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Top 50 Vampires 2012

A lot has happened in the bloodsucker world since we ran our last Top 50 Screen Vampires Poll – Twilight movies, The Vampire Diaries , US Being Human to name but a few – so how has that affected the results?

There’s a new SFX Vampire Special out today, and to mark the occasion here are the results of our reader-voted Top 50 Vampires Poll 2012. This is not a feature from the mag itself, but a web exclusive. You can see what the Special has to offer here .

We last did a vampire poll two years ago, and we thought it was time for an update, because a number of franchises that were still in their infancy ( True Blood , The Vampire Diaries , Twilight ) have come of age since then, generating their own huge fan bases. The US version of Being Human has also been launched and films like Fright Night have hit the cinema. How would all that affect the results? Would Buffy The Vampire Slayer still be a key player? Could Spike retain his top spot? Would Moonlight fans still exist and vote?

You can find answers to all these on the following few pages, but to kick off, we can tell you there are 14 new entries, because here are the 14 that have dropped out of the Top 50.

Dropping out of the Top 50:

Marcus Van Sciver ( Blade: The Series )
Kurt Barlow ( Salem’s Lot )
Reinhardt ( Blade 2 )
Richard Gecko ( From Dusk Till Dawn )
Countess Bathory ( Daughters Of Darkness )
Dracula (BBC Dracula from 1977)
Schreck ( Shadow Of The Vampire )
Martin Madahas ( Martin )
Lilith Silver ( Razor Blade Smile )
Carmilla Karnstein ( The Vampire Lovers )
Miriam ( The Hunger )
Jesse ( Near Dark )
Danny Glick ( Salem’s Lot )
Severen ( Near Dark )

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50 Marlow (30 Days Of Night)

Previous position: 23 (-27)

Played by: Danny Huston

Marlow has none of the poise or charm of the other vampires on this list and almost none of the personality. He’s a killer: a brutal, inhuman predator, a shark in a trench coat and death comes with him. Look at Danny Huston’s performance in the film version, at the way he doesn’t even react to the gore he’s drenched in. Marlow isn’t just a killer, Marlowe’s an empty eyed feeding machine, a soulless hunger. Marlowe’s the stuff of nightmares.

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49 Santanico Pandemonium (From Dusk Till Dawn)

Previous position: 44 (-5)

Played by: Salma Hayek

Portrayed by sultry Salma Hayek, Santanico Pandemonium is the belly dancing vampire princess/temptress at the Titty Twister bar. This vamp chick’s got skillz: by sensually gyrating her body whilst soaking her almost-naked body with beer, she’s able to hypnotise her prey until she’s ready to start the feeding frenzy. The seductive dance of Santanico may only be marginal, lasting but a mere few minutes, but that scene will keep you spellbound long after you watch this film.

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48 Jerry Dandridge (Fright Night, 1985)

Previous position: 47 (-1)

Played by: Chris Sarandon

The first Jerry Dandridge is one of the coolest, smartest vampires ever committed to film. Calm, measured, charming and relentless he always seems three steps ahead of the hero, Charley Brewster, apparently content to play with him as long as Charley’s no threat. Sarandon brought a lot to the role, including pointing out that most bats were fruit eaters instead of bloodsuckers and suggested Jerry’s fondness for fruit that was later incorporated into the film. This Jerry remains one of the most overlooked modern vampires, but also one of the best.

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47 Jerry Dandridge (Fright Night, 2011)

New entry

Played by: Colin Farrell

The all-new, all Colin Farrell-tastic Jerry is a far more bestial figure than his ’80s predecessor. Farrell has massive fun stalking around his scenes like a muscle-vested, pseudo-Irish tiger and playing up this version of Jerry’s arrogance. He’s physically twice the size of everyone else in the movie, he’s terrifyingly strong, inhumanly fast, handsome, forever, and has an unlimited supply of food at his disposal. What does he have to worry about? Enter the 10th Doctor and Chekov, stage left...

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46 Viktor (Underworld)

Previous position: 18 (-28)

Played by: Bill Nighy

It’s amazing someone as softly spoken and habitually mumbly as Bill Nighy has played so many notable villainous roles. But somehow, he always pulls it off, and he doesn’t need a beard of eels to help him. As a former Hungarian warlord who was turned by the original vampire and given eternal life in return for leading his armies in the probably eternal war against the Lycans, Nighy playing Napoleon with fangs. What’s not to like?

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45 Dracula (Dracula, 1979)

Previous position: 40 (-5)

Played by: Frank Langella

Frank Langella’s version of fanged Count never really becomes a figure of horror or terror; being more of an old romantic than a vicious predator, he lacks bite. More concerned with finding a bride than a hot meal, this Dracula may not sink his teeth into hordes of victims, but at least his name makes him automatically cool.


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44 The Master (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

Previous position: 39 (-5)

Everyone’s favourite rat-faced Nazi may be regarded by some as the weakest of the Buffy Big Bads, but he has some genuinely great moments. The misdirect on the Anointed One is chilling and the season one finalé is shot through with the very real horror of watching this clearly inhuman creature gloat over killing a teenage girl. Others may have made more of an impact, but the Master was first, and that’s what counts.

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43 Nikola Tesla (Sanctuary)

New entry

Played by: Jonathon Young

According to Sanctuary , Nikola Tesla (denied fame in his own lifetime yet often appearing in genre culture these days) is a vampire. And not just any vampire, but one who can control electric current. Now, there’s a unique spin on things. Played by the wonderful Jonathon Young as a king of bloodsuckers Tony Stark, Tesla is the vampire everyone wants to hate but can’t help but love. The reason for this is simple – for while Tesla is rarely seen doing any blood-sucking, Sanctuary ’s saving grace is its sarcasm, and nobody does snark like Nikola Tesla.

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42 Herrick (Being Human)

Previous position: 15 (-27)

Played by: Jason Watkins

The most terrifying thing about Herrick is how utterly average he appears. Jason Watkin’s avuncular bobby rams home the fear that anybody could be a vampire. Watkins was a master of swapping from good-natured banter to horrifying glare between blinks. Even when he lost his memory (a side effect of being killed and resurrected) and was locked away in the attic, the vampiric instincts made him come across more like a caged beast than a senile relative. And the moment when he regained his memory after his first decent feast in ages (to the tune of “History Repeating” by Shirley Bassey and The Propellerheads) is one of the creepiest vampire moments ever… and all he does is lie there!

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41 Abby (Let Me In)

New entry

Played by: Chloe Moretz

Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz in Let Me In doe s a commendable job of playing the sweet and helpless façade of 12-year-old (give or take) Abby, and not just producing a watered-down version of Eli from Let The Right One In . Not only is Abby dangerous and brutal when she kills, but she’s also good with puzzles and can climb up buildings like Spidey. Abby is a very capable vampire, but feeling alienated she seeks out boyfriends using her big doe eyes and shy demeanour. How on Earth could any young boy resist wanting to go steady with her?

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40 Deacon Frost ( Blade )

Previous position: 49 (+9)

Played by: Stephen Dorff

Deacon Frost was one of the first screen vampires we saw who was as much a political wheeler dealer and dodgy businessman as a creature of the night. While infighting vampire “factions” are now part and parcel of any bloodsucker franchise’s law, back when Blade came out, this was cutting edge stuff. And the cocky, self-assured Frost, with his smart suits, gadgets, hangers on and me-me-me ambitions, was almost a metaphor for greedy bankers a decade before the rest of world grew to loathe them.

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39 Graf Orlok (Nosferatu)

Previous position: 6 (-33)

Played by: Max Schreck

The original, and surely the perkiest of all vampires (look at the little chap walk the streets of Wisborg; he’s practically skipping and whistling a jaunty tune), Orlok is one of the most iconic vampires on this list. The model for all “Nosferatu” type vampires to follow, he’s also a recurrent pop culture figure, even appearing in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants . And he’s great at shadow puppetry.


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38 Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows)

Previous position: 26 (-12)

Played by: Jonathan Frid

Although currently not well-known outside the States (where Collins was the central character in ’60s supernatural soap Dark Shadows ), this guy could probably leap up the chart next time we do a Top 50 Vampires, because he’s just about to be played by Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton directed remake. Maybe then we’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

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37 Dracula (Dracula 2000)

Previous position: 50 (+12)

Played by: Gerard Butler

Strangely, Leonidas Dracula doesn’t shout "THIS!IS!TRANSYLVANIA!" and kick someone into a pit, but he does get into a dust up with Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller and Omar Epps, which is nice. Much maligned on release, this version of Dracula is actually rather fun with a really neatly realised, and surprising, origin. Butler doesn’t have the intensity he’d bring to later roles here but he’s still a fine, intense creature of the night. Just maybe not quite the one you were expecting...

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36 Harmony Kendall (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel)

Previous position: 31 (-5)

Played by: Mercedes McNab

Cordelia’s clueless schoolfriend was vampirised during her graduation ceremony and proceeded to suck fabulously at being a vampire, but not in the conventional way. So rubbish she once even tried to take on Buffy (that went well...), she ended up as Angel’s PA at Wolfram & Hart. And sucked at it.

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35 Count Duckula (Count Duckula)

Previous position: 22 (-13)

Voiced by: David Jason

Castle Duckula was home to a dreadful dynasty of vicious vampire ducks – until a reincarnation spell went wrong and brought Count Duckula back as a vegetarian. This former villain (originally seen in DangerMouse ) was pretty useless when it came to biting necks, but very good at getting himself into comedic trouble. Made by Cosgrove Hall, this animated series was a favourite of kids in the late ’80s. Each week saw Duckula and chums Igor and Nanny get into all manner of scrapes, while pursued by their crazed enemies like Dr Von Goosewing and The Crow Brothers. It never quite reached the iconic status of DangerMouse , but the series is still thought of fondly today.

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34 Aidan (Being Human USA)

New entry

Played by: Sam Witwer

Witwer (who played Doomsday in Smallville ) was always going to have his work cut out for him. Aidan Turner’s Mitchell in the original UK series was a brilliant creation, and much-loved by all admirers of the series. Turner’s performance was so definitive that the producers of the US version even named their vampire after the Irish actor!

There are, of course, many similarities between Aidan (US) and Mitchell (UK). They share the same general plotlines, and the same types of friend. They even have the same nemesis. It’s the differences between the characters, therefore, that makes Aidan stand out as being a vampire worth watching. In the first series, Aidan was more willing to take responsibility for his actions than Mitchell. And we get the sense that Witwer is just starting to grow into his role, that as Aidan has displayed both a willingness to put himself in the line of fire, and to do what needs to be done to resolve difficult situations, Aidan’s journey is going to diverge away from Mitchell’s fate, and he might just find himself the chief vampire that Mitchell tried – and failed – to be.

It’s tempting to dismiss Aidan and being a pretty-boy Mitchell knock-off, but the writers of the US edition – and Witwer himself – appear to be more than capable of making the character stand out on his own merits.

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33 Louis de Pointe du Lac

(Interview With The Vampire)

Previous position: 24 (-9)

Played by: Brad Pitt

Protagonist and antihero in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, and played by Brad Pitt in the film adaptation Interview With The Vampire , Louis de Pointe du Lac is a bit of a tortured, lonely vamp. His most notable human kill is six-year-old Claudia, who he feeds on and turns just so he has someone to love and chat with. Instead she becomes a ravenous, selfish little monster. Whoops.

Nicknames: Merciful Death, Dark Angel, Beautiful One.

Interested in: Women and Lestat.

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32 Josef Kostan (Moonlight)

Previous position: 17 (-15)

Jason Dohring was fresh from playing a rich bad boy on Veronica Mars when he signed on to play a rich bad boy in Moonlight – only this time he had fangs. Bessie mates with Mick St John despite a few moral differences, Josef was enigmatic, naughty and tortured. What more do you want from a vampire?

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31 Eli (Let The Right One In)

Previous position: 34 (+3)

Played by: Lina Leandersson

Quite simply one of the best characters – vampire, or otherwise – created so far this century, and played to perfection by newcomer Leandersson. Eli is a vampire with a secret (a secret other than the fact she’s a vampire, that is). The secret (which, being a little spoilerific, won’t be discussed here) is revealed in the film, but much more is made of it in John Ajvide Lindqvist’s original novel on which he based the screenplay. Eli is old – very old – but trapped in the body of a 13-year-old. A loner, she finds herself befriending Oskar – a 12-year-old boy, caught between two divorcing parents, and bullied at school. Recognising a similar loneliness in him, she helps him extract revenge on the bullies who torment him. Leandersson’s performance is both heartbreaking and frightening, and it’s a crying shame that her IMDB record still shows just this one performance – if there were any justice, she’d be in constant demand.

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30 David (The Lost Boys)

Previous position: 5 (-25)

Played by: Kiefer Sutherland

David had it all. Not only was he incredibly agile and able to fly, but he had a sweet hangout, a nice ride, a hot girlfriend, an amazing earring, and the ability to perform bodily mutilation to awesome music montages. Plus, he was pretty darn evil. Kiefer Sutherland must have aced the scary part of vampire school. It really is a pity that he underestimated the power of brotherly love, because on top of everything else, David could rock the bleached blond mullet like no one else.

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29 Dracula (Hammer films)

Previous position: 2 (-27)

Played by: Christopher Lee

He may have come to loathe the part and appeared in some of those Hammer movies through gritted fangs, but Christopher Lee was the first actor to turn Count Dracula into a gothic heart throb. The 6’ 5” Lee played the Transylvanian bloodsucker a total of ten times, mostly sans dialogue, but someone as effortlessly charismatic as Lee didn’t need reams of chat to make an indelible impression.

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28 Count von Count (Sesame Street)

Previous position: 19 (-9)

Voiced by: Jerry Nelson

He’s big. He’s bad. And he’s… purple?

Why, yes. Yes, he is. He’s Count von Count, and thanks to puppeteer Jerry Nelson, he’s taught generations of children not only their numerals, but also their first maniacal laugh.

Well, okay, so he’s actually fairly small and pretty cuddly (these days), but you can’t argue the purple part, and as vampires go, that earns points for originality. There’s no pasty-faced paleness here, and perhaps his colour is why this guy’s been seen during the day for 40 years. That’s right. Though he exhibits many classic vampiric traits (from lacking a reflection to serious obsessive-compulsive disorder), this vampire isn’t afraid of the sun. He’s a daywalker, and he must be a darn good one, too. Because let’s face it: many have worn the cape, but there’s only one vampire known as THE Count.

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27 Henry Fitzroy (Blood Ties)

Previous position: 45 (+18)

Played by: Kyle Schmid

Tanya Huff’s book series and subsequent TV show theorised that Henry Fitzroy, the real-life illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, was actually a vampire who lives on to this day. Kyle Schmid brought Henry to life on screen and was a likeable hero with brilliantly floppy hair who drew comics for a living… er, deathing, er, whatever.

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26 Dracula (Dracula 1931)

Previous position: 13 (-13)

Played by: Bela Lugosi

Even now, 71 years after he donned the cloak for Tod Browning’s otherwise fizzless adaptation, it’s still Lugosi’s Dracula that we impersonate when invoking the Count. It was role that would define the Hungarian’s erratic career, so much so that he was buried in one of his many Dracula capes. He may not be the best, but he was the original.

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25 Blade (Blade trilogy)

Previous position: 11 (-14)

Played by: Wesley Snipes

Blade is half-human, and hates his vampire half. He has all the strengths of a vampire, and none of their weaknesses (crosses, daylight, etc). Blade hates the nightwalkers, though possibly not as much as he hates himself for his condition. His life mission is to rid the world of the bloodsucking fiends – and there are a lot of them! Originally created as a Marvel Comics character, and despite the straight-forward, no-nonsense approach of Wesley, Blade is one of the few comic characters to work more successfully on the screen than on the page. Wesley takes Blade’s central motivation – kill the mothersuckers – and runs with it, ignoring pretty much all emotion and other distractions that might prevent the character from achieving his objective. And against all the odds, it works. Blade and Blade II are fine ways to waste an evening, and even the oft-condemned Blade: Trinity has something to offer.

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24 Claudia (Interview With The Vampire)

Previous position: 38 (+14)

Played by: Kirsten Dunst

Poor Claudia. Found as a dying, weeping child beside the bodies of her family, she’s turned into a vampire by Lestat and is then cursed to live forever... in a child’s body. Awkward. Played with heartbreaking (and chilling) emotion by Kirsten Dunst, she’ll be remembered forever for her spontaneous hair-growing.

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23 Darla (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel)

Previous position: 25 (+2)

Played by: Julie Benz

The first vampire ever seen on Buffy was a blonde bimbo on the outside and an intelligent, driven killer on the inside, making her a baddie you loved to hate. Julie Benz’s gentle performance made Darla all the more shocking when she killed people, and her character arc (vampire, human, mother) was a joy.

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22 Jasper Cullen (The Twilight Saga)

New entry

Played by: Jackson Rathbone

Gold-eyed vegetarian vamp Jasper Hale has the ability to feel and manipulate people’s emotions, making him one of the only truly empathetic monsters out there. For the most part, Jasper is polite and quite gallant, but he is a vampire and can get a little peckish for human every now and then. Hell, everyone has their diet cheat days.

Jasper is well trained in combat and good with newborns. He was also by far the most interesting character in the third Twilight film when we got to see his flashbacks. We’d demand a spin-off, except his hair freaks us out.

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21 Russell Edgington (True Blood)

New entry

Played by: Denis O’Hare

There were a lot of things to grumble about in True Blood ’s third season, but King Russell wasn’t one of them. The oldest and strongest vampire in the world, he’s also one of the funniest. A charming psychopath with a hatred for humans, he was responsible for the single best scene in all of True Blood , when he ripped out a news anchor’s heart, live on air, and declared war on humanity. That he was then squandered for the rest of the season was a shame, but no matter. The end of season four is pretty clear... Russell is coming back. Sookie and co had better watch out...

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20 Mick St John (Moonlight)

Previous position: 4 (-16)

Played by: Alex O’Loughlin

Mick’s easily one of the nicest vampires on this list as well as one of the most established. Mick still “lives” in the town where he lived, still works as a private eye and still has a pathological inability to turn down a hard luck case. Moonlight may only have run one season, but Mick remains a memorable embodiment of the “down these mean streets a man must walk who is not himself mean” ideal. The fact that Mick isn’t actually alive whilst doing most of this walking down mean streets is just an added bonus.

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19 Mitchell (Being Human)

Previous position: 21 (+2)

Played by: Aidan Turner

Ah, poor, tragic Mitchell, the vampire who just wanted to be accepted as a human, but, realising that he would never be able to control his vampiric dark side, found that the only way he could be truly human was by sacrificing himself. Forget X-Factor contestants – this guy was on a truly gut-wrenching journey. But in the process he did at least reclaim Box Hill from Jane Austen – once synonymous with daytripping gentry on picnics, it is now a place that will be forever linked with the word massacre.

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18 Selene (Underworld)

Previous position: 9 (-9)

Played by: Kate Beckinsale

This former Death Dealer hottie’s favourite activities include: being perched on ledges of tall buildings, playing with medieval and modern weaponry, and exacting vengeance on enemies. Selene is one of the sexiest female vamps out there; if her full-body latex outfit doesn’t make you fall in love with her, her piercing blue eyes will glamour you.

Talents: Holding her breath under water for long periods of time, super strength and aerial acrobatics.

Dislikes: Direct sunlight, liars, and being shot or stabbed.

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17 Vlad Dracula (Young Dracula)

New entry

Played by: Gerran Howell

Now here’s a surprise in this list. Young Dracula is a CBBC show which had been on for two series when our last Vampire Poll took place, at which point young Vlad received a total of zilch votes. A couple of years on, and our voters have suddenly woken up to something their kids realised ages ago: Young Dracula is a great little show. Along with MI High and The Sarah Jane Adventures it proves some of the best telefantasy being produced in the UK at the moment airs when most of us are at work. What may also have helped the show is the fact that there was a three-year gap and a bit of a format change between series two and three, with Gerran Howell returning as a bit of a teenage heartthrob for proto-goths.

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16 Vampire Willow (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

Previous position: 32 (+16)

Played by: Alyson Hannigan

We’d seen Willow as cute before season three’s “Doppelgangland”, but never as hot ! One of the season’s showcase episodes, it had Willow meeting her parallel dimension other self. Vampire Willow was our Willow without the crippling self-doubt and with a flesh-hugging outfit straight out of a S&M fetishist’s wardrobe.

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15 Stefan Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)

New entry

Played by: Paul Wesley

The Vampire Diaries has been the real success story of this poll, with Stefan being the first of multiple characters from the show who barely registered with our voters last time around but who now dominate the upper reaches of this latest Top 50. Poor old Paul Wesley was hampered with the less interesting brother to play out of the Salvatore brothers, a wet Luke Skywalker (with Will Shuester hair) to Damon’s roguish Han Solo, and it’s easy to underestimate what a great job Wesley did bringing some charisma and wit to the role. But recently, Stefan has gone all Angelus on us, and Wesley looks like he’s having a blast being all randomly evil. If they don’t turn him back, he could place even higher next time.

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14 Dracula (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992)

Previous position: 7 (-7)

Played by: Gary Oldman

Nobody had portrayed such a multi-faceted Dracula on screen before Gary Oldman. Playing the Count from decrepit old age to swoonsome youth, even the questionable make-up (does old Drac have to look like a Soho theatre queen?) can’t take it away from Oldman’s nuanced portrayal. It’s such a sizzlingly sinister and melancholic turn, that’s it’s just a shame the film itself is so bizarre.

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13 Drusilla (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel)

Previous position: 10 (-3)

When you’ve got needle-sharp, pithy writing married with a brilliantly original performance, you’ve always got fried gold. The Whedon team’s scripts and Juliet Landau’s woozily flirtatious take on the 150-plus year old vampire produced one of Buffy ’s weirdest and wonderful characters.

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12 Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview With The Vampire)

Previous position: 8 (-4)

Played by: Tom Cruise

Always a vampire with charm, Lestat benefited from an outstanding performance by Cruise, who played the character with few of the less-redeeming traits implied by Louis’ recollection of him in the novel. Anne Rice (author of the original novel) famously condemned the casting of Cruise publicly, and frequently before the film was released, but then relented after seeing his work.

Lestat is the ultimate charmer. Suave, graceful and dangerous – everything a great vampire should be. Lestat made another appearance on film in the risible Queen Of The Damned (2002). This time played by Stuart Townsend (with song vocals by Jonathan Davis from Korn), Lestat is now a rock star. It made a sort of sense in the book. Not so much onscreen.

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11 Jessica Hamby (True Blood)

New entry

Played by: Deborah Ann Woll

Jessica, a vampire so-so easy to love, because of her combination of naivety and sexual/vampiric awakening. She’s the suppressed teenager who’s suddenly discovered alcohol and is rebelling, but taken to ludicrous extremes. Savage and fragile, sensitive but headstrong, she a mass of adorable contradictions, whose fangs pop out at the most embarrassing moments. Stuck as an eternal teenager, doomed to losing her virginity each time she makes love thanks to a self-repairing hymen, she is one of True Blood ’s greatest creations.

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10 Alice Cullen (Twilight)

New entry

Played by: Ashley Greene

Whatever else you may think of Twilight , you have to admit that pixie-featured, precognitive vampire minx Alice is one of the standout characters. From the very first film where she managed to look indescribably sexy pitching a baseball, through her Audrey Hepburn impression in the second film, to her manic wedding planner in the latest, she’s a been a sparkly fountain of energy. Her hair was crap in Breaking Dawn , though…

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9 Bill Compton (True Blood)

Previous position: 27 (+18)

Played by: Stephen Moyer

After seeing death up close even before he became a vampire in the American Civil War, there’s no wonder True Blood ’s Bill Compton rarely cracks a smile. Played with seductive relish by Essex-born Stephen Moyer, he’s the Bon Temps vamp who it’s possible to believe we’ve only scratched the surface of.

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8 Edward Cullen (Twilight)

Previous position: 14 (+6)

Played by: Robert Pattinson

Turns out dying from Spanish influenza and then being turned into a vampire when you’re a beautiful 17-year-old boy aren’t the worst things that could ever happen to you. Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson in the films) is so adorably broody and sweet that it’s no wonder every Twihard falls for him big-time; he’s basically the vampire equivalent to Prince Charming. It’s so easy to hate Bella. He is a terrible mumbler, though…

Relationship status: Married.

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7 Klaus (The Vampire Diaries)

New entry

Played by: Joseph Morgan

After suffering the ignominy of being introduced to the series in the guise of one of its dullest characters (though for a scant few weeks Alaric actually seemed interesting), Klaus emerged in the flesh as the lanky lead singer of a British indie band who probably spends his time off surfing in New Quay. Initially, the idea that we were supposed to take this guy as a serious big bad seemed ludicrous. It was like getting Chris Martin of Coldplay to play a werewolf (oh, hang on… Lost Girl ’s done that). But rapidly, Klaus was revealed his true colours – mostly blood red and a black, black heart. Callously evil to a jawdropping extent, Klaus will slice someone in half or use them as a dartboard just because he feels like it. He looks rubbish in his flashback wigs, though. It’s a tradition amongst small-screen vampires, clearly.

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6 Katherine Pierce (The Vampire Diaries)

New entry

Played by: Nina Dobrev

The evil vampire doppelganger of The Vampire Diaries ’ Elena, Katherine has been spelling double trouble for the Salvatore brothers ever since she sired them. She really fancies Stefan, but isn’t averse to leading Damon up the garden path when it suits her. Amoral, self-seeking and outrageously flirtatious, she looks great in a 19th century frock and is useful as an Elena stand-in when the show needs to shock you into thinking Elena’s been killed.

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5 Pam (True Blood)

New entry

Played by: Kristin Bauer

True Blood has come up with many memorable vamps, but none quite as reliably foul-mouthed as Pam. Her dialogue (which we can’t reproduce here for taste reasons) is often the highlight of an episode. Devoted to her maker, Eric, she’s also a bit of a badass... and kinda hot. And unlike Eric or Bill, she’s never going to be won over by Sookie’s charms. She may not be one of the show’s main players, but she’s definitely one of the most fun. And we loved her anti-Sookie rant in the season four finale.

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4 Angel/Angelus (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel)

Previous position: 3 (-1)

Played by: David Boreanaz

Known for his broodiness, his moodiness and his love of hair gel, Angel was that rare beast: a vampire with a soul. Most of the time he was a do-gooder but occasionally he’d slip into his Angelus persona and kill again, making him so conflicted and guilty he was positively delicious .

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3 Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel)

Previous position: 1 (-2)

Played by: James Marsters

Spike brought rock star cool to the fang-filled world of Buffy . Whereas Angel was sullen and dour, Spike was a vampire painted in primary colours. Sexy, cheeky and impossibly cheekboned, he was like a cross between Sid Vicious, Jim Morrison and Charles Manson, and played to perfection by the ever-great James Marsters.

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2 Eric Northman (True Blood)

Previous position: 41 (+39)

Played by: Alexander Skarsgard

Eric the Viking. Once a phrase that immediately meant “flop comedy from the Monty Python guy”. Now it means, “Top Nordic vampire hottie.” Bill was supposed to be the alpha vampire on True Blood , but – although far from unpopular – he was eclipsed by his blond nightclub owner boss in the popularity stakes (if “stakes” isn’t too sensitive a word to use). As in so many other cases (Spike and Damon, for instance) he benefitted from the fact that he didn’t have to be the nice guy. Far from it – he’s an utter git, chaining Lafayette to a slave wheel, and tricking Sookie into drinking his blood. Not to mention all the killing. But it’s more than that. Eric is just so inherently cool. So cool it doesn’t matter if he does a bit of killing while getting his hair dyed; or if he cries when his maker dies; or if he wears a shell suit. He remains untouchable cool. Hell, he’s survived centuries with the name Eric. That’s how cool he is.

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1 Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)

New entry

Played by: Ian Somerhalder

So here he is. The man who’s has deposed Spike from the number one spot. And who could begrudge him? Damon is the new Spike: bad boy? Check. Sharp wit? Check. Willingness to go shirtless? Check? Initially loathed by the show’s heroine but now looking more likely to get in her knickers? Check. Cheekbones? Well… they’re not in the Spike league, but Damon has his fruit machine eyes instead, rolling in ways that seem beyond human abilities.

There’s little doubt that Damon has been a major part in The Vampire Diaries ’ success, and Ian Somerhalder has played him like a man gripping onto a buck bronco like his life depends on it. Somerhalder has moaned a bit lately that Damon gets beaten up once too often in the show, and he has a point. So expect some more ass-kicking in future, which can only consolidate his pole position, surely?

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