The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” broke the record for a midnight launch Wednesday as members of Team Edward and Team Jacob shelled out more than $30 million to see the third film installment of Stephanie Meyer’s hit book series. There’s no doubt Twihards enraptured with the love triangle between human Bella, vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob will continue to pad the film’s box-office numbers and make it one of the top-grossing films of the summer.

But some, shall we say, “more mature” vampire fans shudder at the thought. Because before “Twilight” brought us sparkly, we-can-go-outside-in-the-daytime vamps, the nosferatu were bloodsucking fiends to be feared, not fawned after, despite their unearthly charms.

In honor of those retched monsters, let’s look at some of the silver screen’s famous dhampir and how many stakes it would take Buffy the Vampire Slayer to dust them. In no particular order:

“Dracula” (1992)

In this incarnation closely based on Bram Stoker’s legendary novel, Gary Oldman wears the fangs of Count Dracula as he tries to seduce Winona Ryder’s Mina into being his bride. Dracula is ultimately hunted down and vanquished, with Mina administering the death blows out of love for the dark prince. Oldman’s Count is visually disturbing and supremely menacing. Buffy better bring extra stakes. ||||

“Interview with a Vampire” (1992)

Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise bring Louis and Lestat of Anne Rice’s brilliant and haunting novels to life. While Pitt and Cruise undoubtedly made the most gorgeous pair of vampires ever, they wouldn’t provide Buffy with much of a fight. The child vampire Claudia, portrayed by a young Kirsten Dunst, is another matter all together. |

“From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

From director Robert Rodriguez, this fright fest stars George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as criminals who, along with a family they’ve kidnapped, unknowingly seek refuge in a bar that happens to be a vampire hangout. Their numbers quickly dwindle until Clooney’s Seth and Juliette Lewis’ Kate are the only humans left. The rising sun saves the day. Few can forget Salma Hayek’s portrayal of the undulating vampire queen Santanico Pandemonium. But the claustrophobia of being trapped with vampires is scarier than the vamps themselves. Buffy escapes ... barely. |||

“Blade” (1998)

All of their strengths. None of their weaknesses. Based on the half-vamp, half-human Marvel Comics daywalker, Blade is a bad-*** hero who understands his enemies better than anyone else. He’s got UV light and garlic weapons, killer martial arts skills and a wicked sword. And Wesley Snipes gives him just enough attitude to take down those who stalk the night. Buffy and Blade are on the same side, so no stakes here. Not that she could take him if they weren’t. --

“Vampire in Brooklyn” (1995)

Eddie Murphy takes up the mantle of the vampyre as Maximillian, the last in a line of Caribbean vampires who must find a mate to keep that line from ending. Moviegoers found it difficult to see funnyman Murphy as a fearsome beast, leaving the film dangling between horror and comedy. Buffy dusts him without breaking a sweat. |

“30 Days of Night” (2007)

Imagine being trapped in an Alaskan town during the 30 days of winter the sun does not shine with a gang of vampires ready for a feast. And the vamps are super strong, super fast and super sneaky, using a human girl as bait to lure survivors out into the open. With black eyes and bad teeth, these nosferatu are real buggers. Angel and Spike should probably lend Buffy a hand. ||||

“Dracula” (1931)

Bela Lugosi. Probably the first name that comes to mind for many when they think vampire. Lugosi’s Dracula was a master of seduction whose pleasant features only aided his devious ways. But Lugosi isn’t likely to strike fear in the hearts of modern moviegoers. The costume — or more specifically cape — inspires giggles these days, not chills. And by now, Buffy’s immune to a vampire’s wily ways. ||

“Underworld” (2003)

Kate Beckinsale. Leather. Guns. Fanboys needed little more to be slobbering over Len Wiseman’s vampire/werewolf war tale. But its two supernatural races aren’t particular nasty — to humans anyway. To each other ... well, they’re at war. Billy Nighy’s Viktor, who fried his own daughter for loving a werewolf, gets meanie points when he attacks Beckinsale’s Selene for protecting Michael, a lycan/vampire hybrid. He’d give Buffy grief, but she’d have Selene to help her out. |

“The Lost Boys” (1987)

“Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” Especially when your leader is the punked-out and yellow-eyed Kiefer Sutherland. “Lost Boys” took vamps from being eastern European old-timers to hard-rocking, full-of-youthful-angst heathens. Buffy will need Willow and Xander to lend a hand in this fight. ||||

“Nosferatu” (1922)

Last, but in no way the least, this silent classic is viewed by some as the first and scariest Dracula adaptation. Count Orlok, portrayed by Max Schreck, is more animal or beast than man. The disfigured, bald head and long, clawlike fingernails are grotesque, and something about the lack of sound chills the blood in your veins. Buffy may be outmatched. |||||

Contact Heather Bremer, whose allegiances fall with Team Angel and Spike, at 640-4867 or

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