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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. 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?

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 Tropes, this one is prone to being played with or avoided as much as it is played straight.


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  • 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.
  • Nightwalker: The final episode shows Shido and Riho sleeping in a coffin together. Guni then closes the door and puts a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door for them.

    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). When this vampire offers him a place to sleep for the day, Cassidy is outright offended at being offered a coffin, and on being told there aren't actually any beds commanders the vampire's couch.
  • 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 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: From Invasion Planning:
    Ami: "True. But tell me, where do vampires sleep?"
    Jered: "Coffins."
  • A.A. Pessimal suggested that on the Discworld, vampires in the Discworld's Scandinavia would be few and far between in a society where funerals are done by settling light to a boat and pushing the blazing coffin out to sea. He suggested this would raise several practical difficulties for a vampire.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): In Chapter 16, a vampire wants to do this trope:
    He wondered if he could get a coffin.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, this is subtly referenced. Priya is a fan of Paranormal Romance novels and tends to act like she's a character in one. When she lies down on Tyler's roof she crosses her arms on her chest and keeps her legs together with her feet pointed straight up exactly as if she was a vampire sleeping in a coffin.

    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.
  • Vamps: And so do humans sleeping with said vampires if they're in on the Masquerade.
  • Queen of the Damned: Lestat opens the film getting out of his coffin, having been woken up by an amateur hard rock band playing next door. However, he sleeps in beds for the remainder.
  • Done for Rule of Symbolism in Daredevil (2003). The title character isn't a vampire, but he does do his vigilante work at night, and sleeps in a coffin-like sensory deprivation tank (so he can get to sleep despite his Super-Hearing) inside a crypt.

  • The rules in Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel are rather more complicated. Dracula can walk around in the daylight unharmed, but at the cost of losing most of his powers (most notably shapeshifting), and still has to rest sometime. He can only do so in a coffin containing soil from his homeland, and pouring holy water in the coffins ruins them for his use. A large part of the early hunt for Dracula involves 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 actually undead in any sense, they only do it because it provides more protection against sunlight than a bed).
  • 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 Gamebook 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 Crypt of the Vampire, another Gamebook, you're supposed to fight the Vampire Final Boss and kill him with a magic sword. However, if you didn't find the sword but you do have a crucifix, you can keep him at bay, run down the corridor behind him. There, you find his coffin in a secluded room, and can throw the lantern on it, destroying the coffin and the Vampire with him.
  • 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.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera, titular Phantom, while not a vampire or a phantom, for that matter, usually sleeps in the coffin.
  • Being a Classical Movie Vampire, Barlow from 'Salem's Lot does this. His newly turned minions simply sleep out of the sun (basesments, attics, under the floor, etc).
  • Zig-zagged in Johannes Cabal: Horst makes do with any closed container at hand, including a large trunk for most of the first book, but when a Card-Carrying Villain league tries to recruit him in The Brothers Cabal, it offers him a suite with a proper coffin on a bier.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Defied in the Buffyverse.
    Angel: Vampires don't sleep in coffins. It's a misconception made popular by hack writers and ignorant media. In fact, you know, we can and do move around during the day! As long as we avoid direct sunlight! GOT IT?!
    • Though this borders on Hypocritical Humor, as both Angel and Spike spend large portions of the series living in crypts.
  • Forever Knight
    • When a Police Psychic has a vision of Nick Knight sleeping in a coffin he explains that he doesn't, though most her visions are true. Nick just sleeps in a bed (and even a sunbed), or the trunk of his car when he's caught away from his home in daylight.
    • While hiding out at the Raven, Don Schanke decides to check out the Creepy Basement and is surprised to find a coffin there. Janette stops him just in time from opening it, as there's a vampire lying in it (she explains away the coffin by saying that some members of her nightclub have unusual fetishes).
  • Get Smart: In "Weekend Vampire", the Villain of the Week is an assassin who's pretending to be a vampire to scare people. The coffin lid is actually the entrance to a Secret Underground Passage, because he knows no-one will dare open it.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • At the vampire family's townhouse, Lestat de Lioncourt, Louis de Pointe du Lac and Claudia sleep in coffins during the daytime.
    • Averted with Louis in his Dubai penthouse because its shielded windows block sunlight. The following quote is from "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...":
      Daniel Molloy: That's the sun out there. Where's your coffin?
      Louis: You're standing in it.
    • Also averted with Armand because he's a Daywalking Vampire thanks to his advanced age.
  • Las Vegas: In one episode the Montecito is hosting a group of clients who like to pretend that they're vampires. At first Sam Marquez is pretty curious about their private parties, but when she sees the coffins in their room, she just calls them lame.
  • An episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? ups this trope's importance, where the vampire actually needs her coffin in order to survive; once the heroes push it into an incinerator, the vampire instantly dies.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Red Snow", Titov, the mayor of the small Siberian town which has become a gulag, stores the vampires' coffins in the town's disused, boarded up church. They are empty during the winter months when there is no sunlight from October to April, but Titov and others protect the vampires during the summer months when the coffins are occupied during the day. In exchange, the vampires protect the townspeople from dangerous criminals and animals.
  • 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.
  • True Blood plays with it a little. While many vampires sleep in coffins, an enclosed space will serve the same purposes. Bill sleeps under the floorboards of his old family home during the day.
In Young Dracula , the vampires do sleep in coffins during the day and come out at night .

  • Spoofed in one Old Master Q story which has Master Q spending a night in a haunted castle and meeting it's lord, a stereotypical western-style vampire. After the vampire reveals its intention to suck Master Q's blood, Master Q makes a bolt for it, leading to a slapstick Scooby-Dooby Doors-style chase culminating in Master Q accidentally stepping into the vampire's bedroom and breaking the coffin by stomping a hole on it's lid. The vampire lord even comments, "You broke my bed!"

    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.
  • A variant in Vampire: The Masquerade: Members of Clan Tzimisce don't need to sleep in coffins, but they do need to sleep in two handfuls of their native soil or be weakened. It's often noted that coffins are one of the easiest ways to keep all that soil together.

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: When half-vampire Alucard uses a save point, it summons forth a coffin around him, invoking this trope.
  • Buttercup in Cute Bite sleeps in a coffin by default, but after having spent many years locked in one until she lost her memory, she's not always happy about it. Depending on her personality type, she may demand the right to take naps in an actual bed.
  • Monster Hunter (PC) have various spawners, machines that create different monsters, in each levels. Vampire spawners appropriately enough resembles the classical vampire coffins, complete with crosses on their fronts.
  • 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 Project: 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.
  • In Witchery, players afflicted with vampirism have the ability to build and sleep in coffins in order to skip to nighttime, just like how a normal player can skip the night with a bed. They can still sleep in normal beds, though. Bewitchment subverts it, as it allows any players to sleep through the day in a coffin regardless of whether or not they're a vampire.


    Web Original 
  • In Minilife TV, Snowball the vampire sleeps in the very Easy-Bake Coffin he was created in until Season 5 when he gets a new one.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): Alucard spent his recuperation in a coffin, and levitates out of it when Trevor and Sypha find him.
  • Ernest Le Vampire: Ernest always awoke from his nightmares by sitting up in his coffin, before then closing it and going back to sleep.
  • 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.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / VampiresSleepInCoffins

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