Vampires are a species of Immortals seen in the Underworld films. The series portrays them as living creatures infected with a virus causing immortality, gifted with superhuman abilities and a weakness to ultraviolet radiation.
The Vampires play a heavy role in all films, novels, and media.
Marcus Corvinus is the first Vampire, and it is he who spreads the virus to others, creating the entire species. Despite Marcus' power, his twin brother, William is a raging monster beyond control, a Werewolf who slaughters all in his path. In an attempt to stop William, but to not harm him, Marcus enlists the help of a dying warlord named Viktor. Together with a woman named Amelia, the Vampires create an army of Death Dealers, whom they use to track and contain William and all other Werewolves.
William is finally imprisoned in 1202 AD, but his capture creates a rift between the three Vampire Elders. Viktor uses the opportunity to seize power from Marcus, and he has William imprisoned in a dungeon "for all time". The three Elders then settle in as rulers of the Coven.
Viktor gradually and subtly takes control from Marcus, ensuring he could never have the strength to free William. The Coven later embarks on an ill-fated scheme to turn the surviving Lycans (descendants of the the Werewolves who had now gained the ability to return to human form) into slaves, using them to guard their tombs in the daylight.
However, after a romance between Viktor's daughter Sonja and a Lycan slave, Lucian, is discovered, Sonja is executed, and the war begins again. The ensuing battle kills off almost the entire Vampire species, leaving only a few members of the species alive. Viktor forbids any mention of Sonja or the Lycans' role as slaves, thus creating several generations of Vampires who know nothing of Sonja, and believe the Lycans started the war.
After some time, a Death Dealer named Kraven returns with proof of Lucian's death, and the Death Dealers are charged with hunting down any and all surviving Lycans. The Elders construct the chain system, which ensures one of them will rule for a century while the other two remain in hibernation. When the Chain is first established is never made clear. A Vampire Council that holds enormous sway in the Vampire community is created sometime before the fiasco of Sonja and Lucian. However, nobody suspects the truth: Kraven has struck a deal with Lucian, allowing him to gain power and a position as regent in the Coven. In the present day, the Coven has become increasingly decadent under Kraven's leadership, with Amelia ruling from the New World branch. It's then that Lucian strikes, killing Amelia and the Vampire Council, with the plan to turn himself into a Hybrid, leaving Kraven to rule the Vampires. However, his plan is derailed when Selene, a vigilant Death Dealer, awakens Viktor and alerts him to Kraven's treachery.
In the ensuing battle, Kraven betrays Lucian, killing him in the process. Viktor personally intervenes, but after the truth about his killing of Selene's family is revealed, he is slain by Selene and Michael Corvin, a Hybrid created from the bites of both Lucian and Selene. With these events, followed by the destruction of the Vampire mansion, Ordoghaz, and the slaying of Kraven by the newly hybridized Marcus, the Old World Coven is destroyed. Later, Marcus himself is killed by a now Hybrid Selene and his brother William is killed by Michael Corvin.
Six months later, government-controlled military groups launch a full-scale assault on the Immortals, nearly exterminating both the Vampire and Lycan species. The remaining Vampires are forced to scatter, and they form small Covens hidden from the eyes of the humans.
Like Lycans, Vampires are capable of transforming their physical appearance when agitated, however, their transformation is relegated to their eyes and teeth. In their normal or "relaxed" state, a Vampire's appearance remains undistinquishable from a normal human's, except that they permanently sport overgrown eye teeth. When they become upset, their canines elongate, and their eyes to turn a either a startling shade of electric blue or bright gold.
Powers & Abilities
Vampires possess superhuman physical powers, including superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, durability and accelerated healing. Selene and several other Death Dealers are seen leaping from very high places - at least 10 stories in some places - and landing without injury or harm. Selene is shown moving with enough speed to evade gunfire and is seen outrunning an enraged Lycan named Raze. Certain Vampires also display the ability to obtain memories through blood ingestion. Throughout the series, Vampires are shown exhibiting tremendous strength and speed, which they use to engage Lycans and humans in combat.
It can be assumed that all Vammpires possess various degrees of these abilities, depending on their age and experience. Their heightened senses manifest in acutely increased depth perception, sense of smell, hearing, and nightvision; which manifests as electric blue or golden eyes. Erika and an unnamed female in Underworld: Awakening are shown to be able to cling to flat surfaces.
As with Lycan generations, the generation to which a Vampire belongs determines his or her strength, plus their social status in the Vampire hierarchy.
Marcus, The First Vampire
Marcus Corvinus is one of three sons of Helena and Alexander Corvinus. He, along with his twin brother William, inherited the same virus which had previously transformed his father into the first true Immortal. While William was bitten by a wolf which resulted in him becoming the first Werewolf, Marcus was bitten by a bat which transformed him into the first Vampire. At the end of Underworld, Marcus is awakened by the blood of a Lycan, causing him to transform into a Hybrid. Marcus then learns of Kraven's treachery, and he embarks on a killing spree, intent on finding and freeing his brother. During a flashback sequence, Marcus is shown to be a powerful Vampire, but displays no superhuman abilities different from those of Viktor or Amelia. Regardless, as the second-generation Immortal, son of Alexander Corvinus, and first-generation Vampire, Marcus is the strongest Vampire in physical aspects. He displays a mastery in the ability to assimilate the blood memories from a variety of creatures (e.g. he easily mastered, or at least displayed proficiency in, 21st century technology after a two hundred year sleep and draining the blood from a guard). It is stated that Alexander Corvinus is the only one strong enough to kill Marcus.
As a unique specimen, Marcus does not qualify for his own Generation and should be viewed as a special case.
1st Generation: Viktor and Amelia
In order to capture his rogue and bestial brother, William, Marcus turns to an aging warlord named Viktor for his skills as a warrior and to Amelia for unknown reasons. Though not as powerful as Marcus, Viktor and Amelia far surpass any later generation Vampire.
Viktor easily defeats Raze, a powerful Lycan, and survives a battle with Lucian while being sporadically exposed to daylight. He is also able to survive being stabbed through the mouth by Lucian, although it seems to weaken him. Viktor, as seen in the first film, is able to stop Raze in his Werewolf form; with one hand around the throat, and the other being used to break his arm, before violently breaking his neck and impaling him with his sword. In the prequel film, Viktor lifts a human by his throat, then throws him against a pillar, killing him instantly. He casts aside Selene with one arm, and moments later, throws Michael Corvin through a solid concrete wall, and out into the flooded courtyard of the Lycans' Den. He is also shown to be able to take on Michael once he is in his Hybrid form, with the two appearing evenly matched, Michael having only recently become a Hybrid and Viktor's experience giving him the edge. Physically, it can be assumed that Amelia has comparable physical abilities to Viktor, while her combatant skill-set is unknown.
They both, in addition to Marcus, have the ability and skill to organize their blood memories into a cohesive vision, a detailed record of their reign and the reign of the previous Elder who ruled, when passing their blood to another. This is known as the Chain, which aids in their ability to 'leapfrog' through time. If someone that is not an Elder awakens an Elder, the awakened Elder can be plagued by incoherent thoughts and memories, which are difficult for a non-Elder to organize. They can also sleep in a state of hibernation similar to suspended animation.
As of the end of Underworld: Evolution, all three Vampire Elders are dead and their Coven is destroyed.
2nd Generation: Death Dealers and other Vampires
The second generation consists of the other Vampires beneath the Elders and Marcus. These Vampires are the common Vampires and possess incredible strength and healing powers, but not on the level of Marcus or the Elders. The Death Dealers and the other Vampires are members of this generation, created by Viktor and Amelia initially to face against Willam Corvinus and then spreading from there. Vampires of this generation created by the Elders themselves may be stronger than other members of their generation as a result of an Elder turning them, (as suggested by Selene's superior strength over some Vampires of this generation and how she can so easily kill lesser Vampires). Selene is able to kill Viktor, but only by using the element of surprise as he fights with Michael Corvin, and later goes on to kill Marcus, due to the presence of Alexander Corvinus' blood in her veins.
The Vampires have a law which is decreed in their Covenant. Some of these laws include:
- Vampires are to conceal themselves from humans at all costs unless to turn them
- Vampires are not allowed to drink human blood directly
- Vampires are not allowed to fraternize or interact with Lycans in any way
- Vampires are not allowed to delve into the past
- Breaking these laws require a judgement from the Council
The Vampire community has been split between two great covens, one referred to as the Old World Coven, housed in Ördögház in the center of Budapest, and the New World Coven in New York, although some form of reunion was set to commence with Marcus awakening in the 2003. After the war with the humans started, the surviving Vampires branched off into smaller, weaker covens.
- In the Underworld franchise, Vampires are biologically immortal transgenics, as opposed to supernaturally immortal demons of pop culture.
- Generation-wise, the further one is from Marcus, the source, the weaker a Vampire's vampirism strain becomes. The same is true of Werewolves and Lycans.
- While they are highly vulnerable to ultra-violet radiation, Vampires do not possess any of the mystical weaknesses of mythological vampires (crosses, holy water, garlic, stakes, etc.)
- The novelizations refer to the Vampires as being undead, however, this is a mistake that contradicts each of the films.
- In the films, Vampires are shown to have eyes that change color to either a brillient electric blue, or a gold when triggered; in the first novelization they are described as turning white, matching the sclera (white) of the eye, and have been compared to white quartz, or reptillian in look.
- In the novelizations, the Vampires are coldblooded and have low body temperatures.
- The novelizations show Vampires to have retractable nails/claws, which they use to adhere to surfaces. In the films, the are simply able to cling to surfaces with palms down flat on them.
- In the novelizations, Vampires cry 'crimson tears'; which means they cry blood. This contradicts the movies, which show Vampires crying normal tears.
- In Underworld: Endless War, Vampires are shown with retractable canine teeth on their lower jaws.
- According to the Blu-Ray Dvd release of Underworld, the pale appearance of the Vampires was achieved via D.I., done in the post-production phase of the film.
- According to the novelization for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, in Raze's homeland of Sudan, in East Africa, Vampires were known as the Obayifo.