The Best and Worst Vampires
In case you haven’t noticed, vampires are kinda “in” right now. There is tons of TV shows, movies and books all related to the gothic biters. Thanks to Stephanie Meyer, the trend is nowhere close to ending with upcoming movies like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead. (I kid you not.) So before this gets further out of hand let’s praise the worthy vampires and mock the ones who…suck.
I’m going to cheat and say I haven’t seen a big-screen adaptation match up to Bram Stoker’s book yet. That said there have been a lot of fun entries. Bela Lugosi is still iconic as the Count in Tod Browning’s 1931 Dracula. Although I liked him even more as the mastermind in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That’s the Dracula I like the most in films. He’s like a great comic book villain, similar to The Joker. He has such a powerful reputation behind him that people can just have fun with it. (Yes, even Gary Oldman in a very uneven movie.)
There is one vampire romance story I really like and it’s the Swedish film Let the Right One In. She looks like a 12-year-old girl, but she’s been that way for a long time. Her main goal is making sure she will be fed so she has a caretaker to make sure that happens. The horror in this film is subtle and haunting. She is not the villain in this story, but the film never tries to suggest what she is doing is right.
Since vampires tend to be immortal beings, it’s not outrageous to look all the way back at the silent films to find some good ones. F.W. Murnau couldn’t get the rights to Stoker’s novel so he made due with his creation of “Nosferatu.” His film is insanely watchable and still very creepy. Werner Herzog remade the film decades later and Nosferatu continued to terrify. This version had the character played by Klaus Kinski. In these movies Nosferatu is not cunning or manipulative, but animalistic and horrifying.
Yep, he gets to make both lists. He gets more exposure than any vampire out there which means he is going to be in a bunch of lousy stuff as well. Stuff like Van Helsing and Dracula Dead and Loving It. I mentioned earlier that the reputation behind the character already creations emotions behind him, but sometimes that is taken too much for granted and the end result just becomes embarrassing.
You had to have seen this coming; I did mention my sexual preference earlier in the article. He’s just a creepy dude in the Twilight films who doesn’t even follow basic vampire protocol. Vampires can’t go out during the day, they should suck blood, and they don’t flippin’ sparkle. I don’t think there are any new jokes to make about this guy but they are all deserving. The fact that there is a powerful fanbase romantically clamoring around this guy is a bit frightening, but not the kind of “frightening” we’re looking for in a horror movie.
I’m going to cheat once again—Hey, it’s my list!—and group a lot of vampires together. They may not be bad movies, but I’ve never really liked it when vampires become their own group or civilization. I didn’t think this was very effective in Daybreakers or in most of the Blade series. It’s silly to say it’s unrealistic, but it’s never as terrifying as it should be. It loses too much of the animalistic properties that makes them monsters and villainous. The only time I thought this really worked well was the novel I Am Legend. That worked not because they were unionized but because the hero was completely alone and doomed. Also the ending of that book really validates it on a profound level.
So who else would you add to either list?