The image of a vampire licking their blood stain lips after feeding, or bearing their fangs may or may not send a shiver up your spine, but for viewers these are possibly a quintessential appearance of a vampire. Vampires was first mentioned in literature around the 1700’s, but until Bran Stroker’s Dracula was published around 1897, the other vampire works weren’t as definitive or influential. Now the usage of vampires is a very common tool. Viewers can easily see vampires in contemporary series like Twilight, True Blood, or The Vampire Diaries. But consider these vampires in three different categories, Movies; Television; Comics, and see if you want to be bitten, if they have their focuses on you.
Bela Lugosi: Around the 1920-30’s when silent films transitioned into talking pictures. There were several versions of vampires in this period, though the most notable and striking one has to be Bela Lugosi. He was an Hungarian born actor, who initially played Dracula on Broadway. After the death of another actor, he was invited to play Count Dracula, in the 1931 released film. He became recognized as movie history’s first horror star, and even if you have never seen his movies, you will see him in the various images that is representative of vampire horror genre. Too bad that after this movie, Lugosi was quickly typecast and by the end of his life, playing low budgeted films for Ed Wood.
Christopher Lee: He is the second Count Dracula, that is a familiar face to horror movie fans. He started this role in 1958, and eventually went on to reprise it in several sequels throughout the 60’s. For some of the Dracula movies he starred in, there is no dialogue other than Lee requiring to hiss for the camera. As Dracula, there are so many scenes he acted out a the end to a vampire’s worst fears: death by stake; death by sunlight; death by moving water, just how vampire vices can you recall? Lee certainly doesn’t count his foray as Dracula memorable, but to classic horror fans, his movies are a must-see!
Buffy the Vampire Slayers/Angel: As the 90’s began, there was a Buffy the Vampire Slayers movie, that was a parody of horror movies at the time. Now fast forward several years later on television around 1997, and you may remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer with its eventual spinoff show of Angel. The premises of the televised Buffy is that in every generation, a slayer is chosen to battle evil forces. When the show aired, it brought forth new ideas and concepts to the sexy vampire image. People would remember the story’s various vampire characters of Angel, Spike, Drusilla, Darla or even the Master. Their makeup alone would remind people that vampire depictions is not just the fangs that set them apart from other humans. This show definitely made its mark still in cultivating strong female roles, spinoffs and fandoms.
True Blood: As a recent cable network show starting around 2008, True Blood brings to light an idea where vampires are living alongside humans. How does the human race react to the vampires that live alongside them? With a vampire and a human falling in love, how is this relationship even sustained? Vampires in this show are not as originally depicted, but their role brings forth an emotional appeal that vampires are beings with emotions and trials. Evil can come in many forms, that are not just vampires as the culprits.
Blade: Initially appearing in Marvel Comics during the 70’s, Blade was a supporting character in several horror Vampire comics. He is a character that was involved with short lasting series, that weren’t as lasting as Marvel’s other more prominent series, yet Blade as a character got used. During the 90’s he appeared in Ghost Rider and Nightstalkers, but it was in 1994, that he debuted in his first color comic, Blade: Vampire Hunter. Despite his horrific origins, he is known as a Day Walker to the other vampires that he swore to slay. Just what is the quality of this Dhampir (half vampire/human) that compelled the movie and television spin offs?
Skinner Sweet: is the first of his kind, an American vampire who is different from the European vampires. He doesn’t have an aversion to wood, and like Blade, is a daywalker. Famed horror writer Stephen King, writes the story of this original series. He is an anti-hero, with an agenda of keeping the Old West alive. Skinner was killed during the 1800’s, and this story takes place around the 1920-30’s. At first, he is determined to get revenge from whoever who made him into a vampire, but he eventually learns to live with his vampire status. Just what other potential stories are there to be made for this original character?