ISSN: 20599072
First published in 2018
2 issues per volume
Volume 1 Issue 1
Cover Date: March 2018
Pathogens, vermin and strigoi: Contagion science and vampire myth in Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain
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Authors:  Julia Echeverría 
DOI: 10.1386/jspc.1.1.43_1

Keywords
virus,infestation,vampires,apocalypse,post-9/11 television,Guillermo del Toro

Abstract
The first season of Guillermo del Toro’s television series, The Strain (2014–present) ingeniously merges the classical Bram Stoker vampire legend with the virus outbreak narrative by means of familiar contagion imagery and clichés that include the premise of an infected airplane and the running-against-the-clock efforts of the CDC protagonist, Dr Goodweather. The series offers three complementary perspectives that broaden the scope of vampirism: the medical vision of the protagonist, who insists on treating the outbreak as if it were an infectious disease; the pest exterminator Vasily who refers to these beings as vermin and rat-people; and the mythical vampire approach of a Jewish Holocaust survivor who brands them strigoi. I argue that the epidemiological perspective introduced by del Toro provides verisimilitude to the vampire myth while at the same time introducing contemporary discourses of virality and adding dichotomies of purity and corruption. By exploring the use of the genre’s conventions in del Toro’s imaginative universe, I intend to prove how a television series can be the ideal medium for unfolding epidemic narratives.
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