How The Invitation's Sound Team Created The Unique Vampire Sounds [Exclusive]

What do vampires sound like? From inhuman growls to the oft-parodied Slavic accents ("I vont to sohk yu blaohd!"), every onscreen iteration of the bloodsucking creatures offers its own answer to this timeless question. The latest interpretation comes via "The Invitation," a new take on the vampire mythos from filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson. 

Not to be confused with the 2015 Karyn Kusama film of the same name, this story follows artist and occasional freelance caterer Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) to the English countryside to meet her incredibly wealthy long-lost relatives. In the wake of her mother's death, Evie hopes to connect with her new family members and hopefully feel less alone. Instead, she uncovers some unsettling revelations about her hosts and the intent behind their generosity.

If only Evie had studied up on her vampire sounds, perhaps she'd be better prepared for all that she encounters throughout the film. But in her defense, it's a pretty difficult sound to nail down. We've seen onscreen vampires growl, snarl, hiss, and everything in between. And as if that's not hard enough to keep track of, "The Invitation" adds something completely different.

Inspiration straight from Bram Stoker

In /Film's exclusive interview with Jessica M. Thompson, she revealed the secret animal sounds that gave the creatures of "The Invitation" their unique snarls.

To start with, Thompson referred back to the words of Bram Stoker. After only a couple minutes in the world of "The Invitation," you'll realize that the film is packed with horror and vampire Easter eggs, many of which are taken directly from Stoker's "Dracula." While some are more obvious than others — like name-checking Jonathan Harker — others happened behind the scenes. Thompson explained:

"A big thing in Bram Stoker's [Dracula] was that he kept describing them in a very lizard reptilian way, so [my first note] that I gave to my sound designers was using reptiles, using geckos noises, but it still sounded a bit alien, like the actual movie 'Alien.' It actually had this futuristic quality to it that I didn't like."

Since the reptilian noises veered a little too sci-fi, Thompson added another animal sound into the equation. As it turns out, the key to vampire sound is birds.

A cross between Dracula and ... a kookaburra

Despite Stoker's words, reptiles probably aren't the first animal that comes to mind when you think of vampires. I'm willing to bet that bats are first on the list, followed by anything from wolves to owls to rats. But have you considered birds? More specifically, the kookaburra — the eastern Australian bird best known for a call that sounds eerily close to human laughter. Believe it or not, this is the very sound that Thompson and crew incorporated into "The Invitation." Thompson shared with /Film:

"We laid in a kookaburra over a lizard and morphed it, and that's how we came up with the unique vampire sound. It was actually one of our sound mixers who found it and he's like, 'Look, it's your country bird.' I was like, let's do it."

Just remember: next time you hear a kookaburra calling, get ready to whip out some garlic. It may be your only hope!

"The Invitation" is in theaters now. 

After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test ... and discovers a long-lost cousin she never knew she had. Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she's at first seduced by the sexy aristocrat host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family's history and the unsettling intentions behind their sinful generosity.