What We Do In The Shadows Producers Explain The Bizarre Part Of Vampire Lore They’ve Repeatedly Tried To Use

Laslo, Nadia and Nandor in What We Do In The Shadows
(Image credit: FX)

What We Do In The Shadows is not just a great and hilarious vampire series, but also very much a celebration of vampire lore. The mythology around the undead monsters is vast and complicated, and the show regularly crafts stories that explore the nooks and crannies. There is, however, one incredibly odd and obscure rule that the filmmakers have never been able to find a way to include, and it involves a bizarre trick to control vampires using rice.

With What We Do In The Shadows Season 4 soon on the way, the cast and filmmakers took part in a virtual press conference (shortly after news broke of a two-season renewal), and I asked producers Stefani Robinson and Paul Simms about how the show deals with the wide variety of vampire rules, and how they dictate storytelling. Robinson explained that there was a great deal of research done early in the development of the show, but one strange thing that was discovered was that there isn’t exactly a lot of consistency when it comes to different variations of the bloodsuckers. Said Robinson,

For the first season, we had books and books and books, like vampire textbooks – which they do make, surprisingly enough. Watching movies... and a lot of them are really contradictory. I don't think there is one true through line in terms of what vampires can do and can't do across the board, maybe except the drinking blood thing.

Continuing, Stefani Robinson explained that period of research was followed by the What We Do In The Shadows writers figuring out how to apply what they had learned in the development of different episodes. Naturally, they were drawn to the weird and lesser known details from the fictional history, including the weird relationship that vampires have with rice:

It was from early on spending a lot of time talking about what our vampires in particular can do, and then sort of sussing out which of the more weirder vampire–y things maybe could be an interesting story. Then we talked a lot about that thing with vampires and the rice, needing to follow a sock down a river.

So what exactly is this strange vampires and rice thing? Paul Simms picked up from where Stefani Robinson left off, revealing that it is something that has been discussed in the development of every season but never utilized:

Every single season we have... it's even been in scripts, but we've never gotten there. There's a part of vampire lore, if you throw a bunch of rice on the floor, vampires have to count each grain before they can do anything else. It's like an OCD thing. We've tried every variation of getting it the script, but it's such a weird thing that requires so much explanation we've never been able to figure out how to do it.

The mockumentary format of What We Do In The Shadows is frequently utilized to execute exposition, but one can understand why this one is tricky to naturally handle. For one thing, the show might need to come up with some kind of explanation for the behavior, and that’s tricky all by itself.

Based on the conversation, it sounds like vampires counting rice won’t be featured in the upcoming run of episodes, but we expect plenty of excellent alternative fun in what’s ahead – and fans will be able to watch very soon. While Season 3 only concluded last October, What We Do In The Shadows Season 4 is scheduled to kick off on July 12 with a two episode premiere. They will be available to stream with a Hulu subscription the next day after their debut on FX. The first three seasons are now available, and it’s not only among the best horror shows on the service, but one of the best shows period.

To learn more about what’s ahead on the small screen in the months ahead, check out our 2022 TV Schedule.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.