Long before the franchise-destroying dawn of the Twilight series, many people all over the world have found themselves obsessed with the classic idea of vampires, whether written about in books, portrayed on the big screen or playing a vital part of a fantastic hit television series. My first real taste of anything vampiric came in the form of that traditional TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and from then I started searching down fixes from the fun and fascinating world of fantasy that the vampire genre had to offer. These days, most vampire novels, movies and television shows are regarded with distaste by a large portion of people, who insist that the days of truly frightening or entertaining characters in vampire sagas have long since turned to dust, but there are some truly fantastic options out there to explore, if part of you is still wondering what fanged things lurk in the shadows of our ever-expanding media.
The Television Series:
- 1. Being Human – If you think that you have a reasonably good idea of what this franchise has to offer after sampling the American version, think again. The truth is, sometimes the British really do it better, and you can rest assured that if you leave a set of English writers with a fantastic topic, they will transform it into a unique and magical story. Created by the genius Toby Whithouse, being human allows fans a glimpse into our favourite mythical beasts from a completely new perspective, showing a trio of inmates consisting of a ghost, werewolf and vampire, searching for normalcy in the modern world. Although my favourite parts of this franchise did come in the initial seasons, there is something to be said about the writers’ ability to reinvent the concept in its third season, following the departure of vital character Adrian Turner, and then the remainder of the entire original cast. Even without the same characters we had gotten to know in the beginning, the final season wasn’t completely rubbish, and that is certainly not a foregone conclusion these days, (I’m looking at you, Dexter.)
- 2. True Blood – This franchise strays a little further towards the romance/horror mix of television shows, but I found it to be surprisingly a lot more enjoyable than I had originally hoped. From the moment that signature intro tune was played for the very first time in 2008, True blood has made fans fall in love with its surreal and seductive world. Iconic and brash, the franchise has marked a turning point in the vampire section of TV. Most of the characters are extremely interesting – especially the vampire ones, and you will find yourself falling in love with a few of them as the season’s progress. If nothing else, you have to give the show some credit for exploring unscaled heights by having a complete and utter idiot as its main heroine and protagonist, (sorry Sookie-lovers, just my opinion). Set in the torrid city of Louisiana, true blood is exciting, unique and erotic bordering on trash, offering a new world of narrative possibilities to the realm of paranormal creatures.
- 3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – This show is absolutely an unrivalled masterpiece of television, that paved the way for the wave of supernatural shows you now see littering various channels on a regular basis. Buffy laid the foundations towards the end of the nineties for all of the creativity, experimentation and exploration of the paranormal television medium throughout the twenty-first century. Created by Joss Whedon, Buffy the vampire slayer explored untouched grounds, discovering a world of exciting episodes and wonderful plot lines that remain etched into the annals of Television history to this day. From hilarious, quirky episodes to those few that really did scare the pants off you (Hush, anyone?), Buffy the Vampire slayer had everything to offer, allowing watchers to believe in the complexity of the universe to such an extent that many of us felt a real sense of loss when the run finally ended. When it comes to Vampire TV, Buffy wins first place for me every time, creative, imaginative and iconic. Plus, there’s Spike – do you really need more of a justification?
- 1. Anne Rice: The Vampire Lestat – When it comes to the realm of vampire books, Anne Riche is pretty much unmatched. The chances are you’ve probably come into contact with her name before even if you haven’t read the books, through movie adaptations such as Interview with a Vampire and The Queen of The Damned. Coming directly from that same series, The Vampire Lestat is one of my absolute favourite Anne Rice books and vampire books overall. In this novel, you get to know Lestat and understand that he’s more than just that evil, self-involved fiend of a vampire that you thought he was in Interview with a Vampire. The truth is, Lestat is actually as lost as a child, wounded and scared in the modern day world. The book is set in modern New Orleans, where Lestat is awakened by a rock band and subsequently becomes their singer, (because why not?) after which fame and fortune fall into his lap. More than that, you also get to learn a bit more about some of the older vampires such as Marius, and get a deeper look into Anne Riche’s world as she delves beautifully into the history of her vampires.
- 2. Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends – Another of the absolute best vampire novels of all time in my opinion is Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love story by the wonderfully talented Christopher Moore. We have touched on this author before in this blog, and it’s no surprise that he is entitled to so much praise, the way that he writes his world of vampires makes you read fast and immediately want more, like gorging yourself on your favourite food. Moore writes with wit, providing a style that seems quirky and odd, making fun of the modern world while introducing complex, interesting characters that you’re just dying to know more about. In this story, Jodi wakes up one morning to find that the sun is burning her – she has somehow been transformed into a vampire overnight and has no idea how she came to be that way, so the search begins for her maker. This is a fun, smart read that will have you running out to buy more Christopher Moore novels as soon as you put it down.
- 1. Blade – For me, Blade is the movie that I’m always going to remember Wesley Snipes for. Telling the story of a day-walking half human half vampire who takes his anger and aggression out on the vampires that killed his mother, Blade provides a fantastic fun and quirky look into the supernatural world. To me, Blade’s a little bit like buffy if the series had been far more serious, packed with a good deal more gore and had a vampire for the slayer. David Goyer wrote the screenplay for this movie, and I think he did a fantastic job. Obviously, I’m not the only one who spotted his fantastic talent, as he has since go on to write some of our favourite comic book movies such as Man of Steel and the New Dark Knight Trilogy. I even enjoyed the follow-up movies, which we all know can be a lot to ask when it comes to sequels.
- 2. Lost Boys – No journey into the world of truly brilliant vampire media can be complete without a look at the eighties cult classic, The Lost Boys. This movie really needs no introduction, and you cannot consider yourself a true horror fan if you haven’t yet experienced the pleasure that it has to offer. With a fantastic ‘heartthrob’ character at the lead and Kiefer Sutherland playing a fun and engaging bad guy, you’ve got yourself a perfect vampire movie, complete with side of rice (or is that maggots?) Directed by Joel Schumaker, The Lost Boys was released in 1987, yet still remains one of the most relevant and popular vampire films ever made.
What do you think of this list? Are there any important titles that you think I’ve missed out? Let me know in the comments or get in touch through our facebook page.