Archive for the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Tag

THE 15 GREATEST VAMPIRE HUNTERS   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

Today, we hail vampire hunters. Without these intrepid heroes, the world would be overrun by blood-slurping creatures of the night. Armed with crossbows, stakes, crucifixes and holy water, they fearlessly go toe-to-toe with one of the most formidable of all supernatural beings.

Below are the 15 top vampire slayers of film and TV:

BLADE

Blade is the ultimate vampire-stomping badass. Portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the 1998 film Blade and two sequels, the African American superhero uses martial arts, a titanium sword, a modified MAC-11 gun and a variety of gadgets cooked up by his mentor Whistler, to wage war on the undead. Blade, whose mom was infected by a vampire while pregnant, is a dhampir, possessing the speed and strength of vamps, with none of their vulnerabilities. Driven by hatred of the creatures who stole his mom from him, Blade (real name: Eric Brooks) first appeared in the Marvel comic The Tomb of Dracula in 1973.

BUFFY SUMMERS

To the casual observer, Buffy is an airheaded blond cheerleader type. But in reality, she is the Chosen One in a long line of vampire slayers. In each generation, a girl arises to battle the forces of darkness, endowed with exceptional physical prowess and fighting abilities. Buffy’s gifts are enhanced by her Watcher, the stuffy Englishman Giles who takes a job as the school librarian at Sunnydale High School to train her. Assisted by her teenage pals, who nickname themselves the Scooby Gang, Buffy deftly dispatches vampires, demons and other supernatural menaces. The character was played by Kristy Swanson in the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the TV series (1997-2003).

ABRAHAM VAN HELSING

Professor Abraham Van Helsing is the godfather of vampire hunters, first appearing in Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula, and later in innumerable films. The aged Dutch doctor is described in the book as  “a philosopher and metaphysician and one of the most advanced scientists of his day,” and in his letters, his signature is followed by a string of credentials, including MD, D.Ph and D.Litt. His wisdom and knowledge of the occult are crucial to the band of heroes, including Jonathan and Mina Harker, who ultimately destroy Dracula. Elderly, thick-accented actor Edward Van Sloan established the character memorably in the 1931 Bela Lugosi movie. But it was British actor Peter Cushing who delivered the most iconic incarnation of Dracula’s chief adversary. His Van Helsing is physically robust and resourceful. His most badass move was putting two candlesticks together to create a makeshift cross that he uses to take down the king of vampires in The Horror of Dracula (1958). Several of the professor’s descendants carry on the ceaseless fight against the undead, including Lorrimer Van Helsing, played by Cushing in Dracula A.D . 1972.

CAPTAIN KRONOS

The swashbuckling hero of the Hammer movie Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1973) is a dashing swordsman and former army officer. Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) travels Europe destroying vampires with the aid of his partner, the hunchbacked Professor Hieronymus Grost  (John Cater), who is the brains of the operation. Their task is tricky because it turns out that, as Grost explains, “There are as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey,” each variety with its own powers and vulnerabilities. The creature who plagues a Romanian village in this film cannot be killed by a wooden stake, and drains victims of their youth rather than blood. Kronos and his companion must figure out which member of the community is the vampire, as well as discover how to liquidate it. They are joined in the hunt by a beautiful Romani (formerly known as Gypsy) woman Carla (Caroline Munro), who had been put in the stocks for dancing on Sunday. I would have loved to see a film series in which the duo exterminate a different breed of vampire in each picture, but alas, this was the character’s only screen appearance.

J

JACK CROW

Jack Crow is the surly hero of John Carpenter’s 1998 film Vampires, played by wiry James Woods, whose pockmarked mug and sour screen persona usually land him villain roles. Crow leads a team of vampire hunters whose brutal techniques include using a grappling hook, cable and truck to haul snoozing bloodsuckers from their lairs out into the sunlight.  Although his unit serves under the auspices of the Catholic Church, Crow is foul-mouthed, cynical, and not above beating the stuffings out of an uncooperative priest. In the film, Jack pursues a master vampire who is seeking a relic that will allow him to become invulnerable to sunlight.  One of Jack’s most valuable team members is played by the least-known Baldwin brother Daniel, who, despite his obscurity is great in the flick!

SAM AND DEAN WINCHESTER

Hunky brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the heroes of the TV show Supernatural, follow in their dad’s footsteps in hunting down and destroying things that go bump in the night, from demons to killer clowns. So, naturally, vampires are among their quarry. Atypically, in the Supernatural universe, wooden stakes don’t harm vampires. Blood-drinkers have to be beheaded, and the beer-swilling bros are happy to oblige. Not only do the pair wipe out multiple vampire nests, they manage to kill the Alpha Vampire, the original bloodsucker who got the evil plague rolling and is the most powerful of them all. They are even able to restore Dean to normal after he’s bitten and sprouts fangs. That said, they do have a soft spot for fangers who restrict their diet to donated blood bags and animals. And a vampire named Benny becomes Dean’s best friend after helping him survive a stint in Purgatory.  

GABRIEL VAN HELSING

Gabriel, hero of the 2004 movie Van Helsing, is best viewed as an entirely different character from Professor Abraham Van Helsing of Dracula fame. (Although he is described as a “re-imagined” version of the original in studio publicity materials). Certainly, his persona is a far cry from the cerebral Dutch doctor. This Van Helsing is a man of action played with steely Clint Eastwood machismo by Hugh Jackson. His backstory is considerably different from Abraham’s. Gabriel remembers nothing before he was found crawling up the steps of a church—and the screenplay hints that he is actually the angel Gabriel in human form! He yearns to earn a pardon for whatever forgotten sins he may have committed and thus regain his memory. To do so, he combats evil on behalf of the secret, Vatican-based Holy Order, which has protected mankind “from time immemorial.” Gabriel employs a variety of steampunk weapons to battle monsters who include Mr. Hyde, werewolves, harpy vampires and most importantly Dracula—who has hatched an evil plot to spawn hundreds of offspring growing in pods similar to those in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

CARL KOLCHAK

Veteran wire service reporter Carl Kolchak has a nose for a good story. Unfortunately, many of his scoops never see the light of day, because they are about supernatural creatures! Each week, on the TV series The Night Stalker (1974-75), Kolchak turns up evidence that a mysterious death is the work of a monster; he doggedly investigates the case and finds a way to destroy the big bad—usually surviving only by the skin of his teeth. Unfortunately, the proof is almost always destroyed as well, making his claims implausible, especially to his grumpy boss Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) who refuses to print the articles. In his first outing, in the 1972 TV movie The Night Stalker, Kolchak discovers that a serial killer hunted by the police is actually a vampire and is forced to take matters into his own hands.

 Although the show ran only one season, it is a cult favorite that inspired several subsequent monster-of-the-week series, including The X Files. One of the reasons for its popularity is undoubtedly the believable depiction of a crafty reporter, played with irascible charm by Darren McGavin. It’s never really explained why Kolchak just happens to keep stumbling across monsters. My pet theory is that he was chosen by some higher power to be a white knight.

VANESSA VAN HELSING

Vanessa, herorine of the SyFy series Van Helsing (2016-2021), is a descendent of the legendary vampire-slayer Abraham Van Helsing. However, Vanessa (Kelly Overton) was adopted and has no knowledge of her impressive pedigree.  The young woman wakes from a mysterious, coma-like state, and quickly learns that during her three years out of commission, vampires have taken over the world. Luckily for humanity, Vanessa has extraordinary fighting skills that make her the perfect vamp-busting machine–and better than that, her bite turns vampires back into normal humans. Also, in what is more of a mixed blessing, when she consumes blood herself, she becomes even stronger and faster.  Unlike her brainy forebear, Vanessa relies on instinct more than strategy. And another drawback of her unusual condition is that when she feels threatened, she flies into an animalistic rage, killing without mercy. The show was inspired by Zenoscope Entertainment’s graphic novel series.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Honest Abe was more than our greatest president—he was also a prolific vampire slayer who used his wood-chopping skills and trusty ax to vanquish scores of the undead.  That’s the fanciful conceit of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. In this weird alternate version of history, at the tender age of 11, Abraham watches helplessly as a vampire attacks his mother, causing her death. The lanky country boy vows revenge and sets out to rub out every bloodsucker he can lay his hands on. He is aided in this quest by a mysterious mentor who teaches him vampire-slaying essentials—and even provides him with the names and whereabouts of people who are secretly vampires. Lincoln soon learns that vampires, whose stronghold is the South, are using slaves as a food source. He runs for President not only to save the Union but to end slavery, and to drive vampires from America’s shores.

DR. ROBERT NEVILLE AKA NEVILLE MORGAN

The chilling movie The Last Man on Earth (1964) was the first to depict a vampire apocalypse. Dr. Robert Morgan is the sole survivor in a world where everyone else has been infected by a mysterious plague. The disease has turned them undead, vampiric creatures that can’t stand sunlight, fear mirrors and are repelled by garlic. At night, Robert (Vincent Price) remains barricaded in his home. Each day, he embarks on a monotonous and grim routine, gathering his weapons and going on the prowl for dormant blood-drinkers. Those he finds, he dispatches with a stake, then burns their corpses to prevent them from coming back. The movie is based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, in which the character’s last name is Neville, as in the 1971 version The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and I am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith.

RAYNA CRUZ

The TV series The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017) featured plenty of vampire hunters. But Rayna Cruz (Leslie-Anne Panaligan) is without question the most powerful and relentless. Rayna has been a vampire slayer since the 19th century, when a group of Native American shaman cast a spell giving her enhanced abilities. She has incredible strength and speed, slowed-down aging, and most nifty of all, multiple lives, enabling her to bounce back from the dead. Rayna is armed with the mystical Phoenix Sword, given to her by her father and enchanted by the Shaman, that gives her the power to track down any vamp whom she’s stabbed. What’s more, the hilt contains the Phoenix stone, into which she can entrap a vampire’s soul and where they endure a personal hell.

THE ULTRAVIOLET TEAM

In the 1998 British mini-series Ultraviolet, a top-secret paramilitary organization known as the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith hunts down and slaughters vampires, with the joint support of both the British government and the Vatican. Global warming is once again the culprit, having spurred vampires to come out of the shadows to seize control of the planet. Led by a priest, the outfit uses brutal tactics to exterminate vampires, while investigating their plots against humankind. The team includes Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport), while Idris Elba costars as Vaughn Rice.

PETER VINCENT

Peter Vincent is a fearless vampire killer—or at least that was his role in the cheesy old movies shown late at night on a TV show named Fright Night, hosted by the retired actor. The real Peter, played by Roddy McDowell in the 1985 movie of the same name, is actually a rather timid, prissy fellow. When high school teen Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale), a fan of the show, discovers that his next-door neighbor is a vampire, he takes the (totally illogical) step of seeking the assistance of his idol. Roddy gives the best performance of his life as the reluctant hero. In the 2011 remake, David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, this time a Las Vegas magician who incorporates vampire themes into his act and is known for his expertise on the subject. (This change makes it a lot less ridiculous for Charlie to turn to him for help). The name is, obviously, a tip of the hat to horror legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

 It’s a sure bet that I will soon be adding another name to this list. Jamie Foxx is starring as a hardboiled vampire hunter, along with Snoop Dog, in the upcoming Netflix movie Day Shift, set to air in August, 2022.  Director J.J. Perry and producer Chad Stahelski both worked on the John Wick films, and they promise to bring the thrills of that action-packed, blood-splattering franchise to the world of vampires. The “first look” released by Netflix is awesome, packed with loads of eye-popping stunts and practical effects.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. Volume One is available on Amazon, and a Kickstarter is underway for Volume 2.

.

Spike, Captain Kirk & Me at Dragon Con!   Leave a comment

dragoncon-marsters

James Marsters, best known as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, still has plenty of attitude.

 

By C. Michael Forsyth

For the first time, last weekend I attended Dragon Con, the nation’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention, in costume – decked out in a Zorro outfit. Posing with other attendees in wild getups was fun, but the highlight was getting to see two of my favorite genre stars in the flesh.

I never  before paid for a photo with the former star of a TV series. Not only did it seem like clingy celebrity worship — plus a waste of money — I always felt embarrassed for fading screen idols reduced to scraping by on $20 a pop. But when I spotted James Marsters, who played bleached blond cockney vampire Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I couldn’t resist. Not because I especially wanted a memento, but just for the opportunity to tell him face-to-face what a smashing job he did on the show. As I told the actor, he took viewers on a wonderful journey, deftly pulling off comedy, drama – even singing in the famous musical episode.

dragoncon-heroes

Marsters gave my Zorro costume a thumbs up.

Marsters modestly responded that the writers “gave me such wonderful stuff to work with.” Which is certainly true. The arc of the character, who goes from villainous Billy Idol from hell to love-struck romantic hero, was one of the best ever written for the tube. Still a consummate actor, Marsters managed to make every fan on line feel like they shared a “moment” with him. (He complimented me on my “cool costume.”) Some of his legion of female admirers may have been a bit disappointed, though. A card on the table politely informed them that there should be no requests for “kissing, hugging or biting.”

shatner-dragoncon-bedst

Thousands packed a ballroom to hear TV legend William Shatner.

Later, in a giant ballroom filled to capacity, I got to see my boyhood hero Captain Kirk himself speak. Bouncing around the stage buoyantly, the actor’s energy and mental agility belied his 85 years. It was a striking – and welcome – contrast to the classic Star Trek episode “The Deadly Years,” in which a mysterious disease causes Kirk to age rapidly, and he goes senile!

kirk-aging

Aging decades in just hours, Kirk shows signs of dementia.

A voracious reader, who chatted excitedly about the latest book he’d read on the intelligence of birds, Shatner proved himself far from the vapid egotist some see him as (an image spoofed hilariously by Tim Allen in the movie Galaxy Quest.) Shatner got deep as he recounted his discussion with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking for a science documentary. Surprisingly, when given an opportunity to ask Shatner a question, the genius posed the same superficial one any elementary school kid would: What was your favorite episode? The truth, the actor admitted, was that he recalls few details from the show in which he appeared 50 years ago.

star-trek-episode

In an episode titled “Let That Be Your Last Battleground,” race hatred destroys a civilization — and even Kirk can’t fix it.

“I barely remember what hotel I woke up in this morning,” he joked. The star did say that in general what intrigued him were the episodes built around “big ideas.” In particular, he cited the one featuring a pair of aliens from the same planet, who hate each other because one is white on the right side and black on the left, the other just the reverse. Even when I watched it as a kid, the message about racial tolerance seemed heavy handed. The duo hail from “the southern part of the galaxy,” Spock informed the captain. But I guess in the 1960s, when TV’s first interracial kiss was shocking to viewers, you had to pound people over the head.

judgment-at-nuremberg

Playing a young Army officer, Shatner helps Spencer Tracy prosecute Nazi leaders in Judgment at Nuremberg.

Asked about his experience as a young actor in Judgment in Nuremberg (1961), he recalled how the director sat the cast down and screened for them death camp footage of corpses being mowed into a trench by a bulldozer. He still wonders how humans can be capable of such bestial behavior, yet also incredible nobility and self-sacrifice. (That duality was, of course, the subject of another memorable episode, in which Kirk is split into a good half and evil half, due to a transporter malfunction.)

shatner-barbary-coast

Bill played a master of disguise on TV’s short-lived Barbary Coast.

But the former starship skipper was mostly funny. Asked about the short-lived 1975 series The Barbary Coast, in which he played a master of disguise, he reenacted the grueling experience of being made up as three different characters every day, often with elaborate prosthetics. It was such a pain in the butt that even though it was his first gig on the air since Star Trek ended nearly a decade earlier, “When it was cancelled after 13 weeks, I was glad!”

shatner-twilight-zone-airplane

“Stewardess!” Bill finds the skies not so friendly in this classic Twilight Zone episode.

In a famous Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” Shatner played an airline passenger recovering from a nervous breakdown, who keeps spotting a gremlin on the wing. He frantically tries to alert the flight crew, but naturally no one believes him. The TV legend revealed that when he flew with his children, they invariably made him prank stewardesses. They’d buzz for one, and when she came over, he’d turn from the window, making “the face.”

Mock Shatner for “overacting,” all you want. I maintain he’s way underrated. As is often the case with good performances, it seems like the actor is simply playing himself. But before being cast as the swaggering, self-assured, macho Kirk, he was best known for portraying weak or neurotic characters like the one described above. He wasn’t typecast.  What holds up best, as you watch the original series today, are those mind-blowing ideas, and Shatner’s performance. As he once said in an interview, he’s always been a storyteller, and you can see him reinforce the plot, note by note in each scene, with his acting choices. Experiencing what a splendid raconteur he is was a great reminder of this.

Still, I’m not above poking fun at Shatner’s acting style, as anyone knows who’s seen my impression.

Below are some more of my favorite Dragon Con moments:

dragcon-me-clown

Plenty of time to clown around at the convention.

dragoncon-hands

Cute and creepy, you’ve got to hand it to her.

dragoncon-harley

The convention was heavily populated by Harley Quinns, like this one in the parade.

dragoncon-me-harley

This Harley didn’t really put much effort into makeup — but who cares?

dragoncon-nurses

Not every female attendee at Dragon Con found me irresistible.

dragoncon-monsterfight

The highlight of the convention for my son was this brawl between Godzilla and a T-rex, cheered on by Star Wars bounty hunters.

dragoncon-slavegirl

As usual, oodles of scantily clad ladies roamed the convention.

dragoncon-fester

Bright idea for costumes: Uncle Fester and Wednesday.

dragon-warrior

A formidable alien warrior — except maybe for his weapon.

PRIESTS FROM HELL: The 13 Scariest Movie Preachers   4 comments

By C. Michael Forsyth

Clergymen provide us with spiritual guidance and emotional support, but when they go bad, they go very bad. Take a look at this roundup of 13 men of the cloth who went over to the dark side. Then vote on who’s the scariest movie preacher of all time.

BROTHER JUSTIN CROWE, played by Clancy Brown in “Carnivale” (HBO, 2003-5): Powerfully built Brown has portrayed some frightening villains, most memorably The Kurgan in “Highlander.” Here he’s a fiendish, supernatural version of Father Coughlin, the hate-mongering Depression-era radio preacher. Brother Justin has the power to bring people's sins and darkest desires to life in horrifying visions. He uses his radio show to brainwash the masses to do his bidding. But the Dust Bowl devil is not above resorting to physical means, mowing down uncooperative folks with a scythe.

BROTHER JUSTIN CROWE played by Clancy Brown in “Carnivale” (HBO, 2003-5). Powerfully built Brown has portrayed some frightening villains, most memorably The Kurgan in “Highlander.” Here he’s a fiendish, supernatural version of Father Coughlin, the hate-mongering Depression-era radio preacher. Brother Justin has the power to bring people’s sins and darkest desires to life in horrifying visions. He uses his radio show to brainwash the masses to do his bidding. But the Dust Bowl devil is not above resorting to physical means, mowing down uncooperative folks with a scythe.

CALEB, played by Nathan Fillion in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Season 7, 2003).  Before handsome Nathan made female viewers hearts flutter as Capt. Mal in “Firefly,” he terrified them as this sadistic sociopath with a pathological hatred of women. A defrocked priest, Caleb was chosen by the non-corporeal First Evil to lead its campaign to destroy humanity. Able to channel its power, he possesses immense physical strength and is seemingly indestructible; making him one of Buffy’s the most dangerous adversaries. The folksy, scripture-quoting madman has a real mean streak, gratuitously gouging out the eye of funny-guy Zander. Here he cuts short the career of a wannabe Slayer.

CALEB, played by Nathan Fillion in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Season 7, 2003). Before handsome Nathan made female viewers’ hearts flutter as Capt. Mal in “Firefly,” he terrified them as this sadistic sociopath with a pathological hatred of women. A defrocked priest, Caleb was chosen by the First Evil to lead its campaign to wipe out humanity. Able to channel its power, he possesses immense physical strength and is seemingly indestructible, making him one of Buffy’s most dangerous adversaries. The folksy, scripture-quoting madman has a real mean streak, gratuitously gouging out the eye of funny-guy Zander. Here he cuts short the career of a wannabe Slayer.

FATHER LUCAS, played by Anthony Hopkins in “The Rite” (2011).  Welsh Jesuit Father Lucas is the Vatican’s top exorcist until he’s possessed by a demon himself. Incredibly, the supernatural thriller is based on real events as recounted by then exorcist-in-training, Father Gary Thomas. Yeah, sure. More believable is Hopkins acting. He resists the temptation to chew the scenery in favor of an understated, chilling performance. In this scene, the trainee (Colin O’Donoghue.) is horrified to learn that his mentor his now batting for the other team.

FATHER LUCAS, played by Anthony Hopkins in “The Rite” (2011). Welsh Jesuit Father Lucas is the Vatican’s top exorcist until he’s possessed by a demon himself. Incredibly, the supernatural thriller is based on real events as recounted by then exorcist-in-training, Father Gary Thomas. Yeah, sure. More believable is Hopkins’ acting. He resists the temptation to chew the scenery in favor of an understated, chilling performance. In this scene, the trainee (Colin O’Donoghue) is horrified to learn that his mentor is now batting for the other team.

REVEREND HENRY KANE, played by Julian Beck in “Poltergeist 2” (1992). Kane was the leader of 19th century doomsday cult who snuffed out the lives of his followers and became a ghostly Beast who keeps their spirits imprisoned. The character’s shockingly gaunt, skeletal appearance isn’t just good makeup. Actor Beck was dying of cancer during the shoot. Kane tries every trick in the book to gain entry into the Freeling family’s haunted house. In one grotesque scene, he transforms himself into a worm that the dad Steven (Craig T. Nelson) swallows with his tequila. The parasitic entity possesses the guy and tries to rape his wife before being vomited out as a hideous, scuttling monster. Watch these two memorable sequences: A Stranger and Let Me In.

REVEREND HENRY KANE, played by Julian Beck in “Poltergeist 2” (1992). Kane was the leader of 19th century doomsday cult who snuffed out the lives of his followers and became a ghostly Beast who keeps their spirits imprisoned. The character’s shockingly gaunt, skeletal appearance isn’t just good makeup. Actor Beck was dying of cancer during the shoot. Kane tries every trick in the book to gain entry into the Freeling family’s haunted house. In one grotesque scene, he transforms himself into a worm that the dad Steven (Craig T. Nelson) swallows with his tequila. The parasitic entity possesses the guy and tries to rape his wife before being vomited out as a hideous, scuttling monster. Watch these two memorable sequences: A Stranger and Let Me In.


REVEREND LESTER LOWE, played by Everett McGill in “Silver Bullet” (1985). With the fierce features that made him a perfect caveman in “Quest for Fire,” McGill is a scary-looking dude under the best of circumstances. As the werewolf in this tale from Stephen King, he’s even more terrifying. And the odds are against his target: a wheelchair-bound boy whose dopey uncle (Gary Busey) arms himself with only ONE silver bullet.

REVEREND LESTER LOWE, played by Everett McGill in “Silver Bullet” (1985). With the over-hanging brow that made him a perfect caveman in “Quest for Fire,” McGill is a scary-looking dude under the best of circumstances. As the werewolf in this tale from Stephen King, he’s even more terrifying. And the odds are against his target: a wheelchair-bound boy whose dopey uncle (Gary Busey) arms himself with only ONE silver bullet.


ANTHONY TIPET played by Keith Szarabajka in “The X-Files” (Season 8, Episode 7). Tipet is the leader of a religious cult who preaches that the Via Negativa or "path of darkness" is the true way to reach Nirvana. With the aid of a super-amphetamine, he’s able to open his third eye—literally a disgusting eyeball on his forehead—and  enter people’s dreams to murder them, ala Freddy Krueger. Tipet racks up 20 kills this way in addition to his wife, whom he simply bludgeons to death.

ANTHONY TIPET played by Keith Szarabajka in “The X-Files” (Season 8, Episode 7). Tipet is the leader of a religious cult who preaches that the Via Negativa or “path of darkness” is the true way to reach Nirvana. With the aid of a super-amphetamine, he’s able to open his third eye—literally a disgusting eyeball on his forehead—and
enter people’s dreams to murder them, ala Freddy Krueger. Tipet racks up 20 kills this way in addition to his wife, whom he simply bludgeons to death.


REVEREND HARRY POWELL, played by Robert Mitchum in “ Night of the Hunter” (1955).As this bogus preacher and serial killer who sports the two words "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed across the knuckles of each hand, Mitchum is even menacing here than he was as a rapist stalker in Cape Fear. The charismatic Rev. Powell woos the unsuspecting widow of his former cellmate to get his hands on hidden loot from a robbery. After marrying and murdering her, he relentlessly tracks her two children. The atmospheric film was inspired by the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  Here are two memorable scenes: Sleepless preacher  and Not My Pa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PyNL2ahKwc

REVEREND HARRY POWELL, played by Robert Mitchum in “ Night of the Hunter” (1955). As this bogus preacher and serial killer who sports the words “LOVE” and “HATE” tattooed across the knuckles of each hand, Mitchum is even more menacing here than he was as a rapist stalker in “Cape Fear.” The charismatic Rev. Powell woos the unsuspecting widow of his former cellmate to get his hands on hidden loot from a robbery. After marrying and murdering her, he relentlessly tracks her two children. The atmospheric film was inspired by the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Here are two memorable scenes we’ll call Not My Dad
and Sleepless Preacher

ZOMBIE PRIEST played by Tony Sedgwick in “28 Days Later” (2002). Mild-mannered bicycle messenger Jim awakens from a coma to find London is besieged by zombies—worse still, fast ones—and he takes in a church. An ominous sign is that the words "The End is Extremely F---ing Nigh" are scrawled on the wall. Jim is relieved when a priest emerges—until the infected clergymen tries to eat him alive.

ZOMBIE PRIEST played by Tony Sedgwick in “28 Days Later” (2002). Mild-mannered bicycle messenger Jim awakens from a coma to find London is besieged by zombies (worse still, fast ones) and he takes refuge in a church. An ominous sign is that the words “The End is Extremely F—ing Nigh” are scrawled on the wall. Jim is relieved when a priest emerges—until the infected clergymen tries to eat him alive.


FATHER ZACHARY MALIUS, played by Charles Cragin in “Happy Hell Night” (1992). Friendly neighborhood priest Father Malius goes crazy and slaughters seven frat boys at Winfield College, then is committed to an asylum. Twenty five years later, fun-loving students from the fraternity stage a prank at the booby hatch, and Father Malius is inadvertently freed. It appears that he has not been entirely cured, because the psycho priest promptly launches a bloody spree of murder and mayhem.

FATHER ZACHARY MALIUS, played by Charles Cragin in “Happy Hell Night” (1992). Friendly neighborhood priest Father Malius goes crazy and slaughters seven frat boys at Winfield College, then is committed to an asylum. Twenty five years later, fun-loving students from the fraternity stage a prank at the booby hatch, and Father Malius is inadvertently freed. It appears that he has not been entirely cured, because the psycho priest promptly launches a bloody spree of murder and mayhem.


CZAKYR, played by David Sawyer in “Children of the Night” (1991).Townsfolk in peaceful Alburg were delighted when a European clergyman came to minister to them – until he began to “interfere with” children and feed on their blood. Cornered, the false priest Czakyr commits suicide, taking his young victims with him. The locals bury him in a crypt beneath the church and flood it. But when a pair of teenage girls take a late-night dip in the water, Czakyr is awakened and attacks them, unleashing a vampire plague. Before long, the town has become a bloodsucker haven like Salem’s Lot.

CZAKYR, played by David Sawyer in “Children of the Night” (1991).Townsfolk in peaceful Alburg were delighted when a European clergyman came to minister to them – until he began to “interfere with” children and feed on their blood. Cornered, the false priest Czakyr commits suicide, taking his young victims with him. The locals bury him in a crypt beneath the church and flood it. But when a pair of teenage girls take a late-night dip in the water, Czakyr is awakened and attacks them, unleashing a vampire plague. Before long, the town has become a bloodsucker haven like Salem’s Lot.

CARDINAL PATRICK ROARK, played by Rutger Hauer in “Sin City” (2005). Shielding pedophile priests just isn’t good enough for this corrupt and sinister church official. He protects his nephew Kevin (Elijah Wood), a cannibal serial killer who murders women, eats their bodies and mount their heads on his wall. Cardinal Roark joins in the grisly meals and frames Mickey Rourke’s tough-guy hero for one of the murders -- sins he answers for in this scene.

CARDINAL PATRICK ROARK, played by Rutger Hauer in “Sin City” (2005). Shielding pedophile priests just isn’t good enough for this corrupt and sinister church official. He protects his nephew Kevin (Elijah Wood), a cannibal serial killer who murders women, eats their bodies and mounts their heads on his wall. Cardinal Roark joins in the grisly meals and frames Mickey Rourke’s tough-guy hero for one of the murders — sins he answers for in this scene.

BISHOP ANTHONY LILLIMAN, played by John Standing in “V for Vendetta” (2006). Bishop Lilliman is a twisted pedophile as well as a high-ranking official in a fascist party that has taken over Great Britain. Despite his penchant for young girls, the bishop doesn't mind trying to rape twenty-something Natalie Portman when she comes to warn him of his impending assassination, as we see here.

BISHOP ANTHONY LILLIMAN, played by John Standing in “V for Vendetta” (2006). Bishop Lilliman is a twisted pedophile as well as a high-ranking official in a fascist party that has taken over Great Britain. Despite his penchant for young girls, the bishop doesn’t mind trying to rape twenty-something Natalie Portman when she comes to warn him of his impending assassination, as we see here.


FATHER ANTONIN, played by Jack Palance as in “Deadly Sanctuary” (1969). In this version of the Marquis De Sade’s “Justine,” Father Antonin livens up monastery life by subjecting the title character to torture and sexual abuse. Palance is no stranger to over-acting, but this performance is over-the top even for him, one critic calling it “one of the most bizarre ever seen on film.” Perhaps he was trying to balance out the wooden star Romina Power, daughter of screen legend Tyrone Power. “She was a like a piece of furniture,” director Jesus Franco later grumbled. “It was as if I was making Bambi 2.” Well, Bambi 2 with sex and sadism.

FATHER ANTONIN, played by Jack Palance in “Deadly Sanctuary” (1969). In this version of the Marquis De Sade’s “Justine,” Father Antonin livens up monastery life by subjecting the title character to torture and sexual abuse. Palance is no stranger to over-acting, but this performance is over-the top even for him, one critic calling it “one of the most bizarre ever seen on film.” Perhaps he was trying to balance out the wooden star Romina Power, daughter of screen legend Tyrone Power. “She was a like a piece of furniture,” director Jesus Franco later grumbled. “It was as if I was making Bambi 2.” Well, Bambi 2 with nudity and sadism.

 

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

Vampires run amok in a women’s prison in the gorgeously illustrated, 80-page graphic novel Night Cage. When a newly made vampire is sentenced to an escape-proof, underground slammer, she quickly begins to spread the contagion.

What Lies Beneath “Cabin in the Woods” ?   Leave a comment

RULE No. 1: Never visit a remote cabin with no cell phone reception. Rule No. 2: Never go in the basement. Curt (Chris Hemsworth) and his pals commit horror no-nos.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Ever wonder why characters in horror movies choose the worst possible time and place to have sex? Why they descend into the pitch-black basement of a house that’s obviously haunted? Split up so they can be picked off one by one? All these questions and just about every other you’ve asked yourself while munching popcorn are answered in The Cabin in the Woods.

Produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Cabin in the Woods is a tour de force that works as a horror film, workplace comedy and genre-demolishing satire. It’s Westworld meets Wrong Turn meets Evil Dead, to mention just three of the innumerable movies to which it plays loving homage and/or gleefully skewers.

In the movie, five young college students fitting neatly into recognizable types vacation in an isolated cabin where horrific events begin to unfold. Unbeknownst to them, everything is being orchestrated by a cadre of puppet masters in a vast underground complex. The staff includes managers, technicians, accountants, maintenance workers and even geeky interns. (I don’t consider all this a spoiler since it’s revealed within the first three minutes — if you didn’t already figure it out from the trailer).

MONSTERS, INC. Horror is all in a day's work for company guys and gal Richard Jenkins, Amy Acker & Bradley Whitford.

The film derives much of its humor from the high jinks of these Dilbert-type drones. At one point, the bored-out-of-their-skulls staffers organize a betting pool on what horror the hapless vacationers will face first. En route to the cabin, the students ignore the cryptic warnings of a creepy old gas station attendant. When the guy later calls in to report, the staff puts him on speaker phone and giggle as he continues to drone on ominously.

WHO watches the watchers? Holden (Jesse Williams) happens upon a one-way mirror as Dana AKA The Virgin (Kristen Connolly) strips.

The concept is thought-provoking. What we generally think of as stereotypes – the Virgin, the Whore, the Jock, the Brain, the Comic Relief — are elevated to archetypes. It’s the best deconstruction of the horror genre since Scream, on a level that would impress Bruno Bettleheim, the celebrated analyst of fairytales.

RULE No. 3: Never allow yourself to be trapped in a siege situation.

Some critics describe the movie as an allegory for the process of filmmaking itself. How can you argue? The staffers even call their mysterious boss “The Director.” Beneath that layer of meaning, there’s also a wry commentary about our surveillance society. Marty, the wisecracking pothead paranoiac and “The Fool” of the group, points out that “Society isn’t falling apart, it’s coming together.” As he puts it, the “cracks are filling in” as technology devours privacy and living off the grid becomes increasingly impossible.

DUMBED DOWN: Jules (Anna Hutchinson) shows poor judgement after going blonde.

Tropes of the horror genre are simultaneously observed and lampooned. Sexy pre-med student Jules (Anna Hutchison) has just dyed her hair blonde when the story begins and it’s later revealed that a chemical secretly placed in the dye makes Jules, AKA “The Whore” act stupid.

While not likely to make you quiver in fear, the movie meets the basic requirements of a horror film: Suspense, characters you root for, formidable dangers and enough gore to satisfy fans of traditional horror flicks.

POTHEAD Marty (Fran Kranz) wields an unlikely weapon.

Brawny Chris Hemsworth (Thor in The Avengers) delivers a winning performance as Curt, the brave Jock. Fran Kranz earns plenty of chuckles as Marty, the Fool. He fills the position Shaggy did in Scooby Doo and looks the part as well. But the real stars here are Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins as the world-weary managers of the operation. Whitford, best known for his role as White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on TV’s The West Wing sends up his in-control, seen-it-all image with obvious relish. And Jenkins, looking like a worn-out NASA engineer, is even more droll and cynical than he was as the disembodied dad in HBO’s Six Feet Under.

The climax of the film is in keeping with its blend of humor and horror — way, way over the top, in a good way.

SPEAKING OF JOSS WHEDON…

HORROR and comedy were perfectly blended in Joss Whedon's TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

No one mixes comedy and horror better than Joss Whedon, as I’m learning right now as I watch TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time on Netflix. Somehow I managed to miss the series when it debuted in the late ’90s. I’m blown away by how good it is – one of the handful of TV series, along with Highlander, that is far superior to the film that inspired it.

The playfulness is pure joy. In the episode I saw last night, Xander believes Willow has turned into a vampire and thrusts a crucifix in her face. When she fails to recoil, he shakes it like a flashlight that might need its batteries jiggled.

WHEN Angel was good he was good and when he was bad, he was very, very bad.


But drama is equally well handled. The brilliant storytelling is displayed when Buffy loses her virginity to good-guy vampire Angel. Following convention, love might cure him of vampirism. Instead, in an inversion of Beauty and the Beast, he becomes evil, his soul ejected from his body. In the hands of a less talented writer, the next scene would be Angel bursting into Buffy’s room, fangs bared. Instead he simply acts like a jerk, humiliating her by showing her the night of passion meant nothing to him. Far more sadistic. And, since this is an experience many a young woman will recognize, it helps to ground the series in reality, keeping it a coming of age story as well as a butt-kicking action/adventure show. The more you watch Buffy, the worse Twilight looks by comparison.

The intensely dramatic and horrific is always leavened by wit. In the episode in which fellow vampire slayer Kendra dies tragically she first gives Buffy her “lucky stake” — which she has nicknamed “Mr. Pointy.” In the same episode Buffy’s watcher Giles sheepishly admits that he’s been using the crystal orb that can restore Angel’s soul as a paperweight.

BOYFRIEND PROBLEMS weren't the only things Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had to worry about.

I’m only midway through Season 3 and have already met so many wonderful characters, most memorably Spike, the cockney vampire with the Billy Idol hair and penchant for puppy love. By turns terrifying and laughable, James Marsters is absolutely magnetic in the role. (He won the poll of Sexiest Male Screen Vampire on this site by a landslide). Speaking recently to a publisher who uses Marsters for a lot of audio books, I was surprised to learn the star isn’t even English!

Spike (James Marsters) is the bloodsucking blond British punk you love to hate in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

I love how characters are allowed to evolve. A pitfall of many series is that characters remain exactly as originally written and are unaffected by the events that befall them. Most infamously Dana Scully in X Files, who is skeptical of werewolves even after battling vampires.

DROPPING his English reserve, Giles became a father figure to Buffy.


Buffy’s mentor Rupert Giles (Anthony Head) could have been a thankless role: a character like Bosley in Charlie’s Angels who does little more than provide exposition then step out of the way to let the girls swing into action. Instead, he develops a tender father-daughter relationship with Buffy that is the backbone of the series. He’s allowed to have romances. And the shy British librarian is not above opening a jar of good old English whup ass to save Buffy’s bum from time to time.

ANY role in which you get to wear an eye patch ain't all bad. Nicholas Brendon as Xander.

In fact there are no thankless roles in Whedon’s world. Xander, initially merely a goofball, becomes an increasingly heroic figure, always willing to charge into battle though lacking any special powers. This “geek” eventually gets to kiss almost every girl on the show. Wesley Wyndham-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), who briefly assumes the role of Buffy’s watcher and is even stuffier than Giles, is insufferable. And rich-bitch Cordelia is intractably airheaded. Yet even they get a chance to evolve into heroes themselves in the Buffy spinoff Angel.

ANNOYING Wesley and Cordelia developed into interesting characters in the spin-off series Angel.

Though the show premiered nearly 15 years ago, it doesn’t seem dated – you barely notice that the teens don’t text. Some aspects of high school are universal. You will always have good girls, snobs, class clowns and nerds. As in Cabin in the Woods, there are some archetypes that just don’t die. Or sometimes die violently.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

C. Michael Forsyth, the author of this article, has written a critically acclaimed horror novel Hour of the Beast. Plans for a major motion picture are now in the works!

To check out Hour of the Beast visit Amazon.com or save $4 by clicking HERE. The Kindle version is just $7 and the eBook is a mere $5.

Poll: Who’s the Hottest Female Vampire of All Time?   Leave a comment

 

Who is the sexiest female vampire ever to grace the screen? Salma Hayek, hands down? Let’s not rush to judgment. Before voting in the poll below, take a gander at this bevy of bodacious, bloodsucking beauties:

SALMA HAYEK as Satánico Pandemónium in “From Dusk till Dawn.”

caption id=”attachment_2134″ align=”aligncenter” width=”200″] KATE BECKINSALE as Selene in “Underworld.”[/caption]

JULIE BENZ as Darla in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

JOSIE MARAN as Marishka in “Van Helsing” is quite fetching when she’s not buzzing peasants in her harpy form.

DEBRA ANN WOLL as Jessica Hamby in “True Blood.”

JENNIFER BEALS as Rachel in “Vampire’s Kiss.”

JAMIE GERTZ as Star in “The Lost Boys.”

RHONA MITRA as Sonja in “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”

[

Doomed Sharon Tate as Sarah Shagan in “The Fearless Vampire Killers.”

KRISTINNA LOKEN as Rayne in “Bloodrayne.”

NIKKI REED as Rosalie in “Twilight: Eclipse.”

BRITT NICHOLS as Luisa Karlstein in “Dracula’s Daughter.”

ANGIE EVERHART as Lillith in “Bordello of Blood.”

ANGELA BASSETT as Rita Veder in “A Vampire in Brooklyn.”

AALIYAH as Queen Akasha in “Queen of the Damned.”

SHERYL LEE as Katrina in John Carpenter’s “Vampires” can’t bite anyone — as long as 4th Baldwin brother Daniel doesn’t fall for the newly made vamp and untie her.

JENNIFER ESPOSITO as Solina in “Dracula 2000.”

Timeless beauty CATHERINE DENEUVE as Miriam Blaylock in “The Hunger.”

Double trouble! Mary and Madeleine Collinson as Frieda and Maria Gelhorn in “Twins of Evil.”

IZABELLA MIKO as Megan in “Forsaken”

MATHILDA MAY is a psychic vampire from outer space in “Lifesforce.”

ANNE PARILLAUD as Marie in “Innocent Blood.” It’s a horror-comedy (Don Rickles is one of the vampires). But in this steamy sequence her cop boyfriend handcuffs her before lovemaking as a precaution — and she snaps them in the heat of the moment!

VERA FILATOVA (on top) as Eva in “Lesbian Vampire Killers.”

NATASSIA MALTE takes over the title role in “Bloodrayne 2.”

NATASSIA MALTE takes over as Rayne in “Bloodrayne 2.”

JENNY WRIGHT as Mae in “Near Dark.”

Did I miss a spot? EVAN RACHEL WOOD as Sophie-Anne LeClerq in “True Blood.”

AMANDA DONOHUE as Lady Sylvia Marsh in “Lair of the White Worm” has a penchant for sipping blood and violating virgins with a gianormous strap-on.

SOLEDAD MIRANDA as Condesa Oskudar in “Vampyros Lesbos.”

In this cheesy and unflattering costume TALISA SOTO hardly does justice to a comic book character known for her epic curves in “Vampirella.”

Okay, to be fair, here is TALISA SOTO again, just to show producers weren’t crazy when they cast her as Vampirella.

RACHELLE LEFEVRE as in Victoria in “Twilight.”

PHINA ORUCHE as Cym in “Forsaken.”

KRISTIN BAUER as Pam De Beaufort in “True Blood.”

KRISTIN BAUER as Pam De Beaufort in “True Blood.”

MONICA BELLUCI as one of Dracula’s brides in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

LUCY LIU as Sadie Blade in “Rise: Blood Hunter.”

KRISTEN BELL as Bella Swan finally joins the other team in “Twilight: Breaking Dawn.”

LUCY PINDER as Vampire Hooker in “Strippers vs. Werewolves”

INGRID PITT as Elizabeth Bathory in “Countess Dracula.”

ERIN WASSON as Vadoma in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.”

Copyright Freedoms Hammer Productions, LLC

Posted February 19, 2012 by C. Michael Forsyth in sexy vampire poll

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SEXIEST SCREEN VAMPIRE POLL   3 comments

By C. Michael Forsyth

Vampires make perfect boyfriends, as we all know from “True Blood” and “Twilight.” But which male screen bloodsucker is the sexiest of all time?

Take a gander at these candidates, then vote in the poll below.

Johnny Depp breathes new death into Dark Shadows as Barnabas Collins.


SPEAKING OF VAMPIRES…

*********************************************************************************************************

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

I’m excited to announce the launch of my first graphic novel, Night Cage! The premise of the horror story is simple: Vampires take over a women’s prison. Just imagine Orange is the New Black meets Salem’s Lot.

The project is being funded through Kickstarter. Folks who jump on the bandwagon will get a boatload of goodies and rewards, ranging from advance copies of the book and exclusive art, posters and T-shirts to a chance to be drawn into the graphic novel as a character!

Please check out the video out HERE, and share the news with all your social media friends!

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women's prison.

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women’s prison.

%d bloggers like this: