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Western Animation / Ernest Le Vampire

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Ernest Le Vampire is a French aninmated series written by François Bruel in SEK Studio, and directed by José Xavier, that originally ran from 1989 to 1991 on France 3. It has been shown in English-speaking countries as Ernest The Vampire.

Each episode is around 2 minutes and 30 seconds long, features no dialogue, and follows the activities of the title character, Ernest, a (somewhat elephant-like) vampire. The plot of the episode can range from following Ernest's failed attempts to find victims (most likely to drink their blood) to Ernest attempting a simple daily chore that ends up going awry.

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Every single episode ends badly for Ernest, and at times even results in his death, but the episode is always revealed to be All Just a Dream.

This series provided examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: Every single episode ended this way.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Happens in some episodes:
    • One nightmare featured several objects coming to life, including Ernest's home itself.
    • Another nightmare featured Ernest's sewing machine coming to life after he thumped it in frustration - it wasn't pleased.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ernest always awoke from his nightmares by sitting up in his coffin, before then closing it and going back to sleep.
  • Dead All Along: La Belle Inconnue, although it may be more accurate to say that she is Undead All Along.
  • Death Is Cheap: The fact that every episode is a dream allows the creators to come up with new ways for Ernest to (in a sense) die in almost every episode.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Ernest can fly, but there are still several moments when he falls during the nightmares and makes no attempt to save himself, feeling just as powerless as a human would.
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    • In one episode, Ernest cheats to get through a labyrinth by... crashing through the walls, when he could have easily flown over them.
  • Fur Against Fang: In one episode, Ernest's intended victim has a pet dog who is also a werewolf. As you probably guessed, Fang loses to Fur in this example.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Whenever Ernest attempts something, chances are it will end this way.
  • Kill It with Fire: Happened to Ernest in one episode, thanks to a dragon.
  • Once per Episode: The All Just a Dream and Catapult Nightmare entries mentioned above and the Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises entry mentioned below.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Ernest looks more like an anthropomorphic elephant than anything, despire being clearly portrayed as a vampire. At least one episode implies that he is either related to or descended from elephants.
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  • Our Werewolves Are Different: As mentioned above, one episode features a dog who becomes a werewolf.
  • Shout-Out: One episode has Ernest dress in a costume that fans of Fantasia (particually The Sorcerer's Apprentice) will recognise. Take note of the music in that scene as well.
  • Swallowed Whole: A recurring way that the nightmares would end for Ernest, which turns him from predator and gourmand into prey and entree. One time it was by a giant carnivorous plant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ernest will, at times, make very bad decisions that will ultimately lead to his "death" when a more simple one would have been safer. It's debatable if he would be like this when he's awake though, as a nightmare will always end badly.
    • In one episode, Ernest attempts to stop a flip-flopping staircase by weighing the bottom down with heavy objects (which leads to him being crushed when it all goes wrong). It never occurs to him to simply jump over the part that goes down (and, oh yeah, he can fly).
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Every single episode ended with Ernest sporting this expression following the Catapult Nightmare.


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