As the above trailer makes clear, this vampire is a “soul brother,” and his inspiration from Dracula is written straight into the plot. You see, Blacula is an African prince who was punished by Dracula for trying to impede slavery. After a 200 year nap, the rechristened Blacula awakens in Los Angeles in 1972, and starts drinking blood and creating an army of vampire worthy of being hunted by Jefferson Twilight.
Blacula the film is just what you’d expect from the Blacksploitation genre: it takes the classic Dracula story and puts black stars in all the primary roles while also putting Blacula in a kind of sympathetic light. He falls in love, he fights with the cops, and he sacrifices himself at the end, though like Dracula himself, Blacula’s popularity led to his resurrection. He’d return in the movie Scream, Blacula, Scream and would face an actress to truly test his vampiric skills against as Pam Grier played a Voodoo practitioner.
3. Count Chocula
Man, the 1970s were THE decade to recontextualize classic movie monsters for a new generation. Horror icons were so big that you could even base a whole line of cereals around them that American children would go gaga for. That’s the case with General Mills’ Monster Brand cereals, and Count Chocula is easily the most popular of the bunch (which also included Boo Berry and Fruit Brute). See his first commercial, which was produced by the folks behind the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Count Chocula was on sale for decades, turning milk brown with a Transylvania twist on sugary morning treats. It was hardly healthy, but when you’re as cool looking as Chocula, who needs nutrients? For as popular as he was for decades, Chocula disappeared from grocery stores for years before General Mills brought back the Monster brand. Now Count Chocula and his ilk have become a specialty cereal that goes on sale around Halloween, giving kids and hipsters alike a chance to appreciate Chocula at the proper time before they could get bored of him.
2. Nosferatu aka Count Orlok
“Wait a minute,” I can imagine you saying, “isn’t Count Orlok actually Dracula and not a rip-off?” Nope, Nosferatu is the Dracula thievery that started it all, taking all the best parts of Drac and making it even more hideous and otherworldly. Plus, this stole from Dracula at the most dangerous time, because the story wasn’t in the public domain yet. Hence, Stoker’s heirs took legal action against this early film.
Nosferatu is an iconic silent film that can still spook people today, but when F. W. Murnau’s non-talkie was writing the rules of horror cinema, a court ruling ordered all copies of it destroyed. Obviously the film survived that, and Max Schreck’s portrayal still haunts cinefiles to this day. Even with incredible actors like Klaus Kinski and Willem Dafoe taking on the role of Count Orlok, Schreck is the one still burned in our memories. Frightening the world without the help of sound or color, Nosferatu makes a strong case as one of the greatest vampires in film history.
1. Count Von Count
While Orlok might have scared the most people, he’s not the most beloved or huggable Dracula rip-off, which is why this felt creation is at number one on the list. Count Von Count first appeared on Sesame Street in 1972, and his obsession with numbers and laughing inspired so many children to count things while also doing an impersonation of Bela Lugosi. I mean, who could resist his call to counting?
Until his death in 2013, Muppet master Jerry Nelson played The Count to perfection, as his ridiculous accent and obsession with counting made him beloved by parents and kids alike. However, like many early Sesame Street characters, The Count started out slightly less friendly to little kids, using his hypnotic powers to force people to count along with him. Even with his softened edges and seemingly one-koke nature, Count Von Count starred in many of Sesame Street’s best bits, thanks to an impressive chemistry with most of the other inhabitants. No wonder he’s been around for 43 years and counting. AH! AH! AH! AH! AH!
Did you hate that terrible closing joke? Disagree with our placement? Think you know a better faux-bloodsucker? Well, prove me wrong in the comments. Prove me WRONG.