Vampires & Werewolves: Similarities and Differences
Vampires and werewolves are familiar monsters to most of us. They star in movies and are popular Halloween costume choices. However, these mystical creatures also share deeper similarities. Both vampires and werewolves are shape-shifting creatures. They are thought to change form from a human to an animal. In the case of a vampire, an undead human can change into a bat at will, especially on a dark and spooky night.
Werewolves, on the other hand, do not have any control over their transformation. They shift shape from human form to wolf-like form whenever they are in the presence of a full moon. Perhaps because vampires are thought to have control over their form, while werewolves do not, each creature has a distinctive set of personality characteristics when stereotyped in film and literature. Vampires are seen as cold, both figuratively and literally.
They are capable of regarding normal humans placidly, with icy sharp logic. The iconic image of a vampire is of a pale man in a cape laughing creepily or simply staring. In contrast, werewolves are seen as passionate and almost animalistic. The iconic image of a werewolf is of a man caught mid-transformation, ripping at his shirt as his body turns from human into fierce and bulky animal. These two creatures also differ in terms of the type of threat they present to humans.
Vampires actively seek humans to kill (or to turn into vampires, depending on the story). They require regular meals of fresh human blood in order to survive, and so they act as literal silent predators. The fear that we feel when watching a vampire movie is the fear of what unknown and alien force might wait hidden in the darkness. Werewolves are not typically described as actively stalking humans, and indeed are often shown as very loving to humans when the moon is new. However, they can hurt human beings when they are in wolf form. The fear evoked at a werewolf movie is the fear of betrayal, the fear of those we trust and care for transforming into something utterly different and destructive.