The Vampire genre is one of the most enduring, with different decades taking their turns to interpret the fanged sub-species in literature and on both the small and silver screen. The most modern adaptations are a little contradictory with HBO's True Blood suckers having lots of steamy sex down in the Deep South while Twilight's equivalents aren't afraid of sunlight and become essentially Dawson's Creek for pale people.
Gavin Baddeley's latest book, Vampire Lovers, documents the longstanding fascination with the passion and romance of the vampire as seen in cinema and on television. Presented as a Top 26 of vampires, Baddeley starts with the rather popular British actor Robert Pattinson as Twilight's Edward Cullen and works his way back across the decades to Bela Lugosi.
The book is well put together and lavishly illustrated with portrait photography, film still and poster art. Each section, whilst devoted to a specific character, attempts to put the vampire and actor in context of appearance on film and what was happening around them at the time, such as similar vampire portrayals that didn't make such an impact. The choice is certainly open to debate, these 26 are the author's preferences, and chooses Alexander Skarsgaard above Stephen Moyer from the True Blood series. Personally I can see where he's coming from with that particular choice but I'm sure there are other who wouldn't agree.
I'm not a horror fan at all, but I found it surprising how many of the vampire characters I was actually familiar with. Baddeley states his intention is to only choose one character from any particular film or TV show (see as per Skarsgaard vs Moyer or Tom Cruise being picked above Brad Pitt) but he does kind of bend this a little with the inclusion of two 90's favourites in both David Boreanaz and James Marsters. Of course, the former had his own character-titled show but his origins were very much within Buffy, as the write up by Baddley uses as its focus, whilst Marsters moved from Buffy to Angel. So a little bit of cheating there, but I'm sure most people won't mind.
There's a nice selection of vamps included here with the very latest going back through the likes of The Lost Boys, disco incarnation's of Dracula and Hammer films. There are obviously loads of boys, but the female vampire is not forgotten. From Kate Beckinsale's PVC-clad turn in Underworld, back through the likes of Grace Jones to Delphine Seyrig and Ingrid Pitt aongst others. It may well stimulate debate amongst those fans who are much more knowledgeable in the area, but I found it a great read.
I found the book well pieced together and well researched with an easy writing style that held my attention, whoever the subject was. And I'm not even the right demographic for this book either.