photo: Robert Pattinson as a vampire in "Twilight." credit: Summit Entertainment It seems that vampires are everywhere, from "Harry Potter" to "True Blood," "Twilight" to the new "Fright Night" movie.
Everybody knows more or less what vampires are like: Handsome, brooding, tortured humans who crave blood and have a variety of strange abilities (such as turning into bats or not casting reflections) and weaknesses (such as being killed by sunlight or stakes to the heart).
Of course there are many variation of the vampire story; it's been retold and repackaged thousands of times since Bram Stoker's 1897 classic "Dracula."
But that's only part of the story - and arguably not even the most interesting part.
In the West, when most people think of vampires, either historical (such as, supposedly, Romanian prince Vlad Tepes) or literary (creations by Stoker, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, etc.), the vampire they are familiar with has Slavic origins.
Yet this is a very narrow, Eurocentric point of view; as a cultural entity vampires are an ancient, worldwide phenomenon.