June 10, 2013

Great Movie Vampires

                                                10 Great Movie Vampires 
Written by: Lists of Plenty

Vampires have become an integral part of modern culture, from true believers to those who love to be entertained with horror and blood lust. There have been countless movies made about vampires, all stemming from the original adaption of the Bram Stoker novel and the classic portrayal of Dracula by Bela Lugosi. Every fan will have their favorite, and indeed there are many notables, as far as vampires in leading roles go. This list presents ten of the greats, and since vampires never die, there will likely be many more to come

10. Blood for Dracula AKA Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974)
Andy Warhol added his touch of arty pop culture to the vampire legend by making his own Dracula movie. Dracula is a beautiful, campy and sometimes scary character as only Andy Warhol could create. Count Dracula knows that if he fails to drink a required amount of pure virgin’s blood, he’ll die. His assistant suggests that the Count and he pick up his coffin and take a road trip to Italy, where families are known to be particularly religious, and therefore should be an excellent place to search for a virgin bride. They do, only to encounter a family with not one, but four virgins, ready for marriage. The Count discovers one-by-one that the girls are not as pure as they say they are, meanwhile a handsome servant begins to observe strange behaviour from the girls who do spend the night with the Count. It’s a race for Dracula to discover who’s the real virgin, before he either dies from malnourishment or from the wooden stake of the servant.

9. Max: Lost Boys (1987)
Max, the head vampire of the town, has a classic line in this movie: “Don’t ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless.” The movie combines humour, supplied by The Frog Brothers, and suspense very well, and is almost Stephen King-like with the small town-USA setting.
8. Marcus: Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Underworld: Evolution is the second film in the Underworld series, following Underworld in 2003. Evolution continues the feud between Vampires and Lycans (werewolves), but highlights glimpses of their origins some centuries ago. Just hours after the events of the previous film, Selene and Michael find themselves on the run from the other remaining vampires. However, a new threat emerges when Kraven, the villain from the previous movie, unleashes Marcus, the very first vampire. Marcus has been accidentally transformed into a vicious new hybrid of vampire that is incredibly strong and can fly.
7. Valek: John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)

By night, vampires rise from graves in search of human prey. By day, vampire slayer Jack Crow leads a contingent of Vatican mercenaries in a long-waged war against these enemies. After Crow’s crew is brutally slaughtered by Valek, , a vicious 600-year-old vampire, Crow is determined to get revenge. Valek is nearing the end of a long search for the Berziers Cross, the implement of ritual that can give him all the vampires succeeding him omnipotent power to walk in the daylight, a theme that was also present in the Blade series.

6. Satanico Pandemonium: From Dusk Til Dawn

This movie is gritty, brutal and full of gore. It also features Salma Hayek as Satanico Pandemonium, a stripper who also happens to be a vampire. In fact, everyone in the bar is a vampire, which leads to a crazed all out battle in the final half of the movie. The main characters are on the run from the police, they escape across the border into Mexico and will be home-free the next morning, when they pay off the local kingpin. They just have to survive ‘from dusk till dawn’ at the rendezvous point, which turns out to be a strip joint infested with vampires.

5. Miriam and John: The Hunger (1983)

David Bowie plays John, with Susan Sarandon as his vampire wife Miriam, who together haunt and hunt for prey in the New York City club scene. They come across an unsuspecting Catherine Deneuve, which gives the movie a high level of sexuality, and eventually turn her into a creature of the night. The film is stylish and despite being over 20 years old still seems current, and the vampires played by Bowie and Sarandon bring a good level of class and sophistication to the genre, without the usual blood letting that vampire movies are known for (not that gore is a bad thing in this genre!).


4. Peina: The Addiction (1995)

Christopher Walken plays Peina, the intellectual vampire who is steeped in philosophy. At one point in the movie he says, “Mankind has striven to exist beyond good and evil, from the beginning. And you know what they found? Me.” A New York anthropology grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

3. Countess Marya Zaleska: Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

In the vampire genre fo movies, it is rare to see a female as the lead bloodsucker. This is a classic early movie, made when the legend was still being established as a Hollywood story line, and takes the perspective of the lineage of Count Dracula through his daughter. Professor Van Helsing has done the world a favor by driving a stake through the heart of Count Dracula and thus destroying him. For his trouble, Scotland Yard charges him with murder. Dr. Jeffrey Garth, a psychiatrist, may be able to act as an attorney and defend him in court, but Garth finds he has his own troubles when the Countess Marya Zaleska seeks his help. She wants to be released from her desire to drink the blood of the living. She steals the corpse of her father, Count Dracula, and burns it ritually, but can’t escape the thirst for blood.

2. Blade: Blade Series (1998)

Wesley Snipes plays one of the better roles of his career as Blade, the vampire who is half human and can “daywalk”. His assistant, played by Kris Kristofferson, is a lab rat and engineering genius who makes an arsenal of Bond-esque weapons and gadgets that Blade uses to fight the bad vampires (he is a good one). The movies are well made and gritty without being overly campy, and the Blade character manages to be cool, tough and sympathetic all at the same time.

1. Nosferatu : Nosferatu (1922)

 F.W. Murnau’s German silent classic is the original and some say scariest Dracula adaptation, taking Bram Stoker’s novel and turning it into a haunting, shadowy dream full of dread. Count Orlok, the rodentlike vampire frighteningly portrayed by Max Schreck, is perhaps the most animalistic screen portrayal of a vampire ever filmed. 
Dracula: Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi set the standard, and no list of vampire greats would be complete without his name. After realizing success in the role on stage, he was selected to play the character on screen. Some critics say that this is the movie that created the horror genre in film. Lugosi took an entirely different approach to the Dracula character, particularly when compared to the earlier “Nosferatu”, where Max Schrenk played the vampire as a monstrous rat like creature with no redeeming qualities. Lugosi’s vampire was charming, sophisticated, handsome and powerfully charismatic (well groomed also). Although he was forever identified with the Dracula character, he only played him on screen twice, in 1931 and 1948 (played Dracula in “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein”). He did play “Dracula like” characters in MGM’s “Mark of the Vampire” (1935) and in Columbia’s “Return of the Vampire” (1943).

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