Everyone loves watching a good vampire on film whether the vampire is mysterious, sexy or even comical. There was even a hit movie franchise, “Twilight” made about vampires who sparkle. Some are modern blockbusters, some are classic, some are gory, some are considered “chick flicks” and some movie Vampires are just so way out that they stand alone in infamy. As so many great movies about the undead live on in memory, it’s worth a journey down the roster of the 20 Best Vampires in Movies.
Bela Lugosi had it all. Born in Hungary, he had the striking features and Eastern European accent that made his portrayal of Count Dracula masterful and oh so sexy. Who could resist him? Mr. Lugosi repeated his iconic character in several films including “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”. The film “Dracula” brought Bela Lugosi great fame but also caused him to be typecast making it difficult for him to cross over to other characters. Who could forget the excitement when he introduced himself in the 1931 movie, saying “I am (pause) Dracula” Ed Wood provided Lugosi his last acting opportunity in the cult classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.
This 1922 silent film was the first vampire movie to hit the silver screen, and horrified moviegoers were fainting in the aisles. German actor Max Schreck brought the mysterious Count Orlok to life without any dialogue to aid him. His expression and creepy movements were enough to totally enthrall the audience. To this day, Sheck is credited to be, next to Lugosi the role model for anyone taking on a vampire role.
He’s handsome, he’s cool and he’s on our side. What’s not to like about Wesley Snipes as “Blade?” He’s a bad boy hero with an awesome long coat. He does have a foul mouth but he has seen a few things in life being a hybrid vamp so he has an excuse to be angry. He’ll face down a room full of hungry bloodsuckers and take them all out like it was no problem.
When Anne Rice’s novel “Interview with a Vampire” was made into a movie in 1995 , fans were ecstatic. No greater star was on the scene than Tom Cruise and he got a major role as the forever young, immortally irritated Lestat. Tom Cruise with his toothy grin made him a natural for the part. Some say he overacted and hammed it up too much in the role, but hey, it was Tom Cruise, what could you expect?
Another character from the Anne Rice undead world is Louie, played by Brad Pitt. Women everywhere swooned at the sight of him, both on and off screen so he was a natural choice to be the Vampire that gives reporter Christian Slater his epic interview. Like Cruise, he wore a weird looking wig, a pound of makeup and flouncy clothes, but fans everywhere loved his riveting performance.
The only vampire who could upstage all the other actors in “Interview With a Vampire” was a very young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, a little girl who gets turned and ends up an eternal child. Her longing to grow up and be loved made her vampire life particularly tragic, especially when it came to her attachment to Louie. Although she lives in an adult vampire existence full of sex and other adult pursuits, she makes her way in the world until she is cruelly trapped in a well when the sun comes up.
Forget Pitt and Cruise, the sexist character in “Interview with a Vampire” had to be Armand, played by Antonio Banderas. As one of his first big roles, he burned up the screen with hisLatinn smoldering looks and adorable accent. The scene between Louis and Armand were controversial and risque for 1994, and the onscreen duo still inspires tribute video and a plethora of fanfiction. Antonio Banderas’ career took off like a rocket from this amazing performance that left fans wanting more.
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
Any other actor might have looked silly wearing a weird “butt head” wig and granny glasses, butt not Gary Oldman. He played the lovesick tortured count for all it was worth. He even made the love scenes with Winona Ryder seem effortless. That’s some great acting! His ability to nail any accent from New York to Transylvania made him one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. When Gary Oldman is on screen he reinvents any character to be his own.
We can’t totally count Jonathan Frid as he played Barnabas on the TV daytime drama, but leave it to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp to give this vampire a unique treatment in the 2012 film “Dark Shadows.”Jonathan Frid did make a cameo appearance in the movie, the last role before his death. For this connection alone, both actors need to take a bow for this iconic role. Yes, the movie was silly and some critics say rather unnecessary, but fans of the old show Dark Shadows and the mysterious Barnabas Collins were willing to take whatever we could get.
” Dracula 1979″
With his swarthy good looks and brooding demeanor, actor Frank Langella was the perfect choice to give Dracula a modern 70s vibe. Again, in this movie, the sexy count is looking for a love that will last (several centuries). It was advertised as “A Love Story” Veteran actors Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan, and Sir. Laurence Oliver also appears in this British made hit. Frank Langella was one of those heartthrobs like Enzo Cerusico whose star burned brightly in the 70s as “Italian Stallions”. Langella was back on screen playing President Nixon in the film Frost/Nixon, also starring Michael Sheen as David Frost. Sheen also played a vampire as Voltaire Bad Guy Aro in the Twilight franchise.
Lost Boy David
A vampire named David never looked so 1980s style fashionable with his spiky blonde hair and leather jacket courtesy of Kiefer Sutherland in “The Lost Boys,” Although the two Corey’s (Haim and Feldman) stole the show, David’s laid back beach vamp attitude and penchant for creepy dirty tricks made us proceed with caution when opening a carton of Chinese Takeout Food. Honorable mention goes to Jason Patrick for his portrayaMichaelchael, who falls in love with David’s girl and ends up on an ethereal ride of his life. Torn between two world, Michael must rely on his annoying little brother and his new comic book reading pals to save the day.
The 1975 film adaption of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” brought a new vampire to the screen. The Marsten house became a modern day Dracula’s castle in Maine. The movie character’s appearance was ghoulishly enhanced with special effects compared to Barlow in the book version. Barlow is shipped to America in a coffin, so apparently, he is one vampire who turns to dust instead of sparkles in daylight. He has a trusty human assistant, much like Stoker’s Renfield, in the character of Richard Straker. Unike Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” “Salem’s Lot” remains pretty faithful to the book. King Fans are waiting to see if human steam vampire Rose the Hat and her traveling RV gang will come to the screen in a film adaption of “Doctor Sleep”.
Akasha “Queen of the Damned”
Another great character in the Anne Rice horror universe in Akasha. She’s beautiful, smart and dangerous. Brought to life on screen by singer/actress Aaliyah in 2002, this was her last film before her untimely death in a plane crash. The movie was released six months later to critical acclaim. Her self titled album came out that year and both the film and the album are dear to her fan’s hearts.
Eli “Let the Right One In”
This 2008 horror film concentrates on the relationship between a sensitive bullied boy Oskar and his undead playmate Eli. They become fast friends in a cruel world. Although the film was remade as “Let Me In” in 2010 with British actors, it’s worth watching the original even with the subtitles. Swedish actress Lina Leandersson brings the right amount of vulnerability and cynicism to this child vampire role. The contrast of Eli’s dark hair and serious features with the snow covered land of Sweden added an extra spooky dimension to the film. Oskar is frightened of her, yet he adores her, which makes it an interesting foray into a young man’s first case of puppy love.
Christopher Lee “Dracula” (1958)
This amazing actor has starred in too many films to count, from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to The Mummy. In 1958 he took his turn as Count Dracula and brought a sinister realism to the role, which makes him one of the best Dracula’s in the history of cinema. His open mouth bite was both terrifying and oddly sensual. Christopher Lee, like Vincent Price are the golden treasures of the classic horror film genre.
” Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”:
Played to comic perfection by Cassandra Peterson, this late night hostess with the mostess got her own movie in 1988. Known for her long dark hair and bountiful cleavage, Elvira knew how to camp it up for the camera to bring us a female, funny vampire. Her character took inspiration from Vampira a movie character from the fifties, who was another horror queen of the “B” movie horror genre. The character of Elvira lives on in tacky Halloween costumes that are worn yearly by women who like to be the center of attention at a costume party.
Yes, he wasn’t very scary, just broody. He only drank animal blood and the sun didn’t kill him, it just make him go all glittery. Still, the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” books introduced a whole new generation to the hidden world of the very fashionable undead. Whether you like him or hated him he has a place in the vampire world. From McDonald’s cups to tee shirts that proclaimed for “Team Edward” no other vampire has caused such a teen and teen mom frenzy than Edward Pattinson. Sure, he had the personality of a wet noodle and Jacob had a much more interesting personality with his wicked sense of humor but he was up against the perfect vampire Edward Cullen, so of course, Bella chose to give up her life to become a Cullen instead of hanging with his Wolfpack. The fanfiction universe went wild and for better or worse that is how we got “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Alice Cullen: Speaking of “Twilight,”
Ashley Greene’s adorable portrayal of Alice Cullen gave us a cute little pixie fairy type vampire. She could also predict the moves of her opponents in a fight and had some serious battle moves. Who could forget the fight scene in “Eclipse” when she glides over the werewolf’s back. Too bad she had to be paired with Jackson Rathbone who played her husband Jasper Hale with his weird expressions and appalling fake southern accent. Alice Cullen’s backstory of being in an asylum where they cut her hair off before she was turned explains her funky tresses. Still, this fashionista vamp made the look work for her and was the most fun to be around of the Cullen crew. Sure, she voted “yes” for Bella being turned but she was desperate for friends being stuck with just Rosalie around. Her walk and talk even seemed genuinely “high school” despite her real age.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen
His bedside manner was so good that no one in Forks, Washington seemed to notice that the doc looked quite anemic and had glowing amber eyes that sometimes were black depending on how hungry he is. Sure, he was the best doctor in town, having centuries of experience. Dr. Cullen has enough “everyman” qualities as he drifts through time (loves his wife, watches CNN, plays baseball) to endear him to fans. Not even Peter Facinelli’s brassy blonde hair could detract from this healing man of the undead variety. His wife Esme was also a good character, portraying the matriarch of the unusual family.
Of course, vampires come in all varieties. There are even mean girls among the living dead. Nikki Reed played Rosalie, who is apparently the most gorgeous vampire in the word (and she knows it). Just when the fans were about to hate her, Rosalie tells her heartfelt story about how she was attacked and left for dead before Carlisle turned her. Her scenes with Jacob gave the movie some comic relief and a break from goody two shoes Bella. She didn’t want to become a vampire, as she can never be a mother or grow old with her husband, Emmett. Her character shows that being an immortal being isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.