Why must vampires always appear someplace in Louisiana, Northern California, or London whining about their gothic pasts? If you're sick of the same old vamps, we've got a batch of newfangled ones for you - some from outer space.
Fray, the comic book shown here, is a classic of the post-apocalyptic future vampire genre. Created by Joss Whedon, the short series chronicles the life of a future vampire slayer named Fray. She works in a city divided between the healthy rich and the mutant poor, aiding her mutant buddies by using her slayer powers to be a super-criminal. Complicating her life is the fact that her (evil) twin brother has inherited part of her slayer powers too, and later Buffy time-travels into her world and messes everything up. Also, her watcher is a giant demon with enormous horns; and her boss is an amphibian criminal mastermind. Do not miss this series.
While Fray is a story of future vamps, one of the classics of the space vampire genre is the movie Lifeforce, based on a book by Colin Wilson called (yes) The Space Vampires. A naked lady from space arrives on a human space vessel, immediately seducing a member of the crew with her naked spaciness. Then she sucks the life from him, leaving a dried-up husk! Panic ensues, while more people are sucked and nudity runs rampant and glowy special effects shoot out of people's groins.
Written in roughly the same era as The Space Vampires, Tanith Lee's Martian vampire novel Sabella should probably have been made into a movie with glowing groins too. Sabella lives alone on Mars, trying to discover the mysteries of her past and figure out why men are constantly throwing themselves at her in a haze of lust. This cult classic is definitely off the beaten track for vampire fans, but manages to make Mars into a plausibly gothic landscape.
And then there's the aptly-named Queen of Blood (1966), featuring a lady who is a cross between a vampire and a green sexpot from Star Trek. You know it must be good because it stars Dennis Hopper.
Teenage Space Vampires (1999) is a rare cult classic about what happens when space vampires invade the tiny town of Knowlwood. And a few nerds have to fight them. Includes some great one-liners, as well as a running gag related to a dimensional portal, lawn gnomes, and the vampires' hidden weakness. Really it's just about the lawn gnomes. And throwing them.
Mario Bava's 1965 flick Planet of the Vampires is also one for the ages. I love how in this English trailer for the (badly) dubbed version, the narrator intones, "In a 40 G gravity atmosphere, strange things happen." Indeed: Things like people in really high, black collars and vampire-esque aliens who take over the human crew's body so (of course) their "race can survive." I'm not sure these creatures are strictly undead, but they do occupy the bodies of dead people and look really sinister. Plus, they inhabit a world where people wear a lot of shiny black outfits for no reason. So let's go with the vampire thing. Apparently some critics have claimed that this film influenced Alien.
In 12,090 AD, Vampire Hunter D roams a post-apocalyptic landscape seething with Lovecraftian monsters and vampires. This stunning and truly awesome manga / anime series is stylish, dark and addictive. D is a half-human, half-vamp creature who hunts vamps with the help of a mutant creature who lives in his hand and a cyber-horse for a steed.
In America, we have our own D, known to comics and movie fans as Blade. He's a half-human, half-vamp hunter of vampires, aided by a mutant-looking Kris Kristofferson (in the movie) and a bunch of cyber-cycles. Though the first Blade flick wasn't very futuristic, director Guillermo Del Toro fancied-up Blade II and turned it into a near-future scifi flick about vampires doing genetic engineering on themselves to create a race of super-vamps. Check out a video of the vampire mad science lab here - definitely worth a look.
Then there's the sultry Sivil, from Macross 7. She's a vampiric creature who makes an appearance in what is otherwise pure space opera.
Several novels try to create biologically plausible vampires in space. Most notably, Peter Watts' Blindsight takes place 80 years in Earth's future, when a gang of outcasts (including one vampire) are sent to deal with a spaceship filled with alien creatures that they're totally unprepared to deal with. Tobias Buckell's Sly Mongoose deals with a virus that turns people into zombie-vampires who live to infect others and generate a vast, collective consciousness that can potentially take over a huge volume of space. And in the Vampire Earth series by EE Knight, vampires from space have invaded the planet and altered its climate so they can live here comfortably while they EAT YOUR SOUL. Yes, you can now blame climate change on vamps.
Many scifi TV series had vampire episodes, but none were so literally-named as the Buck Rogers episode "Space Vampires." (above) If you live in the States (or learn how to use proxies), you can watch this piece of televisual brilliance on Hulu. What's the plot? Ummm, scary space vamps with epic eyebrows on a space station. Buck in tight white pants. Colonel Dearing in tight, orange, silky jumper. Some poor victim in what appears to be a macrame outfit. Biting, fighting, feathered hair. The end.
There may be many vampires in Doctor Who, but for us there is only one: the plasmavore from "Smith and Jones." First of all, the name plasmavore is awesome. I wish the vamps in True Blood would insist that we all use that term as the preferred PC name for blood-suckers.
And for Trek fans, there are always the salt vampires, from the aptly-named "The Man Trap." Ex-girlfriends can get ugly.
Why do vampires always want to lure you in with sex? Sexy Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood knows the answer in "Day One." Also, this episode teaches a valuable lesson. Sex in bathrooms always results in dust orgasms. You know what I mean.
And if you want to game, you can play Lunar Knights, a Nintendo DS game with a few vampy moments. Or check out the post-apocalyptic vamp MMO game Blood Wars. Best of all, of course, is cyber-vamp RPG BloodNet.
But if none of this does anything for you, surely Horror of the Blood Monsters will get your heart pumping. Yes, these scary creatures live on another planet. As this awesome trailer promises, "You'll see human beings hideously transformed . . . gruesome mutations!" Also, it's in "weird color." Which is truly a mark of quality in a space vamp flick.
Additional reporting by Stephen Goldmeier.