The latest episode of horror comedy series What We Do in the Shadows had an unofficial appearance from vampire hunter Blade. Wesley Snipes played Marvel Comics’ half-breed vampire slayer over three movies from 1998 to 2004.
What We Do in the Shadows is based on the New Zealand mockumentary comedy horror film of the same name, following Ottoman soldier Nandor, English nobleman Laszlo and Romani romantic Nadja, a group of vampires sharing a house in Staten Island, New York. The trio came to America hundreds of years ago with the goal of conquering the fledgling New World, but somewhere along the way their plan went by the wayside and now their time is spent bickering over domestic chores and living out content – if somewhat pathetic – existences. Their lives are interrupted by the arrival of their master, the ancient Baron Afanas, who has come to check up on the progress of his disciples in their mission.
As reported by CBR, What We Do in the Shadows featured Snipes unofficially reprising his role as vampire hunter Blade. The scene involves the show’s main trio being summoned before the Vampiric Council to stand trial for killing the Baron, although they are unaware of the details since they were all high on drug-infused blood at the time. Snipes appears as Wesley, a member of the Council calling in via Skype, the others expressing exasperation at his presence, referring to him as a “daywalker,” “vampire killer,” and “half vampire.” None of the statements are elaborated upon, but each is a clear reference to Blade, a hybrid created when his mother was attacked during labor, giving him the powers of a vampire but the ability to walk in sunlight, along with a fierce determination to exterminate vampire kind. Any actual expression of the character was hampered by Wesley’s spotty Wi-Fi and his video connection continually glitching and lagging.
The scene in question also features a number of recognisable actors as the members of the Council, doubly notable for having played previously played vampires, namely Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn) “with his shirt off as usual,” Paul Reubens (the original movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood) and Taika Waititi, Jermaine Clement and Jonny Brugh, reprising their roles from the original What We Do in the Shadows movie. Each is also made up to look like their vampire character, and the dialogue also name checks several other actors known for vampire roles, “Kiefer,” “Rob,” and “Tom & Brad,” who were unable to attend due to “an availability thing.” It also features Dave Bautista, who played a vampire-like alien warrior in an episode of Smallville.
What We Do in the Shadows has so far received a positive reception from both audiences and critics, finding a perfect fusion of its Kiwi comedic stylings being portrayed by British actors relatively unknown outside their native island. The use of Snipes was in keeping with the absurdism of the show’s humor, his presence set apart from the others not only by not being physically present in the scene, but also from each of the other vampires being traditional interpretations in one way or another, while Blade is a enemy of the undead who seeks to destroy them, here neutered by his being so inconsequentially ineffectual. It’s precisely this kind of straight-faced incongruity that keeps What We Do in the Shadows so engaging, and has led to the show being renewed for a second season.