With the Twilight rage winding down, it might be a good time to ask ourselves where all the real vampires went? The ones that were truly frightening, while maintaining suave and cunning demeanors. Vampires originated as characters of the Gothic tradition but overtime, they have been known to lay claim to to some pretty hardcore roles in horrors and thrillers alike. Today, they tend to populate teenage drama TV shows, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be vicious once in a while. While Anne Rice laid her vamps to rest quite some time ago, there are still some great authors out there keeping the genre alive – even Stephen King recently contributed to the creation of a new Graphic Novel Series, American Vampire.
Truth be told, vampires have always been, and always will be, the most fascinating and popular creatures in fiction, whatever approach author and filmmakers may so choose to exploit. Here’s a look at 10 of the most feared and admirable vamps out there.
10. Lestat in Interview With a Vampire
This film adaptation of Anne Rice’s first novel of, The Vampire Chronicles was extremely well received. The character of Lestat was portrayed by Tom Cruise and although Rice was hesitant about the casting choice, it turned out to be a great success. Like in the book, Lestat is manipulative, obnoxious and evil. Although his wry sense of humor lightens the mood here and there, his darkness is always present, reminding the viewer that he cannot be trusted. Plus, he’s rich beyond belief. A dangerous combination, indeed.
9. Eli in Let The Right One In
You may better recognize this character as Abby in, Let Me In. Both are adaptations of John Lindqvist’s Swedish novel but they do take on different approaches to the story. In the American film, Abby is a little more sympathetic – despite being a vampire, it seems she truly is looking for human connection. In the original film, which is in some ways a closer adaptation of the book, Eli is far more manipulative. Although it’s tempting to feel bad for her, there is always a sense that she is completely self-motivated. As she helps Oskar become a more confident and self-sufficient person, she also clearly has intentions of molding him into the type of person she needs by her side in order to stay alive.
8. The Gang in Lost Boys
This teen-horror-comedy starring Kiefer Sutherland, features a rowdy gang of bully-types; but to make matters worse, they are of the vampiric variety. Well, at least that’s what Michael and Sam soon start to believe. When they move to a new town, everything seems a little mysterious. Gangs are everywhere, but the real danger is in not knowing how to protect yourself from a vamp. Eventually, the boys must face the facts, and gear up.
An allegory for contemporary environmental and economic issues, this story is set in the future, with the Vampire race being so powerful it has completely overrun the humans. The few who remain are being hunted, so they might be farmed while the “state” works on developing a blood substitute. So yeah, these vamps are pretty hardcore. Ethan Hawke stars as vampire Edward, the lead hematologist for the pharmaceutical organization searching for the substitute. When he becomes involved with a group of humans who claim to have a cure, things get messy. But with all of these powerful, intelligent and organized vamps running the world, what else can you expect.
6. Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As far as comedic relief goes, Spike was a necessary ingredient to the Buffy universe. Unlike Angel, Spike has fully accepted his dark side and actually thrives on it. Although his character arc during his 6 season run on the show, took him from intolerably cruel to something less like cruel, he never lost that special Spike viciousness (referred to now again by remarks of his resemblance to Sid Viscous). He came in with a bang in season 2, when he entered by driving over the Welcome to Sunnydale sign, and went out with an even bigger one in the series finale. The final shot featured one more look at the Sunnydale sign, as it fell into the empty pit of the town that once stood there.
5. The Family in Near Dark
Kathryn Bigelow’s Vamp flick remains, after nearly 30 years, unmatched in its originality. When a young cowboy becomes drawn to a mysterious out-of-towner named Mae, things get a little eerie. But the really strange part comes when she transforms him into a Vampire, and takes him “home” to her pack – a “Family” of ruthlessly violent vampires. The new vampire has difficulty fitting into the new lifestyle of blood-lust and murder, so naturally, he needs to find a cure. Keeping a western-theme the whole way through, the portrayal of the Family becomes something like a mockery of “hicks”, as they lack respect for people and value only destruction.
4. Eric in True Blood
While Bill has undergone some recent changes from pathetic, sweet, lover-boy to crazy-pyscho cult leader, Eric has been forced to grow as a character as well, becoming someone leading lady, Sookie can trust and depend on. But at heart, he’s still the sarcastic, unimpressed, ready-to-pounce Eric audiences have come to know and love. His new found desire to love and protect those who matter most to him, does little to take away from his claim to being hardcore, since his rage is almost always about to surface and he is always ready to tear someone apart.
3. Vamps in 30 Days of Night
These vamps are probably some of the grittiest and scariest out there. The brilliance of placing them in Alaska, where the sun will not rise all winter, creates a very tense atmosphere in which the monsters become inescapable. And monsters they are – unwilling to reason or feel an ounce of pity, these embodiments of cruelty itself, lurk and stalk in every corner. Worse, they don’t just want to kill you, they want to watch you suffer. To survive, the innocents that are trapped in town have to learn to fight, hide and most of all – run.
Wesley Snipes‘ portrayal of Blade in this trilogy, simply has to be admired. Despite being half-human, Blade was able to make a name for himself as one of the toughest and most feared Vampires – but the twist was that he was slaying them, not fighting with them. As a self-proclaimed protector of the human race, Blade was the ultimate good guy who served his own brand of vigilante justice unlike any superhero out there. For all of his good intentions, his mighty impressive fighting skills still send a chill up the spine.
The great-grandfather of all vampires and vampire stories alike, Bram Stoker’s, Dracula was first published in 1897. The novel was influenced heavily by other Gothic works, including Carmilla, a story that very much outlined the glamorous powers Dracula would come to possess. Still, it was Dracula’s blood-lust, mysteriousness and otherness that would come to exemplify the vampire myth. The novel follows his pursuit of Lucy, through the journals of Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker and Lucy herself. Documented in these journal entries is Dracula’s ability to shape-shift, to captivate and to compel. Scary stuff. The book went on to be adapted many times over, most notably in Nosferatu (A German silent film), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1974) and Universal Studios own version, starring Bela Lagosi in 1931.