When it comes to monsters, there is quite a clear hierarchy. Lumbering zombies are at the bottom, with little in the way of looks of manners. Next up are werewolves, who are practically human most of the time but awfully hairy and dribbly when they do change. And top of the pile is the vampire – eloquent, refined, nice taste in velvet-lined cloaks…or at least they did have. Today’s vampires seem to prefer leather over silk and spend more time brooding than getting out there and killing people. But one thing remains consistent – they’re all pretty good-looking. Obviously, no-one wants to make an ugly man immortal, do they? And in celebration of the absurdity of vampire fiction, here are our Top 10 Most Handsome Vampires.
1994’s “Interview With the Vampire” was a visual treat, with its sumptuously-clothed crowds of 18th Century extras. So, naturally it required a few good looking leads too. Chief among these was Lestat, played by Tom Cruise, – an arrogant vampire who turns a little girl into a vicious killing machine. He had little regard for others, unless he saw them as a potential snack, and ended up being killed by his protege. Writer Anne Rice protested when Cruise was cast, saying that the star of “Top Gun” was far too mainstream and All-American to play her ruthless Lestat. However, once she saw his performance she agreed that he was perfect for the role.
Many vampires like to do a bit of brooding but Angel must is the broodiest of the lot. The main love interest in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” before going on to have his own series, Angel was a vampire with a soul – a feared killer called Angelus cursed by gypsies to hang around feeling miserable for eternity. Played by David Boreanaz, he was a mid-90s teenage pin-up, although by the end of “Buffy” in 2003 he was looking distinctly haggard – a problem for the producers, given that vampires don’t age. Still, his character had been to Hell and back in those years (literally) and so you can’t blame him for looking a little careworn. Oh, and he was a fashion innovator too – he totally pioneered the long black coat look that all these modern vampires seem to sport.
8. Edward Cullen
Somewhere out there, there is a group of teenage girls cursing my name and making voodoo dolls of me for only putting Edward “Twilight” Cullen at number 8 (and a group of 30-somethings will be cursing me for putting him above Angel. You can’t win). But RobPattz, as I believe he’s known, is only really attractive to some people – namely the very young. It’s the big lips, the heavy eyebrows and the fluffy hair – he just looks so teenage. And Edward’s personality is hardly attractive either, being a soppy, “vegetarian” kind of vampire who mopes around, abandons his girlfriends for large portions of the film and gets all jealous over a werewolf. And the silliest thing about the entire “Twilight” saga? When Edward goes out into sunlight, he doesn’t spontaneously combust like a good vampire should. Oh no – he sparkles. But still, you can’t have a list of handsome vampires without him, can you? The teenage girls really would go mad…
7. Damon Salvatore
As one of the main characters of “The Vampire Diaries“, Damon Salvatore has been a vampire since 1864 and now spends his time in a small town called Mystic Falls, fighting over girls with his brother Stefan. He’s a self-declared bad boy, whose eternity philosophy goes something like this: “If you’re gonna be bad, be bad with a purpose. Otherwise, you’re just not worth forgiving.” He’s played by Ian Somerhalder, who shot to fame as Boone in “Lost”. He got killed off in the first series, but that never posed a problem for the show – he just kept turning up in flashbacks and people’s visions. As Damon, he’s another teenage pin-up of a vampire.
Another Buffy hottie, this one came with bleached blond hair, a very fake English accent and a whole load of attitude. He was sired by Drusilla, who in turn was sired by Angel, so he was kind of Angel’s vampire-grandson and, like most families, they had their differences. Even when Angel turned bad again, Spike couldn’t stand him and so went and teamed up with Buffy to try and send him to Hell (it worked). Spike is loosely based on Sid Vicious, with girlfriend Drusilla as his Nancy and liked a bit of punk music while driving around in his blacked-out car. What a pity that the writers eventually turned him soppy – first by putting a chip in his head so that he couldn’t kill anymore (although he could still kill with sarcasm) and later by giving him a soul. And don’t get me started on his ghost phase in “Angel”…
5. Deacon Frost
From the 1998 movie “Blade”, Deacon Frost was one of those vampires who get ideas above their station. Not content with just killing people and living forever, he decided to become “La Magra”, the vampire god. Needless to say, vampire hunter Blade, played by Wesley Snipes, had something to say about that and sorted Frost out with the use of some EDTA darts. In the original Marvel comics, Deacon was a white-haired middle-aged man with glowing red eyes but for the movie, the much younger and sexier Stephen Dorff was cast, apparently to update the character for a 90s audience (and in no way trying to copy Angel). Other actors suggested for the role were Jet Li and character actor Bruce Payne…so it could have gone in a very different direction.
4. Bill Compton
Another vampire who seems more concerned with lovin’ than killin’, Bill Compton is from the world of “True Blood”, where the invention of synthetic blood has allowed vampires to “mainstream” and live peacefully among humans. Of course, he has his darker moments – drinking the blood of the “first vampire” Lillith and becoming an enhanced vampire called “Billith” was one of those darker moments. But most of the time, his love for human Sooky keeps him away from the murder sprees he used to enjoy so much. Of course, he still tries to kill Sooky from time to time, but that’s all part of the deal when dating a vampire, right? She really should expect him to get bite-y every so often. Portrayed by Stephen Moyer, Bill has been a mainstay of the series since the start.
Before he was Jack Bauer, saving the world in a day and never stopping to pee, Kiefer Sutherland had another life. An afterlife, as head of a teenage vampire gang in Santa Carla, California, in the movie “Lost Boys”. Sleeping by day, partying and killing by night he is one of the few vampires on this list who actually seem to have fun rather than just moping around and writing poetry. He’s cool in a very 1980s way, with a bleached blonde mullet, designer stubble and leather jacket but really, you’d rather be in his gang than going to dinner parties with the Cullens in “Twilight”, wouldn’t you? He appears to die at the end of the movie, impaled on a pair of antlers, but for the sake of the spin-offs he apparently survived.
And talking of miserable vampires, here’s one that barely cracks a smile through the whole of “Interview with the Vampire”. Reports say that Brad Pitt was as miserable on set as his on-screen counterpart was, thanks to the uncomfortable costumes and contact lenses he had to wear, as well as the torturous make-up routine. Being second billed to Tom Cruise can’t have helped either. Louis is the main protagonist of the film and starts miserable (he’s just lost his wife and child), is miserable eating rats as a vampire, perks up a bit when he gets a vampire child to call his own (wonderfully played by Kirsten Dunst) and then sinks into complete despair when she’s killed. So, not really someone you’d want to hang out with much. But there’s no denying he’s smoking hot…!
But for pure charisma and style, there’s no beating the Dark Lord himself. Originator of the classic vampiric look – sweeping cape, impeccable shirt with no bloodstains, slicked back hair – he possesses a hypnotic power that means his charm far exceeds his actual looks. He’s been played by any number of actors, from the classically handsome (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) to the unconventional (Bela Lugosi) but most of them have captured that powerful dark charisma. I’ll make an exception for Gary Oldman’s portrayal which, while it was a good performance, could never be described as handsome (it’s the wrinkles and the ridiculous twin-beehive hairstyle that would put you off). Christopher Lee also did a fine job as the Count, bringing a manly authority to the role as well as just a brooding presence. There’s a reason why the myth of Dracula persists, and will outlive all these leather-clad newbies. It’s because he is the most alluring of all vampires. Maybe it’s the accent…