Vampires, Ranked (by Hotness)

I learned a few things on this journey, mainly that most vampires are excruciatingly hot in a way that makes me feel bad and compromises my morals. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Dimension Films, Screen Gems, The WB Television Network, The CW, New Line Cinema, and Warner Bros

The vampire is a mythical, at least to my knowledge, creature that has appeared in fiction for centuries. Throughout those centuries, a few things have remained consistent about vampires: They have fangs, they can’t go out in the sun, they are immortal, they need to be invited into houses, they can fly, they are generally driven by a thirst for human blood. But one must not forget perhaps the most important trait of vampires: They are very, very hot.

Admittedly, this is a mostly modern trait. The vampire has evolved since the advent of film and TV in the 20th century, breaking some of the aforementioned rules in favor of being hotter onscreen. The vampires of The Twilight Saga avoid the sun not because it causes them to perish but because it makes their skin glitter; the vampires in The Vampire Diaries universe can consume food and beverages along with regular-degular blood. We don’t really care about the noncanonical behavior, because they are all — and I can’t say this enough — extremely hot.

With another spooky season upon us, I have been asked to do the unthinkable: rank the hot vampires from movies and television by their hotness. I can’t really explain the methodology behind this heavily curated ranking of hot vampires that gave me several migraines, except to say that every vampire on this list had to be a vampire and had to be hot. I started with a list of almost 100 vampires from movies and TV shows and eliminated as I saw fit, cutting some human characters who only became vampires late in their stories (Elena Gilbert of The Vampire Diaries, Bella Swan of The Twilight Saga), the boring vampires (Elena Gilbert, Bella Swan), and Tom Cruise from Interview with the Vampire. I favored unexpected choices because while you’re reading a blog about hot people, you may as well learn something. Essentially, there is nothing scientific to this. I simply made a list of vampires and then decided who, according to me, is hot enough to be on it. Of course, hotness includes not just looks, but personality, style, and, perhaps most importantly, hair. I learned a few things on this journey: modern vampires are excruciatingly hot in a way that makes me feel bad; they cause me to compromise my morals, because a majority of these hotties are mass murderers; and most vampires wear supreme outerwear (usually leather).

35. Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt), Interview with the Vampire

It’s a minor tragedy — but a tragedy still — that Brad Pitt played a vampire who does not qualify as the hottest vampire ever depicted onscreen. Brad Pitt is hot in the Anne Rice adaptation Interview with the Vampire, with his long, healthy hair, billowing old-timey blouses, and signature pouty lips. But Brad Pitt did the least with this role when he should have been doing the most, so it’s not as hot as it could have been. He was also Baby Brad here, and Baby Brad is not as good as rugged, moody, middle-aged Brad. Can I get a time machine so I can go back to 1994 and give this man more confidence? I can’t believe I’m saying this.

34. Marceline, Adventure Time

Marceline the 1,000-year-old vampire queen looks intimidating with her bluish-gray skin and extreme-horse-girl black hair, but she’s actually a charming, fun-loving vampire who consumes the color red instead of blood. She expresses herself in her music, including a song about how her relationship with her father (a demon lord) fell apart when he ate her French fries, which is something worth being upset about for centuries.

33. Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), True Blood

If the vampire king of Mississippi, who pulled a reporter’s spine out on live television and said “You’ve seen how quickly I can kill,” didn’t make you feel a certain way, then congratulations. You are normal!

32. Aro (Michael Sheen), The Twilight Saga

You know you would, and if you think you wouldn’t, please close your browser and read something else. 

31. Maximillian (Eddie Murphy), Vampire in Brooklyn 

Eddie Murphy is a hot and suave vampire in Wes Craven’s cult classic about Maximillian, a smooth-talking Caribbean vampire who ends up in Brooklyn and attempts to romance a detective (Angela Bassett) investigating a crime scene he’s responsible for. Maximillian’s look is a little more classic vampire, but make it ’90s, with that long hair, oversized overcoat, a scarf, and a little hoop earring. If Maximillian were walking around Brooklyn today, you would probably just note his cool outfit and move along.

30. Viktor (Bill Nighy), Underworld

It has to be said, by me, somewhere important, that Bill Nighy is hot and deserves recognition for his ability to make grumpy old villains, including Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and Viktor, the evil Vampire Elder he plays in Underworld, slightly sexy. Viktor is not hot when he is first awakened from hibernation (he looks like me in the morning), but once he gets some blood in him and slips into a long tailored coat with shoulder pads and an embellished collar, he looks more fabulous than several of the vampires on this list and many who did not make the cut.

29. Count von Count, Sesame Street

Count von Count is a catch for several reasons: He has a title (count!), he has a little accent, he wears a monocle, and he values education. And unlike most men, Count von Count understands his own feelings, as evidenced by this segment from Sesame Street in which he counts his own feelings.

28. Danica Talos (Parker Posey), Blade: Trinity

We must not forget that Parker Posey played a moody goth vampire in 2004’s Blade. Danica is a full ’90s goth with bulky eyeliner, red lipstick, and sideswept bangs paired with an all-black ensemble that I’m adding to the fall-winter fashion-inspo folder on my desktop that currently consists of costumes from The Matrix and Dakota Johnson streetwear.

27. Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell), Fright Night (2011)

In the Fright Night remake, Colin Farrell is a vampire who wears a white, skin-tight muscle tank (very Ryan Atwood) and a sensible henley. Now that’s Martin Scorsese’s cinema, sweetie.

26. David (Kiefer Sutherland), Lost Boys

Before he was Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sutherland was David, the definitive ’80s punk vampire with bleached-blond hair, which honestly worked for him. I’m going to stop myself before I inadvertently turn this into a rant about how hot Keifer Sutherland’s father, Donald, is in both Klute (1971) and Pride and Prejudice (2005).

25. Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), Thirst

In the 2009 film loosely based on the 1867 novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola, Parasite star Song Kang-ho plays Sang-hyun, a Catholic priest who turns into a vampire after a medical experiment gone wrong and falls in love with the wife of his childhood friend. Was this the original hot priest? Thirst was the correct name for this movie.

24. Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), From Dusk Till Dawn

Salma Hayek’s character is not hot in her full vampiric form: She’s more like a crusty demon, which is why she didn’t make it to the top of this ranking. But Salma Hayek dancing with a snake in a bikini in From Dusk Till Dawn is a cultural moment that is too often ignored.

23. Spike (James Marsters), Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the definitive vampire story of the 1990s — the Gen X Twilight, if you will. And it was on the WB, so it was filled with hotties. Spike was a bad boy turned good one. As a human, he was a (unsuccessful) romantic poet, which is kind of hot even though it’s annoying. Then he became a vicious vampire and then a ’90s heartthrob guaranteed to make anyone weak in the knees, but especially Buffy herself and teenagers in 1999.

22. Garrett (Lee Pace), The Twilight Saga

The Twilight Saga is vampire heavy, but few of them are actually hot: They’re all very pasty with red eyes, and most of them have insufferable personalities. Lee Pace is only briefly in Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but his impact is as astonishing as his height, which is six-foot-five, in case you didn’t know. Garrett’s styling is, for lack of a better word, interesting. It embodies early 2000s emo, so he’d probably make it pretty big on TikTok today. Although this towering ruby-eyed vamp was born in New England amid the American Revolutionary War and, according to the Twilight Saga Wiki, was a “true believer in the American Dream,” he absolutely has My Chemical Romance’s entire discography memorized. Unlike most vampires in The Twilight Saga, Garrett does not have a special talent (other than being tall), so I have a soft spot for him.

21. Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), The Vampire Diaries

We know the risk, but we have to know him. Stefan Salvatore, the broody romantic lead on the CW’s long-running vampire show, which aired from 2009–17, has thick, luscious hair (a must for any vampire), moody eyebrows, and a romantic attitude that is sweet but occasionally overwhelming. There’s also that thing he has where he loves to sacrifice himself and also the thing where turns into a ripper, which means that he cuts apart the bodies of the people he kills and puts them back together, because even during a vampiric rampage, he feels kind of guilty. Some of this is hot; some of it is too sad to be hot

20. Marcel Gerard (Charles Michael Davis), The Originals 

The Originals is the Vampire Diaries spinoff that ran on the CW from 2013–18. Its concept? Never mind. Just know that Marcel, the self-proclaimed vampire king of the French Quarter, is hotter than his hometown of New Orleans in mid-August — so hot that I’m not even mad that he killed a lot of other hot vampires and kidnapped a baby.

19. Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll), True Blood

Jessica Hamby became a vampire while living a repressed life in the South, forbidden from going anywhere but church and choir. And even after becoming a vampire, her maker, Bill Compton (who sadly did not make the list because it’s competitive), forces her to live conservatively to prevent her from becoming an impulsive monster. Nonetheless, throughout the series, Jessica grows in her confidence and gets progressively hotter. And Jessica isn’t like most vampires. In lieu of a dark wardrobe of mostly leather, she goes for sundresses, ideal for the Louisiana heat, that accentuate her shiny red (the color of blood) hair.

18. Caroline Forbes (Candice King), The Vampire Diaries 

Caroline Forbes is what happens when a type-A personality becomes a vampire: a mess, but an organized one. In the second season of The Vampire Diaries, Caroline is turned into a vampire without her knowledge and without any knowledge of the existence of vampires. Although it seems like she would be a disastrous addition to the group, being a bloodthirsty babe actually turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to her. For the entire series, she keeps skinny-jeans and cropped-jacket designers in business.

17. Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan), The Vampire Diaries/The Originals 

Klaus Mikaelson is an original vampire, meaning he was one of the first vampires to exist, and many vampires (including the main characters on Vampire Diaries) come from his bloodline. Klaus is an ancient (but hot) killing machine with a compelling accent who enjoys murdering and putting his siblings in boxes. But he’s also a sensitive artist who loves to experience art and culture and thus has a bit of a sad-boy complex. He’s basically a bloodsucking, weepy, and messy version of Joe Goldberg from You. 

16. Selene (Kate Beckinsale), Underworld

Nearly two decades before making out with Pete Davidson at a hockey game, Kate Beckinsale played a vampire assassin (as in a vampire who assassinates) in the first Underworld movie, all decked out in a black-leather jumpsuit, jacket, and chunky boots. In 2003, I absolutely brought a picture of Kate Beckinsale’s haircut in this movie to my hairdresser at Great Clips, completely convinced that I would walk out of the discount salon looking exactly like her.

14. & 15. Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) and John (David Bowie), The Hunger 

Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie in fine silk robes. I do not need to say more.

13. Severen (Bill Paxton), Near Dark

In this 1987 neo-Western horror film following a young man in a small Texas town who comes across a family of nomadic vampires, the late Bill Paxton plays Severen, a psychotic and intoxicating vampire. Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow knew what people wanted to see: Bill Paxton in a leather jacket, sunglasses, tight white tank, with hair that, crucially, gets in his eyes.

12. Pam Swynford De Beaufort (Kristin Bauer van Straten), True Blood 

Pam had Big Dick Energy

11. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), The Twilight Saga

Edward Cullen is the needy, toxic love interest from the Twilight Saga who feels entitled to Bella Swan and is quite stubborn and jealous for someone who has lived for just over a century. Edward is an attractive vamp, mostly because he is played by Robert Pattinson. The glittering-in-the-sun thing is actually kind of cute, but he is a dumbass, which I’m allowed to say because so am I. But I am not dumb enough to voluntarily attend high school as an immortal in my second century of life, which is exactly what Edward Cullen does. I understand the need for a purpose, but if I needed a place to show off my outerwear and hair taller than Lee Pace, I would probably just get a job.

10. Laszlo Cravensworth (Matt Berry), What We Do in the Shadows

Is perpetual horniness the hottest quality a person could have? Absolutely not. But Laszlo, who visits libraries (hot) for the pornography, almost has me convinced that it is.

9. Akasha (Aaliyah), Queen of the Damned

Aaliyah was so legendary as the Vampire Queen Akasha that even though Queen of the Damned (a “stand-alone” sequel to Interview With the Vampire) is not exactly what Martin Scorsese would define as cinema, her performance and entire look — which includes a metal halo crown, metal choker, and metal bikini top — is.

8. Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), The Vampire Diaries 

I swear this isn’t just a list of characters from The Vampire Diaries, but their hotness requires as much attention as I am giving them. Did you know that Damon Salvatore’s favorite book is Call of the Wild? Damon, in his leather-jacket-fitted-tee-glass-of-whiskey uniform is a handful, and can be very annoying (I’m annoyed now thinking about how annoying he is), but he’s still hot because he pretends he’s not sad, and also because of the leather jackets. If your eyes are looking for a nice little snack, peep the actors who played Damon and Stefan Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, respectively) on the Brother’s Bond Bourbon Instagram feed. But please do not do this unless you’re prepared to become a pile of goo. And when that happens, you cannot blame me, professional sexy vampire ranker, because I warned you.

7. Angel (David Boreanaz), Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

Angel is driven by the need to make up for his history as one of the most brutal vampires, formerly known as the Scourge of Europe. Basically, he’s killed a lot of people. But in the ’90s and early 2000s, Angel devoted his heretofore cursed life to atoning up for his loathsome ways. He also wears the spiked boy-band-hair look well and is always in a reliably tailored coat, and at this point you know that, according to me, excellent hair and outerwear advance a vampire’s hotness by many levels.

5. & 6. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), Only Lovers Left Alive 

There never have and likely never will be two actors more suited to play vampires than Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. Here they play centuries-old vampires who have been lovers for centuries and who, like the best of the best, habitually walk around in sunglasses. Adam, an internationally famous musician, is in crisis. Centuries of existence have made him depressed about the state of the world, and he’s questioning the point of his immortality. When Eve comes to visit, they spend their nights on the streets of Detroit, listening to music and playing chess. While Adam (Hiddleston) dresses in classic dark vampire style, black hair and everything, Eve has the opposite aesthetic, white-blonde across the board. This movie is so sexy and haunting that my body aches and I must move on to the next vampire before I explode.

4. Blade (Wesley Snipes), Blade

Wesley Snipes’s Blade may not be a vampire king — or even a full vampire, because he is half-human and half-vampire, please don’t ask me to explain this, just know that he still counts as a vampire — but he is a ’90s king with his leather trench, leather vest, the tiniest of sunglasses, and a spicy but not garlicky (this is a stretch, but I had to get a garlic joke in here somewhere) haircut.

3. Elijah Mikaelson (Daniel Gillies), The Vampire Diaries/The Originals

I know what you’re probably thinking: Carrie, you just wrote that this is not a list of every single character from The Vampire Diaries. It’s not, but that’s almost what it is. In fairness to me, the hottest vampires from The Vampire Diaries are played by some of the hottest people who have ever lived, so they deserve our time and respect. In normal life, we do not like to see a man in a suit rip hearts out of bodies with ease. But when Elijah Mikaelson pulls this signature move, we very much like to see it, especially if blood gets in his hair, which is as delicious to me as my blood is to him. Elijah has a soft spot for the underdog, a quality that absolutely factors into hotness, and he is the star of the hottest GIF of all time, which you know intimately if you had a Tumblr phase.

2. Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), True Blood

Eric Northman is a former viking and committed small-business owner covered in blood 70 percent of the time, with sweet eyes like Baby Grogu and an obsession with his own hair. Remember when he freaked out because there was blood in his hair while his highlights were processing? Eric’s fascination with his own hair is completely justified, because Alexander Skarsgård has one of the best heads in Hollywood. Like all the other hottest onscreen vampires, Eric has an appreciation for outerwear, including leather jackets, tracksuits, and bombers, despite the fact that he lives in Louisiana, where it is hot and humid all the time. Next to Vampire Diaries, True Blood is the most-referenced vampire project on this list, proof that TV vamps are hotter than film vamps. That actually is science.

1. Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev), The Vampire Diaries

Style icon. Master manipulator. A real fucking bitch. Katherine Pierce, the diabolical doppelgänger of Elena Gilbert, is the hottest vampire of all time, both onscreen and off. In the Vampire Diaries universe, doppelgängers look exactly alike and are portrayed by the same actors, and thus Katherine Pierce is played by Nina Dobrev, just as Elena Gilbert is played by Nina Dobrev. No offense to Elena and her skinny jeans and riding boots and straight hair and henleys: Katherine is just hotter. Every single thing Katherine — a 500-plus-year-old vampire from Bulgaria who is pure evil — does is the sexiest thing you’ll ever see. She is hot while drinking blood bags, drinking people until they die, killing people for no reason, torturing the Salvatore brothers and every other man who has ever loved her, and drunk dancing to Lykke Li with a lamp while being held prisoner in a loft apartment. Choosing the hottest vampire for this list was not easy: I spent a week staring at a wall trying to decide, but when I came to the conclusion that it could be Katherine Pierce, I stopped thinking about it, because I knew it was the only choice that was correct. It is also quite fitting, because in the end, this turned out to be a ranking of characters from The Vampire Diaries universe with a bunch of other vampires from other things sprinkled in.

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