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Our heroine, Alice, has just met Bob. She's fascinated by him, but there's something not quite right about Bob. Maybe he spends all his time under an umbrella and avoids sunlight. Maybe he possesses seemingly superhuman strength, or maybe people have been mysteriously disappearing since he arrived.

Alice soon comes to the conclusion that Bob is a vampire and delves deeper into the matter. She eventually confronts Bob, only to discover... he's not a vampire after all. Maybe he's just a normal guy... or maybe he's something even more sinister.

This trope is for any instance where a character is set up as a vampire, and is then revealed not to be. It can lead to a massive awkward moment on Alice's part, or it may just serve to deepen the mystery if there is a real vampire on the loose.

Can also be Played for Laughs if a character accuses someone of being a vampire when it's quite clear to the audience that they aren't.

Compare/contrast Totally Not a Werewolf, in which the suspect is always a supernatural creature, just not the one they were thought to be. See also: Not Using the Z Word

Examples of Actually Not a Vampire include:

Anime and Manga

  • Arystar Krory in D.Gray-man. Because he'd attack the townspeople at night and drain them of their blood, everyone (including Krory himself) thought him to be a vampire. He turns out to be a human with Innocence, and he was instinctively attacking Akuma.
  • It is easy to assume that Seishirou Kirishiki in Shiki is a vampire but it is not so. Instead, he is The Team Normal among the vampires.


  • In an old EC Comics story, the premise of a game show is to guess the job of a special guest. The contestants get steadily more panicky and more creative as they discover that their guest 'works with a red liquid' and it's not soap, or ink, or anything other than what they're thinking about... he's actually a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood). The contestants are the vampires- the gameshow is for supernatural creatures, and the contestants typically feast on the guest at the end of the show.
  • Justice League, during their "International" period (also known as the Bwa-ha-ha era), ran an arc in which a region of Europe was overrun by "vampires". It's revealed that a mad-scientist had infected innocent people with an artificially mutated mind-controlling strain of porphrya, a blood disease that may have been the origin of the vampire myths.
  • One of the stranger storylines in Ruse involves an Uberwald-esque town seemingly empty by day but lively by night, and a nearby Gypsy caravan whose women are being kidnapped (and, eventually, Emma). Generations of inbreeding have induced a mutation causing the townspeople to be invisible in sunlight and extremely photophobic; they're kidnapping girls for outside blood to counter the mutation.
  • A subversion of sorts occurs in one Mickey Mouse story. Goofy befriends a man who has just moved into an old house in town, and who actually dresses much like the stereotypical Bela Lugosi sort of vampire. The man even admits himself that it is the look he is going for, and that everything else he does, from sleeping in a wooden box to keeping the curtains shut, is just a healthy way of life. Goofy believes it, and wants to try. Mickey is not so gullible, and repeatedly tries to prove his claim by throwing about typical anti-vampire stuff such as garlic and running water. In the end, however, all attempts fail, and Goofy becomes increasingly angry with Mickey for messing around. Cue Mickey convincing him to find the man where he sleeps at day and pulling the curtains. Sunlight shines on him... and nothing happens. Mickey admits defeat, and they both leave. As soon as they have, however, the man pulls away the fake window he had on his wall, with just a normal lamp behind it. He laughs at them in the final frame, and will presumably go on to act like the vampire he is now that the "hunters" are gone.


  • Vampire's Kiss is about a man who thinks he's turning into a vampire, but he's actually losing his mind.
  • The early George Romero film Martin follows the activity of a young man who is convinced he is a vampire. It's left ambiguous as to whether or not he really is a vampire, but only Martin and his uncle both believe in his vampirism, and there aren't any specific signs of his being supernatural that are explicitly shown.
  • Isle Of The Dead was producer Val Lewton's contribution to the vampire genre. It features a group of expatriates quarantined on an island during the 1910s Balkan Wars. One of the locals starts spreading rumors about how a vrovrolakas (the film's version of vrykolakas, the Greek term for vampire) is responsible for The Plague. Paranoia sets in.
  • In The Lost Boys, Sam and the Frog brothers try some vampire-detecting methods on Max when he comes over for supper, and are humiliated when all the tests fail. Subverted when it turns out Max is the leader of the vampires; the tests had merely been rendered ineffectual because he'd been invited into the house by Michael.
  • In Transylvania 6-5000, a woman who dresses like Elvira in a Dracula cape turns out to only be acting like a vampire to get attention.


  • The Morris Gleitzman short story "Dracila" is about a ten year old attempting to convince his kid brother that their sister's new boyfriend is not a vampire; despite a surprising amount of evidence cropping up to indicate that he is.
  • Sherlock Holmes - "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire".
  • In The Legacy of Lehr by Katherine Kurtz, there's a killer on the loose who appears to have all the indicators of being a vampire, but it turns out he isn't and it's just a series of coincidences. (That doesn't mean he isn't a dangerous killer, though.).
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, some speculate that the eponymous Count is a vampire, on account of his jail-gained pallor.
  • Edwart in Nightlight, a parody of Twilight.
  • Played straight and subverted in the original novella I Am Legend. While the infected people technically could be considered vampires, Neville realises at the end that the reason they reason most of them display the traditional weaknesses is actually psychological. As the virus spread the word "Vampire" started to be thrown around and the trauma of dying and then reviving drove most of those afflicted insane. He then understands why he once observed one Vampire climbing a telegraph pole only to leap to his death... he thought he would turn into a bat.
  • In Lensey Namioka's Village of the Vampire Cat, two ronin try to solve a mystery regarding the Japanese-style vampire. Apparently it's sneaking into girls' rooms at night, killing them with its claws, and also causing fainting spells. And there's a strange mewling sound that crops up now and again, and sometimes people get attacked by invisible claws while in the forest. Turns out it's a man thought dead, who was killing the beautiful women who robbed his grave... using a hook on a long cord as a weapon. And his mewling voice came from his mutilated throat.
  • In the first Kate Daniels book, a guy she meets and dates briefly is set up to be the Monster of the Week. He isn't. It's really, really awkward.
  • The mysterious Mr A.R. Claud in Dracula, Go Home by Kin Platt. Of course, if he was seeking to avoid attention, he could have a chosen different alias.
  • In Making Money Mister Bent is suspected of being a vampire due to his dark clothing, mysterious past, obsessive counting, staying at Mrs. Cake's boarding house, where supernatural creatures often reside, and always showing up at the bank before light and leaving after dark. It turns out he was born a clown. He's just very dedicated to his job.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this in a tie-in novel; the creature was actually a demon masquerading as a vampire and known as the Daywalker.
  • In the novel Twelve, one of the Vampire Vannabe s isn't a vampire. This is a major surprise to the reader, the main character, and in the sequel, even to other vampires. Being able to pretend to be a blood-sucking torture-loving inhuman monster is not played for laughs.
  • In the A to Z Mysteries book The Vampire Vacation, the three main kids begin to suspect that a man named "Dr. A. Cula" is, in fact, a vampire. Turns out he's just an actor dressed as a vampire, preparing for his next role.

Live Action TV

  • Parodied on How I Met Your Mother. Marshall believes that the bartender at MacLaren's is a vampire, based on his black clothing and tendency to come out at night.

 Robin: Hey! That does describe a vampire! Or, you know, a bartender.

  • The Doctor Who episode "Vampires of Venice". The "vampires" are actually alien Fish People who happen to exhibit a number of vampire-like traits.

 The Doctor: "No, they're not vampires. They're fish from space."

    • His delivery of the "fish from space" line makes it funny to boot.
  • In an episode of the short-lived horror anthology Darkroom, a young Helen Hunt believed her big sister's boyfriend was a vampire. He wasn't. He was actually a werewolf.
  • In the Get Smart episode "Weekend Vampire" the eponymous vampire isn't a vampire, he uses a musical blowgun to blows two small Poison Darts that he aims at his victim's neck. But he still has a creepy castle and uses a coffin as a bed secret stairway to his underground lair.
  • In Highlander the Series, one episode features what appears to be a string of vampire attacks in Paris during the Renaisance. The victims in Paris all have missing blood and piercing wounds on their neck. There's even a Van Hellsing type character hunting the vampire. He catches him too, only the be shocked when the vampire gets up from being staked. Turns out the vampire was an immortal faking vampire attacks so that he could kill his young bride and inherit her money.
  • In an episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Frank Lemmer is shown avoiding sunlight and other things, prompting Shelly to think he's a vampire. This culminate with her splashing him with a bucket full of holy water.
  • The Psych episode "This Episode Sucks" has a black-cloaked killer draining peoples' blood, and Shawn and Gus think it's a vampire. It's actually a man with a rare disease who is stealing blood for transfusions since he lost his insurance.
  • Played straight Forever Knight but with a variation in 'Close Call'. Schanke suspects Nick, who actually *is* a vampire, of being a vampire due to his sunlight aversion and blood in his fridge and snoops around trying to find proof. Worried about his secret and the Enforcers, Nick follows him and tries to whammy him into forgetting, but Schanke is a partial resister and it fails. It takes LaCroix to give a powerful enough whammy to correct the problem. This made the ending a sort of inversion, since Schanke believed Nick wasn't a vampire when he was.
  • St Elsewhere did an episode in which a young man thought he was a vampire. His creepy behavior makes some of the hospital staff wonder about this, but he's eventually diagnosed with porphyria.
  • The Vampire Diaries used a series of Red Herrings to trick more observant audience members into thinking that the new history teacher Alaric Saltzman was a vampire - he wore a conspicuous ring, like the sunlight protection rings other vampires wore, and didn't step inside the Gilberts' house. He was actually a vampire hunter, and didn't step inside because he was being polite... while the ring was an entirely different kind of magical artefact.


  • An episode of The Doings Of Hamish And Dougal suggested that either the Laird was a vampire, or he was in the thrall of his ancestor Count Cardula, who was a vampire. It turned out there were plausible explanations for everything. We even heard some of them.

Tabletop Games

  • Vampire: The Requiem actually has a whole book dedicated to this -- Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead, which outlines the various creatures of the night that have vampiric traits but aren't necessarily on the same tier as the Kindred that are the central focus of the line. Such things include ghuls, jiang shi, penanggalan, a parasite that requires blood and eventually overtakes its host (replacing their tongue in the process), and a machine that rejuvenates humans but gives them a thirst for blood.
  • 1st Edition AD&D had a whole set of monsters called "pseudo-undead", which had the physical appearance, hit dice and attacks of undead, but were living creatures with none of their special abilities. Pseudo-vampires were among the examples of this creature-type, all varieties of which existed mostly to be used by DMs as "ringers" for the real thing.


  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Anton is believed to be a vampire by everybody in town- including Anton himself. However, he is actually an old man and everyone is high on illusion fumes.

Visual Novels

  • Tsukihime, being essentially a vampire novel, plays this straight: after encountering a bunch of actual, honest-to-gods vampires, Shiki begins suspecting that his own little sister Akiha is one, too, especially after witnessing her feeding on Kohaku's blood. It turns out that Akiha is not a vampire but a demon hybrid who must consume "bodily fluids" (including blood) of a very specific person (Kohaku or her twin Hisui) in order to maintain her sanity.


Western Animation

  • Dr. Orpheus on The Venture Brothers is easily mistaken for "a dracula."
    • The vampire girls in the "The Silent Partners" episode turn out to be prostitutes to indulge Billy's fantasy from the movie Bram Stokers Dracula.
  • Played Straight then subverted on Hey Arnold, in the episode "Sid The Vampire Slayer". Sid spends the whole episode believing Stinky is a vampire and tries to get proof. When he confronts Stinky, he has a perfectly logical explanation for everything and Sid leaves feeling stupid. Cut to later that night, where we see Stinky, talking to a bat and looking suspiciously like a vampire!
  • Stoked!: "Grommy the Vampire Slayer" is all about this as Reef becomes convinced that three VIP Eastern European guests are vampires.
  • In one episode of The Magic School Bus, the kids suspect Miss Frizzle is a vampire, although of course she's not.
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