Vampires films make up a large portion of the horror genre. They often make their way out of the genre and have (as of late) infected comedy, teen romance and just about everything else. But vampire movies are a staple of the horror genre, which can be easy to forget at times because we’ve stopped associating vampires exclusively with horror.
There are dozens upon dozens of lists out there looking at just the top 10 Dracula performances. That’s one character that’s been played by countless different actors. And there are many other big, famous vampires that make everybody’s lists. Lestat, Blade, Selene, David… everyone knows and loves these vampires.
Given the sheer amount of vampire films, though, there are all too many that fall by the wayside or go completely under the radar. Some of those are among my favorites, however, and even though it might be fatal, it’s time to shine the light on these characters.
Radu from Subspecies
Radu is a sinister vampire with a whole franchise under his belt, who has spawned an action figure and a comic book series and yet many horror fans have never even heard of him. In fact, most people have no idea that the Subspecies series even exists. This is really too bad, as Radu has a great look, combining classic inspiration from Nosferatu with a modern Eurotrash sensibility and is a compelling character.
Regine Dandridge from Fright Night Part II
Both vampires from the original Fright Night, Jerry and Evil Ed, have plenty of fans. But one of the things that really makes the sequel work is that Regine is a totally different antagonist. She has her own style, her own attitude and while she is a very sensual figure, her plan is not romantic at all. In fact, it’s one of the cruelest I’ve ever heard: She’s not seducing Charley because she wants them to be together forever, she’s turning him into a vampire so that she can torture him forever and he’ll never age or die.
The Night Flier
The Night Flier is an underrated, admittedly low-budget Stephen King adaptation. It has a premise that’s too good to pass up: A vampire with a pilot’s license lands on small airstrips in the middle of the night, kills everyone there and flies off again before anybody notices. Like a lot of low budget stuff, it makes up for a lot in its creature design, which is weirdly cool. The vampire has a unique face design, an enlarged mouth, and has one long fang—overall very unique looking, but it still wears the same classic tuxedo and opera cape that we associate with Bela Lugosi.
Amilyn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Yes, while it doesn’t compare with the TV series that followed there’s a lot of fun to be had with the campy early ‘90’s Buffy movie. The main highlight is Amilyn, a vampire played by Paul Reubens who serves as right hand man to Rutger Hauer’s Lothos. For the most part, he kind of comments on the action rather than getting directly involved, spending most of his fighting time with Luke Perry’s Pike. When he does go toe-to-toe with Buffy, the fight lasts about three seconds. But it’s the incredibly, painfully drawn-out death that makes this character so hilariously memorable.
The Space Girl from Lifeforce
Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce is a weird, bizarre, underrated movie. A large part of its appeal is Mathilda May as the gorgeous unnamed girl from outer space who causes all of the film’s offbeat and endlessly entertaining vampire shenanigans. Hooper has had as many misses as hits in his career, but the mid-‘80’s saw a good return to form for the director with both this feature and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
Jeremy Capello from My Best Friend is a Vampire
While it seems that the vast majority of people have never heard of this movie, it was my jam growing up. I related to Jeremy in a number of ways. I was awkward and nerdy, I was into a nerdy girl to the chagrin of my more popular friends, and while I wasn’t actually a vampire, this one had me spending a lot of time wishing I was. That’s right, where Interview With the Vampire readers wanted to dress in goth chic and listen to The Cure, I wanted to wear sunglasses at night and dress like a very pale Ferris Bueller.
Anyone who has seen George Romero’s Martin tends to like it, by and large. The problem is that, even as big of a master of horror as Romero is, so few people have actually seen this one. But it’s great and even if a large part of its appeal is not knowing whether Martin is actually a vampire or not, he counts for our purposes. He’s a quiet, nervous character that you really don’t want to feel sympathy for. But you do.