The Vamp

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Notice the snake skin she shed: this particular Shapeshifting Lover does not mean well

"Oh such grace, oh such beauty-- so precious, suspicious, and charming, and vicious,

Oh darling, you're a million ways to be cruel."
OK Go, A Million Ways

A classic character type, the beauty who uses her feminine wiles to undermine a moral and upright man, for evil purposes. She's evil and sexy, a liar and a sneak, and uses the good guy's sympathy against him, often with a sob story about her mother and some hospital bills or a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.

Unlike the Femme Fatale and the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, she is rotten to the core, and will never be swayed from the path of darkness by love.

The name comes from classic silent films, where this character is part of a standardized plot. A red-blooded American boy must choose between his familiar, cutesy-plain sweetheart and this seductress.

This trope is Cyclic Trope. In certain eras, as with the "hat dichotomy" from westerns, but more actual in fact, The Vamp is almost always black-haired, while the good girl is a blonde. At other times, blondes are inherently more evil. In the cold war era, the raven-haired temptress was a Soviet spy, when not just a torturer like The Baroness.

Is often the Lady in Red or the Woman in Black.

Although the name is derived from "vampire", this character is most commonly a normal human, but some supernatural entities are known to influence men in this way. Succubi and Sirens are known to lure men in to be eaten, for example.

Compare with the Femme Fatale, the somewhat more sympathetic (and less sexual) version of this character, and the Casanova. Often overlaps with the Black Widow, who is just a particularly successful Vamp. See also Villainesses Want Heroes.

Examples of The Vamp include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mitsuko Souma in Battle Royale.
  • Slan from Berserk.
    • The female Apostle that Guts kills in the very beginning of the manga is another big example, using her beautiful, naked, female human form to lure men into her embrace before assuming her Apostle form and eating them alive, with her most notable kill being Corkus during the Eclipse.
  • Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima is more of a Noble Demon, but definitely has had some vampish moments - appropriately, being an actual vampire. Her attempts at seduction fail miserably, though, since her first target is Happily Married, and the second hasn't gone through puberty yet.
    • It should be noted that Tsukuyomi represents something like this to Setsuna; she tells Setsuna that being human is a weakness and behaving like a teenage girl is likely to cost her more fights. It's possible that she both wants to force Setsuna away from Konoka by showing her her weakness and set up a In Love with Your Carnage situation once Setsuna does move towards her 'heartless swordsman' persona.
  • Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, where a woman tries to pull this to steal government secrets from a group of Otaku. Of course, they were specifically chosen to guard the secrets because their obsession with 2D girls would make them immune to The Vamp...
  • Houshin Engi has Dakki.
  • Light Yagami from Death Note is a rare male example.
  • In Corsair, Canale is treated as a vamp by a lot of characters, almost all of whom are trying to defer their guilt to him because they refuse to accept that their desire for him is their fault.
  • Mikaze from Occult Academy.
  • Underdog has the buxom tournament coordinator Noa Takayanagi, who uses her feminine wiles early in the series both to convince Naoto to participate in the tournament and to get him out of trouble with a couple of police officers on patrol, by distracting them with her cleavage.
  • Windaria Selenia is ordered by the Big Bad to seduce and then kill Alan. He's so taken with 'every beautiful inch of her' that it almost works.
  • Bloody Agatha from Claymore - she's one of the few Claymores who shows an interest in sex. Roxanne of Love and Hate could also count, depending on how you interpret her attitude towards her victims. Her modus operandi was to befriend another Claymore and copy her powers. That Claymore would later die in...mysterious circumstances. It also enabled her to leap up the ranks to Number 1.
  • Kanoko's stepmother in Velvet Kiss is a chessmater who uses a combination of sex and blackmail to manipulate events, such as by having the wife of her lover killed due to neglectful hospital care, and then trying to do the same thing to the lover himself (now her husband). Deconstructed when all it takes is two people standing up to her and the entire plot crashes down around her.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Ava Lord from the Sin City story "A Dame to Kill For" was an evil (by her own admission) and greedy seductress who manipulated her old lover, Dwight McCarthy, through a Wounded Gazelle Gambit into murdering her husband so she could get her hands on all his money, and then tried to kill him once he had outlived his usefulness to her. As Manute, her Dragon (who would later show up in "The Big Fat Kill"), explains, Dwight is not the first man she has destroyed with her deadly wiles. Lampshaded-slash-deconstructed in her admission, as she points out that "evil ruthless seductress" is so cliche nobody believes she can be one...until it's too late.
  • Poison Ivy in the Batman comic books, especially before she became an eco-terrorist.
  • Nocturna is another seductress Batman foe.
  • Sandman Mystery Theatre had an arc titled The Vamp, featuring one of these. The title character became a bit more sympathetic when her Start of Darkness story was told.
  • Mystique, long time foe of the X-Men, is the absolute embodiment of this trope.
  • Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, also qualifies.
  • Bridget Keating from Knights of the Dinner Table, although Bridget is more selfish than evil.
  • Lulu Romanov in Nikolai Dante


Film[edit | hide]

  • Black Widow (1987), played by Theresa Russell, a serial killer of rich men she married, ostensibly for their money. Has strong bisexual theme as well.
  • Pick a version of The Parent Trap. In this case, it takes the twin girls wreaking havoc on The Vamp to make Dad realize that he's about to marry a gold-digging bitch, which was completely obvious to everyone else from the moment the woman appeared on the screen. She'll likely overlap with the Rich Bitch in this case.
  • Kris Bolin from The Temp
  • The 1967 version of Bedazzled has Lust, played by Raquel Welch. The Devil herself is one in the 2000 version.
  • Silent film actress Theda Bara in...pretty much anything, but especially 1915's A Fool There Was, where she's actually billed as "The Vampire". The film even quotes Rudyard Kipling's poem (see Literature below).
  • Elektra in The World Is Not Enough.
  • The woman from the city in silent classic Sunrise.
  • A whole series of Film Noir movies made in the 1940s and 50s: Phyllis in Double Indemnity, Kathie from Out of the Past. Even Marilyn Monroe's character in Niagara.
  • A significant portion of Marlene Dietrich's career was built on such titles as Devil Is a Woman.
  • Conchita in Luis Bunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire. Hell, it took two actresses to carry all this vampishness.
  • Kara is even referred to as such in the 2006 high school noir, Brick.
  • Cthulhu (2007). Susan tries to seduce the protagonist, Russell Marsh, as part of the Cult of Dagon's plan to have him pass on his seed (creating a Hybrid Monster). As Russell is gay, her charms don't work on him, so she drugs and rapes him instead.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, amazingly hot college girl Alice is intent upon getting with Sam for unclear reasons. She's a Decepticon spy named Pretender. Yes, they can turn into humans now.
  • Bridget in The Last Seduction (1994).
  • Suzanne Stone, the Villain Protagonist of To Die For (1995), is a partial parody of The Vamp - she's beautiful, utterly ruthless, manipulative...and dumb as a post.
  • Lady Kaede in Akira Kurosawa's Ran starts out as a Lady Macbeth to her husband. After he's killed in battle, she becomes a Vamp to his brother, seducing and becoming a Lady Macbeth to him and making him order the death of his wife, Lady Sue.
  • In Dracula's Daughter, the actual vampire Countess Marya Zaleska tries to play this role with Dr. Geoffrey Garth. This is lampshaded when the Head of Scotland Yard tells his man-servant that he is going hunting "vampires", to which the latter replies: "But I always understood you went after them with chequebooks, sir."
  • Nazi Vamps like Ilsa Haupstein (from Hellboy) and Dr Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Unrepentant and black-hearted bitches. Also examples of The Vamp, Blondes Are Evil, and Evil Is Sexy.
  • Myrna Loy was stuck playing this type of role for years in early Hollywood, often with an additional "ethnic" flavor, finally escaping to better parts with the success of The Thin Man.
  • Lady Marsh in Lair of the White Worm seduces both men and women to their doom.
  • Mini from Mini's First Time has elements of Femme and Fille Fatale, but her utter soullessness qualifies her for this trope.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there's a whole castle of vamps.
  • Ariel in Alien Intruder.
  • Kathryn in Cruel Intentions.
  • Debbie in Devil In The Flesh.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called "The Vampire". Trope Namer?
  • Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers.
  • Played for laughs in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe; the queen of The Fair Folk tries to seduce Rincewind, but all he desires is potatoes.
  • Vorpax Mortal Kombat: Conquest. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to seduce Shang Tsung...
  • Berelain in the Wheel of Time started out as one, who seduced people for political advantage and spent multiple books chasing after Perrin to the detriment of Perrin's marriage, but is starting to look a bit more sympathetic. Her current infatuation with Galad, putting an end to the horrific Poor Communication Kills arc of the last five books, certainly helps.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.
  • The White Witch of CS Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, even more so in the films. In the film adaption of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund even imagines her promising to make him "a king...and more", making it obvious that this was a large factor in his decision to become her mole. But even in The Magician's Nephew, she strikes Diggory as stunning (while Polly doesn't see the attraction), and Uncle Andrew loses his head over her, even imagining she might find him attractive. And, of course, the Lady of the Green Kirtle from The Silver Chair seduces and enslaves the prince. Jill does see the attraction.
  • Zenia in Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, Bequa Kenska. When her attempt to seduce Ostian Delafour fails, she is enraged both to lose the chance to corrupt his youth and innocence and because she had never failed before.
  • The titular character in Andrew Vachss' Strega (the second Burke novel) is explicitly The Vamp to the extent that she even Lampshades the fact that she can bend men to her will. The protagonist, Burke, does succumb to her sexual wiles, but subverts the trope in that he's perfectly aware of what she represents, and manages pulls away once her goals are no longer parallel with his. The girlfriend in Vachss' The Getaway Man plays the trope straight, however.
  • Lara Raith of The Dresden Files. She's also a psychic vampire who feeds on people's souls during sex.
  • Nefer of The Egyptian, although she is considerate enough to actually warn him first. Doesn't help, though.
  • Cavilo attempts this with Emperor Gregor Vorbarra in the Vorkosigan Saga. As you might guess from the "attempts", it doesn't work out the way she planned.
  • This trope is so old that even parodying it is Older Than Steam. At the end of the King Arthur story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain claims he has learned never to trust women, that they only lead you to sin, etc., etc. The Green Knight tells him this is ridiculous and that he has to take responsibility for his own failure.
  • Male example: Spyros Stavaronas, the attractive young shrimp fisherman in Alexandra by Scott O'Dell. At first, he uses his charms to distract Alexandra so his henchmen can smuggle cocaine on her boat. When Alexandra finds out, he further tries to charm her into keeping his secret and not turning them in to the cops.
  • Mr. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice is another male example. Unlike the passive if Hedonistic Casanova Willoughby of Sense and Sensibility, who doesn't care if he breaks hearts, Wickham actively tries to win the heroine over and turn her against Mr. Darcy via Malicious Slander. This is years after he tried to get revenge on Mr. Darcy by seducing his sister. Elizabeth later feels terrible over how easily she believed his lies.
  • The woman in Robert E. Howard's "The Gods of the North", who lures Conan the Barbarian to her brothers to be killed. When this does not work, things get rather uglier for her.
    • Thalis tries this in "The Slithering Shadows". Conan is embarrased because Natala, his slave girl, is watching.
  • Parodied with Muriel Kane in The Beautiful And Damned. She wants to be seen as a vamp (and happens to look like Theda Bara, mentioned above), but tries far too hard.
  • Roberta "Bobbie" Wickham from the Jeeves and Wooster series is a light comedic variant. A troublemaker with Evil Redhead tendencies, she makes a habit of luring Bertie into trouble and then working against him to benefit herself. Of course, Bertie is an Extreme Doormat who can get talked into anything, but in Bobbie's case, the fact that she's gorgeous and flirtatious doesn't hurt her cause.

Bobbie Wickham ... went about the place letting the pure in heart in for the sort of thing I was doing now.

  • Matilda fills this role in The Monk, particularly if you read her character as deliberately leading Ambrosio astray rather than merely being tempting.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Victoria Metcalf, the psychotic, poetry-loving bank robber who was the love of Benton Fraser's life in Due South.
  • Lila in Dexter. Granted, Dexter is most certainly not your typical "moral and upright man", but Lila's willing to go places that even he won't. The nihilistic temptress comes complete with black hair, in contrast to Dexter's blonde good-girl girlfriend Rita.
  • "Saffron" in Firefly has married numerous men under as many aliases for pretty much the express purpose of ripping them off. Damn good criminal mastermind, too.
  • Oz. Shirley Bellinger, who drowned her own child in a fake accident based on the Susan Smith case. She gives sexual favours to both inmates and prison guards in exchange for preferential treatment, leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when, as she's being led off for execution, Shirley calmly informs Warden Glynn that the guard escorting her has been "coming into my cell every night and fucking me." Faced with a glowering Warden and a prisoner who'll soon be beyond any retaliation, the guard can only mutter, "Bitch."
  • Ashton Main Huntoon Fenway from the 1980s mini-series North and South. She marries James only to gain a sort of political power and wealth despite coming from a Southern aristocratic family, plots against her sweet sister Brett and Billy's romance-turned-marriage, seduces multiple men after a failed attempt to get into Billy's pants...and this is all just Book One...
  • Vala Mal Doran from Stargate SG-1 was introduced as a straightforward vamp, but she got better.
  • Tammy, Ron Swanson's ex-wife on Parks and Recreation, played by Megan Mullally. She's the deputy director of the Library department who seduces her ex, Ron, the head of Parks and Rec dept., and sleeps with him again in exchange for the empty lot his deputy director Leslie Knope wants to turn into a park. As Tammy tells Leslie: "Les, there are two kinds of women in the world. There are women who work hard and stress out about doing the right thing, and then there are women who are cool."
  • On her first appearance on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess was this as well as a Dark Action Girl. By her second appearance, all traces of the vamp had disappeared and she was only the Dark Action Girl before being redeemed.
  • Sarah from Survivors is first seen using her feminine wiles to manipulate a smitten plague survivor, who she promptly leaves to die after he breaks his leg in an accident. She begins working her way through the male members of the main cast from there.
    • A very similar character appeared in the original version of the series under the name Anne, although she only appears in handful of episodes.
  • Frohike and Langly saw Suzanne Modeski as this, and were really pissed off that Byers fell for it. The truth turned out to be a little more complex.
    • Technically, Dianna Fowley could also fit with this trope.
  • Irene Adler is this to Sherlock. It's not a personal vendetta or anything, but she is in cahoots with the "consulting criminal" Moriarty and plays off of Sherlock's lack of sex knowledge to get him to do whatever she wants. It backfires in the end. Horribly. And it manages to piss John off. A lot.
  • This happens so often on Merlin that it's veering into Unfortunate Implications territory. Thus far we've had Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh, Sophia, Catrina, Lamia and Helen/Mary using feminine wiles at one point or another to manipulate the men-folk.
    • In fairness, this could be partially because they believe that a seductress won't be seen as powerful sorceress, and that people won't see past the cleavage. On current evidence, Merlin (mostly) excepted, they're right. Ain't broke don't fix it.
  • Lilith from Robin of Sherwood.
  • Regina in Once Upon a Time clearly wants to be this, invoking Evil Is Sexy and trying to seduce men to do what she wants. It never works (probably because the men are Genre Savvy enough to know sleeping with an evil witch-queen never ends well), so she falls back to her magic and/or loyal army.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Bree Sharp's Cheap and Evil Girl describes one.
  • Hall & Oates' "Maneater", as seen in the former page quote.
  • A major part of Shirley Manson's stage persona. She also provided backing vocals on The Bird and the Bee's cover of "Maneater".
  • Disturbed's Serpentine.
  • "She Was a Vamp", sung by Cher on The Sonny And Cher Show

She was a scamp, a camp and a bit of a tramp
She was a V-A-M-P...Vamp!

Mythology and Religion[edit | hide]

  • The classic Vamp, of course, is Delilah, from the biblical story of Samson. The Biblical story clearly treats her as a villainess who tempts Samson away from his godly ways, and thus brings about his downfall, emasculation, and captivity. She betrayed him very effectively, although her life was threatened. People weak in faith turning their backs on their powerful protector when threatened by the vast but easily avoidable powers of the wicked is a bit of a theme in the Bible, yes.
    • Which makes it interesting that the book of Judges also features a heroic vamp in the character of Jael. After Deborah has just lead the Israelites to victory against their current oppressor, Sisera, the general from that army, escapes. He finds his way to Jael's tent where she tires him out with sex, puts him to sleep, then brutally assassinates him. Whoever says the Bible is unfair to women, read that and weep.
  • There are a few mythological creatures who act like this.
    • The Succubus, a demon which disguises itself as a beautiful woman to cause trouble (what kind of trouble tends to vary).
    • The Sirens from Greek mythology. Bird-women who lured sailers to their death with their singing.
  • Older Than Dirt: Mesopotamian Mythology has the goddess Ishtar/Innana, who tends to cause her lovers' deaths, and the seductive Child Eater Lilitu.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Lucy The Slut in Avenue Q. The extent of her character is, well, Self Explanatory.
  • Lola from Damn Yankees is a subversion. She presents herself in her establishing song "A Little Brains, A Little Talent" to be The Vamp to end all Vamps, but her seduction of Joe is unsuccessful, in part because she fails to be evil enough.
  • Mallory in the musical City of Angels. She's redeemed by (in-story) Executive Meddling.
  • Not so much evil as irresponible and immature, Mayzie La Bird is a kid-friendly version in Seussical.
  • The two female protagonists, Roxie and Velma, from Chicago are using their vamp skills to literally get away with murder.
  • Generally, whoever sings 'Turn Back, O Man' in Godspell tends to be a bit of a parody of this.
  • Sally Bowles from Cabaret is another more irresponsible and immature than evil version.
  • Fastrada, Pippin's Stepmother from Pippin, is this to a V. She manipulates both Charles and Pippin to make sure her 'darling' son Lewis is next in line to the throne. Of course, she's manipulating Pippin for other reasons..."Sometimes I wonder if the fornicating I'm getting is worth the fornicating I'm getting."-Charles


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • Shin Megami Tensei I has Yuriko, who has the general look and mannerisms down, but quickly revealing her Murder the Hypotenuse tendencies kinda killed her effectiveness. Really doesn't help that she's actually Lilith and thus hit with a severe case of No Campaign for the Wicked.
  • The SiN series features Vamp/Baroness combo Elexis Sinclaire.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The series features a male character codenamed Vamp, who fits aspects of this trope. His codename is derived not from his taste for drinking blood, but from his bisexuality, playing off of an older use of the term. The sexual aspects were downplayed in-game, compared to the original trailer, but it was conclusively stated that he is not, in fact, a vampire. Twice.
      • Vamp is a subversion. Vamp had a boyfriend in the form of Scott Dolph before said boyfriend was killed in the tanker incident. Although it's never outright stated that his relationship wasn't for some sort of underlying, self-centered motive, nothing about it ever gave him any kind of gain. His boyfriend was his best friend's father, on top of it, which could've conceivably risked damaging that friendship, so the only possible reason for him to have the relationship was out of genuine care for Dolph. It's played straight in Guns of the Patriots, however, as he's really friendly with Naomi, and she does have something of value he wants: his own death.
    • From Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, there's EVA, to some extent, though you don't find out 'til the ending. However, she's a subversion of this trope, as it's revealed that she genuinely did love Big Boss, and even joined him in overthrowing the faction of The Patriots lead by Major Zero, Para-Medic, and Sigint after the organization was split in two, thanks to a falling out between Big Boss and Major Zero, part of which was caused by Zero cloning Big Boss and creating Big Boss' "sons". Moreover, EVA volunteered to be the surrogate mother of Solid and Liquid, all because of her love for Big Boss, and even though Solid Snake was a clone, she still saw him as a son.
  • From the third Ace Attorney, there's Dahlia Hawthorne, who manipulated at least 3 men using her innocent facade.
  • Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 has Reina, who attempts to get Derek to join her company, steals his Healing Touch, and finally carries the final Neo-GUILT.
  • You can play one in the Neverwinter Nights mod A Dance With Rogues. There are a surprising number of quests in which having sex with enemies is a shortcut to let you kill them more easily, or, in the case of the Dhorn Generals' Heads quest in the first chapter, the only path to getting to kill them.
  • Also possible in Fallout New Vegas, a female protagonist is able to seduce Benny and bypass the security. From there she can either sleep with him and kill him, or just kill him as soon as they enter the room.
  • Morinth from Mass Effect 2. Her modus operandi is seducing people, then killing them via her genetic defect that causes brain overload during sex. Interestingly, she's a recruitable character.
  • I-No from Guilty Gear.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In Survival of the Fittest, several female players, such as Katherine Marks, Clemence, and Chi Masumi, have used their looks to try to seduce male opponents and catch them off guard or get protection/help from them. Usually, they try to kill the male once they're vulnerable. This has just about never worked, James Coombs, Naoji Hideyoshi, and Aaron Redfield being the only actual victims of this tactic so far. Non-player females sometimes try to do something similar to charm males into helping them, but this has become rare by v3.
  • Vamp's MO. May or may not continue now that she's going to Whateley.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Martian Queen from Duck Dodgers tries. The hero's too stupid to fall for it. (In some episodes, she's a Defrosting Ice Queen who's genuinely in love with Dodgers, but he's still too stupid to notice.)
  • Subverted in one of Saturday Night Live's "Ambiguously Gay Duo" cartoon shorts. An alien queen plans to use her feminine wiles to distract Ace and Gary, but Dr. Bighead replies, "I, uh, don't think that'll work on those two." Which it didn't. They have very strong moral constitutions, obviously.
  • It doesn't seem to be intentional with Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender. She sounds like that talking to...well, everyone... but when she actually tried to seduce someone, it fails dismally.
  • Venus in The Tick (animation) is a G-rated example, played for comedy. She can channel her "feminine wiles" into a form of actual mind control.
  • Blackarachnia of Transformers Animated wavered between this and Femme Fatale. Even if she was redeemed, it would be very hard for anyone (besides Optimus, the sap) to trust her. Which is odd, because while she's fairly sexy by human body shape standards, she's also techno-organic—and most Transformers are repulsed by anything organic. However, many of the Autobots find her very attractive and only Blitzwing and Sentinel Prime react with anything approaching disgust. The latter even tries to kill her, despite the fact that she was once his best friend.
    • Blackarachnia of Beast Wars qualifies, at least in season 1 and early-mid season 2. She is basically the closest thing the series ever has to a ninja, is pretty good-looking by any bot's standards, and, to varying degrees, has used her looks to manipulate Tarantulus, Quickstrike, and Silverbolt, although she got in a little over her head with that last one, resulting in her eventual Heel Face Turn by the beginning of season 3.
  • Hollie Would from Cool World. Kind of like the evil blonde version of Jessica Rabbit.
  • Sedusa of the Powerpuff Girls
  • Darla Dimple from Cats Don't Dance, despite being just a child.
  • Lolita and Tanqueray from Beavis and Butthead
  • Hatta Mari from Plane Daffy.


Other[edit | hide]

  • Roodaka from Bionicle is a quintessential example.