The likable vampire seems like somewhat of a paradox. Since the earliest incarnation of count Dracula, the vampire has typically been somewhat of a reviled species. However, over time, it has been scientifically proven (no it hasn’t) that audiences find vampires irresistibly sexy and dangerous but charming.
Contemporary vampire fiction has forever changed the landscape of vampire cinema and television. We now see vampires cast as the protagonists and antiheroes in movies and TV, as opposed to being almost exclusively cast in the role of the villain. Anne Rice was a pioneer of vampire fiction in her heyday and still continues to be. She was undoubtedly a huge inspiration for L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries Books) and Charlaine Harris (The Sookie Stackhouse Novels). Both authors have further changed the light in which vampires are portrayed, both in fiction and on the big and small screens. We didn’t forget to mention Stephanie Meyer. Her book series, while wildly popular, was not really a pioneering effort as both the Sookie Stackhouse books and The Vampire Diaries novels came before any entry in the Twilight saga.
So, in light of the rebranding of the vampire population as sexy, playful, and only a little dangerous, we bring to you our selections for eight of the most likable onscreen vampires from film and television.
Lestat from Interview with the Vampire
Lestat was one of the earlier examples of an onscreen vampire that audiences were able to identify with. Though, he was no saint, we couldn’t help but dig him. Anne Rice was way ahead of her time for many reasons: she was writing about vampires before we had been introduced to the sparkly variety and she wrote about vampires with at least some redeeming qualities years before vampire fiction was commonplace on bookshelves everywhere.
Lestat represents one of Tom Cruise’s last truly great roles. Due to an unfortunate incident on Oprah’s couch, Cruise has become somewhat less marketable and considerably more difficult to take seriously.
Pam from True Blood
Pam is a perfect smartass and a great deal of fun to watch. Her mad face is the same as her happy face, so it’s frequently difficult to tell what she’s thinking. For instance: when she procured Tara a food whore, we initially thought she was upset with young Tara, but as it turns out, Pam believed that the food whore had it coming and the vampirical duo “drained a bitch together”. In everything Pam, does, she looks good doing it; moreover, she looks good whilst doing it in six-inch heels. The unique thing about Pam is that she is likable because she displays almost no redeeming qualities. On paper, she isn’t really someone audiences would gravitate towards. So, the real praise goes to Kristin Bauer van Straten. Without a strong performer like Ms. Bauer van Straten to bring Pam to life, she could just as easily be a two-dimensional character that no one really took any interest in.
Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
Angel is an early example of a reformed vampire. We have seen numerous instances of his kind since; from True Blood to Twilight to The Vampire Diaries, it has almost become expected to see vampires going against their most bloodthirsty urges and living the more responsible mainstream lifestyle. Mainstreaming served Angel well, as he managed to secure a spinoff that ran from 1999-2004.
Michael from The Lost Boys
Since he was actually tricked in to becoming a vampire, he automatically gets a vote of sympathy from the audience. He also had well toned abs, so we also have to give him credit for that. It was kind of an unusual move to feature likable vampires in a film in 1986 So, The Lost Boys was sort of a pioneering picture in that sense, as well as serving as one of the gold standards for vampire films to this day.
Abby from Let Me In
Chloe Grace Moretz turned in a performance that was absolutely beyond her years in Let Me In. The way that she attacked the man in the tunnel was absolutely horrifying and impossible to look away from, all at the same time. The amazing thing about Moretz’s performance is that she was only 13 9approximately) when she donned her fangs to portray Abby.
It will be interesting to see how Moretz tackles the role of Carrie White in the forthcoming reboot of the Stephen King classic. If she pours her heart and soul in to the role in the same manner she did in Let Me In, she should have absolutely no problem bringing the character to life.
Jessica from True Blood
The reluctant vampire has slowly embraced her place in the ranks of the bloodsuckers. But, she has never fully lost her humanity. That is thanks in part to her maker, Bill, being a vampire that once seemed to wholeheartedly embrace the mainstreaming lifestyle and at one point still possessed a modicum of humanity himself. Jessica has a conscience and she still recognizes that there are consequences against her actions. She has some hilarious dialogue throughout the course of the series and has become increasingly easy to like as her character has grown in to her personality.
David from The Lost Boys
David was a bit of a dick, but who can resist Keifer Sutherland with a mullet? Especially when he has Bill from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure as a sidekick. David’s struggle with Michael for Star’s affection is epic, especially since both David and Michael are likable in their own way. The original Lost Boys film still stands as a classic entry in the vampire film genre. Unfortunately, I can never get back the time I wasted watching the sequels: Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst.
Selene from Underworld
Death Dealer Selene is an easy protagonist to get behind. She is a strong woman who can take care of herself. In a world where vampires and lycanthropes coexist, it is extremely important that she always wear skintight clothing because, really, how is she supposed to fight lycanthropes in loose fitting garments? Hmmm?
We extend honorable mention to:
Marlow in 30 Days of Night
Katrina from Vamp
Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries