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Worst Movie Vampires

Relax Chris, you don't even come close.

By Rob Vaux     May 09, 2012

Early word on Dark Shadows is pretty grim. Tim Burton’s big-budget version of the Gothic horror soap opera has raised the ire of die-hard fan and curious newcomer alike… particularly in the casting of Johnny Depp as resurrected vampire Barnabus Collins. But Depp is far from the worst movie vampire to (dis)grace the silver screen. Take a look at these monumentally poor casting decisions that besmirched the reputation of bloodsuckers everywhere. They’re seriously scary, and not in a good way.


#10: Jack Palance in Dracula

The first of multiple Count Draculas on this list, Palance remains the most perversely bizarre. As gangsters and cowboys, the actor had no peer: deploying impeccable tough-guy credentials earned through his early career as a professional boxer. But he looks thoroughly uncomfortably dolled up in Drac’s black cloak and his menacing delivery never makes it past those stagey fangs.


#9: Dominic Purcell in Blade: Trinity

We could go with a lot of vamps in this less-than-stellar end to the Blade franchise. Triple H just looked lost while Parker Posey attempted to overact her way to a viable exit. But we’re going with Purcell who, as the progenitor of the vampire line, resembles nothing so much as a steroid-laden male stripper. After the truly frightening creatures in Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II, this would-be Dracula epitomized Epic Fail.


#8: Lauren Hutton in Once Bitten

Someone somewhere decided that putting a pretty girl in slinky Goth leather was enough to convey the romance and desire of a vampire. But former Revlon model Lauren Hutton – she of the vapid gaze and show biz smarm – couldn’t handle any part of the equation as she awkwardly put the moves on a pre-star Jim Carrey. We dare you to watch any portion of this movie without cringing.


#7: Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000

Butler is all but unrecognizable as the king of the vampires in this admitted guilty pleasure from Patrick Lussier. But the film’s charms fail to extend to its lead – skinny as a rail and evincing no discernible personality beyond a slightly mischievous smile. Butler has his good points in other roles, but he lacks the necessary relentlessness, and when arrayed against Christopher Plummer’s Van Helsing, makes us wonder why they couldn’t have wrapped this up in the first fifteen minutes.


#6 Quentin Tarantino in From Dusk Till Dawn

Before I get too heavily into this, I must stress that I am not complaining about the movie as a whole. From Dusk Till Dawn is an absolute hoot, and the vampires therein by and large rock the house. Said rocking does not extend to co-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino however. Though he sold us on his character’s quiet mental instability during the first half, he takes a turn for the seriously dorky in the second when he sprouts fangs and a goofy pair of contacts. Luckily, he’s quickly dispatched by onscreen brother George Clooney, leaving us to ponder how the hell Fred Williamson could pull off the same shtick so well.


#5:  Stuart Townsend in Queen of the Damned

People groused endlessly about the decision to cast Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire, unaware of how good we had it. Cruise actually does quite well as Anne Rice’s enfant terrible Lestat… which is more than we can say about poor Stuart Townsend in the wretched sequel. Shirtlessness and faux Goth clothing can’t make up for an absolute lack of charisma: an unforgivable trait in the larger-than-life Lestat. It gets even worse when comparing him to the late Aaliyah’s turn as Akasha: the sole bright spot in an otherwise horrendous movie.


#4: The Entire Cast of Twilight

Let’s just take the obligatory kick to Twilight’s nutsack as a given and move on, shall we?     


#3 Ben Kingsley in Bloodrayne

Kingsley, one of the finest actors of his generation, stated that he always wanted to play a vampire. Unfortunately, that meant signing up with Uwe Boll, a director who is to good casting choices what a cliff face is to Wile E. Coyote. In a film that features the wildly inappropriate likes of Meat Loaf, Michael Madsen and Michelle Rodriguez, Kingsley stands alone. His evil King Kagan has the usual scheme of taking over the world with an army of undead, but the very sight of him in his undead threads inspire such fits of giggles that he should have opted for some kind of “death by conniption fit” scheme instead.


#2 Richard Roxburgh in Van Helsing

We have four Draculas on this list, all of them a long way from Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. But Roxburgh – an Australian actor best known for his role as the conniving duke in Moulin Rouge! – takes the cake with an over-the-top mess of a performance in a truly horrific film. The excessive CGI provides him with a modicum of cover, which he foolishly discards by gleefully gnawing on every chunk of scenery he can find. I suppose it’s understandable in a movie that asks him to create a new race of vampiric children using the experiments of Dr. Frankenstein. But the ridiculous manner in which Roxburgh throws himself at the problem makes us wonder if someone – anyone – else might have done better with this toxic cheese. We certainly can’t think of anyone doing worse…


#1 Eddie Murphy in Vampire in Brooklyn

Except maybe Eddie, an enormously talented comic actor found here in the late throes of career implosion. He plays a Caribbean vampire who travels to New York in search of a bride. In reality, the role merely served to pacify his ego: fitting him with a ridiculous yet woefully unfunny haircut to compliment his interminable accent. He assembled a team of horror legends to help him, including director Wes Craven and make-up master Rick Baker. None of them could make a dent in a star vehicle gone horribly wrong. Murphy recovered with The Nutty Professor soon thereafter, but it didn’t stop this from becoming a permanent black mark in a career all too full of them. 


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jedibanner 5/9/2012 6:53:35 AM

First line in a while I agree 1000000000%, the ranks, the names, all was spot on.

chrismidkiff 5/9/2012 6:55:13 AM

very good list although I think that Jack Palance should've been closer to the top of the list

redvector 5/9/2012 7:10:50 AM

In my mind the cast of Twilight should be number one. I can't stand the whole emo glampire bullshit the book and movie series has started. The only time a vampire should sparkle is when he's been hosed down with a  freaking flamethrower.

dojen1 5/9/2012 7:18:49 AM

Jack Palance was actually artists Gene Colan's inspiration for the Dracula in his "Tomb of Dracula" comics back in the day. I'll have to go back and watch his Drac again. I don't remember it being all THAT bad.

DarthoftheDead 5/9/2012 7:32:45 AM

Where the hell is Tom Cruise?!?!?

Cmon he was also terrible as Lestat......

DarthBob 5/9/2012 7:36:20 AM

Tom Cruise as Lestat is definitely in the top 10 worst of all time. This was poorly cast and there was absolutely nothing appealing about him in this role; the makers of this film were trying to capitalize on his star power. Also, Aaliyah as Queen Akasha in Queen of the Damned and Jim Carrey for Once Bitten.

Wiseguy 5/9/2012 7:36:21 AM

So many films to choose from yet before looking at the list I said Eddie Murphy in my mind and lo and behold Rob had it at #1

Lots of films in this genre so I'm sure some good ones will come up but a couple of years back I re-watched the Frank Langella Dracula and remember thinking that it seemed pretty awful. Maybe it didn't age well but I thought it was pretty bad casting

And without having seen it yet I'm nominating Johnny Depp just from the trailer and commercials

mgibson17 5/9/2012 7:38:47 AM

Gracious you breezed right over the 50's and 60's didn't you. There are hundreds of movie vampires out there that make Eddie Murphy's version pale in comparison. His is not the worst by any means. I saw Count Yorga, the Vampire when I was in my teens at the drive-in over 40 years ago; and that puppy sucked!

Son of Dracula starring Lon Chaney Jr. ranks right up there as well. Apparently Dracula had a daughter too- put that one on your list. Saw that one on 5 O'clock Showtime almost 50 years ago. Fearless Vampire Killers should have been on your list as well; although it was wittier than Eddie Murphy's version.

TheSilentKiller 5/9/2012 8:11:04 AM

 Seriously,  while I'm glad you had the entire Twilight Cast in #4, you should ALSO have had Robert Pattinson in a separate callout at number one. While he can, I think, actually act, he is an absolutely terrible vampire.

He's like the one solid nugget that stands out in a diarrheic mess of poop.

I thought Cruise as LeStat was better than Pitt as Louis. Pitt's affect was so flat it just completely failed to resonate.

DarthoftheDead 5/9/2012 8:13:40 AM

Burton and Depp need to get a room and just get it over with already(if they already have'nt), lol.

Anyone remember Vampire's Kiss? I thought that was a great film.

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