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Why do the vampires in underworld have blue eyes?

Vampires have been a popular subject in literature, film, and folklore for centuries. Their mysterious nature, supernatural powers, and connection to the night have captivated audiences. One particularly recognizable trait of vampires in popular culture is their gleaming blue eyes, which can be seen in the Underworld film series.

The Significance of Eye Color in the Underworld Series

In the Underworld films, eye color is an important way to distinguish between the different immortal factions. The vampires all have piercing ice blue eyes, while the werewolves (or Lycans as they’re known) have yellow eyes. This visual cue helps the audience quickly identify who is a vampire vs a Lycan.

Some key points about the vampire’s blue eyes in Underworld:

  • Their vibrant blue color distinguishes them from humans and Lycans
  • It is a uniform trait shared among all vampires in the films
  • Their eyes turn bright blue when they shift into attack mode and their fangs descend
  • The icy blue color gives them an otherworldly, predatory look

So in the Underworld mythology, the blue eyes are an important part of establishing the vampires as a distinct species with shared physical characteristics. Their striking eye color visually sets them apart.

Possible Explanations for the Blue Eye Color

There are a few possible symbolic explanations for why the vampires have such vibrant blue eyes in the Underworld franchise:

Links to the Coldness of Death

In many myths and legends, vampires are associated with the chill of the grave and the coldness of death. Their blue eyes could be an expression of the frigid afterlife from which they draw their immortality. The icy blue color conveys the vampires’ supernatural connection to the world of the dead.

Suggesting a Lack of Humanity

While vampires were once human, they are now undead immortal beings who must feed on the living to survive. Their striking blue eyes set them apart from natural eye colors and suggest their separation from humanity. The vibrant, unnatural shade indicates these vampires are no longer mortal.

Heightened Senses and Perception

In some vampire lore, the undead gain sharpened senses and perception after being transformed. The bright blue could be a visual representation of the vampires’ heightened senses – they can see more vividly with their icy eyes. The cold shade also gives them an intense, piercing gaze.

Evoking Danger and Power

In color symbolism, blue can represent mystery, power, and danger which are all traits associated with vampires. The chilling blue shade makes the vampires look formidable and sinister. Their eyes give a sense they are not to be trifled with.

How the Blue Eyes Reflect Character and Narrative

In addition to symbolic meanings, the blue eyes also play a role in telling the story and developing characters in the Underworld films. Here are some key ways the distinctive eye color factors into the overall narrative:

Demonstrating Transformation into Vampire

When Selene turns Michael Corvin into a hybrid vampire in Underworld, his eyes change from brown to an electric shade of blue, demonstrating his transformation. This visual cue shows he has crossed over into a supernatural state.

Reflecting Emotional States

The vampires’ eyes may brighten, blaze with color, or fade to gray depending on their emotional states. This adds visual drama to important moments. For example, Selene’s eyes intensify when she is angered or bonding with Michael.

Marking Hierarchy and Power

In the vampire coven, the Elders have the palest shade of blue eyes, almost white, showing their advanced age and authority. Viktor’s icy pale eyes demonstrate his status as head of the coven.

Establishing Family Relation

Selene has the same distinctive blue eyes as her vampire father Viktor, suggesting their familial connection and lineage even before it is revealed. This clue hints at the eventual twist.

Indicating Dark Intent

When Marcus is revealed as a sinister villain later in the films, his extremely pale blue eyes take on a menacing aspect, reflecting his cruel motivations and inhumanity.

Signifying Supernatural Hybrid Status

Michael Corvin’s eyes turning blue signifies him becoming a vampire-Lycan hybrid. The new icy blue shade reflects his newfound supernatural capabilities from both species.

Blue Eyes in Vampire Mythology and Fiction

While the vampires in Underworld have a very distinctive blue eye color, this concept is not completely original. Blue eyes have often been associated with vampires and the undead in folklore and fiction. Here are some examples:

F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922)

One of the earliest vampire films, Nosferatu features Count Orlok with chilling pale blue eyes, establishing the trend of vampiric characters with icy colored eyes.

The Volturi in Twilight (2005-2012)

The imposing Volturi vampire coven in the Twilight series all have cloudy blue eyes that turn vivid crimson when they are feeding or emotional.

The Ancient Vampire, Akasha, in Queen of the Damned

In both the novel and 2002 film adaptation, the primordial vampire Akasha is described as having extraordinary, hypnotizing blue eyes almost the color of fluorescent lights.

D (Vampire Hunter D)

The half vampire-half human title character in Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D novel series has striking blue eyes, representing his dual nature.

Blue-eyed vampires in folklore

In some European folklore, vampires were believed to have a permanent blue tinge or color to their eyelids, fingernails, lips, and skin because of a lack of circulating blood after death.

Fictional Work Character(th> Eye Color Description
Underworld series Vampires Icy light blue
Nosferatu Count Orlok Pale blue
Twilight series The Volturi Cloudy blue, turn crimson when feeding
Queen of the Damned Akasha Hypnotic fluorescent blue
Vampire Hunter D D Striking blue

The Evolution of Vampire Eye Color Over Time

The vibrant blue shade seen in Underworld vampires represents a more modern interpretation of a vampire trait. Here is how vampire eye color has evolved over time in folklore and fiction:

  • Early Folklore: No specific eye color mentioned, or vampires described as having a permanent blue coloring of the eyelids or lips after death.
  • 19th Century Fiction: Vampire eye color not emphasized, or described as flashing red at times. For example, Bram Stoker does not detail Dracula’s eye color.
  • Early 20th Century Film: Vampires start being depicted with unusual pale or icy blue eyes, seen in Nosferatu.
  • Late 20th Century: Vampire eye color varies widely – red, green, black, yellow, or vivid unusual shades of blue. Eyes may change with mood or feeding.
  • 21st Century: Deep blue becomes the most common eye color for vampires in modern films like Underworld and Twilight, showing off improved special effects.

Over time, the vampire’s association with the color blue and the trend of giving them remarkable eyes has gradually intensified as filmmaking techniques advanced. The striking icy blue shade seen in Underworld represents the contemporary popular image of a vampire’s intense gaze.

The Effects of Blue Contacts and Digital Color Grading

Two key techniques are used in the Underworld films to achieve the uniform blue eyes on the vampire characters:

Colored Contact Lenses

The vampire actors wear specialized contact lenses tinted a vibrant shade of blue. This covers their natural eye color and gives a consistent look across the vampire cast. Fun fact – Kate Beckinsale, who plays Selene, wears brown color contacts when portraying her human self in flashbacks!

Digital Color Grading

After filming, digital grading enhances the blue of the vampire’s eyes, saturates the color, and makes the shade more vivid and luminous in post-production. This completes the eerie icy blue look.

Without these methods, it would be difficult for the filmmakers to achieve such a striking and uniform blue-eyed appearance on the diverse ensemble vampire cast.Contacts and grading take the blue eyes from naturalistic to supernatural.


In the Underworld franchise, the vampires’ icy light blue eyes serve both symbolic and narrative purposes. Visually, the chilling shade separates them from warm-blooded humans and suggests their otherworldly nature and connection to the grave. Blue eyes also factor into the plot and characters, marking transformation, hierarchy, emotion, and relationships.

While especially vivid in these films, the association between vampires and blue eyes has precedent in earlier folklore and fiction. Modern special effects allow the filmmakers to use color grading and contacts to give the Underworld vampires such a strikingly consistent blue gaze, which has now become strongly identified with vampiric characters in popular culture.

So whether due to symbolism, storytelling, effects, or mythological precedent, cold blue remains the perfect eye color for suggesting the mystic qualities and deadly charms of these iconic immortal beings.