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Jan Valek, mainly known as Valek is a 600-year-old vampire who is the first of his kind as well as the first of their Masters, and he is the main antagonist of the 1998 horror film John Carpenter's Vampires based on the 1990 dark fantasy novel novel Vampire$ by John Steakley.
He was portrayed by Thomas Ian Griffith.
Jan Valek was born in Prague in 1311 A.D. He was a Catholic priest who turned against the Church and led the Bohemian peasants in an uprising. Valek was later captured, tried for heresy and burned at the stake. But after his death, there were reports that Valek was seen walking at night. It was said that he murdered the living to drink their blood. His grave was found to be empty when local and church authorities first opened it. This became the first known case of vampirism.
Because of his actions against the Church, it was decided during his trial that Valek had at some point become possessed by demons. He was taken to the small town of Berziers (or Béziers) in the province of Languedoc, France, and subjected to an ancient, forbidden, and brutal form of Catholic exorcism. However, something went horribly wrong. Although the accounts are confused, they refer to an "inverse exorcism," an exorcism in which dark powers are called upon to reclaim the possessed soul. In the ritual, Valek's body was destroyed but the possessed soul remained within him. This horrible mistake transformed Valek into a creature whose body is dead but continues to live on: a vampire.
Although the ritual made Valek more powerful than ever, it was never completed and thus left him with only one weakness: the inability to walk in the daylight. In the 600+ years since his transformation, Valek has searched for an ancient relic of the Church: the Black Cross of Béziers. It was the same cross used in Valek's exorcism, and upon finding it and completing the ritual, he will regain his ability to live in sunlight, becoming completely unstoppable as it will also do with many of his fellow vampires.