Kate Beckinsale is back to kill more vampires and werewolves, as Underworld: Blood Wars comes out in US theaters this weekend. The Underworld franchise focuses on the longstanding grudge between vampires and werewolves, a popular trope in many fictional books, movies, and comics.
There's no definitive reason as to why werewolves and vampires hate each other. Sometimes it's because vampires can control werewolves in their feral forms, while other times it's because werewolves are bred specifically to kill vampires.
Regardless of the reason, vampires and werewolves can't help but hate each other, so here are a few of our favorite vampire vs. werewolf rivalries over the years:
Although you didn't see many werewolves or vampires running around Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, both supernatural creatures existed in the earliest days of Middle-Earth. Sauron was the lord of the werewolves and actually had some werewolves in his armies in Mordor.
While Tolkien never showed a true vampire/werewolf brawl as they both worked for the same Dark Lords, he made it clear that the two groups hated each other. In one of Tolkien's poems, the hero Luthien disguised herself as a vampire to infiltrate Morgoth's lair and steal one of the Simirils. There, she runs into another werewolf that threatens to kill Luthien, just because she's a vampire.
Although we don't know what happened to the werewolves or vampires, it's likely that the wolf-like wargs used by Saruman's armies were the descendents of werewolves. Therefore, it's likely that if the werewolves and vampires did fight in Middle-Earth, the werewolves came out on top.
The 2004 movie Van Helsing featured several classic monster characters, including an army of vampires led by Dracula. Dracula can only be killed by a werewolf bite, which makes Van Helsing's job extra tricky as Dracula can also control werewolves once they're fully transformed.
Luckily, Van Helsing eventually gets bitten by a werewolf during his final raid on Dracula's castle, giving him a small window of opportunity to finish Dracula off once and for all. At the stroke of midnight, Van Helsing transforms into a monstrous wolf-man and attacks Dracula....who turns into a giant bat-monster. The two heavily CGIed titans battle for a few minutes, but eventually eventually Werewolf Van Helsing gets his chompers on Dracula, instantly turning Dracula into a skeleton.
Wolfman vs. Dracula
Dracula has had several other encounters with werewolves in various media, dating back nearly 70 years. Dracula first fought a werewolf in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, when the Wolfman rescued the hapless comedians from Dracula's wrath.
Dracula also had a link to Marvel's Werewolf by Night, which was revealed in a two comic crossover event. Jack Russell (the Werewolf by Night) discovered that his family's lycanthropy curse began when one of his ancestors was bitten by a werewolf imprisoned in Dracula's castle. Russell later fought Dracula, but handily lost to the nearly immortal Lord of the Vampires.
Twilight and Other Fantasy Novels
An entire sub-genre of fantasy novel centers around the eternal conflict between vampires and werewolfs. The most notable of these are the Twilight books, where Bella's two main love interests are a vampire and a werewolf. The werewolves consider themselves the mortal enemies of the vampires and only transform for the first time when a vampire is near. The Twilight novels feature several werewolf/vampire battles, although Bella's friends eventually team up to take down some truly evil vampires at the end of the series.
Other books that feature vampire/werewolf fights include the Anita Blake novels, the Southern Vampire Mysteries that inspired HBO's True Blood, and The Mortal Instruments. In most cases, the vampires and werewolves hated each other at first but eventually came together to face a common threat.
Werewolves on the Moon: Versus Vampires
In 2009, Dark Horse published a bizarre three issue comic series called Werewolves on the Moon: Versus Vampires. The kooky horror series featured three werewolves who travelled to the moon after discovering that living there allowed them to remain in their wolf forms all the time.
Their plans to transform the moon's colony of humans into werewolves is interrupted when they discover a nest of vampires planning an invasion of Earth. Of course, the werewolves and vampires immediately attacked each other, leading to plenty of goofy and gory fight scenes.
If you enjoy weird comics that blend B-movie horror with sci-fi, track down Werewolves on the Moon. It's out of print, but it shouldn't be hard to locate a trade at a nearby comic store.
Tales from the Crypt
One of the goofier Tales from the Crypt episodes featured a twist on the age-old battle between werewolves and vampires. "The Secret" featured an eccentric pair of vampires who adopt an orphan with the plan to turn him into their latest meal. While they lock the boy in his room, they constantly feed him sweets and cakes to keep him happy.
Eventually, the couple's butler tries to help the child escape, but the couple finds the boy and goes in for the kill. Only when the moon comes out does the boy reveal a secret of his own: he's a werewolf! The episode ends with the werewolf making quick work of the vampires and feasting on their undead flesh.
Tales from the Crypt returned to the werewolf/vampire rivalry a few years later in "Werewolf Concerto", when a group of hotel guests try to figure out if a werewolf is lurking among them. Timothy Dalton (yes, the former James Bond) ends up being the werewolf, but he's quickly dispatched by Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen Griswold from the Vacation series) who reveals herself to be a vampire.