And so, without further delay, I implore you to lay down your hammers, stakes, garlic, holy water, super soakers, hedge clippers, what have you, because Chick Young Proudly Presents Trash Aesthetics' Top 10 Vampire Babes of All Time:
10. Count Yorga's Harem of Honeys - Count Yorga Vampire & The Return of Count Yorga 1970 and 71'
Can't have none of em' so I might as well have all of em'. Yes, that's right, just about all of the hot chickies from both Count Yorga films wind up becoming vampires - and what a harem this Bulgarian Vulgarian amasses. Special emphasis must go to Judy Lang for her Chef Boyardee slathered kitten munching scene. Although the Vampire Hunters in both films spend a tremendous amount of time running away from all this vampire hotness - in truth - they represent the ultimate vampire hunters wet dream. Don't go down fighting in these films - just go DOWN - and shout... "I regret Nothinnnnng!"
9. The Brides from Dracula 2000 (2000).
In keeping with the spirit of Number 10's having your cake and eating it too - Jeri Ryan, Colleen Fitzpatrick (Vitamin C) and Jennifer Esposito make an incredibly toothsome trio of vampire honeys!! Not to mention Justine Waddell - whose Mary is also utterly perfect. And, I mention in passing that Justine did a pretty damn good job playing Natalie Wood (The Mystery of Natalie Wood). Dracula 2000 is clever, original, well-executed, and has Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing - nuf' said. Underrated movie.
8. Ingrid Pitt as Carla Lynde - The House That Dripped Blood (1971).
The only actress that is on both Bloody Disgusting's list and my own, albeit for different films. My choice is for her snobby and bitchy Carla Lynde in The House That Dripped Blood. Oh the thrills I used to get watching her pop out of her shoes and fly up to John Pertwee - fangs popped, cleavage at the ready. This was regularly aired in Detroit in the late 70s and early 80s - and remains, for me, a very treasured (Robert Bloch penned) anthology.
7. Kate Nelligan as Lucy Seward - Dracula 1979.
I have always admired Kate Nelligan and was saddened that she was primarily used in supporting roles in the States. She's a vastly underrated actress, of whom, we sadly did not see enough. However, her turn in John Badham's also vastly underrated Dracula (1979) has become quite iconic. The spider to the fly scene in Sewards asylum is a magisterial display of clever and original mise en scène. I especially love the bat-like wings of her period costume. An Amazing scene in which Kate achieves a very, very dark beauty.
6. Andree Melly as Gina in The Brides of Dracula (1960).
This scene freaked me OUT AS A KID!! I wrote about it over at The Horror Blog Roundtable a few weeks ago. First the bit with the padlocks, and then BINGO! Up comes Gina propositioning all sorts of serious girl on girl action to Marianne. Wow, wow, wow. Andree was sort of like Barbara Steele's separated at birth twin. They shared similar physical features and both starred in horror films. Andree worked with Terence Fisher again on The Horror of it All (1963) which desperately needs a DVD release. Lord, I loved her - beautiful, lithe, and dangerous. What's not to like?
5. Barbara Shelley as Helen Kent in Dracula - Prince of Darkness (1966).
What happens when you release decades of repressed Victorian psychic and sexual energies? Barbara Shelley turns psycho-vamp-nympho that's what. This truly lovely English actress has graced many films with her classy presence. But, it was her extremely frigid and prim Helen Kent that became a blast furnace of heat once the drives of her Id were ignited and seriously vented. Her "gang-rape" staking scene is one of the true marvels of English censorship - how it cleared the censors is beyond me - such a tremendously subversive scene! Old Drac really blew it in this one - he had an auburn haired fireball and let her get away. Tsk, tsk, tsk...
4. Yutte Stensgaard as Mircalla/Carmilla in Lust for a Vampire 1971.
Probably the most famous vampire publicity still of the 1970s. Yutte Stensgaard' s (Did you say Yutte?) Carmilla was a most bewitching and seductive vampire. A Stunning Swedish export, Stensgaard's movie career was short-lived after she married - leaving acting for good in 1972. Pity, what a Bond girl she would've made! Charming, beautiful, and missed by her fans.
3. Sharon Tate as Sarah Shagal in The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966).
What can you say about Sharon Tate that has not already been said. Although a tragically short life - her youthfulness is forever preserved on celluloid. And, The Fearless Vampire Killers (or Pardon me but Your Teeth are in My Neck) remains a wonderful mix of comedy and (light) chills, progressing the genre and leaving us with a lush, vivid, brilliantly conceived and shot film (really, has Polanski ever framed a bad shot?). In fact, I just watched it again today - "When I say barricade, I mean BARRICADE!" Although her dramatic chops were questioned by critics, I found Sharon to be a very adept comedian. I especially love her as Freya Carlson in the very fun Matt Helm romp, The Wrecking Crew (1968). She is delightful - when she parts her beautiful, wet, red locks and says to Matt - "It's too deep" - I lose it every damn time. Sharon is gorgeous.
2. Soledad Miranda as Countess Nadine Carody Vamyros Lesbos 1971 - or Lucy Count Dracula - 1970. Take yer Pick!
Numbers 2 and 3 (and my beloved Natalie a bit further down) seem to be my life cut tragically short picks. The tragedy of Sharon's (and her unborn baby's) murder and the tragedy of Soledad's premature death are the bittersweet spectres of my list. Just as this ravishing, flawless Spaniard was about to catapult to major international fame - her life ended. Fortunately, she made a generous amount of films and music recordings, many with the man who called Soledad his muse, the infamous Jess Franco, who directed both of these entries. I nearly made her my number 1 - but, I just had to give that honor to...
1. Mary and Madeleine Collinson, aka The Collinson Twins as Maria and Freida in Twins of Evil (1971).
Come on - you can't beat this. As Richard Nixon's Head would say... "ARR-OOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" The Holy Grail of Vampire Hotness. I just don't think you can top Playboy magazine's first twin-sister centerfolds. Really, I just don't think it's possible. And, why Bloody Disgusting has only ONE single Hammer film on their list (and for Countess Dracula??) is utterly beyond me. NOT when you have the Karnstein Lesbian Trilogy to pick from friends and neighbors, of which this film, 1971's Twins of Evil completes. I wore this VHS completely out! Fortunately, I have a region free player as this film has yet to see an NTSC release. The Collinson's are beyond the limits of dramatic prose here - so I'll just stop now.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS! Well, maybe I should notate a few more:
A Few Honorable Mentions:
Anne Gwynne as Rita Hussman - Well she doesn't exactly become a vampire in 1944's House of Frankenstein, she just sorta puts on Dracula's ring which acts as a sort jewelry piece of blotter acid for the undead. But, damn, Anne was sooooo beautiful. Just absolutely stunning. A timeless quality to her looks - like Ava Gardner or Rita Hayworth, she just radiated beauty. She was a very popular pin up during World War II and one of the first scream queens. Beautiful.
Lénore Aubert as Dr. Sandra Mornay in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Sophisticated and very sexy Austrian-born actress, sadly blacklisted for her uncooperative nature when it came to "back-room" deals to help her "upward mobility." Ms. Aubert told em' to go to Hell! Her Sandra is one cool (possibly sadistic, it is hinted that she engaged in human experiments during the war) cucumber - even going so far as to challenge the Original Dracula (Lugosi) to a battle of wills! Guess who wins...
Kirsten Lindholm as 1st Vampire in The Vampire Lovers (1970). Holeee-Jawbone Batman! Kirsten pops her mouth open wide enough to swallow a cannonball before she gets decapitated, and let me tell you - my seven year old self was smitten right away. She really did provide dark frissons as she glided across that English landscape to her (sadly) death. Pity, to die in the first reel. Fortunately, Kirsten is in all three Karnstein films!
Tina Louise as Countess Gilligan Gilligan's
Arlene Martel as Lorelei in The Monkees S02, E50 The Monkees Monster Bash. Arlene Martel sure has a cult following. Her turns on Star Trek, Wild Wild West, Hogan's Heroes, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E (to name only a few!) have guaranteed her legions of fans. She was on The Monkees twice, but I'll always remember and love her for her incredibly sexy, groovy and hip vampire - Lorelei. "You fool it is not my kiss, but the Magic Necklace!" The Monkees was decades ahead of its time; its extremely sophisticated visual design and creative uses of pastiche, intertextuality, fourth wall transgressions, and self-relexivity make it the perfect postmodern television series. I loved it as a kid and am in awe of it as an adult. And, just to illustrate Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein's influence and impact - the plot of this episode is identical. Swap brains of the monster with pacifist/hippie/simple Peter Tork. We even have an "Invisible Man" tag at the end! Nice.
And lastly, in the "I wish this actress would've made a vampire film" category. Well, it should come as NO surprise to anyone who has read this blog that this honor would fall to Natalie Wood. But, in all honesty, that would may not have been such a good thing after all. I'm sure many of you remember the Benny Hill skit where Benny's in the nursing home playing strip poker with his hot young nurse? She's already down to stockings, garters, panties and bra and loses another hand - as she's about to take off her top he gets a massive heart attack from the anticipation. Well, that would be my fate - to see Natalie in full Vampire garb would result in severe Tachycardia and probably death, but I'd go with a smile on my face! In fact, I do believe that the next piece of art that I commission (when I have the money) will be this scenario. Niice.
Well, that's it then. I'm completely sure your list differs - depending on your sexual tastes, preferences, and orientation. A film's place in history, the canon to which it belongs, its "importance" or thematic and aesthetic "qualities" can be debated, BUT, a list of Hot Vampire Women is a very personal project. If you do fancy a sizzlin' vampiress - perhaps you'll agree with some of my choices and perhaps you won't. There's DOZENS of women I had to leave off of this list (I'm tempted to start listing them) which was made in haste, but they're up here (taps forehead) all right, they're up here...