Longing For Some Real Bloodsuckers

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson

The Twilight movies make Tell Me More contributor Jimi Izrael pine for the days when vampire movies didn't suck.  Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment hide caption

itoggle caption Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment

Somehow Eclipse, the latest in the Twilight vampire series, will do well despite less than glowing reviews. I've seen the other two and can say that they all make me pine for the days when vampires didn't suck. The Twilight scripts are mopey, dopey and soapy. The acting is wooden and the cast looks like they work part-time at the worst locally-owned coffee-shop in suburban America — they are pale, bland, disaffected. Undead, but only by inches. As if they'd rather be somewhere cutting themselves or voting for Ron Paul. These are vampires only teenaged white girls and housewives could love, with lots of pensive “Blue Steel”-style glances at the camera, but no passion for blood, love or sex, much less the craft of acting.

It's been awhile since we've seen really good vampires onscreen, and maybe its time you take a look at a few performances you may have missed…

Vampire in Brooklyn

A 90s vampire flashback: Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn. Paramount Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Paramount Pictures

Chris Sarandon camps it up as the first sexually ambiguous blood-sucker (before Lestat in Interview with the Vampire) in Fright Night, a classic 80s movie which is sadly getting a re-boot. Model Grace Jones dabbled in everything from music to movies in the late 80s, and she preys on the hormones of young boys looking for a little exotic erotica in Vamp, her only starring role on the big screen and easily her most iconic, with her turn as May Day in A View to a Kill a close second. Strange, that her best roles may be the ones where she has the least lines.

Anyhoo, Catherine Denueve and David Bowie represent as the greatest pre-punk, post-disco bi-sexual vampire swingers in the history of modern cinema in The Hunger, based on Whitley Strieber’s novel. An intense, dramatic, crazysexycool take on the mythology that no film to date has matched.

Eddie Murphy looks more like Nick Ashford than the predator of mortal man as Maximillian in Vampire in Brooklyn, with Wes Craven directing, and John Witherspoon, Angela Bassett and Kadeem Hardison as co-stars. Murphy is good-to-great, but this is an early example in the canon of classic Murphy Flops: a film idea that looks great on paper, never quite comes together onscreen but somehow manages to make a modest profit anyway.

Clearly The Lost Boys is Kiefer Sutherland’s movie, but Edward Herrmann’s take as video store owner and thirsty suitor to his divorcee clerk is one of the better surprise reveals in the genre, I think. And Kirsten Dunst, as the killer tween in Interview with the Vampire, gave us so much more than we could have expected from a child actress. Anne Parillaud has never gotten her due as Marie, the vampire with a taste for Italian in Innocent Blood. But when you got a twofer like Robert Loggia and Don Rickles bearing fangs in this joint, it’s understandable. This was probably Loggia’s last decent role, and Rickles’ sardonic humor explodes.

But now, all we get is the toothless teens in Eclipse. Who do I have to kill to get a decent vampire actor?

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