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Vampires Hate Garlic

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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—i.e., real-world vampiric insects. 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.

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Examples:

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     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.

     Comic Books  
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: Hans and Karl create a circle out of garlic so that the Rumanian vampires can't get near them.
  • Fascinatingly, in Italian Disney comics, Magica de Spell is weak to garlic. Even odder, this is often depicted is being the weakness of all witches, as well as vampires. Make of that what you will.

     Fan Works 
  • Garlic is harmless to most vampires in Bloodstained Heroes Of Humanity and they can eat it like any other food. Izuku unfortunately is genuinely allergic to garlic and cannot touch it without breaking out in a rash. Sumi has fun teasing Izuku for it.
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     Film - Animated  
  • 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.
    • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation retcons this when Ericka tries to kill Dracula by tricking him into consuming guacamole containing garlic oil. It ends up causing Drac to pass gas rather than any serious harm. It's also revealed that garlic affects Mavis the same way when she tries the guacamole and ends up breaking wind, much to her mortification and her husband Johnny's amusement.
  • 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.

     Film - Live-Action  
  • Averted in the Universal Dracula movie; considering how much influence it had on future Dracula adaptations and vampire depictions in general, it's a surprise that the vampire's weakness to garlic, one of the most iconic aspects of modern vampires, and Van Helsing's use of it to protect Lucy, was replaced with wolfsbane, a poisonous flower more commonly associated with werewolves than vampires (accordingly, it would reappear in The Wolf Man (1941)).
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch, where garlic is presented as a repellent against werewolves. This is one of the many reasons why people have speculated that the script was originally supposed to be a vampire movie before they just switched monsters.

     Literature  

  • 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.
  • In House of Hell, one of the many opponents you can meet in the titular house is a vampire. The best way to survive this encounter is to use garlic against him.
  • Discworld:
    • Garlic is one of the ways the wizards consider getting rid of Windle Poons (who's actually a zombie anyway) in Reaper Man, as is a stake. The conversation then descends into whether or not you should put garlic on a steak. Somehow, they end up trying to use celery.
    • In Witches Abroad, garlic sees off the vampire attempting to attack the witches at the Überwald inn ... in the sense that Granny Weatherwax is so offended by Nanny Ogg eating garlic sausage in bed that she throws it out the window, where it hits the vampire in bat form.
    • The Magpyrs in Carpe Jugulum have trained themselves out of this, as they have all vampire weaknesses.
      Count Magpyr: Garlic is just another member of the allium family. Do onions hurt us? Are we frightened of shallots?
    • Played straight in Thud!, where Lance-Constable Salacia von Humperding finds garlic in her locker as part of a hazing ritual, and has prepared for this by carving a bulb of garlic out of an apple so she can pointedly eat it in front of the ringleader. And carving another one stuffed with chilli seeds, which she offers to him...

     Live Action TV  
  • Implied in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We see cloves of garlic used in preparation against vampires, but the 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.
  • Supernatural. Played for laughs in "Monster Movie". The Villain of the Week is a shapeshifter who's a fan of old horror movies. In one scene he's putting on his best Bela Lugosi impersonation when a pizza delivery guy rings the doorbell.
    "Dracula": Is there garlic on this pizza?
    Pizza Guy: I don't know. Did you order garlic?
    "Dracula": (looking horrified) No!
    Pizza Guy: (bored) Then no, there isn't any garlic on it.
  • In the Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation four-part episode "Unchain My Heart", the Turtles prepare for a fight with the vampire Vam-Mi and her minions Bing and Chi-Chu by arming themselves with vampire-repellent weaponry. One of the weapons Donatello devises is a squirt gun filled with garlic juice, but it isn't shown to be very effective when he uses it on Bing.

     Tabletop Games  
  • 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.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: While most vampires usually avert this trope, dislike of Garlic is available as a flaw, meaning you are allowed to create a character who indeed play this trope straight.
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • Vampire: The Requiem plays with this trope in a manner similar to its spiritual predecessor; once again, aversion to garlic isn't usually a weakness vampires have, but starting with the Second Edition, it's possible for them to accept part of the Beast in them in order to better keep it in check, at the cost of developping new, unique weaknesses known as "Bane". One of the suggested Banes is an aversion to a specific substance, which can indeed be Garlic.
    • Hunter: The Vigil has this trope Invoked by the Cainite Conspiracy, who can use a blood rite to actually make garlic nocive to vampires.

     Video Games 
  • 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.

     Web Comics 
  • 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 Monstra it's explained that garlic is more of a common allergen to vampires then an outright ward since their heighten senses don't work well with it's potent smell, causing them to sneeze which disrupts their concentration and their powers. They can ward them off easily however though physical means (merely covering their noises and knocking the garlic aside) and smaller bits aren't that effective on them, meaning they can eat things like pizza with it without effect.

     Web Original 
  • 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.
  • In How To Hero, legend has it that the very first vampire was very rude at a monster get together and requested blood in lieu of the garlic dish the hostess, a witch had slaved over. As the night went on, the vampire kept doing more rude things until eventually the witch placed several curses on him. One of those curses was vampires' classic weakness to garlic.
  • Whateley Universe: Played with in the character of Vamp. Shortly after arriving at WhateleyAcademy, Vamp is confronted by Pucelle over their previous encounter in Bostonnote . In the middle of this bitchfest, Vamp stops suddenly to ask her new main squeeze, XO, to remember to pick up some garlic in case she goes Drunk on the Dark Side again like she had that time in Boston. Pucelle takes note of this, and when she next confronts Vamp, she shoves a string of garlic bulbs in her face - which Vamp thanks her for, saying she loves garlic. She's Actually Not a Vampire, you see, but she likes garlic so much that it is one of the things which can snap her out of her frenzies, so she was actually asking XO to help her if she flipped out again.

     Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In an episode towards the end of the series, it's revealed that in addition to being half-mummy through his mother, Irwin is 1/4-vampire and only 1/4-human—this particular episode reveals that Count Dracula is Irwin's paternal grandfather (making Irwin's dad, Dick, a Dhampyr, since Irwin's paternal grandmother, Tanya, is a human). After learning this, Mandy sprays garlic butter in Irwin's face (twice!), though Billy initially thinks that it's mace. The first time Mandy did it was probably to prove that Irwin is indeed part-vampire (and presumably to keep him from kissing her), while the second 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.
  • 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.
  • On Celebrity Deathmatch: When Sarah Michelle Gellar battles a rather uncool vampire, he scoffs at her attempts to use garlic on him, saying that all it does is make him gassy. Of course, when she uses the string of garlic as a makeshift whip...well, he hates that...
  • Adventure Time vampires are likely vulnerable to garlic, considering that Peppermint Butler includes a "super garlic bomb" in his vampire-hunting kit (along with a regular clove). We never get to see the bomb's effect, since it gets accidentally dropped and broken when there are no vampires nearby.
  • The Mina and The Count episode "The Vampire Who Came to Dinner" involves the Count being invited to Mina's family for dinner. He decides that he'll give the food a chance in spite of finding mortal food disgusting, but then discovers to his horror that Mina has prepared a garlic souffle.
  • The Monster in My Pocket animated special "The Big Scream" had Carrie Raven attempt to ward off Vampire using garlic. Vampire promptly eats the garlic and smugly remarks "Don't believe everything you read".
  • Vampires in Archie's Weird Mysteries can't handle garlic in even the tiniest amounts. Archie and his friends are able to outright kill a vampire merely by breathing garlic breath at him, and they later use garlic juice as a non-lethal means to incapacitate their vampirized friends with the intense itching it causes them.

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