10. Katrina (Vamp)
Grace Jones vamps it up to 11 with a typically flamboyant over the top performance as a seductive stripper vampire in the horror comedy, Vamp, where she manages to be both sexy and darned scary in this film that might give fans of From Dusk Till Dawn – this came first – the odd sense of Déjà Vu.
9. Jerry Dandrige
Remade with none other than David Tennant in the old Roddy McDowell role (fabulous casting), Fright Night, had Chris Sarandon (he always looked like he had too many teeth so was perfect) as a seductive vampire who moves next door to William Ragsdale. Essentially an updating of Dracula in suburbia this set the scene for a mini-revival in vampire movies, with everything from The Lost Boys, Near Dark and Vamp.
8. Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
He only nabbed the role after Lon Chaney met his maker. Lugosi had also performed the role to great acclaim on Broadway, his performance, with that look and that broken English is the image of Dracula we all know and is still the most oft-imitated in popular culture. Lugosi never could escape the character, even in death, as he was buried with his cloak! And he’s probably spinning in that as well as former American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest, now resides in his house. Now, that is the stuff of nightmares!
7. Mr Barlow – Salem’s Lot
No, not Ken, although he has been in Corrie since time began, so you never know! Most people remember Tobe Hooper for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but first and foremost I will always think of his two-part, three hour adaption of the Stephen King classic, Salem’s Lot, with David Soul and James Mason. This has great visuals and music with set pieces that haunted a generation, from the wind in the woods to the scratching at the windows (those poor little Glik boys)and shot backwards footage that just has eerie written all over it.
The first time we see the lead vampire though is an image that a whole generation probably never forgot, no even if they closed their eyes, it was still there
Whatever you do, forget Return to Salem’s Lot and also the Rob Lowe remake.
6. Dracula (Frank Langella)
Used to playing villains he’s played everyone from Nixon to Skeletor but Superman Return’s Perry White made for a formidable Dracula against Larry Olivier’s Van Helsing in the 1978 rendition, complete with big hair, of Dracula. Like Lugosi, Langalla came to the role having already stuck his teeth into it on Broadway.
Take away some of the 70s trappings and we actual have probably one of the most underrated performances of Dracula ever committed to film.
5. Dracula (Christopher Lee)
Christopher Lee played the role of the caped one an amazing nine times and it’s no wonder that it is still classed as his signature role. It also had a massive impact on a whole generation of filmmakers who grew up watching them on late night TV, so it is of no surprise that we see him being utilised in film by Spielberg, Dante, Lucas and Jackson…although it will never ever explain Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow.
George A Romero isn’t just about zombie’s taking over the earth he’s also about neat little character studies like this as well. The most interesting thing about Martin, also the title of the film, is that he thinks that he is a vampire but he actually isn’t one. Like Romero’s other work, and all great horror, it makes a stark commentary on society and is as haunting today as it was then. It shares some of the same themes as Taxi Driver, which is very much a horror movie in many ways. Thought provoking stuff and Romero’s own favourite film.
3. Selene (Underworld)
Girls, you can keep your R Patz we’ve got Kate Beckinsdale in Underworld. Sure it might be all Matrix-esque in its style but that still doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the carnage in-between…and all those lingering shots of Kate in her tighter than tight rubber outfit of course.
The sequels were awful but the original has bite and action aplenty, showing those Twilight folk how to really do a battle between Werewolves and Vampires.
For me, leaner, wittier, darker, edgier than Buffy, this LA set spin-off had a more grown up feel about it, with Angel’s past owing more than a nod and a wink to Interview with a Vampire in the style stakes. Cinematic in scope, the show hit the floor running with an amazing scene where Angel throws a vampire in a board meeting out of the window of a high rise building, chair and all, with the vampire bursting into flames in the LA sun. It also ended as it began with Angel and co with their very own Butch and Sundance moment against a whole series of beasties, in between that we also had the rather excellent episode where Angel was cursed and turned into a muppet-like character for most of the episode, still voiced by Boreanaz of course. Inspired and did that rare spin off thing of stepping out of the shadows from the show from whence it came.
Salem’s Lot’s vampire had more than a sinister nod in the looks department to the granddaddy of all screen vampires. It may be silent but being a piece of German Expressionism, the pictures speak a thousand words. The titular role is played by Max Schreck, which, uncoincidently, was also the name of Christopher Walken’s character in Batman Returns. The ‘making’ of Nosferatu was also the subject of Shadow of the Vampire, which supposed that Schreck, magnificently portrayed by Willem Dafoe, was an actual vampire!