Guillermo del Toro, co-creator of The Strain, has been obsessed with vampires since he was a child, which certainly isn’t a bad thing when it comes to his new FX series which focuses on the supernatural creatures. Del Toro has thought these vampires through like you wouldn’t believe, to the point where there’s a biological explanation behind every vampiric progression.
When asked about what drew him to this body of work, Guillermo proudly and openly admitted that he’s actually been a vampire-lover since childhood:
I’ve been obsessed by vampires for a long, long time, since I was a very young kid, and a very strange kid. I read about vampire mythology worldwide and I familiarized myself with the Japanese, Filipino, Malaysian, and Eastern European variations on the vampire, and many, many others. And I kept very detailed notes as a kid on where to go with the vampire myth in terms of brutality, social structure, biology, this and that, and some of those notes made it into my first feature, Cronos, some of them made it in Blade II, when I directed that, and most of them made it into The Strain.
He then continued on, breaking down the biological explanations of the vampires, including why some of them vary in looks and actions:
I knew that the older the vampires stay alive, the older that they stay alive, the more they lose their humanity. They start literally by losing their heart. Their heart is suffocated by a vampire heart that overtakes the functions. And this was important metaphorically for me because the beacon that guides these vampires to their victims is love. Love is what makes them seek their victims. They go to the people they love the most. So they turn their instinct that is most innately human into the most inhuman feeding mechanism, so their heart is dead.
Then shortly thereafter their digestive system is overtaken. Then, as we do in an early episode, their genitals fall off. And their excretion system becomes really, really efficient in the way that ticks, or lower forms of life that feed on blood do, a tick in order to feed needs to eliquate itself, and they are eliquating while they are feeding. And in the series that comes with the big splashes of ammonia infused liquid that they expel while they’re feeding. And then I know that they lose their soft tissue, their ears start falling off, their nose, if they’ve been alive for several years their nose rots and falls away, and they develop a tracheal opening to vent the extra heat from the metabolism and to project the stinger. So, I take a very biological approach. It’s not just, oh, that looks cool. I try to have it make sense biologically in the design…they lose their hair because their body heat is so big it consumes the fat in the scalp, burns the roots, and they then change color because they lose their red cells.
The man certainly doesn’t take his vampires lightly, and we love it! When someone puts that much thought and effort into a project, you can’t help but get excited about it as well, and we certainly are.
The Strain premieres July 13th at 10pm on FX.
Photo Credit: FX Networks