This year is the centenary of Bram Stoker's death, but vampires aren't going anywhere. From current pop culture to literary classics and even further back to folklore, the fanged bloodsuckers really do seem to be immortal, and so does their popularity.
With the Twilight series grossing millions and Edward Cullen starring in the fantasies of women the world over, I've decided it's high time to pay tribute to his predecessors. So here's my top ten alternative vampires; the ones with far more bite than just their thirst for blood.
1. Lestat from Interview with a VampireAnne Rice brought vampires back with her 'brat prince,' Lestat. Before The Vampire Chronicles came out in 1976, bloodsuckers were often one-dimensional. But foppish, defiant Lestat was many other things beside beautiful and damned. He redefined the genre, and the books sold 80million copies.
2. Zillah from Lost SoulsForget frilly shirts and velvet capes, the vampires in Poppy Z. Brite's début novel were far more modern, with pierced nipples, dyed hair and painted nails. Zillah and his cronies spend their days driving across America, drinking absinthe and eating cake, sexing up anyone they can get their sharpened talons on, then leaving them for dead. As a teenage goth, that was a road trip I dreamed of being on. Still do, sometimes. But enough about that...
3. Mitchell from Being HumanEven with those fingerless gloves on, Mitchell made many viewers (including me) come over all unnecessary as he attempted, alongside George the reluctant werewolf and Annie the upset ghost, to live an ordinary, human life. Which just goes to show that even in someone 117 years old, the Irish accent still works like a charm.
4. Count Saint-Germain from Hôtel Transylvania Nominated alongside Anne Rice for Vampire Novel of the Century, Hôtel Transylvania is the first book in the series about the charismatic Count Saint-Germain. Based on a mysterious real-life aclemist, adventurer and possible charlatan from 17th-century France, the aristocratic anti-hero is dark and seductive, but without the usual blood and gore.
5. Spike from Buffy the Vampire SlayerNicknamed for his fondness for torturing his victims with railroad spikes, who'd have thought Buffy's would-be blonde nemesis would end up being such a complex character? Far more romantic than he originally seemed, fans loved Spike and he became the series' 'breakout' character. But not everyone was impressed.
6. Pam Ravenscroft from The Sookie Stackhouse seriesDescribed as “Alice in Wonderland with fangs,” don't be fooled by Pam's fondness for pastel twinsets. She is funny, fiercely loyal and she'd be the one I'd want on my side in a fight.
7. Jean-Claude from the Anita BlakeVampire Hunter series Another vampire with a talent for seduction, Jean-Claude can “feed” from sex, hence his decision to open a strip club, which he patrols wearing skin-tight leather trousers and thigh-high boots. Any vampire who dresses like a member of Motley Crűe gets a gold star from me.
8. Eli from Let the Right One InShe loves puzzles, playgrounds and morse code, but Eli can also see in the dark, climb walls with superhuman ease, and rip your throat out before you scream. A complex character, she had me hiding under the covers, so read with caution. And sleep with the light on afterwards.
9. Santanico Pandemonium from From Dusk 'til DawnSalma Hayek dances for Quentin Tarantino. In her underwear. With a snake. Then transforms into a vampire. Need I say more?
10. Count DraculaCreated in 1897 by Bram Stoker, Dracula is the vampire king, the one who defines all the others who came after. An iconic character from a literary classic, he still has the same blood-curdling, spine-chilling power today as he did a century ago. So he had to make the list.
Who would have been in your top ten? And why do vampires continue to be such a pop culture staple? Are they the ultimate danger crush, or is there a deeper, darker explanation?