The Film: Twilight (2008)
The Vamp: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a brooding, lonely sort who travels with his “family” and strikes up a relationship with the clearly insane Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).
Edward is the sort of dreamboat that makes girls go tingly in the nethers – and their mothers like him too. Did they all forget that he’s a killer? An undead monster of a killer. It must be the hair.
Why Are They Weird? He and the rest of his clan have sworn off human blood. Oh, and they don’t have fangs. And can go out in the sun, but they avoid that because it makes them look like they’ve overdone the glitter body makeup.
As vampires, they make great emo band members.
Fangs for the trivia: Henry Cavil was the first – and novel writer Stephanie Meyer’s choice for the lead, but by the time the film was shooting, he was 25 and looked too old to play 17.[page-break]
The Film: Near Dark (1987)
The Vamps: Brutal killers Severen (Bill Paxton), Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein) and the more thoughtful but no less dangerous Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen), who swarm into a small Oklahoma town intent on some hillbilly grub. As in, hillbillies.
Why Are They Weird? They’re Southern-fried, leather jacket-clad, hollering urban cowboys (and girls). No capes and collars for this lot.
But they do keep to the standard mythology in one way – expose ‘em to the sun and “Southern-fried” is suddenly an apt description. Crispy!
Fangs for the trivia: Director Kathryn Bigelow originally wanted to make a Western, but when no one wanted to fund it, she took a suggestion to blend it with another genre. Hello, lucrative horror…[page-break]
The Film: Rockula (1990)
The Vamp: Ralph LaVie (Dean Cameron), a young man cursed 400 years ago to watch the woman he loves - and failed to save from, er, a murderous pirate who batters her with a ham bone – get reborn every 22 years and then die again from the same fate. Did we mention it’s a comedy?
Why Are They Weird? He rocks! Well, he plays music. Actually, he’s rubbish as vampires go – obsessed with saving his gal, he doesn’t bother to attack anyone.
And the Elvis look (white jumpsuit era)? Nosferatu would stake himself if he saw it.
Fangs for the trivia: Rocker Bo Diddly appears as one of the Rockula band members.[page-break]
The Film: Lifeforce (1985)
The Vamp: Tobe Hooper directed this tale a mysterious space lady (Mathilda May) and two friends who are retrieved from a derelict spaceship. She spends a chunk of the running time naked, which was perpetually fascinating to trouser-trembling lads of a certain age. What? Shut up!
Why Are They Weird? Aside from the outer space origin, the sexy life-sucker’s victims end up more like zombies, except every two hours they go hunting to human energy themselves.
Eventually, it all ends up in her ship. Species’ Natasha Henstridge would be proud of her ambition. And her nudity.
Fangs for the trivia: Colin Wilson, on whose novel the film was based, wasn’t a fan. “John Fowles once told me that the film of The Magus was the worst movie ever made,” he once said. “After seeing Lifeforce I sent him a postcard telling him that I had gone one better." Did he not like the nud… (That’s enough about the nudity – Ed).[page-break]
The Film: Mr Vampire (1986)
The Vamp: Wah Yuen plays an elderly, kindly man in life whose son is tricked into burying him the wrong way by a vengeful feng shui master. Taoist Kau (Lam Ching-ying) is brought it to try and help, but grandpa bursts from the ground before he can do anything and starts snacking on the living.
Why Are They Weird? Grandpa hops. No, really. He hops. Is that weird enough for you? No? Right… He’s also a kung fu vampire who is created because of BAD FENG SHUI. Best sort that IKEA sofa’s placement out, then.
And one detail we particularly love – the vamp’s victims can buy extra time among the living if someone files their teeth down. Genius.
Fangs for the trivia: At the 1986 Hong Kong film awards, the movie bagged an impressive 12 nominations, but only scooped Best Original Film Score. It also sired four sequels.[page-break]
The Film: Rabid (1977)
The Vamp: Porn star Marilyn Chambers plays Rose, who is badly injured in a nasty motorcycle accident. Experimental surgery to replace damaged skin and organs has a strange side effect that should probably come with a massive health disclaimer.
Why Are They Weird? She develops an orifice in her armpit that attacks its victims with a phallic stinger and steals their blood while wiping their memories and you already guessed David Cronenberg directed it, didn’t you?
Yes, it’s body horror 101 as she and her little friend rove around town sucking plasma and converting others into 28 Days Later-alike zomboids with a taste for flesh.
Fangs for the trivia: Cronenberg originally wanted Sissy Spacek for the lead role, but the studio torpedoed her casting because of her accent. A little film called Carrie was released while the film was shooting and to poke fun at his short-sighted bosses, Cronenberg included a poster for it in a street scene.[page-break]
The Film: Vampire’s Kiss (1989)
The Vamp: Nic Cage as Peter Loew, a driven literary agent who delights in shagging around and boasting of his conquests to his therapist (Elizabeth Ashley). One night, he meets Rachel (Jennifer Beals), who bites him. Or so he thinks…
Why Are They Weird? By the end of the film – spoiler alert, even though it came out 20 years ago – you’re not quite sure if he’s become a monstrous creature of the night or just plain nuts. So we suppose he could also be considered a loonpire.
He doesn’t develop the fangs he thinks should be sprouting, so he buys plastic toy teeth for when he attacks women. And while he doesn’t like the sunlight, all it takes is a pair of shades for him to feel better. Poor baby.
Fangs for the trivia: Cage ate two real cockroaches for a scene, though he later felt sorry for them. Oh, and his accent? It’s supposed to be dodgy. Or so he’s claimed.[page-break]
The Film: Martin (1977)
The Vamp: Martin Mathias (John Amplas), a shy, awkward type who truly believes he’s a bloodsucker. But he needs a knockout syringe and a razor blade to actually extract the blood.
Why Are They Weird? While Martin’s kills in real life are pathetic and tragic, he has a vivid imagination and views himself as a classic vampire, complete with dream sequences styled after silent films. Real life: sadistic wanna-undead killer. Fantasy life: vampire.
George Romero switched from zombies to the other undead type for this quiet, sad look at a desperate man with a deranged outlook on life.
Fangs for the trivia: Romero originally wanted the movie to be completely in black & white, but the studio types didn’t think it would sell.
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