If you can believe Wikipedia some ancient traditions believe that werewolves would become vampires after being killed.

Before the end of the 19th century, the Greeks believed that the corpses of werewolves, if not destroyed, would return to life as vampires in the form of wolves or hyenas which prowled battlefields, drinking the blood of dying soldiers.

Modern fiction has Vampires and Werewolves at odds with each other (Underworld, Van Helsing, Twilight).

Where did it originate that these two night prowlers would be bitter enemies?

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    It might have something to do with the fact that Vampires are weak against the sun while Lychans are weak against moonlight (which doesn't make sense because moonlight is just reflected sunlight, lol) Oct 31, 2011 at 19:44
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    This was a big part of White Wolf's 'World of Darkness' RPGs - which pre-dates the sources you've listed. I'm not sure if it's the original source, though.
    – Nate
    Oct 31, 2011 at 19:53
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    @OghmaOsiris - I can't think of any story where Werewolves are "weakened" by moonlight - depending on the story, it usually either causes their transformation or makes them stronger.
    – Nate
    Oct 31, 2011 at 19:55
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    There was a Ghostbusters (cartoon) episode that dealt with this, so it predates most of the movies that jump to mind when you say, "vampires vs werewolves".
    – Jeff
    Oct 31, 2011 at 20:00
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    @Nate The moonlight causes them to no longer be in control of who they are or what they are doing (according to most werewolf legends) so the moonlight would be a weakness in my mind. Oct 31, 2011 at 20:07

4 Answers 4




Most "real-life" legends and folklore mention little or nothing about any animosity between these two supernaturals. The myths most commonly thought of when you hear those terms, from Eastern Europe, actually mostly state that either werewolves become vampires when they're killed and not properly disposed of, or that the two creatures are the same thing.

Probably the first movie source for a conflict between a werewolf and vampire is Dracula vs. The Wolfman. That was simply because you had these two awesome supernatural creatures and wanted to see who'd win; pure pulp fiction. It wasn't until later that the whole "Fur vs Fang" thing was fleshed out by novelists and screenwriters to provide more of a historical source for the feud. Obviously the only similarity between most of the more popular backstories is that they don't much like each other:

  • Underworld has the two races sharing a common ancestor, with the wolf ancestor being an uncontrollable monster that most of the vampire race were created specifically to counter. The wolves were then enslaved by the vampires, which eventually fostered a hatred among werewolves that led to the war. Both perpetuate the species by "infecting" humans with a virus, and apparently it takes a pretty strong human to survive the ordeal and "twist" the virus's effects to gain immortality.

  • Harry Potter mentions that vampires and werewolves exist, but doesn't go very deeply into their backstories and mentions no racial animosity; the only vampire I remember from HP is pretty much comic relief in one of Slughorn's parties. The werewolves are covered more, as Lupin, a prominent backstory and supporting character, is one, and the affliction is considered a disease that is incurable but manageable.

  • In Twilight the Quileute "werewolves" are actually more "shape-shifters" that came upon the ability genetically, completely independent of their encountering vampires. The hatred is mostly on the part of the werewolves towards the vampires due to their first encounter with a vampire; the vampires usually could care less until they have the pack nipping at their heels. Real "Children of the Moon" also exist, but they are little more than a throwaway mention in the last chapters of Breaking Dawn, to differentiate the Quileutes from the vampires' ancient enemy.

  • True Blood makes werewolves relatives of "shifters", along with were-panthers, were-tigers etc all under the general heading of "two-natured" beings. Being a "were-something" is mostly genetic, and the books and HBO series apparently disagree on whether it's possible to become one (or something like it) by being bitten; the book says it's possible, but one bite won't do it, while the HBO series had it fail to work in the same situation. Being a shifter is purely genetic; you can't become one by being bitten, and apparently it is a dominant trait (the two children of Maudette Pickens with her non-shifter husband, including Sam Merlotte, are both shifters). There's a low-lying antagonism between vampires and all two-natured, but they're not sworn enemies.

  • Vampire Diaries apparently hasn't gone too deep into werewolves YET (other than that they exist and vampires fear them because they're actually a match for them, kind of like in Twilight), and I don't follow the show, so I can't speak too much for it.

All of this more recent fiction about vampires and werewolves is mostly along the lines of "wouldn't it be cool if... ", and "yes, but you have to deal with... ". That's ALL pretty recent; as recently as the early 1900s, even the rumor that someone was either of these things was cause for a lynch mob. It wasn't until later, with the rise of mass media and commercialization, that we come to the state of affairs we're at now.

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    Correction: In the Twilight saga, true werewolves (children of the moon) were separate and distinct from the tribal "shape-shifters". This was clarified during the final confrontation with the Vulturi at the end of Breaking Dawn. Your comments about the tribal shape-shifters are correct. The true werewolves were nearly extinct after being hunted by one of the Vulturi who had nearly been killed by a werewolf, though the exact circumstances of that meeting were not provided. Apr 11, 2012 at 17:36
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    Another correction: In the Sookie Stackhouse novels, wereanimals were distinct from shape-shifters. Wereanimals could change to only one form whereas shape-shifters could change to a number of different forms (the bartender, Sookie's boss was a shape-shifter). Also, being bitten by a were did not change one into a true were, but only to a pseudo-were. Sookie's brother could not do a full change into the animal form but only to a half-man/half-animal form. Apr 11, 2012 at 17:41
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    I couldn’t find any film named Dracula vs. The Wolfman.
    – Molag Bal
    Nov 17, 2016 at 6:00
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    About older folk legends, it may be worth to read mythology.stackexchange.com/q/346/197 "What is the relationship between werewolves and vampires in Balkan folklore?" on Mythology SE
    – b_jonas
    Nov 17, 2016 at 11:12
  • Best I could find was The Wolfman vs. Dracula - Unproduced Script
    – Ouroborus
    Nov 17, 2016 at 23:47

The first prominent example of an ongoing conflict between vampires and werewolves is in Vampire: The Masquerade, a tabletop RPG released in 1991 set in the Old World of Darkness universe.1 This game had a strong influence on later depictions of vampires and werewolves in fiction,2 including Underworld.

Earlier examples of vampire and werewolf conflict in fiction are very sparse, and apparently not as influential on later media. The best prior example was provided by Nick in his answer to this question: the Ghostbusters cartoon, “No One Comes to Lupusville,” aired in 1987 and depicts a vampire society in conflict with a werewolf society.

I could not find any earlier examples of an ongoing war between vampires and werewolves, but there are a few one-on-one vampire vs. werewolf fights:

I couldn’t find any other examples of vampire and werewolf conflicts predating 1991 in TV Tropes’ page on Fur Against Fang.

1First mentioned by Nate in a comment on this question.

2 Mark Rein, Hagen’s Foundational Influence on 21st Century Vampiric Media:

A motif oft repeated in later derived media is the ... conflict between vampires and werewolves.


There are several cases in lore where werewolves are used as protectors against vampires - in gypsy lore they are used to protect the caravans. Also in Irish lore there is a story of a priest stricken with lycanthropy who protects travelers on the way to a monastery from vampires.

If you look hard enough there is also a predecessor to the two species. I can never remember the name. It's Wyrshn... something if I remember right. I've only come across it once in a actual book, never on the web.


Ghostbusters cartoon, "No One Comes to Lupusville" October 5, 1987 The heroes find a town in an out of the way place. It turns out it was entirely populated by werewolves, who liked the out of the way location. Vampires decide they want the town for the same reason and lock up all the townsfolk in a basement without realising they are werewolves.

The Ghostbusters free the villagers, who then turn into werewolves when they step outside (it's a full-moon night) and battle with the vampires. Vampire bites a werewolf, and the werewolf becomes a vampire. Werewolf bites a vampire, it turns into a werewolf. The heroes run away before all the monsters becomes the same type!

This episode had them as enemies as they were both after the same resource, an out of the way village to live in. I imagine competition for prey (humans) would also lead them to fight each other.

  • Are humans noted to be the preferred prey of werewolves? I always thought it was coincidental in the same way you don't typically see other predators preferentially hunting humans.
    – Ouroborus
    Nov 17, 2016 at 23:51

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