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Vampires and Zombies in the Movies

What exactly do vampires and zombies look like? You'd have trouble answering that question just by watching movies and TV shows. Herewith, Dr. Pecos gives an overview of the hits and misses in the monster makeup realm.

The Gold Standards

Though now over 75 years old, the eponymous star of Nosferatu, with his long fingernails, bald pate and piercing eyes, remains one of the more accurate cinematic vampires ever put on screen. If you take away the pointed ears and rat teeth, Nosferatu would be just about perfect.

Bravo, George Romero! In movies like Dawn of the Dead, Romero and his right-hand man Tom Savini created palpably realistic zombies. If they could have shown these films in Smell-O-Vision, then the audience would really have an idea of what a zombie encounter was like.

The Sleepwalking Zombie

While still fairly chilling, the bug-eyed, catatonic zombie of the 1942 film, I Walked With A Zombie, shows none of the gruesome decomposition common to zombies. In the next half-century, improvements in makeup technology and the rise of an increasingly less-queasy audience enabled the creation of more accurate zombies on film.

The Hunk-Vampire

Men resembling the romantic leads from soap operas are featured in a whole sub-genre of modern vampire movies. The vampires of films like Dracula 2000 have several things in common: long, dark hair, good bone structure, and no resemblance at all to real vampires.

The Bombshell-Vampire

The hunk-vampire invariably keeps a stable of fetching females around, like Jerri Ryan in Dracula 2000. In truth, it would take quite a makeup artist to turn a women with ghastly-blue, veiny skin and black eyes into a sexpot.


Modern filmmakers, far removed from the days when vampires terrorized the planet, have apparently decided that vampires would be a lot scarier with the addition of an array of prosthetic attachments to their faces, such as the case with Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

© 2001 Dango Productions, Inc.