As Breaking Dawn hits theaters, Edward and his Cullen clan are merely another chapter in the long history that is movie vampires. From the early days of silent films, vampires have served as a villain unlike any other. They look like us, yet can turn into an efficient killer in a millisecond. Movie Fanatic gives you the Top 10 Movie Vampires that help put The Twilight Saga vampire rebirth in the context of the history of film. Be careful, vampires are among us!
10. Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire
Willem Dafoe sinks his teeth into the vampire genre with full force in Shadow of the Vampire. He plays Max Schreck from Nosferatu and the theory is that Schreck was so good as Nosferatu because in real life, he was a vampire.
9. Lauren Hutton in Once Bitten
Lauren Hutton’s Countess adds humor to the Top 10 Movie Vampire list with the help of a very young Jim Carrey. Hutton’s Countess hunts and seduces virgins in 1980’s LA and to say that task is difficult is a gross understatement. Enter Carrey’s Mark Kendall and vampire hilarity ensues.
8. Robert Pattinson in Breaking Dawn
Robert Pattinson embodied Edward for hundreds of millions of fans of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight Saga. On film, he is the perfect choice to play Edward, the object of teenage want for a legion of teenage girls. In the series’ latest (check out our Breaking Dawn review) he fulfills the dream of many as he marries his human sweetheart Bella (Kristen Stewart). What Pattinson achieved with his portrayal of Edward is bringing a sexiness to the iconic character that is a vampire unlike any other. He also brought the vampire back to the forefront of popular culture.
7. Bela Lugosi in Dracula
The “original” vampire in many ways for the modern movie age, Bela Lugosi put the fear into many an audience member in the 1931 film. Lugosi set the standard for vampires on screen that is still the benchmark to this day.
6. Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys
Long before he was hunting terrorists on 24, Kiefer Sutherland was on the hunt as a vampire in The Lost Boys. He was equally scary as he was cool and made the perfect film villain, regardless of being a vampire. Can you imagine The Lost Boys without him? I think not.
5. Michael Sheen in The Twilight Saga
Michael Sheen as Aro lands higher than Edward on this list because he embodies the downright evil that is the movie vampire. His portrayal is equal parts camp, horror and pure villainy as he leads the Volturi in their quest to dominate the vampire world of The Twilight Saga. Seeing Breaking Dawn this weekend? Stay through the final credits as Sheen steals the entire film in one short sequence that sets up the climactic finale in Breaking Dawn Part 2.
4. Kate Beckinsale in Underworld
Kate Beckinsale is so astounding as Selene in the first Underworld, it was met with universal joy when it was announced she would be back for the fourth film (check out the Underworld Awakening trailer). In her tight leather outfit, Beckinsale’s vampire was equally compassionate as she was a killer. The Lycan must always be nervous when Selene’s around!
3. Gary Oldman in Dracula
Gary Oldman can play pure evil better than anyone. So his casting as Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 Dracula was pure genius. Oldman channels his inner night walker with panache and purpose, yet there is a subtlety to his performance that is classic Oldman. 1992’s Dracula was a so-so movie made excellent solely by the performance of Oldman.
2. Max Schreck in Nosferatu
Before Lugosi was vampire brilliance, there was Max Schreck in 1922’s Nosferatu. His performance and the role itself are the stuff of Hollywood legend. The silent film relied solely on Schreck for its scariness and because of the performance by the actor, shivers were felt by audiences new to the film format.
1. Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire
There was much controversy when Tom Cruise was cast in Anne Rice’s vampire opus as the iconic Lestat. Even Rice cast doubt on whether this pretty boy movie star could embody the horror that is her most popular character. But once on the set, Rice saw the brilliance that was Cruise in that role. Soon after when the film was released, millions more discovered the first signs that this movie star was a real acting force to be reckoned with. In hindsight, it is impossible to think of anyone else of that era portraying Lestat in Interview with the Vampire.