In the last chapter, I considered the evolution of the sympathetic vampire and its influence on the development of an equally sympathetic zombie. In the figures of Kieran from In the Flesh and R from Warm Bodies, we see characters that embody the introspection, self-loathing, empathy and pathos that have become the hallmark of the sympathetic vampire. Furthermore, we see undead figures who, while bearing the signs of their zombie state – pale, near translucent skin, bleached eyes, unhealing scars – have yet to show signs of decomposition and so remain attractive figures and subjects of love and romance. In this they have more in common with the traditional image of the vampire than with the decaying walkers who populate the post-apocalyptic landscape of The Walking Dead. Running parallel to this development, recent years has also borne witness to the presence of an alternative version of the vampire to its attractive and sympathetic brethren. This vampire is more violent and monstrous, spreads its contagion very quickly, operates in large numbers and exists within a dystopian, often post-apocalyptic, landscape. This strand of vampire text, therefore, similarly highlights an interconnection between the vampire and the zombie that is the subject of this book.
Much like the I-vampire/I-zombie, the vampire apocalypse has begun to appear in multiple locations. In literature, the genre received global success through Justin Cronin's best-selling novel The Passage (2010) and its sequels The Twelve (2012) and City of Mirrors (2016). Similarly renowned Mexican horror filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro has co-written the vampire apocalypse trilogy, The Strain (2009), The Fall (2010) and The Night Eternal (2011), with Chuck Hogan, author of, among other things, The Blood Artists (2009), an outbreak narrative in which a new virus takes human form. The Strain has subsequently been adapted to television by FX, produced by Del Toro, Hogan and Carlton Cuse. It has also been adapted in comic-book form by Dark Horse (2011–15).
On television, the traditionally romantic, often erotic, vampire series True Blood altered its tone in its final season by developing a decidedly apocalyptic narrative strand. At the conclusion of Season 6, human scientists developed a virus, Hep V, which is highly contagious and fatal to vampires, and deliberately contaminated the supplies of the blood substitute TruBlood.