Alternate Takes 01.05.13: Top 10 Vampires in Entertainment
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 01.05.2013
From Dracula and Blade to Spike, Angel and Lestat, Alternate Takes looks at the Top 10 vampires in entertainment. Shawn also reviews the newest reboot of Marvel's "Morbius," starts the new Fight Club Knockout and John Dotson checks in with his thoughts on the new Evil Dead trailer.
Welcome to Week 235 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
As a long time Spider-Man fan, I was intrigued when I heard that Marvel was starting a new comic based on one of his old-time villains, Morbius the Living Vampire. Morbius broke out of prison around the same time that Peter did, when Pete was trying to get back into his real body. While we all know how that turned out, Morbius headed somewhere that he wouldn't need to worry about superheroes bugging him.
Now, Morbius has never been a true bad guy in the truest sense of the word. He is a part-vampire, and has an unquenchable thirst for blood, so that is not good. But he has never set out to be a criminal, crook or evil genius. In some interesting trivia, Morbius was the first Marvel vampire to come after the Comics Code Authority lifted its ban on vampires in 1971. He also gained his vampire powers by scientific means, and not by the traditional sense, morphing into the creature while trying to develop a cure for his rare blood disease.
This made him a sympathetic villain and soon moved on into a more anti-hero role and starred in his own comic "The Living Vampire" in the '70s as well.
This new reboot of Morbius does a decent job of explaining his powers (hypnosis, super strength, healing powers) and weaknesses (he can die, he has problems with bright lights) and differences in the genre (he can't change into anything like a bat or mist, he likes garlic, especially in a nice pesto sauce).
It also explains how he became a vampire for new readers and sets him up in his new town of Brownsville. This new home is described as somewhere the heroes never come, and as a result is extremely dangerous. We meet his first nemesis, a street thug named Noah St. Germain and then Morbius dies. Yeah, you read that right. The comic starts in present day and then flashes back to how Morbius ended up there. However, in the present day Noah blasts Morbius in the gut with a shotgun, and Morbius said he became a "dead vampire."
I liked the introduction to Morbius in the comic. I knew about him from when I read comics as a kid, but I honestly lost touch with the character for a lot of years. I never really read his later adventures and know him best from his early days in Spider-Man comics. The one big problem with this comic is that nothing really happens. We get the introduction, and we see that - in the present day - he is gunned down, but it seems that the first issue was not really worth the money for much in the way of story.
However, it has me hooked on where the story might lead. Plus, I loved the art work by Richard Elson. It reminded me a bit of the look of Morpheus in the Sandman series, and that is a good thing. I will definitely check out issue #2, but they need to get to the point pretty quick or they might lose their general audience. I'd like to see this last, so it's time to move the story.
With that said, here is a look at this week's list: The Best Vampires in Entertainment. This can be from the movies, comic books or television. I won't get into videogames because I don't play much outside of sports games. With that said, here we go.
Yeah, yeah, I know. People love the original Fright Night, and for good reason. It is a really fun, classic vampire movie. However, I really liked the remake of Fright Night, and consider it one of the best remakes in a long time. Part of what I loved about it was Colin Farrell's Jerry, the vampire next door. The guy was a dick, and that perfectly fit what Farrell does best in his acting. He was able to just let loose and ham it up the entire movie, making for a very enjoyable time.
Along the same lines as Colin Farrell in the Firght Night remake is Kiefer Sutherland in the original "The Lost Boys" movie. Joel Schumacher was trying to make an MTV-styled vampire movie, and while that sounds horrible as a description, it worked. While not a great film, by any means, The Lost Boys remains one of the most fun vampire movies out there, even after celebrating its 25th birthday last year. Sutherland played David, the leader of the young vampire group that rules the town, and the No. 1 henchmen behind the dangerous Max. While most vampires are glum, Kiefer played it all for fun.
Released the same year as The Lost Boys, Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark remains one of the best vampire movies ever made, and interestingly enough, never uses the word vampire once in the entire movie. The traveling nomad-styled vampires were an eclectic bunch, including a child vampire, a wonderful Lance Henriksen, a boring, and lame, younger girl, a dangerous older female vampire, and the best of the bunch: Bill Paxton as the bloodthirsty Severen. For proof, just flash back to the bar fight, where Paxton walked along the bar and slit a man's throat with the spur of his boot. This was Paxton at his best.
Child vampires are scary enough, especially when you look at the creepy kid from Near Dark. However, the best child vampire of them all came in the Swedish version of Let the Right One In. Portrayed by Lina Leandersson, she was the perfect portrayal of an old soul trapped in the body of a young girl. The fact that she is, at the end of the day, a manipulator and almost a child predator, makes her even more scary. Unlike many vampire movies, this is about the friendship between two children, as Eli is looking for her next caretaker to replace the one who has grown old while she remains the same. It is one of the best vampire movies ever made, and Eli is a perfect vampire child.
Let's jump over to comics now. There is a lot of great things about the Preacher series, but one of the best is the development of Cassidy's character from the beginning to the end. Cassidy is a whiskey-drinking Irish vampire who has lived his entire life as a selfish individual, who only uses his friends to get what he wants out of life. However, when he meets Jesse, things start to change. There is a lot of moments in the series where it looks like Cassidy will revert back to his old ways, but he makes some of the best sacrifices for his friends in these books and is one of the best vampires to ever appear in a comic book.
Louis is the protagonist of the book Interview with a Vampire, but it was clear that his sire Lestat was the best character in the Vampire Chronicles series. Starting with the second book, The Vampire Lestat, and moving on, it was clear that Anne Rice's main focus was on the life of Lestat above all others. He was a rock and roll vampire, someone who loved living the life of a vampire, and someone who was a lot of fun to follow. Louis was always so depressed, but Lestat made it fun to be undead.
Head to television and the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you find Spike, one of the standout characters on the popular series. James Marsters created a vampire that stood out among every other vampire on the show, a close similarity to what the rock and roll Lestat seemed in Anne Rice's books. The first episode that Spike showed up, rolling into Sunnydale, was unforgettable. He quickly became a vampire villain you never wanted to see die. They neutered him some in later seasons, and his days as a ghost on Angel were only decent, but when Spike was on, there were few characters better.
I could make a list of the best Dracula's from entertainment, but I only wanted to include one version, so I am going with Bela Lugosi, the man who started it all. Christopher Lee was great, Gary Oldman was really good and both the versions in Marvel Comics and the Buffy Universe had their positive qualities, but when I think of Dracula, I think of Bela Lugosi. From the first moment he appeared at the top of the staircase and introduced the world to the character to his later portrayals of the original blood sucker, Lugosi owned the role that started it all.
I am counting both the Marvel Comics character and Wesley Snipes portrayal of the character here, since it is the same person. Blade is just a badass, pure and simple. He is half vampire, so he has all the vampire's strengths, but few of their weaknesses. He doesn't kill innocents and just massacres other vampires, and both his portrayal in the comics and the movies makes him one of the baddest of the breed. The best thing I think ever could have happened in Twilight would be for Blade to show up and save us all.
I can't help it. Angel remains my favorite television show of all time, and the character remains my favorite on the entire run of Buffy as well. Honestly, I always felt he was too good for Buffy, even when the show was hers to rule, and when he got his own series, it kicked all kinds of ass. Very quickly, Angel surpassed Buffy on my must-watch list, his show surpassing hers in almost every area by that time. There are a lot of great vampires out there, but in my eyes, I will take Angel any day of the week.
This week starts the new Knockout, and this one actually is about who you think can win a fight. This is great news for those people who voted on the strongest heroes in the Knockout that was supposed to be about picking your favorite characters. Your votes actually make sense this time!
Just to start things out easy, we are going with four people who rank at the top of my pre-fight rankings. Here are the first four match-ups.
Welcome to the 3rd week of D-Rock's Corner! I am John "D-Rock" Dotson, and this week we will be discussing the new EVIL DEAD remake. If you haven't already done so, please check out the gruesome new Red Band trailer below for the film. Forewarning, it's incredibly violent and I would also probably tag it as NSFW.
Now, I've been hearing a ton of mixed reactions from fans about the existence of this remake. I completely understand the devotion people have towards the original, because it is such a classic. However, I would like to layout some reasons why we should all calm ourselves and give this remake a chance.
1. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on board as Producers.
With the two biggest Icons of the original having a creative say on what is being accomplished in the remake, it's hard for me as a fan to completely dismiss the project. In fact, when I first heard that they would be stepping up as producers, I was quite relieved, because who better to let this happen than these guys? At least it's not some other Hollywood dirtbag trying to make a quick buck. Hearing Bruce Campbell talk about the project gets me excited alone, but don't let me convince you, listen to Bruce himself.
2. Extreme gore please?
As you can see from the trailer, there is probably very little concern about this turning into a PG-13 kiddy scare fest. The gruesome slicing tongue clip, followed with the bloody chick makeout is enough for me to say… Holy shit. So far it appears that all the creators involved have not been holding back on the blood spew department, and I for one salute them.
3. A chance to see a much darker take on the original.
The original had a very humorous campy style in the horror execution, but there was a lot of in between tension that had a lot of potential for a very serious take. Why not give the property another chance to really scare the shit out of people? Besides, how many truly horrifying movies have there been lately? You can always wait for another Michael Bay produced horror reimagining. Friday the 13th - Part 2 in 3D anyone?
4. Sam Raimi's vision
As we all know, the original classic was shot using a shoe-string budget, which makes film-makers have to sacrifice creative ideas in order to meet expenses. Sam Raimi himself has been speaking to press about how he always thought the original could be much scarier if he had better production quality. If we did not get the chance to experience the full terror that was The Evil Dead back in the 80's, why pass up the chance to see Raimi's full vision today? At least Raimi is not pulling a "George Lucas" here and making digital changes to the original.
I am pretty damn excited for this remake and I think the fans should be as well. I think in general when a classic is about to get remade, we all have a right to be pissed in some way. This time however, I think this a remake that is specifically being made to honor the The Evil Dead generation.
As always, let me know your opinions in the comments! Are you excited for the Evil Dead remake? And what do you think of the bloody Red-Band trailer?
2013 January 4: Texas Chainsaw 3D
January 25: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
January 29 - The Dark Knight Returns Part 2
February 1 - Bullet to the Head
March 1 - Jack the Giant Slayer
March 8 - Oz: The Great and Powerful
March 29 - G.I. Joe: Retaliation
April 12 - The Evil Dead
May 3 - Iron Man 3
May 17 - Star Trek: Into Darkness
June 14 - The Man of Steel
June 21 - World War Z
June 28 - Kick-Ass 2
June 12 - Pacific Rim
July 3 - The Lone Ranger
July 19 - R.I.P.D.
July 26 - The Wolverine
August 2 - Red 2
August 2 - 300: Rise of an Empire
August 6 - Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
September 6 - Riddick
September 13 - I, Frankenstein
October 4 - Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
October 25 - The World's End
November 1 - Ender's Game
November 8 - Thor 2: The Dark World
November 22 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
December 13 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2014 April 4 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
May 2 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
July 18 - X-Men: Days of Future Past
August 1 - Guardians of the Galaxy
2015 March 6 - Fantastic Four
May 1 - The Avengers 2
November 6 - Ant-Man