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06.15.2012by: Jake Dee

Horror Ten Spot: Most Badass Vampire Hunters!

It's finally upon us folks. Nope, I ain't talking the official first day of summer, I'm talking about the oh so silly but fun looking cinematic mash-up ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER. The 16th U.S. Pres is, in surprisingly R-rated fashion, ready to lift the ax and bludgeon the death-blood out of any ferocious fang-toothed foe that dare cross his path. So, what better way to honor Honest Abe than by taking a look back at his preceding vamp-killing brethren? Granted, the history is as rich as Lincoln's own. F*ck it though, let's dive right in...here now is our Top Ten Most Badass Vampire Hunters. Enjoy!

#10. BUFFY

As to avoid being deemed a misogynist, let's mix in a little estrogen to the punch. I could have gone toward Kate Beckinsale in UNDERWORLD, or Jessica Biel in BLADE TRINITY, but in the end, few lady vampire slayers have had as big an impact as the one and only Buffy. Sure it's light, sure it's campy, but come on, when you fell a bohemian Pee Wee Herman, then the head vamp played by Rutger Hauer (love the name Lothos), you're automatically one of the best in the biz.

#9. TADA CUDA

The curveball of the bunch must be thrown to Lincoln Maazel for his splendid work in George A. Romero's MARTIN, which many argue is his finest film. Completely antithetical to the vampire mythology, the flick takes a much more intimate, more affecting approach. And since Cuda is in the position of identifying his own nephew as a strange breed of bloodsucker, his methods are equally opposed to what we've come to expect with the subgenre. He means business, to be sure, but he tows a delicate line between ridding evil and saving the soul of one of his own.

#8. PROFESSOR ABRONSIUS

Any chance you missed Polanski's 1971 horror-comedy THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLER? If so, go find that shite stat! Why? It has one of the oddest and most memorable onscreen vampiric dispatchers in Professor Abronsius, played by the inimitable Jack MacGowran...as a wacky ass Einstein lookalike. The tone is rather playful, an early horror lampoon of sorts, but when it comes down to brooding atmosphere and Gothic ambience, Polanski, who plays the professor's lowly lackey, is outmatched by very few.

#7. PETER VINCENT

More of a de facto slayer than an out-and-out hunter, Peter Vincent's expertise of vampire lore serves as valuable as anything else in Tom Holland's FRIGHT NIGHT. We'll forgive or at least overlook the hipster-magician version David Tenant gave us in the so-so remake, instead doff the cap to Roddy McDowell's reluctant timidity that opposes the badass nature of the rest of our vampire killers. Dude favors a cerebral approach over a physically dominating one, so in the name of variety, he need be mentioned.

#6. FROG BROTHERS

"We're fighters for truth, justice, and the American way!" Such are the immortal words of Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog, one half of the not to be trifled with Frog brothers in THE LOST BOYS franchise. I say franchise, but come on, there's really only one flick...Schumacher's 1987 original...that's worth feting. Garlic rosaries, holy water squirt-guns, a whole harem of sharpened wooden stakes - for a couple kids - few have more creative anti-vampiric arsenals. "Try holy water death breath!" - few have better lines as well!

#5. SETH GECKO

Before he transmuted into Cary Grant of our generation, the Cloons as Seth Gecko, replete with awesome neck tat, awful bangs and seething temper, ranks 16 years after release among some of the most badass vamp destroyers we've seen. I mean, when you outlive Harvey Keitel and Tom Savini, you're doing something right! Not for nothing, but aside from his guile, it's the pretty sweet motorized stake-gun he fashions in the final reel of the film, as he mows down a legion of heinous bloodsuckers, that really puts dude over the top.

#4. JONATHAN HARKER

Many iterations of Jonathan Harker have been put to celluloid, usually playing second fiddle to his mentor Van Helsing, but that shouldn't imply the character is any less capable of doing away with his primary nocturnal foe. First played by David Manning in the 1931 version of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, Harker has appeared in some 30 variations of the story, even getting his own title, HARKER, set for 2014. For my money though, Bruno Ganz's take in Herzog's 1979 flick NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE that's always made the most creepily enduring impression.

#3. JACK CROW

James Woods is a fucking badass. Period. So when Carpenter gives him the authority to head a ragtag band of evil exterminators in VAMPIRES, dude never falls short. Equipped with as many quips and barbs as he is high-powered weaponry, the craggy wisdom and attitudinal disposition never gets old...it's actually as entertaining as anyone else on our list. Extra props for appearing as just a normal guy, no superpowers, no antiquated period affectation, just a hardened exterior and unparalleled skill to spot and kill a blood-drinking perp. I love this character!

#2. BLADE

What's become of Wes Snipes in recent years is a shame, but nothing can take away from the 3-part run he had as Blade, the ultra-ass-kicking vampire half-breed. Hell, on hairdo and wardrobe alone, dude should get a medal. Seriously though, props to David Goyer for creating a character we hadn't seen the likes of until 1998, not just aesthetically, but in terms of back story as well. With vampire blood coursing through his veins, yet conflicted by human emotion, Blade's a conscionable hero like few we've encountered. Of course, in vintage Snipes fashion, he busts more ass than Manuel Ferrara.

#1. VAN HELSING

Can't say I'm a huge fan of the recent films he's featured in, but as far as a bona fide vampire hunter is concerned, you'd be hard-pressed to refute Van Helsing's top ranking status. Dude solely lives to quash any and all sallow and long-toothed blood-fiends. And for that, we're grateful! The legendary Peter Cushing gave us the prototype in the 50s and 60s, a template that's been rebranded for the 21st century by Hugh Jackman. With no trick left in the bag, Van Helsing employs every method of madness imaginable to get the job done. Dude's the master!

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+1
8:57PM on 06/18/2012
Buffy should have been higher but overall good list.
Buffy should have been higher but overall good list.
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6:56AM on 06/17/2012
Pretty decent top 10...I would have put Mister in there from Stake Land.
Pretty decent top 10...I would have put Mister in there from Stake Land.
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3:10AM on 06/16/2012
Just perfect choice for #1. And especially Peter Cushing variation. None of that Jackman crap. Cushing took the role and perfected it. All the others are just plain shadows compared to him.
Just perfect choice for #1. And especially Peter Cushing variation. None of that Jackman crap. Cushing took the role and perfected it. All the others are just plain shadows compared to him.
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2:57AM on 06/16/2012
I fell like I'm the only person who loves this movie.
I fell like I'm the only person who loves this movie.
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2:55AM on 06/16/2012
How Buffy isn't #1 is beyond me....it was her JOB.
How Buffy isn't #1 is beyond me....it was her JOB.
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11:56AM on 06/17/2012
Cuz they went with the Kristy Swanson Buffy, who is, after all, the movie Buffy, but far less impressive overall.
Cuz they went with the Kristy Swanson Buffy, who is, after all, the movie Buffy, but far less impressive overall.
2:13AM on 06/16/2012

Good list!

Though #1 for me would have to be D from the Vampire Hunter D anime films. Even if you are not a big fan of animes you would love the Vampire Hunter D movies.
Though #1 for me would have to be D from the Vampire Hunter D anime films. Even if you are not a big fan of animes you would love the Vampire Hunter D movies.
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10:57PM on 06/15/2012
Peter Cushing. The only Van Helsing. PERIOD!
Peter Cushing. The only Van Helsing. PERIOD!
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