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Ugo.com’s Top 11 Vampire Hunters (buffy and faith mention)

Monday 10 January 2005, by Webmaster

Top 11 Vampire Hunters

There are many, many reasons why we’re ecstatic about a new Blade movie, not the least of which is that it gives us an excuse to write about one of our many favorite topics: Vampires. Vampire hunters, we dig them, too. Earlier this year, we were treated to Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing, which made us grin but ultimately left us a bit unsatisfied. Now, with Blade: Trinity, we not only get the return of Wesley Snipes’ Daywalker, but also the introduction of Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds - thus completing the Trinity, you see. "Trinity" means "three." We didn’t know that. Anyway, vampire hunting is one of the oldest professions, and here are the top 11 in the business.

11. Nightstalkers

The Nightstalkers are the young bloods here, and they’ve just proven themselves worthy of this Top 11 by their fighting skills in Blade: Trinity, so maybe they’ll move up the list in another ten years or so. For now, we welcome them into the world of vampire hunters and certainly hope we’ll be seeing them again soon (maybe in their own spin-off, but more hopefully in Blade: Untitled Fourth Film). Jessica Biel of Texas Chainsaw fame and Ryan Reynolds of Van Wilder play Abigail Whistler and Hannibal King, the top dogs of the well-armed and highly-trained Nightstalkers, dedicated to complete vampire annihilation from here to Timbuktu. Blade at first refers to these young ’uns as "amateurs" but (of course) soon learns to appreciate all that they offer to his own quest of saving the world from bloodthirsty vamps. We like the three of them as a team. They should team up again.

10. BloodRayne

Personally, we think it’d be kind of cool to be half human, half vampire - you get all the perks of the nosferatu (immortality, superhuman abilities) and still get to go out and get a tan, if you want it. And yet, every hybrid we know is all tortured and everything. Maybe it’s that whole "having to suck blood to survive" thing. Fortunately, some find a constructive way of dealing with it, like joining a secret organization dedicated to the eradication of evil vampires who would enslave and destroy humanity. In BloodRayne, you get to play as just such a character, a lovely lass with pointy canines and a penchant for totally chopping people’s heads off and not thinking twice about it. Under the flag of the Brimstone Society, Agent BloodRayne battles the hordes of the netherworld with blades, whips, chains and fire, and looks mighty tasty, in a goth sort of way, while doing it. Of course, no popular game remains simply a game these days, so we can look forward to seeing Kristanna Loken, the Terminatrix herself, playing the part in the upcoming movie version. Horny vampires, beware.

9. Vampire Hunter D

Before Blade was resurrected from the Marvel archives, hearing the word Daywalker brought to mind another bloodsucker slayer by the name of D. Vampire Hunter D, who came to life in a series of novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi, is a Dampiel (half vampire and half human) that has made it his life’s quest to hunt down and eradicate all forms of nocturnal baddies. His list of conquests includes demons, wolf men, soul-sucking serpent ladies, killer plant girls, shadow creatures and then some. Sporting an outfit that Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing later ripped off, a large sword strapped to his back and a talking hand (that is really a wise-cracking parasite), many anime fans and readers of the Japanese novels have come to know this man of few words as a pure bad ass. D’s history isn’t certain, but an encounter with a Count known as Magnus Lee, who was supposedly one of the oldest living vampires, lead to a revelation that D is in fact the child of the infamous Dracula. Of course, Count Magnus and countless other victims seem to learn of this fact too late as they gloat over a seemingly beaten D only to watch him call upon some inner power to go on a rampage that left many an opponent a dismembered mess.

8. Gecko Brothers

"Alright vampire hunters... let’s go kill some vampires." And with that line, George Clooney catapulted Seth Gecko into our pantheon of badass vampire hunters. It helps, of course, that he immediately goes out and slaughters dozens of vampires. His brother, Richard, doesn’t fare so well; any man who can’t turn down the seductive sway of a woman’s hips isn’t going to last long against the minions of hell, who can often take on attractive disguises in an effort to distract and destroy. Seth, on the other hand, is all about the business of putting an end to the vampire infestation at the Titty Twister, if only because it means he’ll be saving his own skin. Equipped with a pneumatic stake-driver and a killer’s heart that even allows him to off his own brother if the situation calls for it (i.e., if said brother has become a slavering, blood-sucking, demonic monster), Seth is the right guy in the right place for the right job.

7. Peter Vincent

Fright Night is certainly one of the best vampire movies of the ’80s, if not in the history of cinema, period. Chris Sarandon’s top-billed performance as the handsome - and deadly - Jerry Dandridge, a dashing vampire who moves in next door to teenager Charley Brewster, gives the film its dangerous edge, but the movie is completely stolen by the late, great Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent, the washed-up host of a horror anthology show who suddenly finds himself forced to be a real vampire hunter. McDowall approached the role realistically, making Vincent absolutely terrified in his new role, which made the climactic scene where he finds his courage and faith all the more heartfelt and triumphant. McDowall would reprise the role, with as much wit and charm, in the lesser but still entertaining Fright Night Part II. He was so cool, Brewster.

6. James Woods

In John Carpenter’s Vampires, we’re introduced to Jack Crow, a hard-living, hard-hitting vampire slayer with a chip on his shoulder and a stake in his hand. He’s got the wholesale massacre of Satan’s lapdogs down to a science, using sunlight as his main ally. And he’s masterfully portrayed by, of all people, James Woods. But this conceit - James Woods as badass marauder - isn’t necessarily as much of a stretch as it might seem. Seriously, just look at the guy. Doesn’t he seem a little bit...dangerous, to you? Doesn’t he have that gleam in his eyes that says he would just as soon tie you to the back of a truck and drag you into the vampire-destroying rays of the sun as look at you? Honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if slaying vampires is something that James Woods does in his spare time, between making films and sleeping with Heather Graham. And when was the last time you heard of a vampire attack in Hollywood, eh? Probably not since 1988’s Beverly Hills Vamp...and we can only assume Woods was out of town at the time.

5. Faith

If Buffy was the noble, goody-two-shoes side of vampire slaying, Faith served as a reminder that slaughtering the undead for a living isn’t the most pleasant task, and often requires the efforts of not-so-pleasant people. Faith isn’t burdened by all that is-it-right-or-wrong-to-be-slaying crap; instead, she enjoys the act of putting a stake through some blood-sucking mofo’s heart so much that Buffy and the Scoobs begin to wonder if she lacks a bit of self-control. This is, of course, proven true during the progression of the series, as the lovely Faith would go on to turn on her former friends and seek all kinds of revenge against them. Fortunately, there’s always a chance for redemption, and in the end, Faith comes around and helps the good guys ward off the apocalypse and close the Hellmouth...although we have to wonder if she didn’t at least get a LITTLE bit of pleasure out of watching an entire town swallowed by Hell.

4. Blade

Very few people had heard of the Marvel Comics character before 1998, but Wesley Snipes’ performance in Blade brought this obscure vampire hunter to the forefront of our pop culture awareness. Wesley was the perfect choice to play Blade, bringing an intense, sexy stoicism to the haunted half-human, half-vampire who was sworn to wipe out the bloodsucker menace from the face of the earth. Blade has been on three cinematic adventures, the most recent being, of course, Blade: Trinity, in which he teams up with the young Nightstalkers, led by Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds. We certainly hope there are more movies in store for the Daywalker - we get so damn excited whenever there’s a Blade movie that we tend to ramble incoherently. See the introduction of the Blade: Trinity feature for first-hand evidence.

3. Buffy Summers

Joss Whedon has stated that his intention when he created the Buffy character was to reverse the horror movie standard; instead of the perky blond student being stalked by the monster in the dark alleyway, it’d be the blond stalking the monster. Seems simple enough. Little did anyone know that this one basic idea would launch what we can only call the Buffy phenomenon. Whether it was Kristy Swanson staking Rutger Hauer in the movie version, or Sarah Michelle Gellar launching her own career and those of her costars by battling the spawn of the Hellmouth on TV, people just couldn’t seem to get enough Buffy. Fortunately, there was more to Buffy than a nice body and an endless supply of wooden stakes, as she also fell in love with a vampire or two, died and was resurrected, prevented the end of the world about 50 kabillion times, and sang and danced in her own mini-musical...not bad for a former cheerleader.

2. Van Helsing

Arguably the most famous of the vampire hunters, Professor Abraham Van Helsing has had many incarnations throughout the years since his first appearance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. He’s been portrayed on stage and screen by such notable actors as Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Chuck Johnson and most recently Hugh Jackman, all of whom did admirable jobs in keeping with the character’s somewhat dangerous eccentricity. Brave, dedicated, brilliant and compassionate, Van Helsing is the ultimate monster killer and mentor to young hunters everywhere. Our personal favorite is probably Hopkins, whose aggressive but also carefully nuanced performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula provided some welcome comedy to the rampant over-the-top melodramatics. Don’t mess with Van Helsing - he may very well have a little of the devil in him.

1. Jesus Christ

Maybe it’s just us, but if we’re going into battle against the forces of darkness as embodied by blood-sucking vampires, there’s one guy we’d want to have at our side over anyone else: The Son of God. In the low-budget cult hit Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, a vicious plot to use lesbian skin to allow vampires to walk around during the day (don’t ask) leads two priests to seek help from the messiah himself, and an attack while he’s chilling at the beach proves to Jesus that it’s time to take action. From then, it’s all-out vampire chaos as Christ and his unstoppable kung fu skills declare a holy war on the children of the night. Not only is he divine and capable of kicking your face, but he also has very good taste in allies, as illustrated by the arrival of the leather-clad Mary Magnum and masked Mexican wrestling champion Santo Enmascarado de Plata. With a slick new haircut and his Father behind him, who could be against?

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