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Vampire frenzy
As The Twilight phenomenon continues to grow around the world with the release of New Moon, Instep takes a look at the evolution of the 'vampire'

By Amar Ayaz


Of late the 'tweeny' pop culture has been drooling over blood-thirsty vampires with stylized hairdos and zero per cent body fat. The modern vampire seems to have evolved from creepy monsters looking to inject and ingest blood to handsome boy toys willing to forego a savoury human blood banquet to try and emulate mortals. With that in mind here are five actors, in no particular order, who adapted the plasma loving personality with great aplomb.

1. Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight (2008) Robert Pattinson makes the cut since he has most girls, and some grown women, wishing they could trade places with Bella Swan to embrace Edward. While he rivals the acting talent of an android, Pattinson's portrayal of Edward Cullen (a compassionate vampire involved in a junior high romance with a human) has transformed the previously terrifying villain into a desirable desperado with a penchant for protecting human life. Pattinson plays the seventeen-year-old (108 in vampire years) character who gets involved with Isabella 'Bella' Swan during his senior year at high school. Though he retains the superhuman strength and agility, it is his intelligence that seems questionable. How he is still in senior year despite being over a century old is anyone's guess.

2. Kiefer Sutherland as David in The Lost Boys (1987) If there was a movie to be held responsible for breaking with tradition and altering the vampire concept you would not have to look much further than The Lost Boys. In it Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the leader of a vampire gang, with much allure. This role helped establishing him as one of the finest young actors of the '80s and '90s. Released during the ascendancy of the grunge era in the late '80s, Kiefer provided a rock-star image to the persona of the vampire. David and his gang of mysteriously brooding youngsters added the allure to the vampire culture while maintaining the terror despite frequent comedic displays from the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman).

3. Gary Oldman as Count Dracula in Dracula (1992) Oldman is by far one of the most awe-inspiring yet under-rated actors to grace the big screen. His depiction of Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of the darkest and eeriest roles he has ever played. The directorial brilliance of Francis Ford Coppola and the intensity of Gary's performance made the movie a major box office success internationally. The worth of a good actor is on display when the audience cannot differentiate between the character and the actor. Through the make-up and the costumes the viewers are drawn into the character of Dracula rather than the actor. Although Bela Lugosi, a Hungarian stage and screen actor, epitomized the character of Dracula in Tod Browning's 1931 version by lending his actual accent to Count Dracula, Gary Oldman has come closest to rival Lugosi's original. Stoker's Dracula is a generally tall, thin and frail figure who possesses phenomenal powers under a shadowy and mysterious aura which Gary plays down to the last detail.

4. Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire (2000) Dafoe, an Oscar nominated actor for Platoon, garnered much attention for his role as Max Schreck that the Academy nominated him once again in the Best Supporting Actor category. His performance as Schreck borrows from the same sinister portrayal that Oldman did of Dracula. Through his acting career Willem has been able to morph into various characters however arguably his greatest transformation to date has been his representation of Schreck. The movie is based on the difficult filming of Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau played by John Malkovich. Murnau takes the idea for his movie from Bram Stoker's novella and hires an actual vampire, Dafoe as Schreck, to the play the part of Count Orlock. Shadow is a different movie with an unusual premise. The character of Schreck is not your run-of-the-mill vampire either as he lacks the powers that usually goes along with the territory. In that respect Dafoe plays the unordinary, extraordinarily well.

5. Jerry Nelson as Count Von Count on Sesame Street Last but not the least, the most watched vampire on television has been Count Von Count. Written by Tony Geiss and created by Norman Stiles, The Count is performed by Jerry Nelson on the classic children's hit TV show Sesame Street. Making his first appearance on the show in 1972, The Count has pleased audiences young and old with his affinity for counting everything for over 35 years. The Count has grown very colorful over the years, as compared to his earlier spookier self. His accent and mannerisms are borrowed from Bela Lugosi's Dracula, but his powers are unique. The Count is immune to sunlight as he takes a vacation in ÒCounting VacationÓ and he can hypnotize other Muppets with a wave of his hand. He is also often accompanied by a cloud which provides thunder and lightning to let him know when to stop counting. He also possesses musical talents as he can play the pipe organ and the violin. This in turn makes him more attractive to the ladies that he has been with, which include Countess Von Backwards (known for counting backwards), Countess Dahling Von Dahling and Lady Two. The Count even has a family which has made appearances on the show, the most prominent of which was Uncle Uno. Clearly he is the most watched and revered vampire to have graced the small and big screens. Loved by kids and adults who were once kids, the Count definitely has an edge over the other vampires in the list. Well, at least over Robert Pattinson.