These bloodsuckers aren’t Bram Stoker’s genuine article, and they’re all the better for it…
What is a Dracula? A miserable pile of Eastern European stereotypes who drinks blood, transforms into animals, lives in a castle, and has impeccable taste in cloaks? It has been more than a century since Bram Stoker made the rules for the preeminent vampire in modern fiction, and we’ve seen dozens of films, TV shows, and games recreate the famous monster. And there’s an even bigger collection of Dracula wannabes out there who have done their best to steal his style.
The character entered the public domain a long time ago, but that doesn’t stop writers from creating characters that are approximately 90% similar to Count Dracula. Whether they’re in a fighting game, parodying a recent film, or selling sugary cereals, these slightly defanged versions of the Romanian plague have become famous in their own right. Read on to see who else wore the fangs and widow’s peak to great success, even if some of them didn’t even drink blood.
7. Mr. Burns
This is the only outright parody on the list, but it deserves inclusion mainly for ending up more famous than the property it’s mocking. Back in 1992, Francis Ford Coppola made the most ambitious and faithful adaptation to Bram Stoker’s Dracula ever seen, using in-camera effects and impressive natural lighting that was lost on most people. When The Simpsons goofed on the movie in 1993’s Treehouse of Horror IV, they replaced Gary Oldman with Mr. Burns, in the part that Charles Montgomery was born to play, baby!
From his “queer” hairdo, dancing shadow, and gothic castle in terrifying Pennsylvania, Burns falls into the mold of Dracula pretty easily, just as Smithers is the perfect Renfield. Burns’ biggest issue as a vampire is that he makes very little effort disguising his love of blood, though when everyone in Springfield is blind to it (save Lisa), what’s the point of subterfuge? You know what else puts Burns over simpler parodies like Leslie Nielsen’s? Mr. Burns can get a stake pounded into his crotch and not even wake up. Either his genitals withered away years ago, or he’s just that tough.
Here’s another guy who lives in a spooky castle and enjoys the blood of the virgins, but this one can also withstand the effects of an hadouken if he blocks fast enough! Darkstalkers (known as Vampire Savior in Japan) is Capcom’s fighting game version of The Monster Mash, bringing together every horror trope into a 2D fighter. And Demitri, the bloodsucking Makai noble is the defacto Dracula (only with way more muscles).
Demitri’s origin pulls in a bit of Japanese lore, as he’s from the Makai dimension of demons, and he was banished after losing a bid to rule the land. Demitri got sent to Earth, spending the next century drinking blood, building an army, getting buff, and perfecting his quarter circle + punch attacks every full moon. While he may not be as theatrical as Dracula, Demitri is easily the most physically imposing rip-off ever.
5. Count Duckula
This is a twofer: A rip-off and a spin-off. Danger Mouse was a big hit with ’80s kids in the UK and US, and one of the secret agent’s recurring enemies was the bloodsucking Count Duckula, who followed most of the rules as Dracula. However, when the fowl beast got his own series, the story took a comedic turn as the above opening theme so succinctly describes.
Heavily inspired by the Hammer Films’ Dracula films, this goofy duck is far more friendly than your usual Dracula, and he’s continually being pushed or tricked into more violent directions fitting his namesake. He even has his own Van Helsing type character hunting him down. Also interesting is that, despite being surrounded by folks with European and English accents, Duckula himself sounds like an American, which certainly him stand out from the “I vant to suck your blood” types.
Where does Count Chocula and Sesame Street’s Count rank? Read on to the next page to find out!