by Tanya Glover
Once relegated to the league of B movies, vampire characters and storylines have found new blood in more modern pop culture. From the vampire Lestat (courtesy the imagination of author Anne Rice) to the sparkly vegetarian vampire Edward of Twilight, America has gone vampire crazy!
Is it really any surprise that people are choosing popular vampire-inspired names to bequeath to their babies? It’s certainly not the first time that pop culture has had an influence on what people name their children — and right now, the urge to name the new little ones after vampires is stronger than ever.
A vampire is a folkloric creature, said to feed on the life essence — that usually means blood — of humans and, in some cases, animals.
The short novel The Vampyre: a Tale by John Polidori, written in 1819, was the first to portray vampires as a more sophisticated and refined creature than the Nosferatu of times past. Then, in 1897, Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published — and soon became the basis of most popular vampire fiction written since.
For longtime vampire fans, there are many names to inspire you. While these names are less-known to those vampire addicts of today, they are nonetheless interesting and uniquely vampire! Take for instance, the name Lilith. There is legend that says Lilith — who was thought to be the first wife of the biblical Adam — was actually a vampire. This is a great vampire-inspired name that just barely cracked the top 1000 names in the US for the year 2010, checking it at #992.
Another oldie but goodie is the boy’s name Vladimir. All you vamp lovers know that Vlad the Impaler is considered to be the original Dracula, and it is a unique and interesting name! What vampire lover would not want to name their child for the original prince of darkness? Other older names include Rasputin, Elisabeth (as in Bathory), Rune and Pandora.
Since Anne Rice (born with the distinctly boyish name Howard Allen Frances O’Brien) brought vampires out of the shadows with her series of gothic-style books — starting with Interview with the Vampire — and a whole new generation of vampire lovers has been born… and named.
When the book became a chart topper, vamp lovers everywhere were naming their children Lestat, Claudia, Louis (played in the movie by Brad Pitt), Daniel and Yvette. These are all great vampire names and — aside from Lestat — do not veer too far from the norm. (The SSA reports that just 37 kids were given the name Lestat in 2010, making it the 22788th most popular name.)
All the rage today are the names of the Cullen family from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. (Interesting note: Stephenie Meyer’s unusual variant of the name Stephanie was chosen to honor her father, Stephen.) I can only imagine how many of our future generations will carry the names Edward, Jasper, Alice, Carlisle, Rosalie, Renesmee, Bella (short for Isabella), Esme and Emmett. Even the last name Cullen is quickly becoming a popular first name for newborns!
Other names from by the Twilight novels and movies include:
The most popular of all of these is, of course, Edward — but that name had plenty of historical momentum behind it that had nothing to do with Twilight. As for going with Edward as the first name and Cullen as the middle… reportedly, there are almost 100 people in the US with that name combination.
Even some of the Twilight cast has also inspired a new naming frenzy. For example, the name Kellan — for Kellan Christopher Lutz, the actor who played Emmett Cullen — jumped 260 spots from 2009 to 2010, and is now the 366th most popular name for boys. (Kellen also jumped 70 notches.) What might be on the horizon? Bad boy James is played by Cam Joslin Gigandet — a pretty cool name.
For the less adventurous vampire lover, think about Bill, Eric, Talbot or Russell. These popular True Blood boy names are perhaps less dramatic than some of the above, but you will still know what they mean to you!