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Oct 292014
 

This Halloween I thought I would cover the most famous vampire in pop culture, Count Dracula. There’s no doubt that this vampire is so iconic because there have been so many versions. Whether it’s about his own story, or if he’s part of a group of other monsters, the role of Count Dracula has been played by more actors than any other vampire. Here are the versions I remember best in chronological order, even though most of them are highly obscure.

Dracula (1932): Frankly, who doesn’t remember the original movie with Bela Lagosi as the Count. This may be a classic horror feature, but it’s not one I was hugely into compared to the following films and TV appearances, even though he was the inspiration behind the Count from Sesame Street.

Mad Monster Party (1967): Normally when the classic movie monsters are together, Dracula is the one in charge because he’s the toughest in the bunch. Although he’s quick on the attack, Dracula tends to fumble especially since Frankenstein’s monster is stronger than he is.

Electric Company (1970s): Believe it or not, one of Morgan Freeman’s reoccurring characters was Dracula. He has a mysterious presence that can scare people, but isn’t dangerous. It seems that this Dracula’s favorite pastimes include drinking vanilla malts and taking a bath in a casket.

Ghostbusters (1975): This version of Count Dracula, played by Billy Holms, is very goofy and as a bat he tends to bump into walls. What really stands out are his fangs since they look so fake. Luckily his wife Countess Dracula is with him to keep him in line.

Ghostbusters (1986): Although this version of Count Dracula looks a lot like the Dracula from Groovy Ghoulies, he’s actually a lot tougher than many of the evil spirits the Ghostbusters ever faced. His ambition is to take over Transylvania by taking human slaves with his hypnotic power instead of a bite. He also hates mirrors as well as garlic. A little strange, don’t you think?

Castlevania Games (1987-1991): Dracula has appeared on video games before, but the best known is in the Castlevania franchise as the main villain. Instead of the Van Helsings fighting Dracula, it’s the Belmont family. It goes to show that the Count always returns no matter how many times he’s been defeated.

Captain N: The Game Master (1989): The animated version that’s based on the video games is a warlord trying to take over the world of Castlevania. Though I must admit that the Count has a creepier look.

Monster Force (1994): As the main villain in this series, Dracula prefers to be called Dracule. Even though he has a charming persona, don’t be fooled. Dracule is very powerful with his metamorphosis, hypnotic spells, and other magical abilities, which gives the Prince of Darkness an edge over humans and monsters alike.

Leslie Neilson as Count Dracula

Dracula: Dead and Loving it (1995): I remember when I first heard about this comedy classic. After discovering that Leslie Nielsen was going to star as Dracula, I knew from the start that it was going to be a good one. This Dracula is clumsy and his shadow has a mind of its own, but don’t take him too lightly. He’s powerful in the ways of mind control, sometimes even more than he realizes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000): Dracula’s only appearance on this show was in the season five episode Buffy vs. Dracula, where Rudolf Martin played the role, but he did leave his mark during his time in Sunnydale. He seduced Buffy, made Xander his Renfield, even Spike remembers Dracula as an old rival before he got famous. This certainly covers a lot of ground on how Dracula stands out from other vampires and it’s hilarious when Buffy slays him… twice.

Van Helsing (2004): Richard Roxborough plays the role in this movie. As the main villain once again, he introduces a new skill that vampires have and that’s the ability to walk up walls and on the ceiling like it was nothing. Though Dracula is both strong and deadly, it’s really his three wives that stand out as big favorites to me.

Hotel Transylvania (2012): Adam Sandler voiced the most recent animated version of Count Dracula. Unlike other Draculas, this one is actually one of the good guys. After losing his wife to a group of angry villagers, Dracula created a hotel resort as a safe haven for monsters. However, he also became an overprotective father and control freak. Dracula is also funny, especially when he tries to tell humans that he never did say, “Bleh, bleh, bleh”.

Jan 222013
 

The animated feature Van Helsing – The London Assignment takes place before the events of the Van Helsing movie. In this story, monster hunter Van Helsing (voice of Hugh Jackman) chases down the murderous monster Mr. Hyde in London.

Mr. Hyde terrorizes young women and collects their souls. Then he can blend into the crowds as Dr. Jekyll. Unlike other versions of this character I have seen, this one can actually control his transformations very well.

The violence level on this cartoon is pretty gory. Not only does blood spill when Mr. Hyde kills a victim, the bodies also decay quickly into a grotesque state.

It turns out that Dr. Jekyll isn’t working alone. The souls Mr. Hyde collects are for Queen Victoria to keep her eternally young and healthy, merely because he loves her. Oddly, the queen is unaware of Jekyll’s corruption.

Both Van Helsing and Mr. Hyde are very smooth with their jumping skills. The chases usually take place on the rooftops. Even on a moving train, those two make it look so easy to keep up with one another while battling.

After Van Helsing crosses a fire pit of certain death, the stepping stones reveal themselves as zombie soldiers. They may be fireproof, but not waterproof. Holy waterproof, that is. Just throw some of it in the fire pit and “poof”. The zombies all get wiped out. Now that’s an interesting way to fight them.

Once Van Helsing finds the queen, he helps her see the truth, but not before Jekyll captures her and reveals himself as Mr. Hyde. Van Helsing catches up to him in a final showdown. However, Van Helsing doesn’t wish to kill Mr. Hyde for his soul could still be saved.

This was a good prelude to the Van Helsing movie. Unfortunately, there are no vampire women this time around, which I find a little disappointing. They’re my most favorite monsters in this franchise.

Oct 312011
 

Happy Halloween, everybody! Vampires and zombies are not the only top monsters of the horror genre. Another classic beast is the werewolf a.k.a. lyconthropes. The curse of the werewolf is easily spread like a zombie virus, courtesy of its sharp claws and teeth. When the full moon is out, the victim becomes a wild beast that’s out of control and allergic to silver. These are my most favorite werewolves.

#10) Scott Howard from Teen Wolf: Scott is an underdog teenager, who comes from a family of werewolves. Sure, the full moon causes his transformation, but it can also be triggered by anger. However, Scott is always cautious about anyone seeing him wolf out in public, even when it can be useful.

On a side note, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard on the original Teen Wolf movie and Jason Bateman played the role in the sequel, Teen Wolf 2, but it was the cartoon series I remember best.

#9) Velkan (Will Kemp) from Van Helsing: He was a werewolf hunter along with his sister Anna until their latest catch broke free and attacked. Now Velkan is a werewolf that can smoothly crawl up walls, run long distances, and has the strength to kill vampires. The transformation was graphical because both his clothes and skin get ripped up. Now isn’t that just creepy?

#8) Jack de Wolfe (Joey Fatone) from Red Riding Hood: Now here’s a unique werewolf. He’s a shape shifter with a huge appetite for human beings. However, Jack’s transformations are limited to only his eaten victims, but mostly prefers the form of his very first victim.

#7) Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) from Ginger Snaps: She was a gothic teen along with her sister Brigitte. After being attacked by a werewolf she becomes more dangerous, not only as a wolf girl, but also as a girl who is not afraid to take vengeance on her tormentors with deadly results. However, Ginger does fear the extra hair from her scratches and the tail growing from her tailbone. Of course, who wouldn’t be?

#6) Fangface from Fangface: Unlike most werewolves, he is eager, friendly, and heroic, like a superhero. Fangface’s transformations are entirely based on whether he sees the sun or the moon. That can be easily controlled with any pictures of the sun or the moon. The only time Fangface gets out of control is when anyone mentions food, which makes him want to eat his friend Pugsy. Rubbing Fangface’s paw is the only way to calm him down if that were to happen.

#5) Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: During Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts, Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. When the moon is out, he becomes a werewolf with the posture of a human and not as hairy compared to other werewolves. This curse prevents Lupin from teaching, but still remains to be a great ally in later Harry Potter films.

#4) Oz (Seth Green) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: As a human, he’s a young bass player and Willow’s love interest. Every night of the full moon, Oz becomes a dangerous werewolf. What’s really touching is that Willow still loves Oz for he is still a good soul. It’s too bad the relationship didn’t last after awhile.

#3) Free from Soul Eater: He’s an immortal wolfman with amazing powers that control ice and snow. However, Free likes to brag and is a bit of a klutz, which makes him hilarious. However, Free is still a very dangerous opponent because he’s a lot tougher than most keshans.

#2) Fangster from Ghostbusters: He’s a futuristic ghost werewolf that’s strong and muscular as he is scary. Like his other ghostly comrades, Fangster can sneak into tight places by materializing into spirit form. However, he never reveals his human form and the closest Fangster has ever come to infecting anyone with the werewolf curse is by turning dogs into savage werewolf slaves with a magical arch built out of bones.

#1) Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) from The Wolfman (2010 version): This was the latest remake based on the old movie monster. Talbot was an American citizen, who was summoned to England to search for his missing brother, only to be attacked by a werewolf and possess the curse. Now he’s a graphical beast that smoothly slashes up innocent people at random with his claws. Even though that movie was slow-paced, it still makes me think of how far this mythical monster has come over the years in both movies and TV shows.

 

Werewolves

Honorable mentions: Believe it or not, werewolves have left their mark on video games also. In the Super NES game Zombies Ate my Neighbors, the werewolves were fierce, but were easily defeated with silverware. Now isn’t that just silly?

The video game I remember best from this category is Werewolf: The Last Warrior for the NES. The hero is a man, who becomes a werewolf by picking up red ‘W’s. (Blue ‘W’s weaken him.) The more wolf he is, the more powerful he becomes in order to fight evil. Here’s an example that I found on YouTube to help set the mood for the werewolf’s howling success.

Jun 072010
 

Hugh Jackman stars as Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition) the monster slayer. He’s equipped with an assortment of weapons like a super spy. It’s incredible. In a way, Van Helsing is like Robin Hood, a hero who is also a wanted man. Kate Beckinsale, who is well known as Selene in the Underworld trilogy, costars as the warrior princess Anna Valeris.

Reluctantly, they team up to fight an assortment of monsters lead by Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Kevin J. O’Connor plays Igor. I mostly remember him as Benny from The Mummy. He was as funny then as he is in this film when he annoys the heroes.

This movie features all of the major classic movie monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are all together. It’s along the lines of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The trio of vampire women, Allera (Elena Anaya), Verona (Silvia Colloca), and Marishka (Josie Maran), have a very distinct demon-like appearance as Dracula’s brides. Yet they also take human form and can stand on ceilings. I don’t think Buffy the Vampire Slayer has ever had the chance to fight such fearsome beauties like these.

Van Helsing shows his smooth jumping skills out into the woods when the Dracula brides attack and he has to get back onto the coach from the horses’ backs. He shows them again at the mask ball when he gets on the trapeze. Even Dracula is like a wacky wall walker. It’s all very smooth.

Overall, this was a well-made monster movie. Great animation, smooth moves, and gorgeous vampire women. Could it get any better?

Oct 302009
 

As a special treat for Halloween, I put together a list of 13, that’s right 13, of my favorite scary and seductive female vamps that horror fans love to be afraid of.

#13) Selene (Kate Beckinsale) from Underworld: She’s a kick butt death dealer vampire. Unlike many of the others listed here, Selene is on the side of good. She’s not really seductive because her main focus is to take out lycons. You’ve got to admit though, Selene is a hottie.

#12) Rachael (Jennifer Beals) from Vampire’s Kiss: Her kisses are addictive, even if it does include biting. Not only that, but they cause her victims to go totally mad. I wonder if she’s part siren.

Lauren Hutton as the Countess

#11) The Countess (Lauren Hutton) from Once Bitten: Like the famous Count Dracula, the Countess seduces her victims before biting them. However, she prefers virgin males and instead of aiming for the neck, she goes for the thigh. Doesn’t thinking about that just make you want to cringe?

#10) Queen Akasha (Aaliyah) from Queen of the Damned: After the vampire Lestat awakens her, Akasha only cares about destroying all life and ruling the world. She sounds like a pretty typical warlord, but the character was nominated for Best Villain on the 2002 MTV Movie Awards, even after Aaliyah’s death. So that has to account for something, right.

#9) Rayne (Kristanna Loken) from BloodRayne: Well, Rayne isn’t exactly a vampire. She’s a dhampir, which means a half-breed, kind of like Blade. Rayne is also on the side of good, but still needs to feed. Not to mention that she can kick butt while doing it.

Lorena from True Blood

#8) Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) from True Blood: This gorgeous vamp is strong, fast, and obsessive like a femme fatale. She will do anything, and I mean anything, for love. And she loves Bill Compton, which was why she sired him. Boy, does she love Bill Compton.

van-helsing-brides

#7) Allera (Elena Anaya), Verona (Silvia Colloca), and Marishka (Josie Maran) from Van Helsing: They all have a very distinctive demon-like presence. Yet they can also take human form and stand on the ceiling. Heck with seduction, these women want blood.

#6) Darla (Julie Benz) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Don’t let her innocence fool you. This vampire is highly fearsome and most effective. She was The Master’s favorite and the one who sired Angel. Darla has been slayed, but keeps coming back. Maybe she knows Dracula’s secret?

buffydr2

#5) Drusilla (Juliet Landau) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Other than the fact that she is a bit loony, Drusilla really stands out as a tough vampire. Not only was she the one who sired Spike, but she was one of few vampires to ever kill a slayer.

#4) Lucy Westenra (Lysette Anthony) from Dracula: Dead and Loving it: That’s right, the Mel Brooks version. After being sired by Count Dracula, Lucy becomes a sexy and seductive vampire. When she gets slayed, it becomes one of the funniest bloodbaths I ever seen.

Salma Hayek

#3) Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) from From Dusk Till Dawn: She was a seductive dancer at a private bar meant for bikers and truck drivers only, only to find out that she is the primary queen vampire of the place. In this movie, the female vampires are much more gruesome than the males.

#2) Lillith (Angie Everhart) from Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood: This shape shifting whorehouse hottie has a huge tongue that literally goes down a victim’s throat, brings his heart out of his chest, and eats it. And I thought Sil from Species had a monster tongue. Oddly, Lillith doesn’t like vegetarian hearts. They probably taste like veggie burgers.

Fright NIght 2

#1) Regine Dandridge (Julie Carmen) from Fright Night Part 2: I haven’t seen this movie in years. What I remember most is when this vampire makes out with a guy, then reveals the largest set of fangs I ever seen. It used to scare the heck out of me. Obviously she doesn’t scare me now, but I can still remember that horrifying image in the back of my mind from back in the day. That’s why I rank Regine as number one.