'Supernatural' Season 8 brings vampires back into the mix: 6 things to know

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supernatural-dean-vampire.jpgVampires have been a presence on "Supernatural" since the first season -- a couple of years before the "Twilight" craze began, thank you very much. Back in Season 6, "Supernatural" did an episode that parodied the current romantic vampire mythology, propagated by shows like "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries" as well as the film series.

In Season 8, vampires are back in a big way. Dean ( Jensen Ackles) will return from Purgatory with a new, uh, acquaintance. Benny, played by guest star Ty Olsson, is a very old vampire who creates an extremely volatile situation for Dean, who owes him a significant debt after their escape from Limbo. The fifth episode of Season 8, which is called "Blood Brother," will bring more vamps into the mix.

In it, we'll meet another "age-old vampire of unspeakable evil" -- whose dark, horrifying nature and ancient anger is hidden by his youthful, innocent appearance. With fan favorites Ben Edlund and Guy Bee writing and directing, respectively, this episode is sure to be memorable.

With all of the vampire shows and movies out there, we thought we'd help you brush up on the rules of vampire mythology in the "Supernatural" world. Here are the six things to remember going into Season 8:

supernatural-vampire-teeth.jpg 1. Their teeth aren't pretty. Unlike the two sharp fangs from the "Twilight" series and most vampire TV shows, the "Supernatural" vampires look like something out of your shark week nightmare. They've got rows of razor-sharp teeth that retract and extend from above their gums, over their natural human teeth. Trust us, you'd much rather make out with a Salvatore than a "Supernatural" vamp.

2. Humans are turned into vampires by ingesting vamp blood.
In Season 6, Dean was turned into a vampire when a vampire forced him to drink his blood. In "The Vampire Diaries," a person must die with vampire blood in her system and then feed on a human to turn. "True Blood" humans have to be bitten and drained of almost all their human blood before feeding on vampire blood. It's not such a process in "Supernatural."

spn-dead-mans-blood.jpg 3. Dead man's blood weakens them. The first time John Winchester taught his sons about vampires, he briefly caught the predators off-guard using the blood of a recently deceased human. Once injected with it, they're incapacitated for a bit... but not for long.

4. There are a few ways to kill them. The Colt worked on the Season 1 vampires. Vampires can also die by having their heads cut off -- via machete, razor wire, or whatever other gruesome device may be laying around. In Season 6, Castiel also killed the vampire Lenore by touching her head. He's a boss like that.

5. There is a cure. Unlike some of the other major pop-culture vampires, "Supernatural" vampires can be cured of their condition -- but it isn't easy. It requires the blood of the vampire who turned them in a very uncomfortable-looking ritual. Lucky for Dean, when he vamped out in Season 6, he was able to catch the guy who did it and turn back into a human.

supernatural-alpha-vampire.jpg 6. Finally, all vampires are ruled by the Alpha. The Alpha vampire is the very first vampire -- and, as far as we know, the only Alpha monster that survived Castiel's eradication of Samuel Campbell's Alpha torture chambers in Season 6. He's a creepy fellow in desperate need of a manicure, with a disconcerting tendency to raise innocent children as his personal juiceboxes. Last year, the Alpha vampire teased that he'd see the Winchesters "next season," so there's a good chance he'll factor in when the show returns.

"Supernatural" returns to The CW on Wednesday, October 3 at 9 p.m. EST.
Photo/Video credit: The CW