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Vampires Sleep in Coffins

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Max: Well, you see, 99, according to the legend of the vampire, ridiculous though it may seem, vampires always sleep in their coffins.
99: Why would they do that, Max?
Max: Well, if you go around biting people on the neck, I guess you'll do just about everything.
Get Smart, "Weekend Vampire"

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. The reason for this is fairly simple: one of the most commonly-given origins for vampiric myths is unusually pristine corpses being named sleeping vampires and blamed for local misfortune, and where else would one find those than in a coffin?

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.


    open/close all folders 

  • 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 & 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 some of them aren't possible, like turning into a bat).
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: Captain Constanta and his vampire brigade rest in coffins during the day, when they are ferried around in a truck by their servant Cringu.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Bela Lugosi Dracula films popularized the trope.
  • Mocked in Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It, with a scene where Dracula levitates majestically from his coffin only to bang 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 Krolock 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".
  • Count Yorga naturally did this. Though in the first movie, he didn't have any coffins for his brides, so instead had them sleep on stone tablets in his throne room until he awakened them to do his bidding. In the sequel (which takes place in a separate continuity) had him manage to give his brides proper coffins within his throne room while his own is in a separate room.
  • Downplayed in Bram Stoker's Dracula. We only see Dracula in his coffin once in the film and that's when Harker sees it when trying to find a way out of the castle and seeing him rise out of it. Past that point, we only see Dracula crammed into boxes of Earth from Transylvania when sleeping. His brides likewise aren't shown sleeping in coffins when Helsing finds their chambers late in the film, all of them sleeping on stone slabs and using their dresses as covers of sorts.
  • Invoked and Subverted in The Lost Boys. When Sam and the Frog Brothers go vampire hunting, they are startled to find them hanging like bats in a cave. Sam demands to know why when the Frogs told him there would be coffins. Edgar Frog lamely covers by saying "That's what this place is, one big coffin!"
  • Count Dracula (1977) had Harker stumbling upon the resting quarters of Dracula and his three brides, all of them sleeping in coffins.

  • 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 Tape by 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 Barry 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.
  • In the Anno Dracula series, sleeping in coffins in one of the quirks of Dracula's bloodline. Other varieties of vampire have different sleeping arrangements.
  • Discworld:
    • In Reaper Man, Arthur Winkings and his wife start sleeping in a crypt after they're turned into vampires, but it's implied that they're only doing it because they've heard that's what vampires do and not because it's an actual necessity.
    • In Feet of Clay, we learn that Mrs. Cake has started renting room in her house to members of the undead community, including a vampire who sleeps in a coffin lined with dirt, but with the addition of gravel to help with his bad back.
  • Ann Hodgman's My Babysitter Is A Vampire: Vampires don't actually have to sleep in coffins, but they do have to sleep in the dirt they were buried in. Vincent Graver keeps that dirt in his coffin for conveniences' sake. The vampires in Castle Vladestan in My Babysitter Goes Bats also sleep in their coffins.

    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 
  • Castlevania (2017): Alucard spent his recuperation in a coffin, and levitates out of it when Trevor and Sypha find him.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Horror of Dracula [Dracula in Coffin Room]

Scene from the 1958 film, Horror of Dracula. Mina is suddenly "called" away by Arthur to meet her at an undertaker shop. Oddly she doesn't find anyone there but notices the storage room where the coffins are kept. As she goes in thinking Arthur might be there, she unaware of the undead danger within.

Example of:

Main / VampiresSleepInCoffins
Main / VampiresSleepInCoffins