Hollywood's Fascination With the Undead: Five Fictional Vampires Worth Watching Daily
Recently, the latest installment in the Twilight franchise was just released to throngs of moviegoers waiting in the theatre parking lots impatiently. The reaction has generated a lot of box office dollars, but there are also a fair share of detractors who believe that vampires aren't as cuddly or as innocent as the Cullens. Since Bram Stoker created Dracula, there has been a fine line in the mythology that vampires border on intoxicating and just plain lethal when they get hungry for blood. A mixture of sexual magnetism and blood lust that's just plain fascinating to watch unfold on the screen.
With that idea in mind, let's examine a different crop of fictional movie vampire characters who share both those traits and much more. Here are five movie vampires that have made a lasting impression no matter how much or little screentime they had. Read on to see if you agree or disagree with what's on the list. What you find may surprise you.
John Blaylock (David Bowie) in The Hunger- Okay, most people would assume that Catherine Deneuve's Miriam would've been chosen, but in this case John made a much stronger impression. Deneuve gave Miriam a sense of cool sexuality as she seduced her male and female lovers. Bowie's John was more of a blind romantic who bordered on very lethal unpredictability when he found out that Miriam duped him into becoming an immortal vampire when she knew it wasn't forever. This omission caused John to age rapidly within a few days and his thirst for blood caused him to kill a young girl that Miriam loved. The 1983 movie adaptation might not have been as accurate as the book, but it was the chemistry between Bowie and his leading ladies that made it worth watching. The most memorable part of the movie was the opening sequence when audiences saw what lengths the Blaylocks went to get their human comforts. Their love was expressed as they equally went for the jugular and in their relationship as well. John's ultimate revenge came when Miriam's latest lover didn't work out like she hoped and she had to confront all of her entombed former lovers in a scene that was kind of cheesy and creepy at the same time. Despite the movie's flaws, this film is worth the viewing effort.
Severen (Bill Paxton) in Near Dark- Before she made The Hurt Locker, Director Kathryn Bigelow made this horror movie classic about a group of travelling vampires who pick up a love struck teenager (Adrian Pasdar) who was just bitten by one of their own. His unwillingness to join causes his new friends to come after him with violent intentions. Lance Henriksen's memorable role as the leader of the group missed the cut, because he played the role of the gruff but danger father figure with a hidden agenda in mind. It was Paxton's twistedly funny Severen who made the bigger mark. He used humor and some gruesome burn make-up to lull moviegoers into a false sense of security until he truly showed his fangs. A role definitely worth the price of admission.
Dracula (Gary Oldman) in Bram Stoker's Dracula- Oldman's portrayal of the mythic vampire was a cross between romantic and that of a scorned man who lost the woman he loved to develop a lust for blood that overtook everything. Oldman who at his best when he was charming his prey and his second shot of love with his sweetheart's seemingly identical twin in Mina (Winona Ryder). The chemistry between Oldman and Ryder was off the charts as they felt a connection they couldn't explain, especially with Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) on his trail. It's a shame that this Francis Ford Coppola directed classic was ignored when it was released. If it was released now, it might've fared a lot better than it did back then. Watch it immediately to see how vampires can be romantic and deadly at the same time.
Armand (Antonio Banderas) in Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles- It might be a surprising choice because Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were a lot more prominent in this movie than Banderas, but it's a simple explanation. Pitt's depressive Louis was eliminated because he never enjoyed being a vampire. He was always miserable about his choice and Cruise's Lestat bordered on over-the-top camp. Banderas' seasoned vampire Armand was a subtler choice because he accepted his fate and even embraced every once in a while. The character's limited screentime made the audience want to see more of him. The only option would be either rewind repeatedy or read Anne Rice's book series to get more of an Armand fix.
Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) in Let Me In- This Americanized remake of Let The Right One In could have been easily dismissed if it wasn't for the performance of Moretz's vulnerable but dangerous Abby. On the surface, Abby is the picture of innocence until she reeled in her human prey with the false pretense of needing help. It isn't until she meets a bullied young boy where she revealed her true identity, which garnered her the risk of losing her only genuine friend. The relationship mixed youthful innocence and the likely certainty that this friendship will guarantee a high body count. Watch this movie and you won't be disappointed.
In the end, some vampire movies often end with humanity winning over supernatural evil. The only plus about that is that the villainous vampires get to go out in a blaze of glory. Look at Kiefer Sutherland's David in The Lost Boys. Sure, the two Coreys ended up with a lot of the glory at the time, but it was Sutherland's unpredictable villain that kept the storyline going. Both version of Fright Night followed a mysterious neighbor named Jerry (Chris Sarandon and Colin Farrell) who killed people to build up an army of vampires. It sounded like a silly idea but both actors embraced the silliness and played Jerry with a sense of pompous evil that was worth seeing regardless. If the Twilight franchise isn't for you, rent these movies instead to see the darker side of the Vampire genre. Remember to put the kids to bed because these characters can be quite scary, which is a very good thing.