Sure, there’s been a barrage of neck-chomping fanged freaks on the silver screen, but these are the five best vampires in our humble opinion. Above is Catherine Deneuve in 1983’s ‘The Hunger.’ (Flickr/LA_Eye_Candy photo)
The cinematic universe has brought us plenty of vampires over the years. And don’t get us started on all of those bloodsucking television shows from “Dark Shadows” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood.”
While a barrage of neck-chomping fanged freaks of the classical variety have been offered up to us for our viewing pleasure — embodied by the likes of great actors such as Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee — we though we’d take a peek at five rather non-traditional vamps who left their blood-stained stamp on the world of film and gothic storytelling.
Before Kiefer Sutherland was kicking ass, murdering people and taking names on the television series “24,” he was kicking ass and murdering people in the cult classic “The Lost Boys.” Sutherland played David, a punk vampire with a fondness for motorcycle races and long beach rides.
In the 1987 film, David tries to seduce Michael (a young Jason Patric) into the vampiric breach with the temptation of hazy romance with Star (a young Jami Gertz) and the allure of hanging out in the beach community of Santa Carla, Calif. One of David’s best tricks is getting Michael to believe his Chinese takeout is insect-based. “Maggots, Michael, you’re eating maggots. How do they taste?”
Actor Wesley Snipes is synonymous with the half-breed vampire (half human, half gullet-biter) “Blade.” What made this deadly Marvel vampire and vamp hunter so interesting, besides the character’s African-American, 1970s-esque origins, was his ability to hunt while moving about in the daylight. Well, that, and his awesome martial arts skills, his talent with knives and swords, and his very quotable one-liners: “Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.”
3. Lady Miriam Blaylock
Lady Miriam Blaylock, played by Catherine Deneuve in director Tony Scott’s 1983 horror film “The Hunger,” embodied lust and the raw desire that comes from living off the blood of mortals for centuries on end.
Miriam chooses lovers to accompany her through the ages. When we meet her in Scott’s film, she’s cohabitating with a vampire named John, portrayed by David Bowie. The problem is that while Deneuve’s character enjoys eternal life and eternal youth, after 200 years or so, Bowie’s character begins to rapidly age (but doesn’t die), which forces Lady Blaylock to search for a new lover (Susan Sarandon). Of course, tragedy and darkly ironic twists ensue.
4. Eric Northman
Tall, lanky, and ancient, Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgård) from HBO’s hit vampire drama “True Blood” is the bloodsucker to be. Chilled out, wise and often evil, this dead man also counts human warmth (ironically) and a wry sense of humor among his complex character traits. He’s a pale Viking who’s extremely loyal to the people he cares about … but if you have the misfortune of getting on his bad side, he’ll have no qualms about tearing you apart in the most gruesome of ways.
5. Lestat de Lioncourt
When Tom Cruise was cast as Lestat de Lioncourt in the 1994 film “Interview with the Vampire,” the author of the book the movie would be based on wasn’t pleased at all. Despite a widespread industry backlash against the casting, once she’d seen an actual cut of the film, writer Ann Rice changed her tune. She even bought a two-page ad in trade publication Variety to praise the project, and Cruise’s portrayal of her favorite fashion-minded vampire.
If you’re familiar with “Interview with the Vampire” and the character of Lestat, you might be wondering why he’s included on a list of non-traditional vamps. After all, he starts out very traditional. Well, first off, Tom’s performance in the film was stellar — made even more so as no one expected much from him. (Surprises are memorable.) In addition, Lestat’s journey from old school vampire to someone coming to grips with modernity is the perfect illustration of the undead trying to stay current in a rapidly changing world. What could be more alternative than that?
Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.