By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
It’s a boy’s world in Vampire Land. The most famous vampires, from Dracula to Lestat, are guys. Women get to be the victim but not the predator. Consider this pattern: vampire sees pretty girl, bites her, girl turns sexy vampire following the whims of her master. Eventually, she’ll get staked by Van Helsing while wearing a revealing nightgown. That’s it, right? Female vampires as eye-candy that serves as a backdrop.
Well, we’re tearing that clichéd view of female vamps aside as we present the top 10 vampire women. These ladies are more than just pretty faces and large fangs.
Source: Carmilla by Sheridan LeFanu (novella)
Preceding both Dracula and “The Vampyre” by several years, Carmilla is the prototype for the female vampire. Lesbian undertones, sexiness and corruption mingle in Le Fanu’s short story. Dracula’s wives – as well as legions of other vampirised, good-looking and dangerous women – owe their existence to her. It’s no surprise her story has been adapted several times with varying degrees of quality. This is the mother of all vampires and she still packs a punch.
Queen of Blood
Source: Queen of Blood (film)
There’re not many space vampires in film or books. Science fiction has, mostly, remained a safe haven from the bloodsuckers. But I wanted to include one space vampire, and hesitated between Lifeforce and Queen of Blood. I ended up choosing Queen of Blood because it is an oldie but goodie Corman flick. The Queen is a beautiful woman saved from a wrecked alien spaceship by a group of astronauts. She’s charming and green-skinned. Unfortunately, she’s also a bloodsucking space vampire who likes to lay eggs. Stay on Earth and avoid nice-looking aliens who want to kiss you.
Source: Vampirella (comics)
Despite the fact that Vampirella is normally seen lounging around in a red-thong suit and shiny black thigh boots, you shouldn’t discount this lady as nothing more than a skimpy costume. Long before Selene from Underworld or Violet from Ultraviolet arrived, there was Vampirella kicking butt. Demons could not stand in her path for long. Vampirella dispatched them with more gusto than Buffy the Vampire Slayer and managed to keep her tiny outfit in place. Now that takes talent.
Source: Countess Dracula (movie)
The real Erzsébet Báthory is rumoured to have killed and tortured several hundred young women back in Hungary. However, she had nothing to do with Dracula. That didn’t stop Hammer Films from filming Countess Dracula and casting the buxom Ingrid Pitt as Elisabeth Nodosheen, a thinly veiled caricature of Ms. Báthory. Not a vampire in the Bela Lugosi sense, Elisabeth nevertheless engages in a (literal) bloodbath to maintain her youth and is as dangerous as any undead vamp. Steer clear from her path or risk a horrible death.
Source: The Hunger by Whitley Strieber (novel)
The well-coiffed Miriam Blaylock appears in a series of novels by Whitley Strieber and in a movie adaptation by Tony Scott. Miriam is a rich, beautiful and deadly predator that has been around since the days of the pharaohs. Unlike Dracula and Carmilla, Strieber’s vampire is not a supernatural creature. Instead, she is a member of a separate species and can not create vampires like herself by sucking her victim’s blood. That doesn’t stop her from trying, though.
Source: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice (novel)
Anne Rice’s Queen Akasha, the statue-like original mother to all vampires, is a bloodthirsty, nasty piece of work with a thing for Lestat and rock music. When she awakes from a centuries-long slumber, the first thing on her agenda is to end the world and snuggle with Lestat. She doesn’t have any qualms with killing her own kind, or anyone standing in her way, for that matter. Magnetic, powerful, insatiable and narcissistic, Akasha’s got bite.
Source: Dark Dance by Tanith Lee (novel)
Tanith Lee has tackled vampirism several times in her fiction, starting with the novel Sabella. The Blood Opera trilogy is her most extensive look at the subject. It follows the life of the reclusive Scarabae, a family of long-lived not-quite-vampires. Blood for the Scarabae offers a sexual thrill instead of nourishment, and they do not turn into bats or crumble under sunlight. However, the vicious, teenaged Ruth believes in the old stories about vampires and is determined to behave like the bloodsuckers she’s absorbed through popular culture. A brattish kid with a Goth look and a nasty penchant for killing, Ruth is any parent’s nightmare.
Source: Forever Knight (TV series)
The Canadian series Forever Knight predated vampire-detective TV shows like Moonlight by more than a decade. It ran for four years and featured the elegant vampire lady Janette DuCharme. Secretive but kind, Janette is a practical, modern vampire who manages her own nightclub and doesn’t spend her time moping around, complaining about her vampiric condition. Cool, collected and capable as she is, more vampires would do well to imitate her.
Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)
My husband digs Drusilla’s looks. I’ve got to say, bug-eyed Drusilla never struck me as pretty, but I can see why frenemies Angel and Spike were all over her (she is a far more interesting object of desire than Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Twisted and more than a little mad, Drusilla’s childlike ways are often juxtaposed with gleeful murder and torture. She’s crazy and dangerous, but if you’ve got a thing for bad girls, Drusilla is your gal.
Source: Underworld (movie)
Underworld’s Selene, in tight black leather and sporting some Matrix-esque moves, may not be too scary, but she’s a tough chick. She embodies the modern vampire woman, the kind that adorns the covers of urban fantasy novels. When she’s not fighting the bad guys, Selene is romancing a werewolf, proving that nowadays, women can indeed have it all, even if said women are of the undead variety.