Top Ten Movie Vampires
"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."
There have been hundreds of vampires portrayed in films over the years. So many, in fact, that it warranted a top 70 list of the greatest vampire movies of all time! As a tribute to the fantastic actors who capture creatures of the night, Movie Classics delivers a list of 10 great movie vampires. Each of these undead characters have made the list for different reasons. Some scared us, some made us laugh, and some are downright wicked. If you adore vampire lore, join us in remembering these great actors and films!
Warning! There are a lot of film spoilers contained herein. If you have yet to see any of the films listed, you are encouraged to view them before reading about the selected vampire!
Duncan Regehr is so great as a cheesy, classic film style Dracula. He's creepy, he's evil, and so scary that actress Ashley Bank (Phoebe) couldn't stand being around him.
The black and red cape that he sports throughout the film is awful - so awful that it's beautiful. The fact that the main antagonist walks around in a Hallowe'en costume is one of the things that makes The Monster Squad such a great movie.
Dracula is particularly scary because, of all the monsters that have invaded town, he's the only one with an IQ higher than old mayonnaise. Sure the Wolfman is pretty smart in human form - smart enough to warn the police of what's going on down at the old Shadowbrook Road mansion. Unfortunately, he turns into a raging lunatic during the full monn, so he's only the second smartest monster by default.
Dracula is clever enough to use a pseudonym (Mr. Alucard!) when he's phoning around, looking for Van Helsing's diary, and the location of a magical doomsday amulet. He's also one of the most evil villains ever portrayed in a family film. You have to be pretty sinister to throw dynamite into a tree house full of pre-teens. And he likes to keep high school girls locked up in his closet, just in case he needs a midnight snack. How freaky is that?
Directed by: Fred Dekker
First released: 1987
DVD release: 2007
#9 Amilyn - Paul Reubens in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy isn't the kind of serious, scary film that needed a comic relief bad guy, but it's safe to say that it wouldn't be the same movie without the bumbling henchman, Amilyn.
Though not nearly as creepy as Pee Wee Herman, Paul Reubens does a pretty good job playing a sleazy bloodsucker. With greasy hair, and a questionable wardrobe, he roams around Los Angeles, kidnapping teenaged girls and delivering them to his Master, Lothos.
After a run in with our heroes, Buffy and Pike, Amily spends a great deal of time wandering around with only one arm. It doesn't get much better than one-armed undead creatures with bad goatees! This also makes for some great dialogue. "You ruined my new jacket! Kill him a LOT!" As if this weren't priceless enough, his death scene spans the entire climax of the movie, and the credits.
Cheesy? Maybe. Brilliant? Yes!
Directed by: Fran Rubel Kuzui
First released: 1992
DVD release: 2001
So the idea that characters from classic literature team up to fight evil while alluding to even more literature in their wisecracks is pretty ridiculous. But that doesn't change the fact that League is a pretty fun film to watch.
One of the great things about it is a red-headed Peta Wilson charming everyone except dried up old Allan Quartermain. Every character under the age of fifty or so follows her around like a teenager, even though they all watched her kill a man with her teeth. But some guys think violence is sexy.
During the film, Mina sports some pretty exceptional costumes - being a vampire doesn't mean one can't still be a lady. She's also one talented undead woman. She spends some time doing chemisty and solving mysteries, does triage and first aid, spouts Indian mythology, sword fights with ex-boyfriends, and does a mean Sean Connery impression!
Though she's not quite what Bram Stoker had in mind when he created her, this version of Mina has plenty of bite!
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Directed by: Stephen Norrington
First Released: 2003
DVD Release: 2003
The greatness of Selene's character actually spans both Underworld and it's sequel. Why? Because apparently being a vampire means that you can run around killing people in a rubber suit for two days, but still be clean enough to take a tumble with your half-breed boyfriend afterwards.
Aside from being awfully attractive in both films, Kate Beckinsale makes a very believable modern-day vampire. The combination of fangs, boots, and automatic weapons has its appeals, not matter what your tastes.
Selene is an excellent character, because of her cleverness and strength - she continues to persue her suspicions until the very end. Unlike typical female heroines, she doesn't fumble much, except in the case of Michael Corvin. It's too bad that such a great character had to be wasted on a romantic story, but there wouldn't be much of a movie left without it, so let's move on.
Selene's ability to process being told the truth after a few hundred years of lies is probably her most impressive quality. It only takes her a few seconds to decide that she would like to slice her stepfather's head in half, because he's a sleazy liar and murderer. And of course, she does the slicing with style.
Directed by: Len Wiseman
First Released: 2006
DVD Release: 2006
David - the leader of the vampire pack that roams Santa Carla's boardwalk - is such a jerk. And that's what makes him so great. He's the kind of bully that you hope you never meet, the one that makes you think he'll be your friend if you go along with his delinquincy and debauchery.
Sadly, like Michael Emerson, most people end up getting into trouble, while creeps like David get all the laughs. The worst news for Micheal is that he ends up being turned, instead of spending a night 'down at the station'. The good news is that he eventually steals David's girlfriend, which of course makes David real, real mad.
Kiefer Sutherland is pretty scary in this role. With some excellent Hollywood fangs and contact lenses, all the vampire look needs is the right attitude. Young Kiefer Sutherland certainly had that - he's known for antagonizing the cast of Stand By Me, which was released the previous year.
As a vampire, David is truly evil. He and his band of blood-sucking followers enjoy mutilating their prey instead of casually biting. And apart from being an all around bully and tormentor, David also likes to intimidate his dinner guests with hallucinations of worm and maggot entrees. He lures poor Micheal to his hideout - which is pretty bitchin', complete with Jim Morrison murals and curtains around the beds - and convinces him to drink the 'wine' that will begin his transformation into vampirism. (Admit it, after eating maggots, you'd drink anything, too.)
Later he gets his gang of vampire cronies to attack the entire Emerson family, only to be defeated by the Frog brothers. David has the best death scene in the movie: death by antlers. Nice.
The Lost Boys
The adaptation of Anne Rice's bestselling novel is a favorite among vampire lovers. The decision to bump Louis and Lestat from this list in favor of little Claudia was a difficult one, but in the end, uniqueness won.
Kirsten Dunst's first major film role was the one that would ultimately lauch her succesful film career. This character is one of the most haunting things about Interview, not only because of Claudia's age, but her role in the lives of Louis and Lestat, as well.
Aside from being utterly adorable with her giant red afro, Claudia is an incredibly complex character. Her lack of years make her inncoent, while her life as a vampire (and a pawn in the power struggle between Louis and Lestat), has also made her a cold and sinister killer. Her tragedy is that by the time she is able to come to terms with the truth about immortality, and accept her life, she is killed by vampire purists. It's ironic that night stalking blood suckers would have enough morals to recognize that baby vampires are bad, but not enough mercy to rethink burning them alive with sunlight.
Interview with the Vampire
Directed by: Neil Jordan
First Released: 1994
DVD Release: 2000
This version of Dracula is not only a great vampire character, but is arguably the best antagonist of all the Blade films. He's the oldest of all the world's vampires, the original suck-head, and an incredibly snappy dresser. He has very little dialogue in the movie, but what he does say is usually very philosophical, or just really evil. "Kill one man - you're a murder. Kill a million - a king. Kill them all - a god!"
His best moment is realizing what the name Dracula has become when he stumbles upon an occult shop that sells everything from Count Chocula to vampire vibrators. To the delight of viewers, he blithley tosses the smart-mouthed goth clerk through the window. Like you've never wanted to do that. He then proceeds to feed on the annoying sales girl.
Unlike many vampire villains in the Blade series and other films, Drake is an honorable warrior type, an old fashioned kind of guy. This is a nice diversion after the pain-in-the-ass kind of villains Blade is used to, like Deacon Frost and Nomak.
Drake knows when to admit defeat. This is an interesting personality trait for someone who's entire face opens up so that he can eat people better. And therein lies the best thing about this particular character. He comes complete with wicked demon shapeshifting skills and is one scary uber vampire.
Directed by: David S. Goyer
First Released: 2004
DVD Release: 2005
Although she doesn't appear until the end of the film, Aaliyah's final performance in Queen of the Damned is well worth the wait. She's stunning in her fangs and Egyptian vampire garb - metal bras for the win! - and is truly evil.
Akasha's unapologetic lust for blood is a real threat to the other vampires of the world, for her desire to wipe out the human race leaves few options for food. And who will she eat when all the human cattle are gone?
She has a unique ability to cause spontaneous vampire combustion that makes for some excellent wanton destruction while she searches for her new king, Lestat. Her only downfall is her arrogance. She knows that she is the most powerful vampire in existence, but underestimates her enemies' ability to sacrifice their own desires to keep her from returning to power.
Watching Aaliyah's snakelike movements as she glides across the screen makes one wonder what heights she could have reached had her life not been tragically cut short. Her performance is flawless - there's not a hint of her real-life sweetness in Akasha.
Thanks again to novelist Anne Rice, Queen of the Damned has an amazing cast of vampires, including Claudia Black as Pandora, but none of them are quite as enchanting and terrifiying as Akasha.
Queen of the Damned
Directed by: Michael Rymer
First Released: 2002
DVD Release: 2002
The sinister, chilling laugh of Dracula is enough to earn the runner up spot on this list. But who could forget the love-blinded vampire that would stop at nothing to possess the beautiful Mina?
Although the love story is not part of Bram Stoker's orignal novel, the addition of the tragic romance adds an element to the film which makes Dracula a villain that the audience can understand. It has been argued that because the real Prince Vlad suffered from the suicide of his wife, it is historically more accurate than the novel, which is based only loosely on the historic figure. Either way, a great love triangle often makes for great cinema, and Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Dracula is no different.
Gary Oldman is fantastic in this role, and creates a character that would almost be pitiable if he weren't so evil. His desire to be with Mina, who looks so like his true love, brings him within the radar of occult expert Van Helsing. Though it will cause a vigorous manhunt, he seduces young Mina and binds her to him with blood.
In the end, his love is his undoing, and he is killed, leaving Mina to her mortal life and mortal husband. Costume designer Eiko Ishioka does an amazing job of dressing Dracula, right down to the blue glasses.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
First Released: 1992
DVD Release: 2007
Before we begin to discuss the reasons why Blade is the best movie vampire of all time, we should take a look at how a half-breed even made it to the list.
Although Blade is half human - being born within hours of his mother being turned - he does qualify as a vampire for the following reasons: he has fangs, craves blood, and regenerates rapidly. One could also add his exceptional strength and agility, but the most important factors are that he has the classic vampire traits.
He is not sensitive to garlic and sunlight, but in many modern vampire portrayls, those weaknesses have been removed from the vampire pathology. Take for instance the popular series Moonlight in which vampires walk around Los Angeles, day or night, with nothing but sunglasses for protection. This concept actually makes the existence of modern vampires more believable, because it's pretty hard to be incognito when you can't leave your house before 9pm.
In any case, although Blade's lifelong struggle against the thirst sets him apart from other vampires, it also proves his status and link to the undead.
Wesley Snipes is excellent in all three films, but it was Blade II in particular that deserved the top spot, because of the opportunity to see Blade's sense of humor. Though he is extremely guarded in films one and three, the sequel allows us to get a few laughs along with our hero.
Perhaps Blade has opened up a bit because he has better control of the thirst, or he made a friend that isn't a grouchy old cowboy. Or perhaps his sarcasm is born out of nerves, since he must team up with a band of suck-heads that want nothing more than to remove his head for him. Whatever psycology is behind it, it's the wit of this Blade role that sets it above the others.
And just in case you were wondering what brought Blade to the top spot in the first place, here's a list of all the things that make him our favorite movie vampire:
- He slices vampires up with a wicked sword, complete with a booby trap for your average dumb villain.
- Hanging around with Whistler would make anyone way cooler.
- He drives a black 1968 Dodge Charger.
- He's a buddhist, but he's no monk!
- Blade sports some of the best tribal tattoos ever seen in film (sorry George Clooney).
- He knows pretty much every kind of martial art still in practice.
- He has a haunted past - poets eat your hearts out.
- Blade makes a black trenchcoat look good.
- He's the Day Walker.
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
First Released: 2002
DVD Release: 2004
These titles came pretty close...but not quite. Which vampire from these classics is your favorite?
The legend of Dracula continues in this gripping, masterful 2-disc edition of cinema's most ominous vampire, digitally remastered for the 75th Anniversary Edition. Relive the horror, the mystery, and the intrigue of the original 1931 vampire masterpiece starring Bela Lugosi and directed by Tod Browning. The inspiration for hundreds of subsequent remakes and adaptations, this classic film launched the Hollywood horror genre with its eerie passion, shadowy atmosphere, and thrilling cinematography....
It's nonstop thrills when George Clooney (THE PERFECT STORM, THREE KINGS) and Quentin Tarantino (PULP FICTION) star as the Gecko brothers -- two dangerous outlaws on a wild crime spree! After kidnapping a father (Harvey Keitel -- U-571) and his two kids (including Juliette Lewis -- NATURAL BORN KILLERS), the Geckos head south to a seedy Mexican bar to hide out in safety. But when they face the bar's truly notorious clientele, they're forced to team up with their hostages in order to make it out....
PURE PERFORMANCE The Superbit™ Collection will set a new benchmark in high resolution DVD picture and sound creating the ultimate in home entertainment. Superbit™ DVDs utilize a high bit rate digital transfer process that optimizes video quality and offers both DTS and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Use your existing home theater equipment to its optimal performance.In the blood-chilling tradition of Halloween and Village of the Damned comes John Carpenter's unique vision of the ultimate kil...
When a teenager learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire no one will believe him. System Requirements:Starring: Chris Sarandon William Ragsdale Amanda Bearse Roddy McDowall Stephen Geoffreys and Jonathan Stark Copyright: 1985 Columbia/Tristar Running time of 106 minutes. Widescreen enhanced for 16X9 TVs; Pan & Scan. English Dolby Surround French language. English French subtitles. Closed captioned Theatrical trailer.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre:Â HORROR Rating:Â R UPC:Â 043396056299 Manufacturer....
A cornerstone of the horror film, F.W. Murnau s NOSFERATU is triumphantly reborn in this breathtaking new restoration by the F.W. Murnau Foundation. Backed by an orchestral performance of Hans Erdmann s 1922 score (recorded in 5.1 stereo surround), Kino International edition presents Murnau s masterpiece in this all-new restored HD transfer with unprecedented clarity and faithfulness to the original release version. This double-disc collection presents the film with the original German intertitl...
Wesley Snipes plays a half-mortal half-immortal charged with ridding the earth of a race of vampires led by Stephen Dorff in this action-packed blockbuster.Running Time: 120 min.System Requirements:Starring: Wesley Snipes Stephen Dorff et al. Director: Stephen Norrington Edition Details: Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only) Color Closed-captioned Dolby Widescreen Commentary by Audio commentary by actor Wesley Snipes (qv) actor Stephen Dorff (qv) writer David S. Goyer (qv) cinematogr...
The director of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns brings three of Universal’s classic monsters back to life like never before in the action-packed Van Helsing 2-disc Collector’s Edition! Legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman, X-Men) must rely on the help of the beautiful and mysterious Anna Valeris (Kate Beckinsale, Underworld) as he engages in an epic battle with the ultimate forces of darkness - Dracula, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster! Get ready for non-stop action and spectacular adventure in this pulse-pounding thrill ride loaded with eye-popping visual effects and exciting bonus features!
Clever, engaging, and boosted by the sublime casting of Willem Dafoe as Nosferatu actor Max Schreck, Shadow of the Vampire is a film full of good ideas that are only partially developed. Its premise is ripe with possibilities, but the movie's too slight to register much impact, so you're left to relish its delightful performances and director E. Elias Merhige's affectionately tongue-in-cheek homage to a landmark of German silent cinema. John Malkovich is aptly loony as the eccentric director F.W...
For many years after becoming one of the definitive movie Draculas in the 1958 Hammer Films classic Horror of Dracula (in which he was pitted against Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing), Christopher Lee refused to reprise his role as filmdom's most infamous vampire. He finally returned to the role in this belated 1965 sequel, once again directed by Hammer studios veteran Terence Fisher. It's not as effective or as intelligently written as the earlier film, but it has become a minor classic in its....
A caribbean vampire seeks the half-vampire half-human new york homicide detective destined to be his bride. Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 08/22/2006 Starring: Eddie Murphy John Witherspoon Run time: 100 minutes Rating: R Director: Wes Craven
What about Twilight?
Do you think that any of the Twilight vampires deserve to be on this top ten list? Cast your vote and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Which Twilight vampire should be in the top ten?
The Top 70 Vampire Movies - ...of All Time!
Care of Snarkerati.
- Top 70 Vampire Movies
"Filmmakers have interpreted the cult of vampires in many ways, some emphasizing the primal and ancient instinct of the ungodly, while others using vampires as tools to introduce generic horror and gore. For example, vampires have been portrayed as r
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