In contemporary Western popular culture, the vampire has evolved into one of the most recognizable symbols of evil. Yet, less has been said - and even less has been understood - about its nemesis, the vampire slayer. "Slayers and Their Vampires" is the first work to explore how the vampire slayer began, and it goes further to ask why the true history of the vampire slayer has been so long ignored. Author Bruce McClelland describes how the literary and screen dramas obscured the darker nature of the slayer, whose persecution of a corpse is accepted as heroic rather than corrupt. McClelland refuses to accept the heroism of most slayers like Dracula's "Van Helsing" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", who are routinely presented as superheroes acting above the law because of their special knowledge. Instead, he presents a nonromanticized history of the earliest vampire rituals that shows what it meant to kill vampires then and what it has come to mean now. Along the way, we learn how much creative license figured into the refashioning of the vampire for the entertainment of the West. With its wide range of inquiry, this book will appeal not only to fans of Dracula, vampire, Buffy, Anne Rice, and Anita Blake lore, but also to students of anthropology, sociology, European religious history, Slavistics, folklore, and cinematic and literary history.