Now, as for vampire weaknesses: the typical ones (namechecked in the movie) are garlic, crucifixes and holy water (because unholy abominations burn in the eye of God), exposure to sunlight, and wooden stakes through the heart. “Abigail” goes 50/50; garlic and crosses have no effect on vampires (Abigail even repeatedly stabs Peter with his cross necklace). Sunlight and stakes, though? Those work.

Vampires’ vulnerability to sunlight originates in 1922’s “Nosferatu,” where Count Orlok (Max Schreck) is defeated by the sunrise. In “Buffy,” vampires catch fire in the sun, while in “Twilight,” sunlight just makes their skin glimmer. In “Abigail,” sunlight is anathema to vampires; they don’t just burn in it, it makes their bodies implode upon contact. When Abigail sticks her arm into the sun, it blows up and she recoils; from there, her arm slowly grows back, showing sunlight has to completely destroy the vampire to override their healing. Exploding seems to be the automatic reflex to a vampire’s corpse (“Buffy,” meanwhile, depicted them crumbling into bloodless dust upon death). The vampire Frank explodes after being staked through the heart — no sunlight necessary.

The importance of the heart in defeating a vampire reflects another weakness “Abigail” introduces to vampires. Instead of being totally undead, vampires still have heart pulses, and thus bodily circulation. This means that when Joey administers a sedative to Abigail, it knocks her out like it would a human. This is also presumably why, in “Abigail,” vampires can drink the blood of other vampires (because their hearts are still pumping it). However, as Abigail tells Frank, a vampire needs to be completely drained to die of blood loss. “Abigail” was made by people familiar with the rules of vampires, and thus knew which ones they wanted to follow.

“Abigail” is playing in theaters.



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