There was a strong link between the werewolf and the vampire in Balkan folklore. Unlike the vampire, the werewolf was not generally believed to be immortal. It was commonly held that when a werewolf died he was most likely to return as a vampire. Also, those who were killed by a werewolf were thought to be prime candidates for resurrection as a vampire. Often the two curses were to be found in the same geographic regions.
In Italy, there was the belief of the benandanti who claimed to travel out of their bodies while asleep to struggle against malevolent witches (malandanti) in order to ensure good crops for the season to come.
Werewolves have been heroic figures in Germany since the 19th century. There were short stories about heroic werewolves protecting villages and the earth from evil. The Nazis used werewolf imagery and of course had werewolf units.
On the hand, the Nazis also depicted Jews, Slavs and Poles as parasitical vampires that the werewolf units were hunting down and killing. I have no idea if this is the true origin of the trope but it does seem to make sense.
Vampires are immortal, while werewolves are not. Werewolves get to resume the pleasures of being a human again, while vampires do not. Vampires consider themselves superior to all life forms and look down upon werewolves as inferior essentially bestial transformations.
However, every vampires secretly is jealous of the werewolf’s ability to transform back into their humanity. And every werewolf is envious of the vampire’s immortality.
In the Anglo-Saxon popular culture the vampires are usually aristocratic, aloof, cynical monsters, and the werewolves are animalistic and wild, which mirrored a struggle of intellect against instinct and high society against primitive society.
Werewolves and vampires in popular culture
Werewolves and Vampires crossed over for the first time in popular culture in three Universal Monster films: the House of Frankenstein in 1944, the house of Dracula in 1945, and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948. In the first two films, they die as separate plot threads. In the last, however, we finally have Larry Talbot come to the rescue of the heroes and attack Dracula, killing them both in a fall.
In House of Dracula the Wolf Man ends up assisting this doctor who says he can help cure the Wolf Man’s lycanthropy. Little does the Wolf Man know for most of the movie that this doctor is actually acting under the orders of Count Dracula who came seeking a cure for his vampirism. So in helping the doctor in the recovery of Frankenstein’s monster he was indeed a werewolf acting as the lackey of a vampire.
White Wolf’s World of Darkness and the Masquerade
The war between vampires and werewolves seems to have really started with White Wolf’s World of Darkness role-playing games. Some took place in the Dark Ages, a natural starting point. Vampire: The Masquerade also set battles in the Victorian Age and The Wild West. In ’91 when Masquerade was first released, it stated that Kindred were kings of the city but the wilderness was a dangerous place haunted by werewolves.
White Wolf characters included the Garou, which were half-flesh, half-spirit, and all fang. They’d been fighting the Shadow Lord tribe’s Kindred for as long as they can remember. When a shapeshifter in the White Wolf world turns into vampire they are labeled Abominations. The game provided more subtle nicknames, like Undying Children, Pale Ones, Luna’s Demons, Damned Urrah, and Vrykolas, but they were just as reviled, powerful as they may have been. Abominations usually go crazy and are a constant embarrassment to the Masquerade and the Veil.
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter
By Laurell K. Hamilton.
Anita Katerine Blake is the heroine and the narrator of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series of novels, short stories, and comics by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita is both a re-animator and a preternatural consultant for the Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce, which handles crimes involving magic, vampires, lycanthropes, and other preternatural creatures.
She is also a licensed vampire hunter/executioner in her own right, which sometimes gives her a wider range of possibilities than the police have on their disposal. Later Anita gets empowered as a Federal Marshal, which broadens the range of her responsibilities, but also makes her job easier in many ways. Among other special abilities, she can shapeshift into several animals shapes.
By Stephanie Meyer
Twilight, the film series based on Stephanie Meyer’s novels, takes the war back centuries and spans continents. Twilight’s shapeshifter werewolves are descended from the Quileute tribe of Native American Indians. They turn wolf to protect humans from vampires. The Volturi are an Italian coven of Royal Family vampires. They have enemies besides the feral woolies, including other vampires like Victoria and Laurent.
The werewolf pack is led by Sam Uley, played by Chaske Spencer in the Twilight movies. The vampire coven is headed by Aro, played by Michael Sheen. The Voltari are hungry for the fresh blood of Kristen Stewart’s character Bella Swan to swell their membership, but Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen and Taylor Lautner’s Jacob Black are hot for the young human in other ways.
At their hearts, the vampire/werewolf competition is a dating game. The forbidden lovers at the heart of the stories are the roving Romeo and Juliet of the underground.
By Charlaine Harris
The series revolves around Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic human-faerie hybrid known as a halfling (not to be confused with similarly named, but unrelated creatures found in other fantasy works). Sookie is a waitress at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sam is a shapeshifter, though this secret is kept hidden from most of the town. Other characters include Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a 173-year-old vampire who has returned to Bon Temps to take up residence in his former home following the death of his last remaining relative; Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), Sookie’s tough-talking but insecure best friend; Jason (Ryan Kwanten), Sookie’s womanizing brother; Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), a 1000-year-old vampire and Sheriff of Area 5; and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), a short order cook, drug dealer, road crew member, and medium.
Alcide is a werewolf packmaster living in Shreveport. He runs a construction company with his father, Jackson Herveaux in Jackson, Mississippi, who will die in a battle to lead the Long Tooth pack. Alcide first encounters Sookie on an errand he earns to work off his old man’s gambling debts in the third novel, Club Dead. Vampire Bill was kidnapped by his maker Lorena and the usually-shirtless-but-still-warm shapeshifter goes in to sniff him out.
When he meets Sookie, Alcide is dating the werelynx Debbie Pelt. He dumps her by banishing her from the Shreveport pack for taking part in vampire Bill’s torture and maybe for dating a were-owl. Sookie finalizes the split by killing Debbie in self-defense. Alcide gets a whiff of this at the end of the book.
The show explores several contemporary issues such as the struggle for equal rights, discrimination, and violence against minorities and homosexuals, the problems of drug addiction, the power of faith and religion, the control/influence of the media, the quest for identity, and the importance of family.
The first season begins in London, 1891. Ethan Chandler, a traveling Wild West performer Ethan Chandler, played by Josh Hartnett, the werewolf is on the run from a series of ghastly unsolved murders on the frontier. He is hired by the adventurer Malcolm Murray and the mysterious Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) to help rescue Murray’s daughter from a mysterious creature.
They receive help from a young doctor named Victor Frankenstein, who is hunted by an undead man of Frankenstein’s creation. Ives becomes romantically involved with the handsome, artistic Dorian Gray, but also finds herself haunted by Lucifer who wishes to make her his bride and queen.
In the second season, Ives is hunted by a coven of witches led by the charismatic Evelyn Poole, wanting to bring Ives to Lucifer, who is their master. Frankenstein is forced to make his creature a bride, and an inspector hunts Chandler after a grisly murder he committed in an inn.
In the third season, the main characters find themselves scattered across the world. When Count Dracula appears in London in the guise of anthropologist Dr. Alexander Sweet (Christian Camargo), the final epic battle for Vanessa Ives’ soul begins.
Underworld (2003) tells the story of Selene (Kate Beckinsale) a Vampire Elite Killer bent on destroying the lycans who allegedly killed her family. She discovers that the lycans are pursuing a human, Michael Corvin, for experimentation; Selene captures Michael herself to find out what the lycans are up to. Along the way, Selene not only discovers a mutinous plot to destroy the vampire Elders, but also a shocking revelation about her father figure Elder, Viktor.
The vampires and lycans are not supernatural creatures, but rather the product of a mutation of the Plague.
It is revealed in the film that Alexander Corvinus is the first of the vampire and lycan lines. He was the only survivor of the plague that wiped out his Hungarian village in the beginning of the 6th century. Somehow, his body was able to mutate the pathogen, mold it to his own benefit.
He had three sons, two of whom inherited their father’s immortality and were bitten, one, Markus, by a bat, and the other, William, by a wolf, resulting in the vampire and werewolf lines. Corvinus’s unnamed third son, who did not inherit immortality, also carried the Corvinus Strain as an exact duplicate of the original pathogen, hidden away in his genetic code and passed along to his human descendants through the centuries. This, according to Singe, is the key to creating a hybrid.
In Underworld: Evolution (2006), Selene takes Michael to a vampire safe house and plans to return to Viktor’s estate to awaken Markus, the last vampire Elder. Before she can return, Markus confronts her, having been awakened by the blood of the lycan scientist, Singe, after he was killed. Markus does not seem keen to help Selene and wishes to steal her memories for information. While on the run from Markus, Selene and Michael discover that Markus is the first vampire and that he plans to free his imprisoned brother, William, the first and most savage werewolf.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) is the third but chronologically the first in the Underworld series. As shown previously, the original werewolves were uncontrollable beasts, unable to retake human form once bitten. The vampires used the lycans as slaves to be the guardians of their lairs during the daylight hours and labor during the night. Lucian, the hybrid who carries the mutation of the original pathogen, permitting him to alternate between human and werewolf form, fell in love with Viktor’s daughter, Sonja and she became pregnant. Viktor killed Sonja to prevent the blending of the species.