How did What We Do in the Shadows Redefine the Vampire Genre?

New Zealand has contributed a lot to the global entertainment industry over the years, but few of its offerings have had quite the same effect as What We Do in the Shadows. The vampire mockumentary centring on a group of the undead living in a flat in Wellington was a ground-breaking picture that subverted traditional themes featuring bloodsuckers.

The unprecedented success of What We Do in the Shadows led to several spinoff series, and it could inspire other fiction writers to rethink how they create vampire characters in the future.

How Have Vampires Traditionally Been Portrayed in Popular Culture?

The most important work of vampire fiction of all time is still Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and every bit of bloodsucking-related content out there can be traced back to the 1897 novel. Indeed, it is one of the most influential books of all time and has been adapted into countless plays, films, and games. Dracula is one of the most ubiquitous characters in the history of fiction, and he is instantly recognisable when portrayed onscreen.

Before What We Do in the Shadows, vampires had usually been portrayed as evil beings who slaughtered their victims without mercy. However, some creations opted to give them a more human side at times. For instance, Joss Whedon gave viewers the characters of Angel and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two creatures of the night who ended up getting their souls back. There was also Marvel’s Blade, a vampire hybrid who pledged his life to fighting against the evils of his kind.

In most television series, films, and games, vampires have typically been portrayed with the archetypal characteristics of being pale-skinned, thin, and with blood dripping from their mouths. This distinct iconography makes them instantly recognisable as supernatural beings and also means that the marketing of media featuring vampires is easily accessible to audiences. Undoubtedly, they’re familiar with the trope.

In bustling markets such as the gaming industry, it’s helpful to have stereotypical themes that are easy to spot for players who are searching for them. This is particularly useful for slot games, as there are thousands of different titles to choose from. Someone who knows they want a vampire game can easily find them because these titles use classic imagery.

For example, when delving through slots at LeoVegas, Vampires II and Vampires vs Wolves are two games that would stand out to fans of the genre as the classic vampire imagery is presented from the outset. The site is one of the best in New Zealand thanks to its range of games and welcome bonus, and you can find more information by following this link. It includes a deposit match and free spins on selected games. One of the appeals of the site is the layout, where players can easily identify the genre of the reel spinners when browsing. 

How is the What We Do in the Shadows Franchise Expanding?

What We Do in the Shadows allowed non-horror fans to get a taste of vampires, as it turned them into relatable characters. This take on the genre was fresh and interesting, and viewers were desperate for more. This led to various spinoffs, and the franchise is now expanding further.

The main spinoff is the series of the same name on FX, which has been running since 2019. It follows a different cast of vampires who share a house on Staten Island. There have also been 25 episodes to date of Wellington Paranormal, a comedy focusing on officers Minogue and O’Leary from the 2014 film. There have also been suggestions that there could be future-related series and movies, with a title focusing on werewolves appearing to be likely.

What We Do in the Shadows is one of the most original vampire offerings in years, and it has helped people rethink the genre. It has already spawned a franchise of its own and is likely to inspire similar comedic vampire films and television series in the future.