Top 10 Female Vampires

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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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.

From left: Meg Tilly as Carmilla (1989), Florence Marly as the Queen of Blood (1966) and Vampirella as drawn by Frank Frazetta.

From left: Meg Tilly as Carmilla (1989), Florence Marly as the Queen of Blood (1966) and Vampirella as drawn by Frank Frazetta.

Carmilla
Source: Carmilla by Sheridan LeFanu (novella)
Date: 1872

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)
Date: 1966

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.

Vampirella

Source: Vampirella (comics)
Date: (1969-)

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.

From left: Ingrid Pitt as , Catherine Deneviue as Miriam Blaylock (), and as Akasha ()

From left: Ingrid Pitt as Elisabeth Nodosheen (1971) , Catherine Deneuve as Miriam Blaylock (1983), and Aaliyah as Akasha (2002).

Elisabeth Nodosheen
Source: Countess Dracula (movie)
Date: 1971

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.

Miriam Blaylock

Source: The Hunger by Whitley Strieber (novel)
Date: 1981

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.

Akasha
Source: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice (novel)
Date: 1988

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.

Ruth Scarabae
Source: Dark Dance by Tanith Lee (novel)
Date: 1992

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.

From left: (), as () and as Selene (2003)

From left: Deborah Duchêne as Janette DuCharme (1992), Juliet Landau as Drusilla (1997) and Kate Beckinsale as Selene (2003).

Janette DuCharme
Source: Forever Knight (TV series)
Date: 1992-1996

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.

Drusilla
Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)
Date: 1997-2003

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.

Selene
Source: Underworld (movie)
Date: 2003

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.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia lives in beautiful, rainy British Columbia with her family and two cats. She writes fantasy, magic realism and science fiction. You can read her stories in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, The Book of Cthulhu, Evolve 2 and Tesseracts 13. She is the co-editor of Candle in the Attic Window, Future Lovecraft and Historical Lovecraft.

Silvia Moreno-GarciaTop 10 Female Vampires

2 Comments on “Top 10 Female Vampires”

  1. Diana Laurence

    This is a fantastic list, Silvia. Interestingly, my first exposure to vampires was when I read “Carmilla” just about the time I passed through puberty. It had quite an impact, and a few years later when I saw Frank Langella as Dracula, I was a total convert. Although the male vampires in my book outnumber the females 10 to 1, the one (a Welsh beauty named Gwendolyn) is an essential player. I have to give a lot of credit to Carmilla for making me the vampirophile I am today.

    –Diana Laurence, author of “How to Catch and Keep a Vampire” (www.howtocatchandkeepavampire.com)

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