vampires come from myths or movies alone; others come from both.
Vampires Are Dead Or UndeadPhoto: Nosferatu / Film Arts Guild
A Stake Through The Heart Will Kill A VampirePhoto: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) / Columbia Pictures
A Vampire Will Die When Exposed To SunlightPhoto: Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) / Magnet Releasing
A New Vampire Is Created By The Bite Of Another VampirePhoto: Interview with the Vampire / Warner Bros.
Vampires Have A Seductive Sexual PresencePhoto: Twilight / Summit Entertainment
Vampires Can Shapeshift Into Animals Or MistPhoto: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) / Columbia Pictures