Top 10 Movie Vampires

10/30/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Jeremy Wilkinson

Top 10 Movie Vampires

Vampires have been a part of cinema since its inception. The vampire changes with the times…going from the Gothic, supernatural creature found in the '30s to the punkish, violent monster that arose in the '80s. Every now and then, something comes along to reinvent the immortal vampire. We live in an age where the vampire has been relegated to “boyfriend," as seen in the "Twilight" movies, among others. Quite frankly, the vampire that is popular these days has lost its bite and, instead, it sparkles. That’s not really the fairest trade in the world. This list looks over 10 of the most iconic, vicious and terrifying vampires to ever grace the silver screen.

#10 – Marlowe – "30 Days of Night"

With all the contemplative and heroic vampires around, sometimes we forget just how nasty the undead can be. Then you see a movie like 30 Days of Night and you’re reminded what they’re capable of. Danny Huston plays Marlowe, the leader of a group of vampires that decide to attack Barrow, Alaska during a month of darkness. Like the other vampires in the movie, Marlowe is menacing and animal-like--his only real goal is to feed and to keep his existence secret. Above all, he is a hunter. He speaks in a simple, guttural language to communicate with his fellow vampires. Marlowe (and the other vampires in the movie) can be seen as a return to the type of vampire that arose in the '80s with movies like Near Dark and Lost Boys.

#9 – Blade – "Blade"

Though he’s only a half-vampire, that’s enough to get him on the list. Blade is the first of only two “good” vampires on the list. The great thing about Blade is that even though he’s on our side, he has no problem hurting people to nullify the vampire threat. Sure, he’s a “good guy,” but he isn’t above punching out some snotty human trying to help the vampires. Wesley Snipes plays the character with icy cool, dusting vampires without losing his sunglasses.

#8 – D – "Vampire Hunter D"

D is an import from Japan and the only animated vampire on this list. D is technically a half-vampire, but he takes the number seven spot because he brings a new spin to the table. He is the classic wandering swordsman, dishing out death to the nasty creatures that go bump in the night and he has an interesting partn--his left hand. Left Hand is something like a parasite, aiding D in his endeavors, even saving him from certain doom. The character as a whole is a classic archetype with a new spin.

#7 – David – "Lost Boys"

Like Lestat before him, David (and his gang of vampires) created a new vampire type. David is a brash, punk vampi--a vampire for the modern age. He can fly, he has super-strength, but he cannot create mist or anything like that. Kiefer Sutherland plays the role well. He’s kind of like that guy who would ride up to a bar on a motorcycle, steal someone’s girlfriend, and then take off into the night…and yet he’s a vampire.

#6 – Santanico Pandemonium – "From Dusk Till Dawn"

The female vampire is usually more overtly sexual than her male counterparts. She is a seductress, luring men into her arms before plunging her fangs into their necks. Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), still plays the part of seductress. But once the blood begins to flow, she turns into a demonic creature more terrifying than most other vampires in cinema. Salma gives the character a commanding presence and a malign edge.

#5 – Severen – "Near Dark"

The vampires in Near Dark are some of the most brutal vampires out there, but the psychopathic Severen (played by Bill Paxton) stands out as tyrant even among them. Severen walks with a swagger, relishing the fear he instills and the violence he creates. The audience gets to see just how evil he is during a scene where the vampires enter and bar and, well…you’ll have to watch to see how that goes down.

#4 – Blacula – "Blacula"

Released in 1972, Blacula was meant to be a blaxploitation movie…and in many ways it lives up to that intent. But William Marshall (playing the eponymous vampire) does not allow his character to just be a stereotype. Blacula was more of a victim, damned by his progenitor to become one of the undead. He still kills and feeds, but Marshall plays the character with a dignity and nobility that would not have been there if the role had gone to a lesser actor. Thanks to Marshall, the character transcends the genre.

#3 – Lestat – "Interview with the Vampire"

When Anne Rice first published Interview with the Vampire, she ushered in a new archetype. This new breed of vampire was not susceptible to religious iconography, could not turn into a bat, and was not necessarily evil. Though Louis was the protagonist of the first book and movie adaptation, it was Lestat who caught the imagination of vampire fans. Tom Cruise did a wonderful job as Lestat in the feature film. The character unapologetically embraces the vampire lifestyle, feeding on humans like it’s nothing (standing in stark contrast to Louis’ hesitance to indulge his hunger). Lestat was one of the first vampires to eschew the more supernatural abilities of the vampire and has a surprising amount of depth that is discovered as the film unfolds.

#2 – Graf Orlok - "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens"

Most cinematic vampires are alluring and sexy creatures, but Graf Orlok is not like most cinematic vampires. Count Orlok is one of the closest representations of the folkoric vampire on the screen. He is a hideous monster, spreading disease wherever he goes. Orlok is more a monster then anything else and his physical traits make him instantly recognizable. Max Schreck plays Orlok, moving with stilted motions that create an eeriness that is not easily replicated.

#1 – "Dracula" – Various Films

He may have not been the first vampire to grace the silver screen, but he is one of the most remembered and is certainly used most often in cinema. Dracula’s popularity is partly due to the novel on which it was based. But, while Bram Stoker's novel is great, it is the actors that portrayed Dracula that have aided in the Count’s longevity in the film world. Bela Lugosi defined the Dracula archetype in the 1931 adaptation of the novel and others have attempted (mostly in vain) to match Lugosi’s mastery of the character. Christopher Lee helped re-define the character, bringing even more predatory menace to the table. Dracula is everything a Gothic vampire should be--suave, seductive, vicious--and he never stays dead for too long. It is unlikely that Dracula will be knocked from the position of best-known vampire.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes


  1. Gavin said...

    Hmm. Dracula you say? But which version is best? I personally like the Dracula 2000 story where he was actually Judas.

  2. Admin said...

    Gotta say, I love the cheesy original. You can't beat that rubber bat!

  3. Jeremy said...

    My personal favorite is the Christopher Lee Dracula. He's a great actor and I love the Hammer horror movies I've seen.