In their early incarnations vampires were portrayed as monstrous misshapen creatures, but they've increasingly emerged as sultry and glamorous.
Rather than relying on brute strength, today's cinematic and TV vampires use their good looks to dazzle fair maidens or hunky men between the sheets, from whence they unleash their fangs. Or they may be "good" vampires, who earnestly fight their blood lust and play super-hero against evil.
These good vampires are far removed from the cultural father of all modern vampires, Count Dracula. Whereas old-school vampires appealed to our sense of danger and women's love of bad boys, the appeal of the likes of "Twilight's" Edward Cullen is more complex.
These New Vampires have a soft side and appeal to a desire to be protected. However, the underlying thrill of danger remains, as there's no telling if their iron will might snap, turning them into a wild animal!
No. 5: Edward Cullen from "Twilight"
Stephanie Meyer's vampire series "Twilight" has been stupendously successful, and while packed with supernatural beings, it is essentially a love story between a vampire and a girl.
Much of the hype, however, has been the result of women of all ages swooning at the sight of Robert Pattinson as he portrays Edward Cullen, a youthful-looking vampire with a heart of gold who nevertheless faces a daily struggle not to hurt or endanger his beloved Bella.
Edward's skin sparkles when exposed to sunlight, which might not be a good evolutionary (or should that be evilutionary?) trait for a predator but further adds to Pattinson's pretty-boy looks.
The fact that Bella is such a clumsy wimp probably further adds to Edward's appeal, as countless women scream their annoyance at Bella's pathetic helplessness and protest that he would be better off in their arms.
No. 4: Bill Compton from "True Blood"
From the moment he first walks into a Louisiana bar, there's just something about Bill Compton, even with his initial greasy mop of hair and bedraggled looks.
Portrayed by British actor Stephen Moyer, the 175-year-old former Civil War vet cleans up nice though and when he looks at you with those smoldering eyes you feel like he's looking straight into your soul -- probably because he is.
It doesn't hurt that "Vampire Bill," as the locals in Bon Temps, Louisiana, often call him, has a heart of gold and fights to within an inch of his undead life to protect his beloved Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin.) That kind of dedication isn't easy to come by.
And then there's that Southern charm, gentlemanly nature and drawl.
Sure, his frequent foil, the 1,000-year-old former Swedish Viking warrior, Eric Northman, might find more favor with fans of the HBO show who prefer an even-older older man, but our heart belongs to Bill ... for now at least.
No. 3: Santanico Pandemonium from "From Dusk Till Dawn"
OK the name's silly, but most red-blooded guys will overlook this given that this sexy table-dancing vamp was played by Mexican beauty Salma Hayek.
Especially given that she makes her desert strip club entrance wearing not much more than a very large pale snake and a snarl.
Miss Pandemonium is the main dancing attraction at the sleazy club, and her erotic dance routine mesmerized many a theater-goer. However, at least movie buffs didn't suffer the fate of Richie Gecko (played by Quentin Tarantino). Pervert Richie gets drawn into Santanico's gaze and ends up a vampire snack as Santanico morphs into a snake-like monstrosity and sinks her fangs into his neck.
It's worth stating categorically that Santanico Pandemonium's inclusion in this list owes its place entirely to the womanly appeal of Salma Hayek, rather than to the scaly thing she becomes!
No. 2: Angel from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel"
Hollywood hunk David Boreanaz portrays Angel, the broody vampire with a soul who first made his way into our lives in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and then went up to front up his own show.
The tangled love affair between Buffy and Angel is another example of vampire-genre writers borrowing heavily from Romeo and Juliet, and Boreanaz's good looks certainly contributed to the show's enduring popularity.
A nice twist was that good-vampire Angel could turn into extremely bad-vampire Angelus at any moment, especially if he managed to have a moment of perfect happiness between the sheets.
No doubt many of Angel's legion of female devotees were torn as to which version of the vampire they lusted over most, and many would have liked to give Boreanaz a perfect moment of happiness.
No. 1: Count Dracula from "Dracula"
All vampires are bugs crawling through the dirt compared to the daddy of them all. Whether you're talking the 1931 original played by Bela Lugosi or the 1992 Gary Oldman version, Count Dracula exudes sexuality.
And it has to be said that he's endowed with many qualities that give him a decided advantage over many of his rivals. There's the fact that he has a title and a castle, but on top of that there's also the exotic accent. Let's face it, "I'm going to suck all your blood out" just sounds sexier when given that Transylvanian voice.
Dracula's portrayed as tall, stylish, and possessing an aura of power and confidence, all qualities intrinsically associated with sexiness. Having a coterie of writhing sexy vampires also provides kudos.
Dracula's the master of seduction and no woman can resist once she's looked into his mesmerizing eyes. The fact that he's a bad, bad man doesn't do anything to subtract from his sex appeal!
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