Vampires are repelled by garlic, whether flowers, bulbs, cloves or juice, and may be weakened by its presence. This is one of the oldest vampire tropes, dating back to medieval Europe. Surprisingly, the vampiric aversion to garlic has some basis in biology: The 'burn skin on contact' version of this trope is similar (if exaggerated) to real life garlic allergies. Additionally, garlic contains allicin, a potent anti-biotic and anti-fungal agent, and has been proven to kill mosquitos. However, that hasn't prevented it from becoming a Discredited Trope in more recent fiction, where vampires often demonstrate, contrary to superstition, that they can eat garlic for lunch. Even those works often nod to tradition by making one certain vampire allergic to garlic. A Sub-Trope of Supernatural Repellent and Weaksauce Weakness.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- One-time opponent Dracula Man in Dragon Ball recoils in horror (or perhaps disgust) when Upa breathes on him after eating garlic.
- Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Mahou Sensei Negima! hates garlic (along with leeks). This is how she was defeated in the past by Negi's father.
- In My Monster Secret, the protagonist Youko is a half-vampire, so the usual vampire weaknesses are underplayed for laughs. In case of garlic, it simply makes her eyes sting. However, we later meet her full-blooded father, and his reaction is pretty much the same, only exaggerated.
- In Interviews with Monster Girls, it's explained that vampires dislike garlic because they have heightened senses, including smell. This makes garlic's strong smell affect them even more. However, preferences vary for each person, and the lead vampire Hikari loves the smell.
- Similar to the above, Karin-style vampires find garlic repulsive because of their sensitive sense of smell: it's pointed out that they react in much the same way to other smelly foods like blue cheese or onions. Karin, being an unvampire with normal senses actually really likes garlic.
- Fiends of the Eastern Front: Hans and Karl create a circle out of garlic so that the Rumanian vampires can't get near them.
- Garlic was instrumental in driving off Dracula during his first encounter with The Monster Squad, which had the effect of burning him.
- The Blade Trilogy features garlic as one of vampires' main weaknesses; according to Whistler, it sends them into anaphylactic shock. When Karen sprays garlic into Mercury's mouth during the climax of the first film, she struggles to breathe for several seconds, then her head explodes.
- In Dracula, Van Helsing attempts to protect Lucy from Dracula by giving her a garland of garlic flowers to wear, and rubbing garlic around all the entrances of her bedroom. It fails because Lucy's mother, not realizing their significance, takes the garland off while she sleeps.
- In the picture book Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex, the poem "The Best Man of Frankenstein Makes a Trip to the Buffet" is from Dracula's perspective as he bites into a piece of garlic bread. The harmfulness appears as an allergic reaction.
- In The Parasol Protectorate, pesto sauce is not just tasty but useful against supernatural creatures because it's full of both garlic, which induces sneezing fits in vampires, and basil, which werewolves are allergic to.
- In The Dresden Files, Black Court vampires are the classic undead type (in fact, Dracula was published as a Black Court�hunting manual), and have an aversion to garlic, which burns them on contact. In one of the short stories, garlic powder from a pizza joint works just as well as cloves.
- In the short story Wolfie by Theodore Cogswell, Doctor Arsoldi, a sorcerer who uses the supernatural to help murderers commit the perfect crime, had had a close call with the You Have Failed Me clause of his Deal with the Devil when a lady temporarily becomes a vampire so she could suck out her husband's blood, not realizing he had had a steak dinner with garlic that evening. She was not "prostrated with grief" as the newspapers claimed, but by the injuries dealt by the garlic while she was a vampire. After that, it took a huge money offer to persuade Arsoldi to go back into the crime-aiding business, whereupon the next job, the focus of the story, faces an insurmountable slip-up.
- Mocked in a Your Vampires Suck moment in the Sabina Kane series. Vampires themselves disseminated the idea that they were weak to garlic as a distraction from their actual Weaksauce Weakness to apples and apple wood (which they believe is due to being descended from Lilith and Cain).
- In Bunnicula, Chester succeeds at keeping the titular vampire wabbit away from the Monroes' vegetables by using garlic. Of course, this gets him in trouble the next morning when Mrs. Monroe catches him and gives the irate cat a bath.
- In the Bailey School Kids series, Mrs. Jeepers, who may or may not be a vampire, is allergic to garlic.
Live Action TV
- Implied in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We see cloves of garlic used in preparation against vampires, but he actual effects are never shown.
- Good Eats: In the episode "The Bulb of the Night", a vampire named Vlad hires Alton to help him get over his "phobia" of garlic. The fear itself seems to be his only problem; once he starts cooking with it, he's perfectly fine.
- In The Office (US), Jim is bitten by a bat and decides to prank Dwight by making him think he was turning into a vampire. One of the first hints he gives is acting as if he was burned from touching garlic bread.
- In Ultraviolet, allicin is mentioned by name as the part of garlic that vampires can't stand, and the vampire hunters use allicin-based gas grenades to weaken their quarry.
- In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, it's explained that while garlic is harmful to vampires, pumpkins are actually a lot worse for vampires—Justin's vampire-girlfriend, Juliet, explains that the tradition behind pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns was to keep vampires away from them.
- In Being Human (US) garlic forces vampires' Game Face on and locks it on.
- Dungeons & Dragons. In 1st Edition "Vampires recoil from strong garlic" and in 2nd Edition "The odor of strong garlic repels them and they will not approach it."
- The Dracula Dossier: There are allicin-based weapons available, but since allicin breaks down rapidly they aren't something you can just pull out of a weapon stash someplace. If your Director is using the alternative "Telluric Vampire" build, garlic only has an effect if it was not grown in the vampire's native soil — grabbing a few cloves at a Romanian market before heading after Dracula is a waste of time.
- While the myth of vampires being weak to garlic is known in The Elder Scrolls, it isn't an accurate myth... with one, as far as the vampire in question knows, unique exception: Vicente Valtieri in Oblivion, who suffers a catastrophic reaction to being in close proximity with garlic. It doesn't kill him, but it makes him very easy to kill.note Admittedly close here is so specific that it's not enough for you to carry it, he must do so — but you only encounter him in the Dark Brotherhood questline, which encourages sneakiness (and the game allows 'reverse pickpocketing' of placing objects in other people's inventories)...
- RuneScape uses this in two quests: Vampire Slayer, in which holding garlic in your inventory weakens the vampire so he can be slain, and Fishing Contest, in which using garlic in a certain place will chase a vampire away from an ideal fishing spot that he is occupying.
- In The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang (and its Japan-only predecessor, Makai Prince Dorabocchan), the protagonist is a Vegetarian Vampire and Waddling Heads of garlic are trying to kill him. In fact, all enemies' Life Meters are represented by heads of garlic.
- In Guilty Gear, this is averted by the resident vampire Slayer, who even eats garlic for breakfast (and lunch AND dinner).
- Played differently in Plants vs. Zombies. Garlic is one of your plants available to use against the zombies. He doesn't exactly scare zombies away, but he can, upon being bitten, redirect the zombie eating it away from his lane, making him useful for protecting the plants behind him and redirecting the zombies onto a more dangerous line.'
- Plants vs. Zombies Heroes has the Garlic. Any zombie teammate attacking it is forced into the lane on the left, unless it's a Vimpire, in which the Vimpire dies instantly instead.
- Downplayed in The Sims 3. Vampires are fine with garlic as long as they don't actually ingest it, whether directly (in a food that contains garlic), or secondhand (by ingesting the plasma of a person who recently ate something that had garlic in it). Even then, the garlic only makes vampires ill, and generally not in a life-threatening (unlife-threatening?) way.
- Every house in Quest for Glory IV is adorned with huge amounts of garlic. The townsfolk are utterly paranoid of Things That Go "Bump" in the Night. Seeing as the valley is home to the carcass of an Eldritch Abomination, so they have good reason.
- Garlic is meaningless in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, according to Jack. Running water is also meaningless. Jack bathes — occasionally.
- In Vampire Girl, this is one of the reasons Levana has for disliking being a vampire, as this greatly limits her diet of foods she can consume without otherwise having to worry about any fatal consequences. In fact, after she becomes human, she notes in her diary eating twelve or more (she loses count) slices of pizza at a party.
- In Kevin & Kell, when Desdemona, a vampire bat (analogous to vampires in this World of Funny Animals), was asked if vampire bats are repelled by garlic, she replies that they actually aren't, it's just that garlic breath messes up a bat's sonar, so that's how the myth got started.
- Appears to apply to all known types of vampires in Charby the Vampirate though the results of eating garlic have not been seen for any of them.
- In Sluggy Freelance Vorpyr-type vampires are killed by cutting their heads off and stuffing their mouths with garlic, Aylee hilariously misremembered it as "cut off their feet and stuff onions up their butts". In a later arc a Vrykolatkas (who lack that weakness) paralyzes two Vorpyrs with aerosolized garlic oil.
- In season 1 of Carmilla the Series, the students incapacitate a vampire by duct-taping her to a chair and putting a string of garlic around her neck.
- The Big Knights: After Maurice eats the raw garlic given to them in the hopes of defeating the vampires, he instead takes them out by burping.
- In Sabrina: The Animated Series, Sabrina makes friends with a group of vampires who convince her to help them rob a blood bank by eating an entire room full of garlic that is protecting the safe. When Sabrina's aunts show up just after the robbery and end up getting arrested for it, Sabrina is able to defeat the vampire judge at their trial by burping at him.
- In Hotel Transylvania, Dracula confirms to Jonathan that vampires are harmed by garlic—however, from the way it's explained, it sounds more like your standard food allergy than the standard supernatural reason.
Jonathan: So, can I ask you a question? Is it true? About the garlic thing?
Dracula: Yes. I cannot have it. My throat swells.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: After it's revealed that Count Dracula is Irwin's paternal grandfather (his dad's dad), Mandy sprays Irwin in the face (twice!) with garlic butter (although Billy initially assumes that it's mace). The first time is to prove he's a vampire (and presumably to keep him from kissing her), and indeed, he screams in pain. The second time is...just because.
Irwin: AAAAH! Why woman, why?!
- Count Spankulot from Codename: Kids Next Door has shown to react negatively towards garlic, swelling up like he was allergic.
- For a gag in a chase scene in Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire, Shaggy and Scooby serve a vampire a plate of spaghetti, secretly topped off with tons of garlic. The vampire eats it without incident, but it wasn't a real vampire of course.
- Weaponized by Batman in The Batman vs. Dracula. After discovering the existence of vampires in Gotham (led by Count Dracula himself), Batman quickly goes about making anti-vampire weaponry, such as garlic gas bombs and garlic-treated Batarangs.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: In the episode "Count Koopula," Mario, Luigi, and Toad are able to defeat King Koopa's titular persona by eating garlic and breathing in his face.