Created By: Morgenthaler on March 28, 2018 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on April 6, 2018
Troped

Vampires Sleep in Coffins

Vampires Sleep in Coffins

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An old convention around vampires is the idea that these creatures of the night sleep in coffins during the day. This trope works for several reasons, primarily to emphasize that they are members of the living dead so their deviancy is naturally reflected in their sleeping habits. Additionally, coffins are a good way to keep out that pesky sunlight that tends to cause bad sunburns to vampires. On the downside, this might make the vampire more vulnerable to being attacked by someone with a Wooden Stake.

A related stock move is the Pivotal Wake-up, a specific way that vampires get out of their coffins once they wake up.

As with any other vampire trope, this one is prone to being played with or avoided as much as it is played straight.


Examples:

Advertising
  • In this commercial for Duracell batteries, a toy vampire powered by a Duracell battery awakens from his coffin after sleeping in there for three years, which the announcer uses to describe the shelf life of the then-new-and-improved Duracell battery.

Anime and Manga
  • Hellsing:
    • Alucard the vampire sleeps in his special coffin when he needs to rest; doing so also recharges his energy as most of his powers are sealed within the coffin.
    • The new vampire Seras Victoria is issued a coffin, and is locked in it during the flight to Argentina in one episode as she's too young to resist sunlight or cross running water like Alucard can.
  • Digimon Adventure: Myotismon/Vamdemon, a vampire Digimon Arc Villain, sleeps in a coffin in his castle. After his forces have invaded Tokyo, it's shown that he's taken his coffin along with him for the ride.

Comic Books
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Requiem sleeps in a coffin in his private quarters on Resurrection. He also uses it for sex when he is reunited with Rebecca.
  • Averted in Preacher: Cassidy has never slept in a coffin, as vampires here have no connection to religion (they burn in sunlight and need to drink blood, but animal blood is fine). He later runs into a fellow vampire who invokes as many of the Classical Movie Vampire traits as he can despite none of them being actually necessary (and them of them aren't possible, like turning into a bat).

Fan fiction Jared: Coffins.

Film
  • Of course, this trope appears in the Bela Lugosi Dracula films. And was mocked in Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It, with a scene where Dracula levitates majestically from his coffin only to band his head on a low-hanging chandelier.
  • Fright Night (1985): The vampire Jerry Dandrige sleeps in a coffin during the day.
  • Fright Night 2: New Blood: Charlie tries to hide in Gerri's coffin to witness her next Blood Bath ritual. She notices and tries to eat him before he narrowly escapes by using his camera flash against her.
  • In The Fearless Vampire Killers, Count von Krolocks and his son sleep in wooden coffins while the rest of the vampires sleep in stone crypts.
  • What We Do in the Shadows, has the vampire roommates sleeping in coffins, with the 8000 year old vampire Petyr sleeping in a stone coffin. One scene has Viago place a picture of a woman he loved years ago inside his coffin, and then the coffin lid shakes violently, implying that Viago is "busy".

Literature
  • The rules in Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel were actually way more complicated. Dracula lost his powers in the daylight and still had to rest sometime. He could only do so in a coffin containing soil from his homeland, and pouring holy water in the coffins ruined them for his use. A large part of the early hunt for Dracula was eliminating all his coffins and safehouses in England.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, vampires sleep in coffins if they can, but they don't need to (and they're not undead).
  • Zigzagged in the Dracula stories of Fred Saberhagen. In those stories, vampires can only rest on the soil of their homeland, and coffins are simply a common means of holding and transporting that soil. Dracula himself at various times uses coffins, large travel trunks, and sealed plastic mattress pads, all containing the necessary soil from his homeland.
  • In the Fighting Fantasy Choose Your Own Adventure book Vault Of The Vampire, the vampire you are hunting, Count Reiner Heydrich, keeps several coffins in various locations around his castle. A major part of the quest is destroying them so he does not have anywhere else to flee to but the nearest coffin during the final battle.
  • In his book Dave Barry Turns 40 Dave gives some advice for looking young:
    Step One is never go out in the daylight. Your role model here is the vampire community, whose members keep their skin attractively smooth and waxy for thousands of years. I am not suggesting here that you should live in some dank castle, sleeping in a coffin by day and venturing forth at night to drink human blood; top dermatologists agree that there's no reason why you can't keep your coffin in your current home.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons. In early versions of Advanced D&D, vampires are required to rest in coffins (or similar containers) during daylight hours unless they are deep underground.

Video Games
  • The Sims:
    • In The Sims 3, if you have expansions, vampires can sleep in coffins, but vampires can also sleep in normal beds.
    • In The Sims 4 Vampires expansion pack, vampires have the option of sleeping in beds or coffins, unless they have a weakness that restricts them to coffins.
  • Zig-zagged in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it is not required for vampires to sleep in a coffin, and some of them, such as Hert and Sybille Stentor, can sleep on a bed perfectly fine. But some vampires, such as Alva, and those living in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den, do sleep in coffins. You can also find several coffins littered all over Broken Fang Cave, although they're not usable. You can however sleep in those found in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den even when you're not a vampire. With the Hearthfire expansion installed, installing furniture in a house while playing as a vampire character gives the option of adding a coffin in the basement, which can be used in the same way as a bed.
  • Divine Divinity: A vampire that has been plaguing Rivertown sleeps in a coffin hidden in a cave behind a locked grate.
  • Touhou: Remilia Scarlet insists that she would never sleep in a coffin, saying they're for dead people. Eventually, however, we're shown her actual bedroom, and it contains an elaborate four-poster bed... with a coffin on it.
  • In BloodNet, vampiric party members can only rest in a coffin (actually a sarcophagus you steal from the museum) lined with dirt from their home.

Western Animation
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Chi of the Vampire", while the Chans are visiting an old castle in China, Jade opens up a coffin and accidentally awakens a sleeping Jiangshi, which then roams around to attack them.

Indexes: Vampire Tropes, Sleep and Wakefulness Tropes
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • March 28, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    • In The Sims 3, if you have expansions, vampires can sleep in coffins, but vampires can also sleep in normal beds.
  • March 28, 2018
    Miss_Desperado
    Likewise...

    • In The Sims 4 Vampires expansion pack, vampires have the option of sleeping in beds or coffins, unless they have a weakness that restricts them to coffins.

    See also the Sub Trope Pivotal Wakeup, which covers a specific way that vampires get out of their coffins once they wake up.

  • March 28, 2018
    Rhodes7
    The rules in Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel were actually way more complicated. Dracula lost his powers in the daylight and still had to rest sometime. He could only do so in a coffin containing soil from his homeland, and pouring holy water in the coffins ruined them for his use, a large part of the early hunt for Dracula was eliminating all his coffins and safehouses in England.

    Of course, this trope appears in the Bela Lugosi Dracula films. And was mocked in Mel Brooks' Dracula Dead and Loving It, with a scene where Dracula levitates majestically from his coffin only to band his head on a low-hanging chandelier.
  • March 28, 2018
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Advertising
    • In this commercial for Duracell batteries, a toy vampire powered by a Duracell battery awakens from his coffin after sleeping in there for three years, which the announcer uses to describe the shelf life of the then-new-and-improved Duracell battery.
  • March 28, 2018
    4tell0life4
    Alucard the vampire of Hellsing sleeps in his special coffin when he needs to rest; doing so also recharges his energy as most of his powers are sealed within the coffin.
  • March 29, 2018
    Morgenthaler
    Updated to here.
  • March 29, 2018
    Arivne
    Film - Live Action

    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons. In early versions of Advanced D&D, vampires are required to rest in coffins (or similar containers) during daylight hours unless they are deep underground.
  • March 29, 2018
    Mhazard
    Zig-zagged in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, it is not required for vampires to sleep in a coffin, and some of them, such as Hert and Sybille Stentor, can sleep on a bed perfectly fine. But some vampires, such as Alva, and those living in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den, do sleep in coffins. You can also find several coffins littered all over Broken Fang Cave, although they're not usable. You can however sleep in those found in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den even when you're not a vampire.
  • March 29, 2018
    Chabal2
    Averted in Preacher: Cassidy has never slept in a coffin, as vampires here have no connection to religion (they burn in sunlight and need to drink blood, but animal blood is fine). He later runs into a fellow vampire who invokes as many of the Classical Movie Vampire traits as he can despite none of them being actually necessary (and them of them aren't possible, like turning into a bat).
  • March 29, 2018
    Malady
    Fanfic.Dungeon Keeper Ami: From Invasion Planning:
    Ami: "True. But tell me, where do vampires sleep?"
    Jared: Coffins.
  • March 29, 2018
    WarJay77
    • Wizards Of Waverly Place: Juliet and her parents sleep in coffins. Juliet's is decorated with roses and butterflies, while her parents' coffins are hidden behind a wall.
  • March 29, 2018
    Aquila89
    In The Saga Of Darren Shan, vampires sleep in coffins if they can, but they don't need to (and they're not undead).
  • March 29, 2018
    AHI-3000
    Western Animation
    • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Chi of the Vampire", while the Chans are visiting an old castle in China, Jade opens up a coffin and accidentally awakens a sleeping Jiangshi, which then roams around to attack them.
  • March 29, 2018
    Astaroth
    Addition to the Skyrim example: With the Hearthfire expansion installed, installing furniture in a house while playing as a vampire character gives the option of adding a coffin in the basement, which can be used in the same way as a bed.
  • March 29, 2018
    Morgenthaler
    Updated to here.
  • March 29, 2018
    zarpaulus
    Also in Hellsing new vampire Seras Victoria is issued a coffin, and is locked in it during the flight to Argentina in one episode as she's too young to resist sunlight or cross running water like Alucard can.
  • March 31, 2018
    eroock
    Film:
    • In The Fearless Vampire Killers, Count von Krolocks and his son sleep in wooden coffins while the rest of the vampires sleep in stone crypts.
  • March 31, 2018
    arbiter099
    • Divine Divinity: A vampire that has been plaguing Rivertown sleeps in a coffin hidden in a cave behind a locked grate.
  • April 1, 2018
    sablesword
    Literature

    • Both played straight and averted in the Dracula stories of Fred Saberhagen. In those stories, vampires can only rest on the soil of their homeland, and coffins are simply a common means of holding and transporting that soil. Dracula himself at various times uses coffins, large travel trunks, and sealed plastic mattress pads, all containing the necessary soil from his homeland.
  • April 1, 2018
    Exxolon
    In the Fighting Fantasy Choose Your Own Adventure book Vault Of The Vampire, the vampire you are hunting, Count Reiner Heydrich, keeps several coffins in various locations around his castle. A major part of the quest is destroying them so he does not have anywhere else to flee to but the nearest coffin during the final battle.
  • April 1, 2018
    Prime32
    • Touhou: Remilia Scarlet insists that she would never sleep in a coffin, saying they're for dead people. Eventually, however, we're shown her actual bedroom, and it contains an elaborate four-poster bed... with a coffin on it.
  • April 3, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    • What We Do In The Shadows, has the vampire roommates sleeping in coffins, with the 8000 year old vampire Petyr sleeping in a stone coffin. One scene has Viago place a picture of a woman he loved years ago inside his coffin, and then the coffin lid shakes violently, implying that Viago is "busy".
  • April 4, 2018
    Korodzik
    In Bloodnet, vampiric party members can only rest in a coffin (actually a sarcophagus you steal from the museum) lined with dirt from their home.
  • April 4, 2018
    Malady
    So, any reason for this not to be launched?
  • April 4, 2018
    Miss_Desperado
  • April 4, 2018
    Morgenthaler
    We're not in any hurry. This is one of those tropes that is so common, it can easily keep gathering more examples.

    In addition, a good quote and/or page image would help. If there isn't by the time this launches, I'll start an Image Pickin' thread for it.
  • April 4, 2018
    Malady
    Well, we have a lot of TLP drafts, and not sure if we should keep things that are basically launch ready, and adding more backlog.

    ^^ - Still Morgenthaler's draft, but Sponsors can be overruled by enough community pressure, IIRC.
  • April 4, 2018
    Skylite
    LITERATURE

    WESTERNANIMATION

  • April 4, 2018
    Miss_Desperado
    ^ You might want to re-word that first example so that people don't have to mouse over the links to see that what seems to be duplicates are literature and a TV show.
  • April 5, 2018
    Morgenthaler
    ^^ Yep, please take a look at Example Indentation In Trope Lists. Both examples are poorly formatted.
  • April 5, 2018
    NateTheGreat
    In his book Dave Barry Turns 40 Dave gives some advice for looking young:
    Step One is never go out in the daylight. Your role model here is the vampire community, whose members keep their skin attractively smooth and waxy for thousands of years. I am not suggesting here that you should live in some dank castle, sleeping in a coffin by day and venturing forth at night to drink human blood; top dermatologists agree that there's no reason why you can't keep your coffin in your current home.
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