Pop Culture’s Least Scary Vampires

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Vampires are one of genre’s greatest creations. Undead creatures who feed on the blood of the living, they are one of our most enduring horror tropes. Used as a way to explore themes as diverse as our fear of death, the taboos of sexual desire, and the agony of aging, vampires have enjoyed a particularly robust transition into modern pop culture with the help of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer where they have as often been depicted as emo fuckbois as they have been horrifying creatures of the night. Honestly, we’ve been spoiled for choice when it comes to vampire flavors in the last few decades, and we’d like to recognize that with a list that highlights not the sexiest vampires, nor the most terrifying ones, but rather the ones who, um, aren’t that scary. From What We Do in the Shadows to Sesame Street, here are some of the least horrifying vampires in television, film, and literature…

Count von Count

Some would argue that math is far more intimidating than vampires to begin with. We’re sympathetic to those people’s argument but that is still no reason to be scared of Sesame Street’s Count von Count. This little purple guy with a truly lush cape is just trying to help! Since his season 4 premiere in which he helped Bert and Ernie count blocks, “The Count” has been a mainstay of the classic children’s program. Elmo and Oscar the Grouch get the fun jobs of being cute and eating trash but The Count is tasked with the impossible of teaching children math. And he does so with aplomb and grace. – AB

Jennifer

Some vampires dream of infecting the world with their disease; others are filled with pity and self-loathing for their monstrous condition… and then some just want to rock, baby. So enters Jessica Paré’s Jennifer in Suck (2009). Before she was Megan Draper on Mad Men, Paré played this alt metal rock star who uses her turn toward vampirism as a gimmick to become a golden god. Or at least play one for the groupies she and her bandmates feast on. Their newest album might have a bigger body count than it does a tracklist, but it’s hard to begrudge her band giving it all their blood, sweat, and tears. Well, at least blood. – DC

Laddie

“Holy shit, it’s the attack of Eddie Munster!” Technically, Laddie (Chance Michael Corbitt) is only a half vampire, but he makes up for it by being quite the Scrappy-Doo of 80s horror-comedy classic The Lost Boys, and even gets his own “lemme at ’em!” moment towards the film’s climax. Laddie seems so laughably killable that even the Frog brothers let him slide, but he’s so annoying we’re guessing they were still tempted. Interestingly, in the original script Laddie was supposed to be older than Corey Haim’s Sam Emerson, but the pair’s ages were swapped before filming began. – KH

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Harmony Kendall

Harmony has to be Buffy’s biggest contradiction to that speech Giles gave in season one about a vampire not being the person it once was, but being the thing that killed them. Harmony as a vampire is exactly Harmony as a human, just kinkier. She’s vain (“She must be dying without a reflection” says Buffy when she hears that the Sunnydale High mean girl is now a vamp), superficial, dumb, whiny, needy and self-obsessed – or at least she is before the redemption of her Angel days. The undead cheerleader’s hardly a threat to the Slayer, which is why Buffy can’t stop laughing at the idea of Harmony thinking she’s the big bad, complete with minions. The girl’s easily outwitted and certainly no fighter – see her slappy scrap with Xander for proof of that. In fact, the scariest thing about vampire-Harmony is probably how horribly she’s treated by her blondie bear platinum baby Spike. You’re better off without him, babe. – LM

Count Floyd

The only things more frightening than the blood-curdling classics shown on “Monster Chiller Horror Theater” would include just about everything else about the recurring SCTV bit: grips who won’t let go, precariously perched background scenery, stage hands looming ominously, and technical difficulties which force the host to ad lib. Joe Flaherty’s Count Floyd was a vampire so scary, he howled like a werewolf, and broke the third wall whenever even mildly displeased. When Floyd Robertson wasn’t co-anchoring “SCTV News,” he hosted the fictional local network’s late night horror movie program. The low-budget Svengoolie-precursor showed even lower budgeted thrillers like “Blood Sucking Monkeys from West Mifflin PA,” “Tip O’Neill’s 3D House of Representatives,” and “Dr. Tongue’s Greedy House of Slave Chicks.” The films, many of which starred Dr. Tongue (John Candy) and his semi-human assistant Bruno (Eugene Levy), gave the Canadian sketch show cast a chance to do often brilliant takeoffs of B- and C-movie horror flicks with the cheesiest effects available. Watching Catherine O’Hara morph into a cat is something which can never be unseen. Count Floyd’s 3D Smellorama Can, available for $19.95, can never be unsmelled. – TS

Eddie Fournier

Let’s be clear here. Plenty of vampires on True Blood are terrifying. From the brooding Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) to the even more brooding Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) to the openly psychotic Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), the vamps of this HBO series are perfectly capable of twisting off heads or tearing out spines. There’s one vampire, however, who has absolutely no interest in violence. The quiet, sweet Eddie Fournier (Stephen Root) was one of the least intimidating vampires you’ll ever meet. Once a closeted gay Southern man, Eddie accpeted the vampire’s curse as a way to be able to meet hot young guys. Unfortunately that strategy didn’t quite pan out as he’s still very much the reserved accountant-looking fellow he was before turning. Now he just can’t go out in the daytime. – AB

Enzo

The Vampire Diaries may have gotten silly at times over the course of its eight seasons, but even in its lowest stakes moments, most of its vampires had bite. This cannot be said for later-season regular Enzo. The TVD wiki describes our Enzo as a “minor antagonist,” which feels simultaneously accurate and benevolent. Enzo was pretty much always on the losing side of a fight, whether it’s becoming a vampire test subject for the show’s other least scary antagonist, Dr. Wes Maxfield, or “winning” a fight with Stefan by forcing his best friend’s brother to rip out his heart. Can we expect anything more from a character who almost immediately transitioned from “minor antagonist” into a game of love interest musical chairs? – KB

Bunnicula

Honestly, Bunnicula is pretty scary for a vampire bunny, but there are limits to any vampire bunny’s ferocity. It doesn’t help that, rather than sucking the blood out of humans, the children’s novel series character sucks the juice out of vegetables. Told from the perspective of the Monroe family dog, Harold, Bunnicula is, of course, not meant to be too scary so that the target demographic can enjoy the mystery and suspense of whether or not the eponymous is truly vampiric or not. Given that the rabbit was found at the movie theater during a show of Dracula, I think we all know the answer to this question… – KB

Barnabas Collins

Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas Collins is arguably the first “good” vampire—or at least one with a conscience—in pop culture. However, he didn’t start out that way. Introduced on the then-failing soap opera Dark Shadows in 1967, the character was meant to be a villainous guest star: a slightly more tragic Dracula who got killed off at the end. But it was the damndest thing… folks liked the tortured vampire obsessed with finding the reincarnation of his long lost love. Who knew?

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Yes, Barnabas killed people. Sometimes, innocents too. He also had a habit of torturing those in his thrall. But he was just so polite about it that no one could stay mad, including the victims. Played with impeccable class and suaveness by Frid, it was impossible to resist this bloodsucker, which is how he went from being the villain to hero of the series, even curing himself of vampirism before the end. I don’t know about scary, but ‘60s audiences certainly felt compelled by the dapper gent. – DC

Leslie Nielsen’s Dracula

It’s hard to make Dracula scary after so many film adaptations, cartoon shows, and even breakfast cereals. Perhaps that’s why he leant himself easily to buffoonery in Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995). Nobody would accuse this of being Brooks’ finest spoof, but the loving homages he pays to the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula from 1931 are only matched by Leslie Nielsen’s outrageously bad Transylvanian accent. And what he lacks for scares he makes up for on the dance floor, doing a helluva waltz… even sometimes by himself in the mirror! – DC

Laszlo Cravensworth

Would a terrifying vampire be able to so easily transition into the role of Jackie Daytona: normal human bartender? We think not. Pretty much all of the vampires of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows are harmless goofballs. Matt Berry’s Laszlo Cravensworth just happens to be the least intimidating. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) can still use her feminine wiles for nefarious purposes and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) isn’t called Nandor the Relentless for nothing. Laszlo just wants to chill and read centuries’ worth of erotica. – AB

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Adam

Played by dashingly angular MCU-botherer Tom Hiddleston in Jim Jarmusch’s 2013 navel-gazer Only Lovers Left Alive, centuries-old vampire Adam doesn’t seem like much of a threat to anyone but himself. In the modern world, this immortal musician gets his sustenance from the local blood bank, and spends the rest of his time tinkering with melodies and contemplating ending it all; not exactly the first vampire you’d think to invite to your bloodsucking party. By the end of the film, Adam seems to have decided that living a bit longer could be alright, so he might well try to kill you – but he’d probably feel really bad about it! And maybe even write a wee song about it on his lute. – KH

Adam Jacobs

Obnoxious, crude and a bit of a knob? Yes to all of the above. Scary with it? Nah. That’s partly because Being Human’s Adam tries to live a murder-forgoing responsible vampire life, and partly because he’s David Brent in the body of a Welsh teenager. Craig Roberts’ character is a comedy vamp, and his brand of comedy is firmly post-The Office. Adam (or as he prefers to call himself “A-Dog”), is more likely to be found making cringe-worthy ‘banter’ than he is black-eyed and pointy-toothed. In his mid-40s but looking 16, his cultural reference points are stuck in the 1980s, to the bemusement of his fellow pupils in spin-off Becoming Human. They’ve never heard of Sam Fox, Johnny Ball or Hale & Pace, which makes you wonder what they’re even teaching kids in school these days. – LM

Carlisle Cullen

Carlisle Cullen is a powerful vampire who could choose to do many things with his supernatural abilities. In his wisdom, he has opted to adopt a family of wayward vampires, move to rainy Washington, and spend his time as a small town doctor. Yes, that means Carlisle is able to resist devouring humans even amidst the smell and sight of blood. This is because Carlisle’s superpower is his compassion, which is not only totally punk, but also pretty much means that he is the least scary vampire of all time. And the Twilight series’ best character? (Sorry, Charlie.) – KB

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Who are your favorite least scary vampires? Let us know in the comments below…

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