Vampires. Possibly my biggest love/hate relationship (as alluded to in my review of Near Dark). So it seemed fitting the day before Halloween to stake (heh) my claim on a kind of Top Ten Vampire List.
Caveat lector. No iterations of Dracula here. I fairly loathe Stoker, never regarded Dracula as Browning or Lugosi’s best work (Coppola or Roth’s either for that matter), and wasn’t even a fan of Hammer’s efforts despite top shelf contributions from Christopher Lee.
I’m focusing on movies (mostly) and/or story arcs with a primary individual rather than with a group of people versus a group of vampires. So as much as I love ’em, I’m not dealing with From Dusk Til Dawn, Lost Boys, Near Dark, 30 Days Of Night, Vampire Circus, etc. Okay I may have grabbed one or two of those at Naro Video along with the ones on this list that needed revisiting.
Here then are my five least favorite and five favorite vampires.
I was a Buffy follower for a good long while. Angel, however, was one of its weak points. He was, for me, one of those nauseatingly Boy Scout do-gooders who gets on my last nerve in much the same way Captain America and Superman always do. Okay, he had an impressively dark start. I’ll give him that. Sadly, as Hades said in Hercules, he “had to go all noble.”
I know, his actual vampire status is debatable. I loved the comic book character. Couldn’t stand the movie. Admittedly that has a great deal to do with Wesley Snipes. With the exception of struggling through Blade (then ignoring the sequels), I have yet make it all the way through any Wesley Snipes movie.
Deep and all-encompassing is my apathy for the atrociously written, troublingly Mormon Twilight series and all things associated with it. Whether on page or screen, I can’t even describe it as loathing. I simply refuse to care, so much so that Eddie’s not even getting a pitcture. Nor did I want to give him the distinction being first on the list, or coming in dead (or undead?) last. No. He gets buried (heh heh) in the middle like a boring news story.
I wasn’t sure whether he counted as an iteration of Dracula or not. I decided he didn’t since he was created by Dracula. I don’t mind the concept, but the movie? Sorry, it’s just bad. The teeth, the cape, those mutton chops, and more stereotypes than you can wave a crucifix at. I know. 1972. First black vampire on film. But still. Sigh, if only Ganja & Hess had come out first.
Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp version), Count Chocula, every vampire in the Twilight series
Ugh. Gah. Blech. Start with the existential, questioning nature of Frankenstein’s creature. Dumb that down to the point where, oh I dunno, a college administrator can understand it. Now make it whiny as all hell. You still won’t end up with a character as annoying as Louis de Pointe du Lac. The irony is that everything Lestat loved so dearly about Louis is everything I find profoundly irritating. I love the fact that after the first novel, he essentially disappears from the storyline for a good long while. Harken to the words of the Brat Prince. “Have you heard enough? I’ve had to listen to that for centuries.”
One of two non-movie picks. I can hear some of you saying, “Hey there’s the 1996 direct-to-video flick.” Uh, no. Anyway, Vampirella. Yes she’s scantily clad. Yes she’s a posterchild for all that was/is wrong with depictions of women in comics. It’s still a great story, and she’s still a major badass.
And she’s from planet Drakulon for Vlad’s sake! What’s not to love about that?
I mean, come on. Nosferatu had to show up on here. Have you seen the name of this blog? Moody and atmospheric doesn’t even begin to cover it. Max Schreck rising straight up out of the coffin ranks as one of the all-time creepiest moments ever.
Nearly every drop (I’ll stop soon) of my horror nerdery can be traced back to my aunt, probably about as geeked out on horror as I am. As a kid, I spent a lot of time around her. She got me hooked on Dark Shadows, and I knew about Barnabas long before I discovered (and rejected) Dracula. In terms of production value, the show was not awesome, but to a little kid, it was terrifying. And somehow, without being the greatest looking dude, Jonathan Frid had some serious cool happening.
Oh, Brat Prince, how I wanted to be you. I rarely see movies on opening night. In fact, I make a point not to. Too many people. Interview With The Vampire is one of the few exceptions. I still find it endlessly watchable. Not everyone agrees, but for me, Tom Cruise encapsulated everything I thought Lestat should be like, and did it beautifully. Especially in terms of the first two novels. His story arc in the novels is even better, and it astounds and appalls me that The Vampire Lestat never became a movie.
Armand, Hannibal King (comic not movie), Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe in Shadow Of The Vampire), Spike, Vampire Hunter D (again, debatable vampire status)
This is my other non-movie pick. In my review of Near Dark, I referred to Michael Morbius as my favorite vampire. That’s not always completely accurate. On any given day, it’s a toss-up between Morbius and Lestat. One is always an extremely close second to the other. You might say they run neck and neck (last time, promise). For today, it’s Morbius, whom I like for much the same reason my buddy, Jorge Mendez, likes the Frankenstein monster.
It was a result of science going too far and creating a creature who was then forced to deal with the results of its own existence.
There. Ten vampires. Happy Halloween!