Fact: All Vampire Movies Ripped Off An Old RPG
Many gamers are familiar with the tale of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, a once nearly-unplayable mess that fans patched up into one of the greatest video games of all time. The aesthetics of Bloodlines might seem inspired by edgy vampire flicks like Blade and Underworld, but the truth of the matter is that Bloodlines came out of World Of Darkness, the larger mythos that serves as the setting for the Vampire: The Masquerade RPG that's much older than any of these properties. Before Vampire: The Masquerade's arrival back in ‘91, all vampire stories were straight-up gothic horror stories like the Christopher Lee stuff, gothic and erotic tales like Coppolla’s Dracula, or glam rock/hair metal-inspired like The Lost Boys. After the release of the Vampire RPG, however, they began to look way darker and grittier. Let's take a look at the beautiful image below by Vampire: The Masquerade artist Tim Bradstreet.
One might be quick to say that this guy is just Blade, but is he? This is what Blade actually looked like when he first showed up.
If we take a look at the Blade from the first film, we'll first notice that he's awesome, sure, but that he also looks a lot more like Tim Bradstreet's art than he looks like, well, his usual self.
That's because even though Blade predates Vampire, the Blade that most of us know from the movies does not. The producers of Blade tried to ice skate uphill and ripped off Bradstreet's art because who cares about a dumb RPG. For the sequel, however, newcomer director Guillermo Del Toro told Bradstreet that they wanted to once again use his work, but this time they also intended to pay for it. So, before we get the understandable impression that the Underworld film series ripped off Blade, the reality is that they were actually ripping off Vampire. We know that because movies haven't been just been ripping off Vampire's looks, they've been ripping off its world as well. As mentioned above, the RPG takes place in The World Of Darkness, a fantasy setting infested not just by vampires, but also by werewolves and weirdo mystics. Does anyone remember the plot of the Underworld films? We just
googled thought about it very hard and remembered that it's about Werewolves powerful enough to f*ck all kinds of sh*t up who are locked in an eternal war against vampires who have the power to wear really cool leather clothes and shoot guns. White Wolf, the publisher of Vampire, accused the coven behind Underworld of 15 instances of plagiarism.
And the whole thing goes beyond just the looks, which some say could've been partly inspired by Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, we have to be honest: it's a good film, but no one ever uses the aesthetics of flop as the basis for something they expect to succeed. Ever since Vampire, movie vampires started looking cooler, yes, but they also stopped being just creepy loners and started hanging out together.
They also created various clans with distinctive identities that still had one thing in common: the need to protect “the masquerade,” which is just cool lingo for not letting the cattle find out that there are goddamn vampires everywhere.
Man, it's almost as if it works as an RPG with different classes. Even the more modern and less leathery vampire tales like True Blood and Twilight cannot do without the werewolves and with the structure created by Vampire. Yeah, even though everything in Twilight is polished to the point of shining, it also takes a lot from the vampire series. Vampires from Twilight are all divided into
clans covens, all of them also devoted to their own version of the Masquerade. Also, the richest, douchiest and most powerful clan from Twilight is the Volturi clan, which kind of sounds a lot like Ventrue, their obvious counterpart from Vampire.
And Vampire's influence goes even beyond just vampire media, with the creators of Cyberpunk 2077 citing it as a heavy influence for its different and definitely non-vampiric classes.
Top Image: Paradox