The Best & the Worst of Today’s Vampires – Part One

These days we’re having a bit of a vampire pandemic. I’m not late to this party. I’ve just been testing the water. It’s true though, they’re inescapable. TV shows, films, books, comics, magazines… There seems like there is no getting away from them and even if you’re one of the people who are utterly sick of them, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that they’ll never die out. These blood thirsty fiends have been going strong since the 1700s and there are plenty of reasons why but it’s mostly due to this: We loooove them! Admit it. So what does it take for a vampire to be one of the best? Does he have s/he have to be the brooding but tortured good one, the sadistic killer or the one who twinkles?!

So without further ado, here’s my list of the best and the worst vampires on our screens – of course, I haven’t seen everything vampire related so if I leave one out, my bad! I’m open to pretty much any portrayal of a vampire even if they go against all the traditions. My one qualm is that they must act like vampires otherwise they may as well just be human. Not to say that all vampires have to be pure evil and hell bent on rage and destruction. If they were, they’d be vapid. They should complex like any good writer would make any other character.

The Best

Darla – Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

Remember way back to the nineties when we first met this ferocious gal? We thought she was the damsel. The cute highschool girl who had to be saved from the Big Bad… But Joss flipped this concept on its head, revealing to us that Darla was indeed a baddie herself.  If you were anything like me, her short stint of BtVS left you wanting more. She was the Master’s favourite which meant one and one thing, she was badass. Flashbacks quelled this for a little while but in Angel’s season one finale, us Darla fans got our wish. The reason she’s one of the best vampires is that she is truly at peace with what she is. Darla’s well aware of her effect on men and this becomes her trademark method of luring her kills. She’s sexy and destructive which is all a part of her appeal. And come on, is it really any wonder that Angelus fell for her?

Dracula – Dracula (1931)/Horror of Dracula (1958)/Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Dracula will forever be the world’s most famous vampire. There have been hundreds of reincarnations of him, some of which are truly woeful but we’ll just shove them under the carpet for now. The iconic image of the flowing cloak and bared fangs is engrained into each of us. Three of the men who have stepped into this legend’s shoes are Béla Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman. Each with a different flair and yet all hitting the mark. My favourite of the three is still Oldman. He’s an actor that I could sing praises about all day long but I’ll restrain myself to this. With a heart wrenching back-story, Vlad the Impaler decides to wage war on God after the death of his beloved and in turn he becomes immortal. Albeit he’s damned but what the hell?! He’s not going to have to feel God’s wrath for a long while. Might as well wreak some havoc while he’s around.

Eli – Let The Right One In

Lina Leandersson played Eli in the 2008 adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same name. I’ve said this more than once but this is what Twilight should have been. It’s a tale of adolescent angst for protagonist Oscar who is mercilessly bullied. Things start to change when he gets some new neighbours, he and vampire Eli bond and it’s not because of the fact that either are oh-so attractive but because they actually bring out the missing pieces in each other – Meyer, take note! Eli is the stronger of the two, physically and emotionally. Taking on the role as guardian to Oscar, Eli ends up smiting pretty much anyone who threatens to cause him harm. Being a child vampire, Eli struggles with feeding thus having  Håkan/the ‘father’ figure around but when he repeatedly fails, Eli has to go alone and do the unthinkable. Both the book and film downplay all references to vampires, the v word is rarely used, which is probably a good thing these days. And is anyone ever really going to forget the scene where she enters Oscar’s home uninvited?

Blade – Blade Trilogy

Blade is the only half-human half-vampire spawn that’s all he’s cracked up to be. Ok so, technically he’s not a full vampire but he’s more of one that Mr. Sparkley will ever be! Alright, rant over.. For now! Labelled as having all the strengths and none of the weaknesses but the thirst (Ahem, that is a weakness), Snipes balances a thin line between collected calm and cockiness. I always laugh at his reaction toward the end of this scene when he impales Quinn. And along with Whistler, what’s not to like about Blade?

Drusilla – Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

Once upon a time, there was a young British woman named Drusilla. She sometimes saw things that she wasn’t meant to see. Visions, that’s what they were. She knew that it was wrong to see anything before God destined it to happen so she went to church to beg for forgiveness. Only she didn’t meet a priest that day, she met a vampire Angelus who would go onto make her bonkers before killing her family and turning her the day she took her vows. She then went on to become a sadistic killer, ruining people’s lives all across the globe. Happily ever after…? Maybe not but as far as unhinged and undead folk go, Dru tops the ranks.

Eric Northman – True Blood

Was that a squee I heard? Thought so! For a lot of TB fans the reason Eric is such a great vampire is because of Alexander Skarsgard. It’s true, he’s easy on the eyes but no, that’s not why he’s here… Ok, fine, but it’s not the full reason. Eric is old, very old, like 1000 years old. He was a Viking and since Vikings weren’t exactly known for their pacifist nature it’s not a surprise when now vampiric Eric acts like a real demon. For any BtVS fan, he’ll probably remind you of say another blonde vampire trying out the whole good vibe cause he’s got the hots for the protagonist… (Spike, anybody?) Although he lacks the same cheeky charm of his British counterpart, Eric comes across as deeper. Now, let me explain. Spike’s deep – I’ll talk about him after the jump –  but there’s something about him when Sookie says that he has a lot of love for his maker and he replies ‘Don’t use words I don’t understand’ that makes you wonder what goes on in his head. He’s not always so stoic though. Sometimes he even cracks jokes referring to children as ‘teacup humans’. All in all, Eric is a complex vampire. Despite feeling the way he does for Sookie, he acts as he always has. He’s no Bill Compton and, thankfully, he never will be. He’s the bad boy that you turn to when you’re out of options but he’s also the thing you may just have to run from.

Spike/William the Bloody – Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

Easily the best TV vampire ever to grace our screens. In Buffyverse, he’s one of the most feared vampires to walk this earth (second only to Angelus) killing two Slayers in his lifetime. He’s possibly the most quotable Buffy character which has something to do with him being so veracious, speaking the truth especially when it hurts. He’s sharp, vicious, over-zealous, observant and extremely quick-witted. The thing that’s most loved about Spike though is that he’s a paradox. He’s able to do things vampires without souls are supposed to lack. He’s loyal (mostly), knows how to enjoy culture and he can love which proves that the idea of a soul making a vampire all redeem-like isn’t exactly the case. Spike is one of the best good vampires out there because he does it for something greater than himself. It’s not like Angel, he didn’t choose to be good. He was ensouled. It’s all about love, love, love…  He internally fights with himself over his loyalty to the Slayer. He’s conflicted and then there’s that scene towards the end of season 6 which spurs him further in the quest to become the man Buffy deserves.

Russell Edgington – True Blood

This vampire is definitely one of my favourites – he also made it onto PCM’s Creepiest Characters list. Some may say he’s just a typical vampire doing the typical things that vampires do but hey, isn’t that why they used to be one of the great villains of monster movies? If you’ve read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, you’ll know that he wasn’t conceived this way. He wasn’t brutal, in fact, Sookie saw him as dorky. Then Alan Ball came along, taking this unassuming vampire and making him into something truly venerable and monstrous. Russell isn’t the type of vampire you bring home to the folks, oh no. Why? Cause he’d rip out their spines – If you’re not of the faint hearted bunch watch this. He’s also a tad demented which works tremendously; psychotic vampires are always more terrifying. Russell’s creep factor is due to a plethora of things, so let’s rehash a few here. Firstly, Denis O’Hare’s portrayal of this 3000 year old vamp is superb. He makes what the writers put on paper come to life (which is something a lot of actors fail to do). So back to Russ, he causes pain and torment like nobodies business even instilling fear into his own kind. He shares his blood with a werewolf pack which in turn leads him to having an army of wolves at his disposal. REALLY wouldn’t want to get on his bad side!

Santanico Pandemonium – From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

The mistress of the macabre. The epitome of evil. The most sinister woman to ever dance on the face of this earth! Yep, here’s Santanico. Now, anyone who has seen the film remembers that dance. Yeah, you know the one. If you haven’t seen the film – go watch! With the film’s drastic change in storytelling, it’s revealed she’s a vampire princess. She then starts a killing frenzy in the bar where all the workers are too vampires. You know she means business when she says: “I’m not gonna drain you completely. You’re gonna turn for me. You’ll be my slave. You’ll live for me. You’ll eat bugs because I order it. Why? Because I don’t think you’re worthy of human blood. You’ll feed on the blood of stray dogs. You’ll be my foot stool. And at my command, you’ll lick the dog sh*t from my boot heel. Since you’ll be my dog, your new name will be “Spot”. Welcome to slavery.” Doesn’t seem like the best idea to mingle with this chick.

On the next page you’ll find more True Blood stars and a vampire that may be a crappy example of her species but we just LOVE her, so she made it into the best list.

V – A Tale of Terror