Greatest Vampires of Retrospace

dracula mosaic

Bram Stoker's Dracula has to be the most immitated work of fiction ever written.  Of course, the vampire legend predates Stoker by centuries.  It varied from zombie-like "revenants" in Eastern Europe to royal bloodsuckers like Lady Bathory... indeed, the vampire has been around a long time and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  There's something about this creature that strikes a chord with humanity - the immortality thing and the sexual mojo definitely add to the attraction.

Once the vampire found its way into pop culture of the twentieth century via Nosferatu and Bela Lugosi, there was no going back.  In the late fifties, Christopher Lee took the character to its absolute maximum, proving the Dracula legend could still appear fresh after all these years.  One could argue that Twilight has invigorated the myth once again.... I'm inclined to say "no", but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, a pop culture icon of this magnitude deserves a post on Retrospace.  So, without further jibba jabba, here's my top Vampires of Retrospace:

1. Christopher Lee in the Hammer films
Total badass, evil as hell too - there's simply no topping it

2. Bela Lugosi
Tod Browning created a timeless monster; the only Drac that could even compete with Lee

3. Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows
Daytime and vampires don't usually go well together; but this soap opera did it right with plenty of Gothic atmosphere

4. Count Floyd from SCTV
Joe Flaherty's horror show host send-up is easily the funniest treatments of Dracula ever

5. Vampirella
If I have to explain why she's on the list, it's probably past your bedtime

6. Count Yorga
Smooth operator; for a whole post on this undead stud go here

7. Count Orlock in Nosferatu
Incredibly creepy performance by Schreck - I even liked John Malkavich's portrayal in the making of the film

8. Count von Count from Sesame Street
He's a muppet Bela Lugosi with a goatee and OCD; what's not to love?

9. Maila Nurmi aka Vampira
Legendary horror host and Ed Wood, Jr. Plan 9 actress; perfected Gothic undead hotness decades before Elvria

10. Grandpa and Lily Munster from The Munsters
Played by Al Lewis & Yvonne DeCarlo to comedic perfection

11. The Space Vampire from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
The vampire was positively chilling to me as a kid, and Wilma even gets possessed and talks in a demonic tone reminiscent of The Exorcist.

12. William Marshall in Blacula
For a brief moment in time blaxploitation and the vampire myth co-mingled, and it was a beautiful thing

13. George Hamilton in Love at First Bite
Disco Dracula - still waiting for the DVD to arrive with the original music

14. Count Chocula
Saturday mornings with a bad case of "bed head" in front of the cartoons in my footie pajamas eatin' Count Chocula.... need I say more?

15. Gilligan & Ginger in the episode: "Up at Bat"
Gilligan and his hot vampire wife - Ginger.... it doesn't get much better than this, folks.

16. Count Morbida from Dynamite magazine
Best undead bloodsucker of the entire Schoolastic Book Club

17. Udo Kier in Blood for Dracula
A bit too artsy fartsy for me; however, Ace Ventura's arch nemesis creeps me out with his spooky eyes

18. Yutte Stensgaard in Lust for a Vampire
Probably gets a vote simply for her boobs (make that 2 votes)

19. Ingrid Pitt in Countess Dracula
(see above)

20. Tom Dracula of the Groovie Goolies
Great music with a Laugh-In style format with tons of our favorite monsters - it's a no brainer

21. Dracula, the Dell comic book superhero (alter ego: Al U. Card)
Oh, so painfully awful that I just can't get enough

22. Alucard in Dracula, Dirty Old Man (1969)
My mouth was agape the entire movie - it makes Manos look like a Hollywood blockbuster; tons of plastic bats and T&A, and an extremely Yiddish sounding Dracula

23. Morgan Freeman as Dracula on The Electric Company
Watch him take a bath in his coffin here; it's not pretty - liked him much better as the Easy Reader

24. Keifer Sutherland in The Lost Boys
The movie hasn't aged well, but at the time he seemed like a really cool vampire

25. The vampire in Salem's Lot (Kurt Barlow played by Reggie Nalder)
Great made for TV movie.... with Hutch! Don't give up on us baby.

Note: Frank Langella as Dracula (1979) didn't quite make the cut - nor did Gary Oldman, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. Sorry.  Eli from Let the Right One In is easily the best modern day (21st century) vampire depiction.


  1. The Dracula superhero comic was from Dell Comics, definitely not Marvel:


    There may be some confusion because Marvel not only did a very good Dracula comic series, but was also the publisher of "Morbius, the Living Vampire" who was created by drinking a formula (like the Dell character) and so wasn't a proper vampire, and also flew around wearing tights like a superhero.

  2. I agree the Dracula superhero was from Dell. Also Al Lewis played Grandpa Munster not Howard Morton.

  3. Christopher Lee was the ultimate Dracula. We used to see all his films at our little movie house in my home town in the 60's.

  4. Great piece! Agree with many of your picks and ranks. I might have included Lestat, simply because of the damage he did over time. More the character from the books, though, than the films.

  5. Howard Morton was in the late '80s series The Munsters Today, which was rubbish.

  6. My vote is for Barry Attwater as "The Nightstalker." No lines, no capes, just pure animal ferocity. Vampire vs. cops in a swimming pool is something that needs to be used way more often in movies.

  7. AAARRRGH! Of course it's Al Lewis not Howard Morton (who?); embarassing mistake. Let me correct that and let's pretend this never happened.

  8. Jeez - let me correct the Marvel-Dell mistake as well.... I knew that one too. In fact, I did a whole post called "Bat out of Dell" last year.

    Proofreaders needed.

  9. Sorry ..it was William Defoe who played Orlock in the movie

  10. Thanks for noting Hamilton--I *loved* that movie as a kid! Here's the scene:


    Dracula's dancing to a song called "I Love the NIGHTLIFE"!! Get it?! Oh, man, my 8-year-old self thought that was just the funniest.

  11. No love for Eddie Murphy's "A Vampire in Brooklyn"?

    Brother can't catch a break...

  12. Dynamite! Was Count Morbida a regular comic in that? I totally remember seeing him.

  13. All I can say is, it's a good thing you included Count Von Count.

  14. kwame - Thanks for pointing out error #3. You know what? I'm not even going to correct that one. This is the internet, it's supposed to be full of bad information. :-)

  15. Great post! But I disagree with not putting Frank Langella in the top ten because I believe he was the first vampire to be "suffering for love" which predated the whole emo vampire craze that we know today.

  16. I believe Jack Palance was "suffering for love" in the early '70s Dan Curtis adaptation, teleplay by Richard Matheson.

  17. Carolyn Jones, the vampirish Morticia of The Addams Family TV series gets my vote.

  18. Barnabas Collins was "suffering for love" in Dan Curtis's DARK SHADOWS in the 1960s, so that predates both Palance and Langella.

  19. Chris Sarandon was fantastic as mid-80's vampire Jerry Dandridge in Fright Night. The whole vampirism as a disease aspect was tied in very well with a cult in Hammer's Kiss of the vampire. Also liked the salt-vampire from Star Trek's The Man Trap.