The 5 Most Frightening Movie Vampires

Monday, November 21 by Sylvia Cochran

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Playing a bloodsucker is currently in vogue, but the 5 most frightening movie vampires are not found leering after nubile teens. In fact, there is a good bit of psychology that goes into the portrayal of a truly scary undead corpse. Then again, importing blood-like liquid by the barrel makes up for the lack of psychological undertones. Whose fangs rule supreme?

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Count Orlok Max Schreck portrayed the vampire in the 1922 silent movie "Nosferatu." There is nothing genteel and sexy about this bloodsucker. He spreads death and destruction wherever he goes. His brand of horror is the determination to kill, minus any recognizable emotion. The audience does not positively connect with him and it's this very aspect that makes the count one of the five most frightening movie vampires.

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	<strong>Dracula</strong> In 1958, <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/christopher-lee-936/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>Christopher Lee</a> donned <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/the-cape/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>the cape</a> of this vampire count. Although by today’s standards the movie gives way to a bit of eye-rolling, in 1958 it was the bomb. Lee imbues the <a href=vampire with cunning, animal magnetism and greed. From the standpoint of character development, it is without a doubt the genre could not have progressed to today’s mainstream acceptance without the British stage actor’s groundwork.

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Count Dracula In 1979, Klaus Kinski entered the genre as one of the five most frightening movie vampires. The film itself is a remake of the 1922 silent movie previously mentioned. What Schreck lacked in cruelty—or what filmmakers at the time thought would be over the top—Kinski embraced with gusto. “Nosferatu the Vampyre” is homage to a blood feast.

Shadow of the Vampire

Max Schreck What would happen if you sought to film a documentary about the original 1922 movie featuring Max Schreck? Now imagine that the main character is a vampire in real life. This little charade is the backdrop for the movie “Shadow of the Vampire.” Willem Dafoe portrays the bloodsucker and it is the desperate mood of the movie that infects the audience; it's a quintessential dark atmosphere without hope of rescue.

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Lady Sylvia Marsh “The Lair of the White Worm” was filmed in 1988 and the female vampire in the film is part of a secret cult that worships a snake god. In this incarnation, the vampire is the procurer of sacrifices for another. Although the story takes a different turn than most vampire classics, the hopelessness that the ending invokes makes it unforgettable.

Notice that the five most frightening movie vampires don't go looking for young teenagers as girlfriends. Instead, they are shamelessly egocentric and greedy. We can only wish that the genre would return to this understanding.

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