Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Vampires

Pumpkin pie, turkey, time with friends and family, all makes me think of one thing:

Well, I guess I was thinking about them anyway. In my novel-in-progress, SUNLIGHT, they are the plague that has destroyed the world of man, and I am trying to put my own spin on them, as much as I can.

But, to me, vampires have long established lore, and need to have certain things going on to be scary. For instance: They only come out at night (afraid of the sun), they drink blood, and they’re fast, smart and evil.

Here are some of my favorite vampires (and vampire stories and films) of all time, in no particular order.

My nomination(s) for Best Vampires of all time:
  1. The vampires from Vampire$ (the novel) by John Steakley. The vampires have super-human strength and speed, and the men who hunt them rise to the challenge with some of the best vampire hunting tools ever imagined. Smart heroes, smart and scary vampires.
  2. Mr. Barlow, the smart and charismatic vampire from Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot.
  3. The Vampire Lestat, from the Anne Rice book of the same name (I enjoyed the depiction of Lestat in the 2002 movie Queen of the Damned.)
  4. Blade, from comic books and the Blade Trilogy movies. I still remember going opening night of the first movie and having teen blade fans lurking around the theatre in vampire garb. Fun!
  5. Eli, the creepy little vampire from Let the Right One In
  6. Nosferatu—from the 1922 silent film. Ugly, creepy and a model for many vampires that came after him. Worst. Soundtrack. Ever.
  7. David and his vampire brothers from The Lost Boys.  (1980’s film) Campy vampire fun. This might also be one of my favs because my wife and I watched this movie on our first ever date. Who says vampires aren’t romantic?
  8. The vampires from I am Legend (in all it’s movie and book forms). The story about a vampire apocalypse is by Richard Matheson in which the vampires are scary and intelligent. The movies have featured Charlton Heston (The Omega Man), Vincent Price and Will Smith. I like ‘em all for different reasons. I count this story as one of my inspirations for my book Sunlight.
  9.  Bill and Eric (and many of the other vampires) from True Blood. I’m a sucker for this show (and I know many people who’ve enjoyed the books by Charlaine Harris).
  10. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  11.  Dracula (no list would be complete without him) by Bram Stoker. One of my fav versions is Dracula 2000 (I believe Gerard Butler played Dracula). I actually don’t mind the Gary Oldman/Winona Ryder version (although I know many people who put that on the “worst” list.) Both these movie versions try to explain a back-story of why/how Dracula came into being.
  12. Necroscope by Brian Lumley. Scary vampires and an interesting twist—the people pitted against them have psychic powers.

Honorable mentions: Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite (beautifully written); Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore (funny); 30 Days of Night (the graphic novels moreso than the 2007 movie); The Fright Night Movies (original and most recent versions) and any vampire from a Hammer film.

My Least Favorite Vampire Stories/Characters:
  1. Edward Cullen, from Twilight. Clearly this series is a huge success, so my opinion is outweighed by many—but this shiny daywalker fills me with boredom and anger whenever he crosses the movie screen. Shouldn’t a hundred+ year old vampire get over his teen angst?
  2. Every vampire in From Dusk Till Dawn (maybe except Salma Hayek)
  3. Vampire’s Kiss (film, 1988) starring Nicolas Cage. Terrible. Touted as a dark comedy this is the only movie I ever asked BlockBuster for a refund on—and got it.
  4. John Carpenter’s Vampires (film, 1998). Meh. Based on the book (that I love) by John Steakley, it’s pretty standard fare—but the cool concepts and smart characters in the book mostly didn’t make it into the movie. Too bad.
  5. Van Helsing (film, 2004). Too much CGI schlock for my tastes. Cool scenes were interspersed with terrible writing. Vampires reproducing (thousands of them, it seemed) via some sort of giant boogery vampire eggs (?) made no sense at all. I still recall the theatre audience laughing out loud at certain scenes that clearly weren’t supposed to be funny.

And your favorite vampire or vampire story is....?


Jon said...

I'm going to have to lean towards the worlds of Buffy and Blade.

Quinn from Blade? He's awesome and was played by Donal Logue.

Spike, of course... Mr. Quick from Season 3. He was hilarious and smooth. Harmony from Buffy. Also hilarious.

The Bloodpack in Blade 2, especially Ron Pearlman and that giant guy with the hammer, so comic-booky, so great.

I hope someday that they make a version of I am Legend that is just like the book. The ending is so incredible, I can't believe it's been avoided up until now. Will Smith's version came close, the first half of that film is great, but the second half? Poopy.

Shawn Enderlin said...

Wow - that's an impressive list! I couldn't possibly come close to matching that.

Favorites? I have to be cliche and go with Eric from True Blood and Spike from Buffy. And I'd maybe add Jean Claude from the Anita Blake books.

Mark Teats said...

Thanks for the comments, Guys.
I should really check out the early Anita Blake books (they sound pretty good--my wife has read them all).
One omission in my "best" vampire list:
Roman Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers." Very campy and maybe not actually that good--but a lot of fun. It holds a special place for me as it is probably the first vampire movie I ever saw all of as a kid (under the age of 9, I'm sure) staying up late night with my parents.

Mark Teats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Amilyn - Buffy the Vampire Killer, original movie. Coz I heart Paul Reubens.

Jon said...

He was pretty awesome...

Qlaudie said...

Paul Reuben's in the original Buffy - Best. Death Scene. Ever.

Qlaudie said...

Oh, I meant to type 'Paul Reuben's death scene' originally. Thus the stray apostrophe. Gack!