The Black Cross of Béziers, also known as the Béziers Cross, the Cross of Béziers and the Black Cross, was a legendary black crucifix adorned with precious baubles that plays a major role in 1998 horror movie John Carpenter's Vampires based on the 1990 dark fantasy novel novel Vampire$ by John Steakley.
The Berziers Cross was an ancient holy relic that was first forged in the small town of Béziers which it was named after, within the southern French province of Languedoc. It was used long ago by priests during exorcism rituals and were used to remove demons that were believed to possess human forms. The cross was once used in the forbidden, long and brutal, inverse exorcism on the heretical 14th century Catholic priest named Jan Valek of Prague who was believed to have been overcome by demons but the exorcism ritual was cut short which resulted in Valek being forever changed upon his death and soon his rebirth. This brought about the creation and legend of the very first vampire as well as the undead species' first Master.
Many years since that time, many vampire slayers sought the acquisition of the Black Cross of Béziers in order to use its power to destroy Valek. Valek, aided by his lesser Master vampires, attempted to recover the Black Cross once more in order to use its power to complete the ritual which was left incomplete the first time it was used on him. This would allow him to walk in daylight and make him almost unstoppable. The Black Cross for many years, have been shipped by the Church from Europe to the New World (Americas) and moved by Spanish missionaries from one mission to the next. Its location and even its own existence has been kept secret, even to church members.
The Vatican-sponsored vampire-slaying mercenaries known as Team Crow including their leader Jack Crow and his right-hand partner Tony Montoya, while traveling across Texas on the mission of eradicating vampire nests, were circling locations on a map of the Southwest United States which vampire encounters took place far back as the 1800s and these encounters formed a spiral, yet logarithmic, ever-widening search pattern in a time-sequence, meaning the vampires were looking for the Black Cross, a relic that Crow heard stories about during his stay in the Vatican as a boy after the deaths of his parents. After Valek recently bit and spared a local hooker named Katrina at the Sun God Motal in Texas, he team including Jack Crow's old friend Father Giovanni along with a dozen prostitutes at there were later systemically butchered by the Master vampire, a same gruesome fate that befell both the late Father Tom Callahan and a whole European team of slayers in Cologne, Germany just 3 days prior to the attack.
During his ongoing search, Valek captured Father Joseph Molina, well-known scholar of early Catholic history in the U.S., from his church in San Miguel as well as recently killed the cleaning lady Mrs. Fisher there and forced the old priest to pinpoint the hidden location of the Black Cross on the map of Texas. Jack Crow and the new Vatican priest Father Adam Guiteau assigned by Cardinal Alba were too late and they soon discovered the decapitated body of Father Molina who was seen by the psychically-linked Katrina through the eyes of her attacker, Valek. Crow demanded Father Guiteau to tell him what is the red and yellow sun symbol imprinted on the portrait of Valek painted in 1340 A.D., behind the medieval Latin word "Celebratum" ("Celebrate") on the portrait. Father Guiteau informs him what he knows about the symbol is that it is a medieval astrological sign for the sun.
Later that night, at sundown, Katrina sees another vision from Valek; a group of 7 more powerful Masters followed their patriarch Valek as they lay siege on a monastery in the Texas desert and slaughtered all the monks who guarded the Black Cross. Valek obtains the cross from altar inside the monastery.
Katrina led the team of 3 men including her recently bitten lover Montoya, to the Texan town of Santiago just 7 miles away from the local monastery. Jack Crow, after being knocked by Valek during the fight, gets tied to the end of his truck, Guiteau is cowering in a nearby store, and Montoya is severely wounded (including a bite in his neck). Numerous vampires, including Valek along with the now 6 Masters at his side, and later, the fully turned Katrina, surround Jack. Cardinal Alba suddenly appears and tells Jack that his old age has caused him to question everything he believed, since he has never seen any miracles or visions. The thought of death was terrifying to him, so he decided to betray the Catholic Church and made a Faustian alliance with Valek and his people.
Cardinal Alba begins an ancient reverse exorcism involving the Black Cross of Béziers which would give the vampires the power to survive against the sunlight. Important to the inverse exorcism as explained by Alba is that it requires the blood of a crucified crusader to shed and fed to the exorcised participant before the crusader die being burned at the stake at the first light of dawn in order for the exorcism to be fully complete with the priest's incantations and final blessing. Before Alba could finish the exorcism, Guiteau finds a shotgun in the store he was hiding in, and he then gets to the roof of the store to get a clear shot at the mad Alba. The shotgun blast hits Cardinal Alba in the chest, killing him immediately. Valek demanded that Father Guiteau finish the ceremony. Crow followed the furious Valek to a deserted auto shop in town with the Black Cross. Crow rammed the cross through Valek's chest which incapacitated him long enough for the roof of the building he was in to collapse whereupon the vampire was killed when the rays of the sun rested on him.
- The Black Cross made a appearance in the 2002 direct-to-video sequel Vampires: Los Muertos.