The Lowdown on Vampires by Deborah Ann Woll

September 8, 2010 by  

Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood, Jessica HambyNow that Bill Compton is back home, “baby vampireJessica Hamby is learning more about being a vampire.  And since she’s gotten better at blogging and the Internet, perhaps she’s discovering more about her new race’s origins.

Deborah Ann Woll talked with Television on Today about playing Jessica on HBO‘s vampire series, True BloodJessica was made a vampire at the age of 17, keeping her an eternal virginal vampire for the rest of her long existence.

In addition to being asked about this condition and about being “made”, Deborah Ann talked about her comfort with blood and gore and her love of old horror movies.  Frankenstein, Dracula and the Creature From the Black Lagoon were fascinating and she watched them often.

And did she read a lot of vampire books?  Deborah Ann said she read Bram Stoker and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, so yes, vampires were on her monster list.  But then it became research for playing the part of Jessica.

“I did all kinds of research on historical personalities who were considered to have a vampiric nature to them and why the myth of the vampire might have come into being in the first place.”

Citing some of the more morbid historical serial killers, including Vlad the Impaler, the Count suspected of being the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, Deborah Ann provided her impression of how the vampire myth began.

It was back in the 18th and 19th centuries when not much was known, scientifically, about death and how bodies decompose.  There was no way to determine if a person was truly dead.  Imagine how many accidental burials there must have been of people who were still alive.  Scratch marks on the inside of the coffin!

During decomposition, not only do the nails, teeth and hair look longer as the skin recedes, but bodily fluids…well, here’s how Deborah Ann described it.

“At the same time, as the inside juices liquefy, they come pouring out of the lips and the nostrils in a red juice, so when you open a casket after a body has been in there for a couple of days, it looks like it’s engorged.  It looks like it’s fed; it looks like it has a rosy cheek, like it’s been alive.  There’s even blood issuing from its mouth.”

So our beloved vampire stories originated from the discovery and fear of dead bodies in open caskets.  Not exactly romantic, is it?!  But it beats knowing that “zombies eat brains and flesh”.

Watch the season finale of True Blood on Sunday, September 12.  And enjoy a bottle of O+ !

Source: Television on Today — Secrets of a Baby Vampire

(photo credit – John P. Johnson for HBO, Inc.)