Six things about modern-day vampires that are better than Twilight


Twilight is not a good vampire story. This is mainly because it doesn’t have any vampires in it. They can go outside in the daytime. They glitter in sunlight. What you have there, people, is more of a murderous, blood-drinking pixie.

Here are six shows and films that are better than Twilight…

  • Ultraviolet (1998)

It only ran for six episodes on Channel 4, but Ultraviolet is still a definitive take on the modern vampire. Downbeat, menacing and claustrophobic, it starred Jack Davenport as a London police detective recruited by a shady group of vampire-hunters (including The Wire’s Idris Elba) with ties to both the government and the Catholic Church.

The clever, logical way the series thought through how vampires, with their traditional strengths and limitations, would operate in contemporary London, remains impressive ten years on. Not to mention their hunters – why use stakes when you can use assault rifles and carbon bullets? But its best trick was to make you think the vampires kind of had a point. A hated minority being hunted down by a Vatican-funded death squad, just trying to survive? They must be the good guys, right?

  • Vampire’s Kiss (1989)

Businessman Nicolas Cage gets bitten by a Jennifer Beals-shaped vampire and starts going a little unhinged, in this little-known, alternately funny and disturbing film. He thinks he’s becoming one of the undead, starts avoiding sunlight and gets special ceramic fangs made so he can bite women in nightclubs. I find Nicolas Cage creepy and uncomfortable in most roles, but this part plays directly to those, uh, strengths.

  • Angel (1999-2004)

Look, I preferred it to Buffy, okay? Angel spent most of its time snarkily undermining the heroics of its central character, had a nice line in moody philosophising and its middle three years essentially made up one massive, crazily apocalyptic storyline. Unexpectedly cancelled after five series, it went out with a rain-drenched, Blakes 7-style ending born of angry defiance.

  • Blade (1998)

After three films and a TV series, still nothing in the Blade oeuvre matches the first ten minutes of the first film, in which Wesley Snipes, armed with a shotgun, a sword and a black leather trenchcoat, slaughters an entire nightclub full of techno-loving vampires. Cheap thrills, yes, but they did make my 18-year-old boy-self think he was about to see the most kick-ass film of all time. It didn’t quite turn out that way, but the rest of the film does offer some great fight scenes, some nice mythology-building (sadly abandoned in favour of over-the-top insanity in later instalments) and the most surreal action hero one-liner ever. Apropos of nothing – “some motherfucker’s always trying to ice-skate uphill”.

  • The Lost Boys (1987)

Dude, it’s The Lost Boys. I don’t need to explain this. Although when checking Wikipedia to see when it was released, I discovered that a sequel has been greenlit, with the Kiefer Sutherland role taken by his brother,  Angus Sutherland. I am not making this up, but I really hope Wikipedia is. [Update: Looks like Lost Boys: The Tribe is already out on DVD with a third one on the way]

I’m watching at Channel 4 speed, so it’s early days, but so far I’m frustrated. It takes a great concept (vampires have revealed themselves to the world) and spends all its time in a small, cut-off town where the locals would probably be equally awestruck and intrigued if there was a sudden influx of Belgians. I mean, show me Chicago or New York now we all know the living dead are among us. Because things are probably kicking off. Well, maybe later in the series.

Book tickets to see Twilight The New Moon


  1. says

    I like Angel and Buffy equally, but they’re always gonna be top for me…

    I’m enjoying True Blood, but I think more because of Vampire Bill than anything else!

  2. says

    I finally watched most of Angel. But I stopped before the finale because I read about Charisma Carpenter’s pregnancy and the rumours of a fallout between her and Whedon and it kind of ruined the suspension of disbelief for me for some reason.

    Plus, she had sex with that boy, which is just WRONG.

    I still have the final series on my Sky though, so I will watch it eventually – if only to see the legendary puppet episode.

  3. says

    I’m going to marry Eric the Viking Vampire from True Blood (he pops up more in Season Two). I’m definitely going to marry him. No, I am.

    • says

      How can you marry him when he is already married to me? LOL.

      It’s the haircut that did it. I never noticed how swoonworthy he was until he got blood in his highlights….

  4. James says

    I enjoyed the first season of True Blood but don’t know if I can manage another if its just more of the same, dragged on a bit towards the end. Jason is such a great character.

  5. says

    I’m starting to get scarily obsessed with True Blood. But then I felt the same way about Buffy. For me, Buffy’s got to be top – vampires, fit men *and* witty one-liners. Hoorah!

      • Charles says

        I just didn’t like Being Human as much as everyone else. I don’t think I could get sufficiently past the fact that the vampire wore hobo gloves all the time, like a hobo. And it was very, very whiny.

        Also, they went out in the daytime. And we all know how I feel about that.

        It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that my girlfriend kept going on about how hot the vampire guy was. Nothing whatsoever.

  6. Callani says

    I totally loved Buffy, still do in fact. The entire boxset is currently on Amazon for £50 and I am sooo tempted. But I think True Blood may finally be able to replace it.
    Let’s be honest – it’s basically soft porn with a vampire themed plot… somebody’s been reading my wishlist. 😀

    • Charles says

      Yeah, I really like Near Dark, but I haven’t seen it for so long I would essentially have had to regurgitate the Wikipedia entry.

  7. says

    Erm…You, like, totally forgot Moonlight, with lots of lovely swoonworthy vamps, plus the girl who played the princess in A Knight’s Tale, and the girl who played Madame de Pompadour in Doctor Who! And lots of good sexual tension, which, let’s face it, is the best part of *any* relationship.

    • Talia says

      The main female character in Moonlight was also in the first Underworld. She was the one who first tattled on Selene, then helped her escape so she could have Craven.

    • Guest says

      This was a direct adaptation of the Role Playing Game “Vampire, the Masquerade. But the death of one of the actors ended it. Potentially the richest development had it been vontinued given the intricate world where the modern-day world is secretly run by vampires hidden in the closet. A mediaeval version of the game exists. Don't wonder where “Underworld” got its inspiration from since the twin game is “Werewolves”.
      The latter RPG owes everything to Ann Rice's “The vampire Lestat”s trilogy and akin books.


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