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These terrifying killers definitely left their mark on pop culture. Here's the chilling tales of real-life vampire killers that inspired the movies.

These chilling real-life vampires inspired the movies

Vampires like Edward Cullin and Stefan Salvatore don’t exist in real life. But some serial killers definitely have us questioning if there’s any vampires wandering the street. The thirst for blood is real in some men, as they killed their victims and were known for drinking their blood after their deaths. 

These terrifying killers definitely left their mark on pop culture though, as Dracula had us thinking this was just a work of fiction. But these real life killers have inspired filmmakers to bring their stories to life on the silver screen. Life truly does imitate art at times, and these vampire movies prove it. 

Richard Chase (Rampage)

Director William Friedkin may not feel like Rampage is his best work, but the movie based on the “Vampire of Sacramento” nails the horror of Chase’s crimes. While Charles Reece is never explicitly stated to be Chase, it’s no surprise people draw comparisons between the two. 

Both have delusions of vampires, drinking blood to survive, and try to plea insanity to avoid the death penalty, which fails. Of course, the victims and their exact killings are different, but there is no denying the connection between Chase and Reece. 

Fritz Haarmann (The Tenderness of Wolves)

Haarmann may be a cannibal, but the Haarmann seen in this West German drama has us feeling vampire vibes. Using his government position, he raped and killed over 20 young boys, and cut them up into a meal later on. But the way he killed all these men is definitely what leaves his mark.

Bad pun aside, Haarmann would bite into the neck of his victims, breaking their necks and causing them to asphyxiate. Along with eating the body parts, he would also sometimes drink the blood of his victims, though he never confessed to his cannibal ways. 

Peter Kurten (The Vampire of Dusseldorf)

The German serial killer was one of the first ones to get their story adapted to film in 1931, but the film his story is best known for is the one based on his nickname as a murderer. Kurten’s stories were adapted as part of a co-production between Spain, Italy, and France.

Directing and starring as Kurten was French director Robert Hossein, who’s also known for his 1982 version of Les Mis. Best known for drinking the blood of his victims, Kurten murdered at least 10 people, though he was only tried for 9. 

Countess Elizabeth Bathory (The Countess)

The famous Hungarian serial killer also dabbled in the bloody world of being a vampire at times. Charged for over 80 murders, it’s rumored that she would kill young women to bath in their blood to achieve immortality. 

While being one of the first female serial killers is enough a reason to make a movie about her, The Countess focuses more on her rise to power and how it messed with her head, making her a cruel ruler long before she took her first victim. 

Rod Ferrell (Vampire Clan)

Similar to the Slenderman killings, Rod Ferrell and his friends started their own murder cult based on the tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. Murdering a friend’s abusive parents, Ferrell then carved a V into both of them signaling they were visited by the “Vampire Clan”.

The film dives into the friendship of the five friends, and how they went from kids playing a fantasy game to cold-blooded murderers on the run. Like any story, it does take some liberties, but it’s still a thrill ride from start to finish trying to follow the journey of Ferrell and his friends.

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