Vampires have been a popular subject of folklore for centuries, however, it was until the 18th century that Western Europe experienced mass hysteria over the mysterious creatures. Many in Western Europe believed that vampires were killing people in Balkan and Eastern European countries, leading to the 1819 publication of "The Vampyre" by English author John William Polidori. This was the first piece of literature to portray vampires as sophisticated beings and it was created for a literary contest that also included Mary Shelley's famous "Frankenstein." Later in that century, Irish author Bram Stoker debuted "Dracula" in 1897, which became a huge success and a is now a classic.
Cinema was quick to catch on to the vampire phenomenon, releasing "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" in 1922 and "Dracula" in 1931, which famously starred Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi as the titular character. During the 1960s, vampires dominated the silver screen in Gothic shows such as "Dark Shadows" and "The Munsters"—showing that not all vampires belong in the horror genre.
The late 1990s and early 2000s were all about vampire slaying, particular when it came to Sarah Michelle Gellar's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series and 2004's "Van Helsing" starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.
Then, during the mid-2000s and into the 2010s, the "Twilight" franchise rebranded vampires, making them more discrete and sexually desirable than ever before. During this time, television shows like "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries" were also all the rage, which capitalized on the allure of eternal mortality and animalistic sexuality.
In honor of the complex influence vampires have had on popular culture over the years, we've curated some of our favorite vampire tattoos from talented artists around the world. Just be careful, these tattoos bite back.