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Hometown hosts: ROM Toronto opens the BLOODSUCKERS exhibit with a bang

Thursday, December 26, 2019 | News

Mosquitoes, Lampreys and Vampires, oh my! Bloodsuckers are truly everywhere, and The Royal Ontario Museum is exploring this glorious world in their new exhibit Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches. This exhibit focuses on the science and history of these bloodsucking creatures, along with the cultural impact they’ve created. Rue Morgue was given an exclusive tour of the haunting new exhibit alongside everyone’s favourite familiar from FX’s What We Do in the Shadows Harvey Guillen, and it’s safe to say we were left with a new thirst for blood like never before.

The exhibition is set up in different sections, each detailing a unique portion of the history of blood and creature’s lust for it. Audiences are introduced tp the diversity of these bloodsucking creatures throughout history, as the evolution of this gory food source is portrayed through awe-inspiring models, both large and small scale, as well as immersive displays that force you right into the life of a bloodsucker. Eerily lifelike models and stuffings of bloodthirsty animals fill the walls, inviting viewers to have an up close look into the world of these sucking critters. Bedbugs, oxpeckers, you name it! Alongside the rather stiff subjects comes the living creatures that are being held in the ROM; including mosquitoes, black flies, lampreys and leeches.Co-Curators Doug Currie and Sebastian Kvist have dedicated their work to the study of two of these live bloodsuckers in the exhibit; Currie focusing on Black flies, and Kvist on Leeches, also known as annelids. In this exhibit, you get to see each of these, live and up-close. Speaking of which, did you know that only the female black flies suck blood, since they need it for the production of their eggs? Badass ladies, badass.

Along with analyzing the medicinal purposes and viral impact of bloodsuckers and blood diseases, this exhibit saves a whole section for the legacy and legends of fictitious bloodthirsty monsters. From Nosferatu to el Chupacabra, they touch on it all. One of the most impressive parts the whole exhibition is the display of the first edition copies of Dracula (1897), Carmilla (1872) and Vikram and the Vampire (1870); the pioneer works of bloodsucking literature. With this, and so much more, it’s safe to say that Bloodsuckers does not shy away from the fear which vampiric horror was built upon.

The Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches is definitely worth the bite. It’s is a beautiful mix of bloodthirsty fantasies, facts, and the horror of it all. So make sure to visit before it’s drained. The exhibit premiered on November 16, 2019 and will be running until March 22, 2020. You can buy tickets at the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park, Toronto) or you can purchase tickets online at

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