Femme Fatale: Carmilla

Are all female vampires femmes fatales? You might think so, with all the seductive powers, sexual tension and blood-sucking (there will be no mentioning sparkling), but actually no. Some female vampires are light on the seduction and others not very dangerous.

Take Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 Dracula. Interestingly enough, the only male vampire is Dracula himself. On the female side we have Lucy Westenra, a 19 year old socialite who wishes she could marry all three of her suitors, a cowboy, a doctor and an aristocrat. And who could forget the brides of Dracula, three women who ‘entertain’ Jonathan Harker. Lucy is not very seductive and the brides don’t do much damage. However, Stoker’s vampire novel was predated by more than two decades by Sheridan Le Fanu’s story ‘Carmilla’ about a female vampire who has a thing for the daughter of a wealthy widow, Laura.

Carmilla is your femme fatale vampire using the full range of seductive powers with a taste for teenage girls. In the story you have the ‘visit you in your dreams section,’ the ‘befriend you and get close to you section’ and the all out ‘physically attack you in the form of a wild animal section.’ There is a hidden tomb, deserted locations, descendents of heroic Barons and axe-wielding Generals. Stoker’s Dracula is a worthy read. Before you do and if you already have, Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla’ is a femme fatale vampire you need to meet.

A full text version of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla is on Project Gutenberg.

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