Brutal As Hell’s Top 10 Sexiest Female Vampires, Part 2
by Marc Patterson and Ben Bussey
Inspired by an afternoon of boredom while watching the latest, and completely tepid, installment in the Underworld franchise, Marc and Ben came up with a list for the ages. Hopefully you’ve already checked out Part One of these two-part countdown, where we knocked out the bottom end of this fantastic list. Now it’s time to crank it up with the top five sexiest female vampires committed to celluloid, at least according to us.
5. Space Girl – Mathilda May in Lifeforce (1985)
Ben: I guess this is another one that takes us into a slightly grey area, as the character is an alien who drinks the energy of human beings, as opposed to the classic supernatural bloodsucker. But really: it’s an unbelievably hot woman walking around stark bollock naked for pretty much the entire film, so who gives a flying toss? More or less the final nail in the coffin of Tobe Hooper’s career in mainstream Hollywood, the epic sci-fi horror melodrama Lifeforce is an extraordinarily silly film, but all its mistakes are easy to forgive for the one thing it gets so very, very right: the casting of Mathilda May. We have no problem believing that a superpowered extra-terrestrial that wanted to take on the form of the perfect fantasy earthwoman would indeed wind up looking like her, and she fits the role perfectly, managing to be every bit as sinister as she is sexy. And yes, sweet mother of mercy, she is an extremely sexy woman. Just… just look at that body. Do I really need to elaborate? Perhaps Marc will…
Marc: What? I didn’t know Tobe Hooper directed Lifeforce. It doesn’t look, feel, or play like a Tobe Hooper film. No wonder the poor sap has resorted to writing sub-par novels. But hey… how about Mathilda May? Wowza’s. Much as Ben admitted that he hadn’t seen a Jean Rollin flick I have to equally admit I hadn’t seen this trashy bit of 80’s cinema. I can’t say I was entirely amused with the film as a whole. It would have been ten times better with some beers and friends. But watching it by myself? Well, I had Mathilda May all to myself. Eww. That just sounded a little more gross than I wanted it to.
4. Maria and Frieda Gellhorn – Mary & Madeleine Collinson in Twins of Evil (1971)
Marc: Twin Playboy hotties from the 70’s, Mary and Madeleine Collinson, don translucent bosom revealing dresses and give us double our pleasure in one of the most easily recognizable Hammer Horror films made. Enough said. What? Was I supposed to say anything more? Okay, try this: You don’t even need to have seen this film to know who Maria and Frieda Gellhorn are. These characters are that iconic. The gorgeous Collinson twins play good sister, evil sister (kind of counterintuitive to the title) in a gothic satanic horror film that is an essential part of the horror canon. You’ll be guessing which one is the vampire and which one is still alive as they face off with their puritanical Uncle Gustav. All I could manage to do though was to stare slackjawed in awe of their rapturous beauty. No question, they made the top five without having to even drop a blouse.
Ben: Well, actually one of them does drop a blouse, briefly, for the benefit of David Warbeck; whether it’s Mary or Madeleine, I really couldn’t say. But one thing I can definitively say is that this film came into my life at just the right time, on the cusp of puberty, just getting those first stirrings of interest in both scary movies and lovely ladies. And boy, does Twins of Evil fit the bill in that regard. I know it’s not the best Hammer film ever made, but honestly, it’s my all time personal favourite. Ever see the episode of Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible in which Steve Coogan played a lothario witchfinder, who excitedly gave thanks to his maker on finding he had twins to, ahem, ‘investigate?’ Pretty much says it all, I think.
3. Carmilla/Mircalla – Ingrid Pitt in The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Ben: This was another slightly contentious entry, as in many respects she really should be number one. With her one performance as Mircalla Karnstein, Ingrid Pitt created something that countless filmmakers and would-be scream queens have done their utmost to recapture. Yes, sexuality had never been far from the surface of the horror genre, but with this film it came bursting forth, spilling clean out of its corset for all to see. But Pitt was never just a preening starlet who was happy to take her clothes off when the director said so. She’s a force of nature, whose sexiness and willingness to disrobe never comes close to undermining the remarkable, predatory power of her performance. Contrast that with the doe-eyed innocence of the equally enticing (not to mention equally well-endowed) Madeline Smith, and we’re talking major fireworks. Pitt was the first and best of Hammer’s Mircallas, and as much as I adore the whole Karnstein trilogy I can’t help but wonder what might have been if she’d returned to the role; perhaps then popular culture would hold up Mircalla as the female equivalent of Dracula, as should have been the case.
Marc: Here’s the deal, Carmilla > Dracula. As far as the Karnstein trilogy goes, there’s no debate The Vampire Lovers is the best one. As far as Hammer films go, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call this my favorite film from their entire library. The reason? Ingrid Pitt. She is the poster child for Hammer. She’s ageless, iconic, a beauty that fails to fade. I can’t add too much to what Ben has said, except where my taste for those strong, sexual and dominant female vampires is concerned, Ingrid Pitt adds to that an air of sophistication and elegance. It was a tough choice to drop her in at number three, but know that we have much love for Ingrid, God rest her soul.
2. Santanico Pandemonium – Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Marc: The year was 1996. Chicago. Early winter. I had recently gotten out of boot camp at the local Naval training center and needed to get the fuck off the base. So, with a couple of shipmates in tow we headed into downtown to blow off some steam, get drunk, and catch the latest Robert Rodriguez film. I was especially excited because it was a collaboration with Quentin Tarantino and I was a huge Tarantino fan. I just knew this would be the perfect mash-up. Everything was just right with the universe as I watched the Gecko brothers raise hell across south Texas as they rolled into Mexico. But then the unexpected happened. I met the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen in my life and I fell instantly under her spell. I don’t know if it was the booze, or the fact that I hadn’t been laid in a couple of months, but when Santanico Pandemonium tantalized me with those killer hips to the drunken seduction of Tito & Tarantula I was done. Even now, all these years later, I would bow at her feet like the unworthy dog I am. Damn. Excuse me, I need to take a minute or two. Ben?
Ben: My story’s a bit more humdrum. I wasn’t in Chicago, I wasn’t fresh out of boot camp, and – well – I’d never gotten laid at all just yet. Three of us were in my best friend’s bedroom, we had a bottle of vodka and a VHS rental; two guesses what the movie was. I had two major life lessons that evening: 1) neat vodka really doesn’t agree with me; 2) Salma Hayek really, really does. It speaks volumes that despite the fact she’s onscreen ten minutes at most, if you think of From Dusk Till Dawn the first image that comes to mind is her, up on the stage, wearing nothing but a feather headdress, black bikini and big snake. Iconic doesn’t even cover it. She’s not just a sex object to be ogled; she’s a goddess to be adored, feared and – yes – worshipped. And just how deep did that image embed itself in my consciousness, you ask? Well – I’ve got a Santanico Pandemonium tattoo. Yep. She’s the embodiment of all that I hold most dear: horror flicks, and foxy chicks. Lowly dog, bow your head, indeed.
1. Countess Nadine Carody – Soledad Miranda in Vampyros Lesbos (1971)
Ben: Read up on the late, great Soledad Miranda and you’ll be hard pressed to find a word written about her that isn’t heavily eroticised and elegiac, with mystic overtones. Such adjectives as ‘mesmerising,’ ‘haunting,’ and ‘intoxicating’ invariably crop up; or, if the writer in question has less poetic inclinations, you may just see ‘unbelievably,’ ‘fucking’ and ‘sexy.’ All are applicable. Soledad Miranda is so much more than a cult starlet (not that that isn’t an honourable status in itself); she is truly one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the cinema screen, and never more so than in this, arguably the greatest lesbian vampire movie ever made. If you can look beyond the inevitable psychedelic excesses of Jess Franco’s direction, Vampyros Lesbos is a surprisingly faithful retelling of Dracula, with a sun-resistant Countess in an exotic locale in favour of the Carpathian castle-bound Count. Fair exchange, I’d say. Miranda’s magnetism is enough to make a willing slave of anyone, and the thought of being condemned to an eternity in her servitude is not an especially unappealing one. Sure, we tend to over-romanticise movie stars who die young, but I defy anyone to witness Soledad in Vampyros Lesbos and not find themselves spellbound. Yes – she really is that fit.
Marc: How do you talk about Soledad Miranda without sounding superfluously hyperbolic? Ben used words like ‘mesmerising’, ‘haunting’ and of course ‘sexy’. Personally, I would extend that last descriptor to ‘sexy as all fucking hell’. Vampyros Lesbos might just be Jess Franco’s most accessible film but it’s no doubt the most avant-garde selection on this list. Foreign art-house or mainstream Hollywood, it doesn’t matter. Soledad Miranda is the epitome of absolute and total feminine perfection. When I first laid eyes on her she hypnotized me with her jazzy voodoo and kept me entranced for the full duration of the movie. The experience was like dropping acid with the most beautiful girl in the world on the most perfect mediterranean summer night, while being serenaded by Miles Davis himself. Out of this world, baby. Simply out of this world.