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Vampire Refugee

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The protagonist is infected with The Virus and undergoes the Viral Transformation into a vampire or some other monstrous entity like a werewolf or zombie. They have only a short time until the curse of the Face–Monster Turn asserts itself and the overwhelming thirst to eat, drink and transform their fellow man is all they know. Before the clock runs out, they will do everything in their power to find a cure, likely while using Heroic Willpower to kick ass and bring a world of hurt down on the monsters that infected them. Heroic Resolve gives the ability to resist those warm bloodbags everywhere.

This is Older Than Television, going back to Mina Harker in Dracula. It may use No Ontological Inertia to solve the problem by killing the head vampire, but more modern movies will use biological rather than mystical cures for the virus-based vampires.

These nights, this trope has extended to just about any infectious monster and a few other Body Horror transformations. It may also be recognized as a common on-the-job hazard for those who oppose such creatures. Expect the hero to gain an advantage from lacking the traditional weaknesses of their breed and discovering they can tap into Heroic Willpower to get a powerup to beat their sire. This last bit can get a bit silly, as the hero-now-monster is usually starving by this point from fasting on blood.

On the bright side, since Undeath Always Ends the Vampire Refugee won't stay such for long. That said, whether the way out is death or a cure is 50/50.

Compare Phlebotinum Rebel, Monsters Anonymous, And Then John Was a Zombie and Zombie Infectee. Contrast Transhuman Treachery. See also Stages of Monster Grief. Sub-Trope to Pro-Human Transhuman.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is the main premise of the first Vampire Hunter D movie and novel, with the heroine hiring D to help her, complicated by the fact that her entire town is not only aware of the danger a Vampire Refugee can pose but actively on the lookout for them.
    • But subverted in the second movie. Although D and the Borghoff Brothers assume she's been carried off against her will, Charlotte Ellborne actually wants Meir Link to transform her into a vampire in order to facilitate their love affair. Especially interesting because Carmilla seems to view their relationship as a way of fostering better relations between vampires and humans .
    • Well, that's what she claims. In actuality Carmilla is brutal and bloodthirsty even by vampire standards, and only cares for humans for their blood. The whole purpose of her involvement in the enterprise was to resurrect herself with Charlotte's blood. Meir (Myer?) of course wasn't aware of this.

    Comic Books 
  • 30 Days of Night had the sheriff injecting himself with vampire blood to become a "Good Vampire" (barely controls it and he kills himself shortly after) to beat the bad guys.
  • Batman Vampire: In Red Rain, Tanya visits Batman in his sleep and bites him to infect him with vampirism without actually drinking from his veins, granting him vampire powers while still being essentially human, in order to grant him the strength to fight Dracula. During the final showdown, however, Dracula manages to bite Batman and turn him into a full vampire before Bats finishes him off. Throughout the next installment, Bloodstorm, Batman uses his new powers to fight crime, as well as the remnants of Dracula's brood, and survives on a specially made blood substitute before it ceases to satisfy his thirst. He finds solace with Selina Kyle, who uses The Power of Love to help him keep his bloodlust under control, but it comes to a tragic end when she dies intercepting a crossbow bolt fired at Batman by the Joker, at which point Batman, enraged and grief-stricken, succumbs to his thirst and drained the Joker of his blood; immediately horrified at what he has done, Batman arranges for Commissioner Gordon and Alfred to stake him to stop him from killing anyone else. However, Gordon and Alfred neglect to behead him after the staking, so Batman is left paralyzed in a death-like state, fully conscious and aware of his body's decay and his rampant bloodlust. In Crimson Mist, in the midst of a massive crime wave, Alfred becomes desperate enough to remove the stake in an effort to give Gotham a savior once more, but Batman has gone completely insane from the experience, and is now a slave to his thirst.
  • Crimson defied this with the vampire hero Alex Elder, who hates this condition but since he is The Chosen One of a prophecy saying that he will save the world meaning he can't make himself human again Because Destiny Says So. At the end of the series after defeating the Big Bad, he embarks on a quest to cure himself so he can be with his family again.
  • Andrew Bennett from House of Mystery's I, Vampire series straddled the line between this trope and Doomed Moral Victor. Though he did jump at the opportunity for a cure when he chanced upon one, for most of his unlife Bennett harbored no hope of restoring himself, and was preoccupied with exterminating a bloodline of evil vampires he'd mistakenly sired, by converting his onetime lover. To survive, he bought blood by the bottle from street people.
  • There are a few in the Marvel Universe, including current vampire hunter Hannibal King and deceased hunter Rachael van Helsing (indeed, being converted can be a frequent job hazard for a vampire hunter in Marvel, or in King's case, what drives one to such a calling). Jubilee is the most recent example of the Trope, although Wolverine, Emma Frost, and Cyclops have not given up on the possibility that she can be cured. She's been cured.
  • Red Sonja: In the final arc of her Dynamite 2005 run, Sonja was turned into a vampire in the aftermath of the Prophecy crossover and desperately sought a cure for herself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): During the Metal Virus arc, Sonic inadvertently gets infected with the Metal Virus during a fight with Rough and Tumble. Tails finds out that running manages to put it into remission, but it'll keep spreading if he stays still for too long. He also can't touch anyone for fear of spreading the virus. Though the upside is he can at least fight Zombots directly, prolonged fighting against them will speed up the infection further. On top of it all, it's made clear that Sonic's constant running to keep the virus in check is wearing him down, and eventually, he will get too tired to keep it up.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Batman vs. Dracula, our hero finds a cure for vampirism, but it won't work on Dracula himself — just those he's turned.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The first Blade movie had the vampire antidote for the Girl of the Week. Interestingly, it seems this cure sticks around, and at least two more characters get cured of vampirism in the sequels. However, it can't cure the eponymous character of vampirism without taking away his nifty powers (he just uses a serum to suppress his vampiric bloodlust), nor can it cure anybody who was born a vampire. It can only cure vampirism if one contracts it via a bite.
  • Nadja in Blood Red Sky is taking medication to stop her vampire transformation, and is on a flight from Germany to New York with her son to see a doctor who can cure her. When the plane is hijacked, she gets shot trying to protect her son and only survives because of her Healing Factor, and she soon finds that her superhuman vampiric abilities give her an edge at fighting the hijackers. Embracing those abilities, however, makes it increasingly difficult for her to hold onto her humanity as her monstrous vampiric side takes over. By the end, her son is forced to put her out of her misery as she goes completely feral.
  • Count Yorga: After Erica is bitten by Yorga, she briefly succumbs to the vampirism the following day, chasing down and feeding on her pet cat when her boyfriend, Paul, and Micheal come to check on her out of concern. She act erratic at their presence, yelling at them to stay back then suddenly turning seductive toward Paul before regaining her senses and breaking down at what she's done. When their doctor friend, Hayes, is called in and they find they need to do a blood transfusion, Erica babbles deliriously, knowing that something is happening to her but doesn't know what and is scared at what she's becoming. Unfortunately, Yorga ultimately claims her and turns her into a vampire.
  • Cursed (2005) is the werewolf version of this trope.
  • Most of District 9 involves Wikus panicking about turning into one of the Humanoid Aliens that are poorly treated refugees in Johannesburg, before coming to his senses.
  • The Fly (1986) has poor Seth Brundle, who at first tries to see his Slow Transformation into a Half-Human Hybrid as a glass-half-full situation but comes to understand that he's succumbing to a Split-Personality Takeover. Unfortunately, the only solution he can come up with is genetically fusing himself with another human being. He chooses his lover (and their unborn child) and fails spectacularly, and she has to mercy kill him in the aftermath.
  • The 1989 sequel The Fly II features Seth's Spin-Offspring Martin, an Uneven Hybrid who comes to the same realization of what he must do to save himself as his father did. Lucky for him no one mourns him dumping the fly genes into a Corrupt Corporate Executive, making him a mutant slug kept alive for study in a dark pit.
  • Nick from The Forsaken. It is heavily implied in the movie that all vampire hunters have always mostly consisted of people who have been bitten. The rules of vampirism state that all potential vampires are freed from their curse if the "head vampire" who originated that strain is killed (an idea mocked in the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines video game).
  • In Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, Ginger is given a prophecy saying she will need to kill the infected child that bit her to avoid becoming a werewolf herself. In a subversion, the prophecy meant that she should kill the child "before" he bit her.
  • Horror of Dracula has Harker, who in this version is bitten and makes a desperate attempt to stake Dracula and his female minion before actually turning into a vampire. He doesn't manage to finish the job before sundown and Van Helsing grimly has to stake him.
  • Star, Laddie, and Michael of The Lost Boys. "YOU TRIED TO MAKE ME A KILLER!"
  • Rayne from Resident Evil (2002) gets bitten early on. She spends the rest of the time kicking ass to get everyone out and be able to administer the cure to her. Too bad they're too late.
  • Return of the Living Dead 3 featured the heroine finding new and interesting ways to cause physical pain to keep from succumbing to her desire to eat folk.
  • Rise: Blood Hunter: Though Sadie is very determined to get revenge for her unwilling (and unplanned) vampirisation on the bloodsuckers of L.A., she slips when it comes to feeding on a poor schlub offering her a lift.
  • Ultraviolet (2006).
    • Incidentally, it seems that the girl became much more bloodthirsty (or downright sadistic) after the cure was applied.
  • Van Helsing, turned into a werewolf, must kill Dracula as a werewolf (as was prophesied), but Carl and Ana have to get the cure for lycanthropy to him before the stroke of midnight (as that's when he'll permanently be a werewolf). Fortunately for Van Helsing, the stroke of midnight lasts about twenty minutes.

  • Granny Weatherwax in Carpe Jugulum is a truly epic subversion. After getting bitten by a bunch of Vampires with the express purpose of turning her into a vampire as well - making her a slave to the vampires having "sired" her - she goes through the usual trappings: Making a stressful journey in order to find the vampires responsible, organizing weapons (or rather: friends with weapons), and nearly dying several times while fighting the effect of the turnings. In the end, it turns out not only was she fighting off the turning the whole time, she was also "borrowing" (a form of passive possession) her own blood in order to make the vampires who drank from her crave tea and sweet biscuits, or, in her own words: "I ain't been vampired. You've been Weatherwaxed!"
  • Darren of Cirque du Freak spends a vast majority of the series as a half-vampire. The perks are pretty good on paper, and though he feels lonely at first for not fitting in with either humans or vampires he eventually finds a home and even a destiny with his new species. It's only nearing the last arc he starts to undertake 'The Purge', or a weird sort of puberty, where his human side is finally subsumed by his vampire half.
  • Tana in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She's bitten by the vampire Midnight, who infects her with the virus and turns her Cold, the precursor to becoming a vampire. Tana spends the rest of the book trying to save her human sister and friends while fighting the overwhelming urge to drink their blood and complete her transformation.
  • Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker in Dracula. For Lucy, it wasn't known what was weakening her until Van Helsing was called in. She would've probably been cured were it not for a few too many bad circumstances. Mina is a bit more fortunate, since Dracula has to flee before he can fully transform her. She feels his presence within her spying on the hunters. And, when confronted by the brides near the end of the story, senses the vampirism welling up in her.
  • The Dresden Files features The Fellowship of Saint Giles, individuals who've been bitten by Red Court vampires, gaining a portion of their power and their vampiric blood lust. However, since they haven't actually killed anyone by feeding, they haven't turned into the horrific bat-demons Red Court vampires really are. As part of their membership, they gain magical tattoos that help them keep the hunger in check and turn darker as they start to lose control.
  • The Good Ghouls series — the main character gets turned into a vampire and finds out the only way to get turned back is to kill her own maker. Several problems: firstly, it has to be her who kills her maker; secondly, any vampire higher up the chain, including her maker, is immune to any frontal attack from a lower-ranking vampire, so she has to be sneaky; and thirdly, she doesn't even know who turned her. In the end, she finds out who did it, but someone else kills him for something unrelated, so she's stuck as a vampire.
  • Igor Dolinsky in Night Watcher. All the other "true vampires" qualify as well, as they are the ones who no longer need blood, though they aren't human anymore either (but then, neither is Igor, strictly speaking).
  • Kostya in the Night Watch (Series) is the only vampire to achieve "High Vampire" status without killing someone for blood. He became a biologist to prevent his vampirism from turning him into a monster. By the third book, he even tries to turn every human being on the planet into Others just so he could be normal. He fails.
  • In the Ravenloft novel Vampire of the Mists, Jander Sunstar was desperate to find a cure for his vampirism once he finally managed to become free to seek that cure. He was heartbroken to learn that there was no cure other than true death (and possibly not even then).
    • Moreover, his specific background makes this grimly hilarious: until the mists took him, as a Gold Elf back on Faerun, he was very close to the cure for undeath for all of those centuries. He didn't even know about its existence mainly because the elves treat High Magic as the greatest secret of the Multiverse even when they know it's an Open Secret to the present company, and he was just a young adventurer hanging out with humans at the time.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Dr. Kevin on The 4400 experimented on himself with Promicin to give himself powers. He got very mutated at first, but then found the cure for that.
  • In the first episode of Angel, it's pointed out to our hero that he must do this out of necessity. Even if you're a fighter against evil, you can't afford to isolate yourself from the people you're trying to protect as you'll eventually stop caring and revert back to a monster. Angel thus gathers his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits so he'll have some Fire-Forged Friends keeping him grounded.
  • Maya on Heroes was desperate to get rid of her Superpower Of Involuntary Mass Destruction. Subverted in that she didn't have an Action Girl bone in her body.
  • On My Babysitter's a Vampire, Sarah (the babysitter) was turned into a vampire by her boyfriend. However, she refuses to eat humans and exists on animal blood or blood substitutes while trying to find a cure.
  • One episode of Odyssey 5 had Taggart becoming a Synthetic, a nanomachine/cyborg/android. He and his friends try to reverse it, but in the end he manages to hack the Deus Est Machina that made him into reverting the process.
  • Supernatural:
    • Gordon had the perfect set-up for becoming a Vampire Refugee, but since he knew there was no way to undo the change, he decided instead to kill Sam and then himself. Instead, Sam killed him.
    • In season 6, this trope was played completely straight as Dean gets bit, angsts, kicks some ass, and then gets cured at the end of the episode.
  • The eighties show Werewolf (1987) was built around this premise.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mage: The Awakening features rare wizard refugees in the form of the Banishers. Banishers had their Awakening go wrong in some way or another (it's suggested more than a few of them literally gazed into the Abyss); as a result, the very use of magic causes them revulsion, and they spend much of their time hunting down and killing other mages out of the belief that magic is, at its core, evil.
  • A very few Darkened in Princess: The Hopeful fall under this trope. Becoming Darkened pushes you strongly towards evil, but the Taint is not irreversible until you lose your last dot of Integrity and become a Darkspawn or Mnemosyne. Before that, it is possible for a Darkened to retain and even raise his Integrity, and if he can get it high enough he can drive out the Darkness.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, vampires would occasionally seek out Golconda, a mystical state of transcendence. Nobody could agree on what Golconda was, but one persistent rumor was that it would allow you to shake off the Embrace and become mortal again. One scenario had the villain trying to eat his way up his "family" tree to cure himself.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight has a rather unique version of this. After having been contaminated with the Joker's infected blood in the previous game, Batman's mind is slowly starting to be taken over by the Joker. He has four other infected patients locked up in a satellite Batcave, one of whom is showing no signs of any Joker-like symptoms, and is being used to develop a cure. Throughout the game, visions of the Joker taunt you at every possible moment, and at several moments (especially when Batman gets exposed to Scarecrow's fear toxin), Batman loses control, and the "Joker" part of Batman's mind actually manages to take over. Oh, and that person showing no signs of symptoms? He was faking it.
  • Dead Island 2: While they are immune, the Slayers' immunity doesn't prevent the side effects to the zombie infection, namely the powers that come with being a zombie, a raging headache, and the instinct to engage in cannibalism. At several points in the game, the Slayers struggle with balancing their humanity against their fury and at one point succumb to the cannibalistic instincts the zombies have.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Finding the Cure is an optional quest in several games in the series should the Player Character become a vampire. To note:
      • In Daggerfall, it is offered by a vampire hunter who give you a choice instead of killing you (you can also drink the potion a witch coven asks you to transport).
      • In Morrowind, it is given by reading a book about a cured vampire and doing a favor for Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and "patron" of vampires (although in Morrowind lore he isn't as tied to vampires as he'd become in later games and actually has to borrow the cure from Vaermina, one of the Daedric Princes that don't show up themselves in Morrowind).
      • In Oblivion, it involves collecting a long list of ingredients to make a potion. One ingredient is the blood of an Argonian. You don't have to kill the Argonian, but most don't take too kindly to being stabbed with a special dagger.
      • In Skyrim, it involves trapping a human soul in a Black Soul Gem and giving it to a sorcerer, who sacrifices the soul to Oblivion as payment for your vampirism to be lifted. Alternatively, you can ask Aela the Huntress to voluntarily turn you into a werewolf, which will cure you of being a vampire in the process. It's also possible to invert the trope, if you are a werewolf, you can ask Harkon or Serana to voluntarily turn you into a vampire instead of using the Glenmoril Witch's head and killing your wolf spirit at the final Companion questline.
    • Likewise, this is also an option in several games which allow the PC to become a werewolf. To note:
      • In Daggerfall, this requires either transferring the disease to a latent werewolf or taking part in a Human Sacrifice.
      • In Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, this requires convening with witches and again making a human sacrifice.
      • In Skyrim, it requires taking the head of a specific group of Hagravens to a special shrine and then slaying your inner beast. As mentioned above, you can also overwrite the lycanthropy with the powers of a Vampire Lord.
  • Infamous: Festival of Blood: Early on, Cole is bitten by Bloody Mary and becomes a vampire, and will become a vampire permanently and be Mary's slave by sunrise. Cole is not happy about this and fights back against Mary and her minions, determined to stake her and cure himself before then.
  • The plot of Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer involves trying to get rid of the Spirit-Eater curse, at least for a good-aligned character.
  • In Resident Evil 4, Leon and Ashley are both infected with the same parasite responsible for the monsters attacking them throughout the game. Their fight for survival includes needing to Find the Cure! before the Plagas within them fully mature, and assimilate them into the very group they're fighting against. Big Bad Saddler takes the chance to repeatedly gloat over their impending assimilation and plans to make them his servants. In the later stages, Leon is briefly taken over by the parasite and attacks Ada before regaining his senses.
  • The Resident Evil 4 (Remake) version of Separate Ways reveals that Ada is also infected with a Plagas parasite, albeit a different variation that causes her to hallucinate, among other things. Like Leon and Ashley, she must find a way to remove the parasite before it takes root in her body and the transformation into a brainwashed cultist becomes permanent.
  • Tsukihime:
    • One of the paths involves Shiki being increasingly possessed by an ancient vampire sorcerer, gaining the usual powers and bloodlust as his will rapidly erodes, and having to defend himself against his former companions. At first he holds out for a solution from the Church, but when that doesn't pan out he resorts to his solution to everything else—turning his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception on and stabbing himself in an attempt to 'kill' the vampire's soul.
    • Sion Eltnam Atlasia is entirely based on this. She even goes as far as to create an alchemical substitute for blood to deal with her cravings as a temporary measure. (It works, but only because of the extenuating circumstances.)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines features a "thin-blood" down by the beach who's desperately trying to find a way out of his new condition. You can either a) let him down easy and tell him that he can at least try to go on (un)living, or b) bilk him for all he's worth by selling him a "stake of pure rosewood" he can use to kill the "head vampire" or some vampirism-curing "unicorn blood." Or both.



Video Example(s):


Erica's Slow Turning

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) - At the start of the movie, Erica, along with her boyfriend, Paul are attacked by Count Yorga the night they had drove him back to his manor. Paul was knocked out trying to defend Erica, allowing Yorga to bite and feed on her without any resistance. The following day, Erica is revealed to have lost some blood and is a bit more stoic but seems fine... that is until Paul and his friend Michael come to check on her.

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