VIDEO: Top 10 Vampires

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While you count down to 2012, join the Fear Fan as he counts down his list of the top 10 greatest vampires in movie history. With some obvious choices (Max Shreck) and some not-so-obvious choices (Pee-Wee Herman?), one thing’s for sure: none of these vampires sparkle!

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  • Nice list. It’s inspired me to add a couple movies to my list of movies to watch. ^_^ Vampires like Spike, Angelus, and Drusilla will always hold a special place in my mind simply because Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie) introduced me to vampires, but as you pointed out, they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for some of the characters you talked about.

  • have you seen the mexican version of Dracula? that vampire was pretty cool!

    • fearfanforever

      I haven’t seen the movie itself, but I HAVE seen other reviews of it. It’s definitely on my list of things to watch when I get a chance.

  • Chris

    “Vampire in Brooklyn.”

    • fearfanforever

      I have not yet seen it, but I’m always open to suggestions.

  • Jm_james

    You are right on with the “Let Me In”/ ” Let the Right One in”. I have told anyone who would listen that they were the best Vampire movies in the last 20 years.

  • Cristiona

    Hm. Honorable mentions for Jan Valek from John Carpenter’s Vampires or Nic Cage’s turn in Vampire’s Kiss? Or how about Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula? Heh.

    As for Bela, he also gave the best delivery of “I don’t drink… wine.” His delivery of that line is astounding.

    • fearfanforever

      Been a while since I’ve seen JC’SV, but if I recall, he totally kicked some vampire hunter ass. As for Nick Cage, despite his unusual eating habits and… shall we say… enthusiastic declarations of his own vampirism… he might just be a crazy guy, and that’s just a step too far for me. I always love that scene with Lugosi. Friggin’ awesome.

  • Ed

    Good stuff, man, though I probably would have gone with Chris Sarandon from Fright Night rather than Ed. But that’s just me.

    • fearfanforever

      He was definitely on my mind, but in the end, I only wanted to do one vampire from any given series, and I just can’t beat Evil Ed.

      • Ed

        Fair enough.

      • Blackpun2000

        If Jerry Danridge was a great vamp, he should have been on the list. With that and the fan service addition of Lugosi’s Drac, this list is not really ‘complete’. It is compormised.

  • Sofie Liv

    Yay! I wont pretend to be a vampire expert by any means, but I do kind of like the old school badass nasty vampires.
    Dracula is still the king though… Loved this list!

    • Sofie Liv

      Btw, have you ever seen the Frank Langella version of Dracula from 1979?
      I really dig that flick and his performance, for me he really does come across as an out of worldly creature and in the end both very beastly and dangerous.
      He sure is sexy, maybe one of the sexiest vampires I have ever seen, but here the sexual tension quickly turns into some-thing very grotesque and disturbing. Which is cool really, he mesmerise the woman and then turn her into a monster of beastly proportions.. which is so cool.

      • fearfanforever

        I saw it a vary long time ago, but maybe I should give it another watch, eh?

        • Sofie Liv

          I suppose it’s a question of taste. I just prefer it over both the 2000 version and the hammers versions. I mean, both are good. I just find this one better..
          1931 is its own whole category so I refuse to drag it into this. And it’s all my own opinion!

  • Bart_Fargo

    “Some muthafuckas are always trying to ice skate uphill.”

    • fearfanforever

      That line was a thing of beauty. And it’s the slightly weary, “I’m sick of dealing with these idiots” delivery that really sold it.

  • Crazy Fish

    Re: Which episode was Leslie not wearing pants. My answer: All of them.

    Re: Someone you missed: Leslie Neilsen’s Dracula from Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Come on. You put in Evil Ed and Paul Reubens, so you clearly don’t have anything against non-serious depictions of vampires. And you put in Blade and the Lost Boys gang, so you’re clearly not above cheating. So what the Hell?

    Now that that’s out of the way, my thoughts on your picks:

    #10 – Count Orlok – “The resulting lawsuits shut down their company forever!” The happy tone you gave this line made it easily one of the best in the video.

    #9 – Pee Wee Herman as a Vampire – Growing up I was only vaguely aware of Pee Wee Herman. I didn’t really know the actor or the character as anything other than “that guy my parents won’t let me watch because they say he’s a pedophile.” Still to this day I’ve never seen Pee Wee’s Playhouse and have pretty much no intention to. However, when I grew up I did see Paul Reubens in a number of other movies and TV shows, including the very much more adult-oriented Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. From that I discovered that he’s actually a master of “idiot humor” on the same level as Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell. While he’s still not my favorite comedian he is pretty funny, and watching him ham it up as a vampire is hilarious.

    #8 – Blade – I’ll admit, when this one first came up my first thought was “Seriously? Isn’t that about like putting Mel Gibson on a list of the greatest Jewish actors? Not only is he not one, he actively works against them.” That said, by the end of the segment I was convinced. Blade earns his spot on the list by kicking more ass than a nuclear powered machine specifically designed to kick asses.

    #7 – Gary Oldman’s Dracula – This segment didn’t seem to say a lot, but that’s fine because not much needs to be said. Gary Oldman is a badass Dracula.

    #6 – The Lost Boys – I love the idea of putting these guys on the list purely for virtue of having awesome death scenes. Sure it’s cheating, but screw it because they do all have awesome death scenes.

    #5 – Evil Ed – I have to agree here. Of course he’s annoying, of course people hate him, and of course you want to see him die. That’s sort of the entire point. Not every villain has to be a tragic soul or a magnificent bastard. Sometimes it’s nice to have a villain who’s just…well, an annoying dick who you don’t mind watching get stabbed in the chest.

    #4 – Severn – I have not seen this one, but the guy looks awesome. I’ve personally always wondered why “brooding and melancholy” seems to be the default response to a vampire bite. For some inexplicable reason it’s extremely rare to see a vampire who actually enjoys his newfound power, and that’s why guys like this are so kickass.

    #3 – Christopher Lee’s Dracula – Hey, I thought the callous van Helsing line was hilarious. That’s really all I have to say here. Nothing to add or subtract. It’s an obvious choice.

    #2 – Abby – Why would you rank her above Christopher Lee? Duh, because she’s awesome.

    #1 – Bela Lugosi’s Dracula – Eh, honestly, I have to call BS on this one. You totally agree that Bela Lugosi is not the best Dracula, but you made him number 1 anyway because he’s well known as the first Dracula? Sorry, no. This is just like Tetris consistently topping “Best Video Game” lists. I’m well aware that if you didn’t put Lugosi as number 1 you’d have angry wannabe movie historians sending you hate mail, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a total cop-out. Everyone knows he shouldn’t be there, putting him there because he “has to be” doesn’t work.

    • fearfanforever

      Glad you liked the list CF, but I’m sorry you thought #1 was a cop out. As you said, having a top 10 without Bela would be like declaring open war on the universe, but when I sat down to think about it, I couldn’t help but realize how much his performance contributed to everything that came after it. In the end, I felt that the #1 slot shouldn’t be reserved for a vampire on coolness alone. Instead I felt it should be given to a vampire that had contributed to western society’s understanding of the vampire legend, and who helped to define vampires on the silver screen.
      Anyway, if it’s any consolation, my favorite version of Dracula is probably the truly excellent ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, mentioned earlier in the list. I love it for a great many reasons, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to elaborate on them when I get around to reviewing it.
      As for why Gary Oldman didn’t top the list, keep in mind that this was about the Top 10 Vampires, and not necessarily the Top 10 Vampire MOVIES.
      Hope you still have faith in me!

      • Blackpun2000

        #1 is a cop out. Lugosi only stands out because he was great and the first. Then people got lazy and made Bela Lugosi pop culture shorthand for “Dracula” and “Vampire”

        “I couldn’t help but realize how much his performance contributed to everything that came after it”

        What did that performance contribute to good vampire movies besides Tod Browning’s Dracula? Count Chocula and Sesame Street’s The Count or George Hamilton’s turn in Love at First Bite? Maybe Langella’s Dracula, which isn’t that memorable. Oh, and we can’t forget the countless toys, cartoons, kids’ movies and halloween merchandise that are informed by Legosi.That isn’t vampire lore, that’s pop culture junk.

      • Crazy Fish

        Fair enough. And yeah, it’s cool. Your videos are still awesome. The fact that I disagree with one example on a list you made won’t change that.

    • Cristiona

      Ugh. Dracula Dead and Loving it was unwatchable. It was the start of Neilsen’s slow, sad slump into worse and worse “comedies”.

      • Ed

        Agreed, it really says something that Mel Brooks quit directing movies after this. Actually, given how that film turned out, maybe it was for the best.

        • Crazy Fish

          Okay, maybe it was just me that liked that movie. I mean, it was certainly no Naked Gun, but I thought it was good.

          Hmm…I would mention Eddie Murphy’s character in Vampire In Brooklyn, but it’s been forever since I’ve seen that movie. I can’t remember if I liked it or not…and it’s not on Netflix.

  • Jonathan Hunter

    At first I wasn’t so big on Terror Obscura, but I really really liked this video and it made me want to watch the others. You do a great job. Oh and Sofie, I saw the Frank Langella version and yeah that was a little strange.
    Also, while not the best movie, nor the best Dracula, what about Dracula 2000’s back story that Dracula was really Judas? I thought it was an original and interesting back story…if a bit strange.

    • fearfanforever

      Well, I’m always glad when to win someone over to the show, and I hope to keep your confidence in future episodes!
      As for Dracula 2000, I actually quite enjoyed it in its own way. As for the backstory, I thought that it was a rather clever connection between the version of the vampire myth we have today and the story of Judas.
      In fact, since the use of silver against vampires is a relatively recent invention in the genra, I must applaud their creativity.

  • Kev

    I have to disagree with Blade. Not only is he not a vampire, but he is ABSOLUTELY NOT A VAMPIRE. He is a dhampir, a vampire/human hybrid, which is why he can walk in the daylight.

    I would have put Marlowe from 30 Days of Night, played by Danny Huston in Blade’s spot. Mainly because he manages to be completely scary while getting only one single line in English. The rest of his dialogue is a complete gibberish vampire language. (even though I seriously doubt those vampires would have been able to stay secret for as long as they have by being such careless, messy eaters. If you walk down the street covered in blood, people tend to notice.)

    As for the rest of the list, it’s good.

  • Blackpun2000

    SPOILERS for “Let Me In”:

    At least in the case of Abby in Let Me In, the character MOST DEFINITELY wants the boy to be her Renfield and she will groom him to be her bitch just like her previous caretaker. She sees the hole in his life and knows she can fill it and get rid of her old caretaker. In that movie, Abby and the caretaker weren’t growing apart, she already hated his guts. She couldn’t have any real sympathy for the boy since she said to him “I’m not a girl”. She’s an old (evil) soul that could have nothing in common with him and is far beyond his understanding, like a child to a century old force of nature: not compatible, dude. (That is why, besides the romance novel reading masses who flock toward it, ‘Twilight’ is perplexing to most movie goers. In an emotionally truthful story, Edward could never love Bella unless he was emotionally stunted.) What am I saying? Even many of it’s fans admit twilight is badly written.

    Anyway, IMO Let Me In only suggests that once ‘The Father’ dies, Abby is grooming Owen to replace the other guy. And that is only because she needs a human caretaker. No other reason. Can you really see a happy ending to that story? And don’t you think Abby knows that Owen ain’t gonna have a happy life with her?

    • CBob

      While I’d agree that seems (mostly) the more likely interpretation of Eli/Owen relationship, it is still based just as heavily on assumptions as the opposing interpretation. The movie itself is ambiguous, and doesn’t really give us much actual info about Eli or her nature at all. The fact that she’s not human, and that she’s lead a life so far removed from a human one makes any assumptions about her psychology equally ungrounded.

      The same could be said about Edward (not that I’m arguing in Twilight’s favor, mind you). The fact that he’s not human gives the author complete licence to say he’s as psychologically different as he is physically. And the fact that he’s old and immortal also can cut both ways: if your life expectancy is measured in millennia, a century or two of age difference might mean as little as a year or two would for a human, especially if you’re expecting your partner being similarly long lived once changed.

      …But if you wanted to make assumptions, both cases deal with people who were made into vampires as children or adolescents, and in both cases becoming a vampire freezes ones aging both physically and socially. It could be assumed that while they do gain experience and learn, their physical brain structure is permanently locked in an immature/incomplete state, and their social roles are limited enough to limit the kind of experiences they can have or learn from. Think of all the kinds of formative experience that make a teenager into an adult, and which change & “mature” adults over the course of their lives. How many of these have to do with experiences, or entire categories of experience, that a permanent child would never have? People change because life changes, but for a vampire the closest equivalent would be the external changes inhuman society over time. Rather than the constant, dramatic arcs of change in a human life, they might settle into a rut early and only develop glacially thereafter, if at all.

      That is, if one wanted to make assumptions. People on both sides of these arguments tend to project way more onto these beings than is actually either explicit or implied. Personally I feel that until the author gives us more real info, insisting on either interpretation over the other actually says way more about the person doing the insisting than it does about the interpretation. There’s just too may things “not human” could mean.

      • fearfanforever

        Actually, if I’ve heard correctly, in the book “not a girl” turns out to be entirely true. Eli is actually a young boy who was castrated before he was turned. However, since that piece of information does not appear in either film, I’m willing to say that the same might not be true of the character in the film. That’s one of the interesting things about adaptations is that at a certain point, they cease to be about the original work, and must become their own entity in order to survive.
        That’s why so many remakes and adaptations fail; they are unwilling or unable to stand on their own.

        • CBob

          I 100% agree that remakes and adaptations should feel free to wander as they see fit. A remake/adaptation that’s too 1:1 to the source feels pointlessly redundant to me, and I don’t see how demonizing a filmmaker for having the temerity to have creativity of their own is anything but a double standard.

          Interesting about the “not a girl” thing, I wasn’t aware of that. It doesn’t effect the issue of how “not a human” effects her/his psychology & motivations (unless there’s other stuff in the book about that), but it could effect the romance aspect. In the book, at least, as you say.

        • Guest

          MAJOR SPOILER ALERT REGARDING “LET THE RIGHT ONE IN” And the wierdness of the apparent ambiguity and a couple of corrections

          The novel explicitly states that Eli will never mentally age beyond 12. Yes, s/he does go through some pretty major experiences during those 220 years of life (although a great deal of this time was apparently spent sleeping), including heavily implied sexual abuse and multiple hands, but nonetheless Eli states that s/he cannot comprehend things that a 12 year old would not normally be able to understand.

          @fearfanforever You are correct in that Eli was indeed born a boy (named Elias), although this *IS* in fact referenced in the original Swedish film–when Oskar peeks on Eli to see ‘her’ changing, there is a close up of Eli’s castration scar (and it is very clearly a castration scar, something that has been even further confirmed by the film director. The screen writer of LtROI is also the original author, widely regarded as becoming one of the big names in horror writing of today [although LtROI is generally agreed to be his best]). So actually, Eli is a boy in both versions of LtROI, but this was edited out for the American remake LMI.

          The irony of this is that, in the novel, Oskar briefly wonders if his love for Eli makes him gay after this discovery and that of Eli’s vampirism, and questions whether it is really worse to love another boy than to love a vampire (who kills and eats people. So a serial killer. And the comparisons are made frequently in the novel). The implication is that, actually, the vampire part should be more of a worry. So by removing any reference to Eli being male, the American remake seems to send the implicit answer of “yeah, it’s fine if you love a vampire so much that you offer to kill for them [& in the book, this is Oskar’s idea, not Eli’s], but loving someone who was born the same gender as you? That would be weird”. So: Vampire romance? great! Same-sex implications of romance? Cut that out. Whether or not this message was intentional, it is nonetheless a rather interesting look at Hollywood’s attitudes to homosexuality, especially given that films with a tame same-sex (or even kiss) scene are almost universally higher-rated than raunchy and gratuitous hetero-sex scene.

          In addition to this, the American remake (which I admit I have not seen, since to be honest I never understood Hollywood’s obsession with remaking foreign films, especially when they seem to throw that film’s sourse material (in this case, a well-received novel published internationally) out the window) also seems to have inserted ambiguity into Eli’s relationship with her Protector where there was either none, or it was even more ambigious. I’ve heard LMI calls him The Father. In LtROI his name is Hakan. In the film, he is incredably ambigious beyond his love for Eli extending to his willingness to kill and die for her. In the novel, his backstory is revealed and their relationship is elaborated on. And he is a pedophile with a convicted record who helps Eli in exchange for wank fodder and nudity, who agrees to undertake his final kill-attempt for him/her in exchange for a night together. And then he becomes one of the novels main villains and rapes Eli.

          To be honest, I suspect one reason why I am apprehensive about LMI is the idea of watching a film which simply names a character originally conceived as a child molester “The Father” without considering how terrifying this is. He isn’t even named, he’s just defined as being her father-figure??? At least the LtROI film doesn’t entertain the idea that he’s a father to her for long.

          And on the subject of the author’s intention for Eli’s relationship with Oskar: Reportedly, JAL was so annoyed with the way people kept insisting that Eli and Oskar’s relationship was ambiguous that he wrote the short story “Let the Old Dreams Die” as an epilogue, which makes any claim that Eli was trying to make Oskar her new human helper seem rather laughable…

  • You left out Kyle Schmid (Henry Fitzroy in lifetime’s Blood Ties). Definitely followed the old folk lore as being out in the sun would have toasted him. Kyle Schmid played a 450 year old vampire quite well and still has fans who follow him from the show and is getting new fans from other work. Will be playing another vampire in the North American version of Being Human, beginning January 16th on SyFy at 9:00 p.m, EST.

    • “Definitely followed the old folk lore as being out in the sun would have toasted him.”
      Vampires being killed by the sun is NOT part of old folk lore. This was covered in the video; it was invented for the movie Nosferatu, and is less than a hundred years old.

      Vampires of old may have been WEAKENED by the sun, but not killed.

  • Connie333

    I agree with most of these choices – enjoyed the video as usual 🙂
    I’d have put Claudia from Interview With the Vampire on the list – she’s creepy as hell. Perhaps also Spike from Buffy and Mitchell from Being Human (the UK version – far superior to the US remake). Funny, sexy and at times really chillingly cruel.

    • fearfanforever

      Unfortunately, I’ve not had the opportunity to see Being Human, but given the glowing recommendations, it is certainly on my list. As for Claudia, she was certainly an interesting character, and a fine example of an adult’s mind trapped in a child’s body. Personally, I’ve always wanted to see what would happen if somebody got turned right in the worst stage of puberty. A cracked voice and stridex pads for all eternity…
      (shudder)

  • Rocha674

    Nice list. I watched Near Dark for the first time yesterday, funny coincidence. Anyway, I wanted to ask: what did you think of the vampires in Park Chan wook’s Thirst? It was a nice take on vampirism imo, although not as iconic as the ones presented here. Also, despite the original Fright Night being the superior movie, I thought Colin Farrell did a nice job portraying Jerry as a more animal and sexual vampire. Too bad the final confrontation had to turn him into an idiot. Looking forward to your next episode.

    • fearfanforever

      Unfortunately I have not had the chance to see Thirst, but it’s one of a great many recent releases I want to see. As for Colin Farrell, I thought he was a fine Jerry. All those nervous tics, the alpha male attitude, all of it was a very nice turn. Actually, in a way, the sort of guy he was playing is to the new millennium, what Yuppie Jerry was to the ’80’s. Personally, I thought the weakest link in the remake was the lame-ass attempt to give Peter Vincent a personal history with Jerry. Roddy McDowell’s version had a much more believable and engaging character arc.

      • Rocha674

        That’s a very good reading of Farrell’s Jerry. I also agree that vincent and jerry’s backstory was shoehorned and meaningless to the movie. As for Thirst, all i can say is: hope you enjoy the weirdness.

  • Vaughn Lowe

    I think that calling Bela Legosi a cop out is a bit unfair. We watch the original Dracula with modern eyes and yawn. “Seen it a million times,” forgetting that Legosi did it FIRST. All the stuff he did, was before anyone else had thought of it, and everyone copied him, making them into cliches, because it was so good.

    Child Vampires: Are you just including films? The “Danny Glick” vampire from the Salem’s Lot mini -series creeped the hell out of me.

  • Mike

    I recently saw Fright Night for the first time last week. Funny that I only found evil Ed to be a tad bit annoying and actually felt an odd bit of petty for him when he died. Maybe it was because I kind of guessed early on he was bound to become a vampire or something similarly evil eventually or maybe it was beacuse he seemed more a pitifull twarp than trouble maker. I don’t know, it just seemed like he most have been hiding some sort of fear and self-loathing to keep acting like everything violent or morbid was a joke. Which made his “seduction” by the older, more self-assured vampire oddly understandble in a sick sort of way. 
    I do have to wonder though, why you didn’t mention the sheer about of “ambient gay” in that movie!

    • fearfanforever

       Don’t worry, it’ll get it’s turn. Jerry’s a total manpire, no doubt about that.

  • Someguy

    When talking about Eli/Abby you said you couldn’t think of many movies with a child vampire, how about the other movie on your list with a child vampire? This child vampire was completely evil, not just ambigous.  Spoiler/Spoiler.    I am talking of course of the little boy vampire in Near Dark, he plays dead in the middle of a road and then attacks the driver who tries to help him, and he brings the protagnists little sister into the room where the other vampires are, the only thing that saves her is the protagnist showing up.

    • fearfanforever

       That is true, and there’s another good one in Interview with the Vampire, but still, given the number of vampire movies out there, there aren’t too many with kid vampires.