Thursday, March 17, 2022

Maria DeVivo’s Top 10 Vampires in Literature, TV, and Film

10. Count Orlock – “Nosferatu”
There’s something so sad about Count Orlock. The first time I ever saw the movie was in 1998 when it was released with music by Type O Negative as the soundtrack. It was haunting and heartbreaking, and in some weird way, I could feel his pain and desire along with the sound of Pete Steele’s voice. It was very impactful, and I highly recommend seeing that version of it.

9. Blade – “Blade”

He’s a man. He’s a vampire. He hunts vampires. I mean, what isn’t there to love about Blade! He’s one bad-ass dude with some major internal struggle issues. 

8.  Lestat de Lioncourt – “Interview with the Vampire”

In high school, I DEVOURED Anne Rice’s work. I seriously could not get enough. Lestat was that character who walked the line – you KNEW he was bad… like REALLY bad, but he was oh-so-charming, and oh-so-handsome, and oh-so-eternal lifey. Every line of dialogue from him was borderline hypnotic in the first three books, and as a young goth teenager, I would have followed his ancient ass to the depths of hell. When the movie version came out, I know a lot of people had issue with Tom Cruise as Lestat, but honestly, I actually liked his portrayal!

7.  Count Dracula – “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”

Can you really have a top 10 about vampires and NOT include the archetype? If not for Stoker’s Count, we would not have all the iterations of the bloodsucker that we have today. And just for that very reason, he makes the list. Cause he’s THE COUNT. THE GUY. THE ONE. Book version, well… a tad on the tedious side, especially for me as a 12 year old thinking I was some literary connoisseur, but when Gary Oldman brought him to life in Coppola’s 1992film, I was hooked, smitten, in love (with EVERY transformation, btw)!

6. Count von Count – “Sesame Street”

It’s no secret that I’ve been a witchy kid from the womb. The very first line in my novel Witch of the Black Circle reads, “My mother says I was cursed by a witch,” and that’s not entirely fiction. I grew up on a healthy dose of horror movies, weird books, and Sesame Street, and while I liked Big Bird, had a love for Cookie Monster, and a soft spot for Snuffy, whenever The Count came on screen, I was all ears and eyes. There was an instant respect for his power – his “ah ah ahs” produced THUDER and LIGHTNING! He had a WOLF as a pet, and the bats!! All the pretty bats!! 

5. Draculaura – “Monster High”

When my daughter was five years old, she discovered the toy line Monster High and all of its weird and twisted characters. As a witch-mom, I couldn’t have been more proud. I felt like I had really passed the “freak torch” to my own little monster. It opened the doorways for many discussions with my daughter about classic vs. nu-horror characters, and vampire and monster mythology and folklore. I saw how this one character, Draculaura, sparked her imagination and fantastical play. So, for giving my girl the power of her weird, Draculaura will always hold a very special place in my heart. Suck on that, Barbie! 
(***disclaimer, no disrespect to the OG, B. But that’s another story for another time.***)

4. Lily Munster – “The Munsters”

I wanted so badly for Lily Munster to be my mom. I wanted so badly to be as cool as Lily when *I* became a mom. She was sexy, and beautiful, and fierce when she needed to be, but she was gentle and understanding, and FUNNY. A true family woman! Other kids looked up to Carol Brady, or Shirley Partridge, but me? Nope. It was all Lily for me. Fingers crossed that Sheri Moon Zombie does her character justice in the remake.

3. David – “The Lost Boys”

While the whole “vampire with a conscience” storyline adds depth to the overall vampire mythology (I mean, even Count Dracula had feeling), there is nothing ambiguous about David from “The Lost Boys.” Perfectly played by Kiefer Sutherland, David was all grrr, all the time. There was no misinterpreting his motives or intentions. He was power and control, and wanted to keep his pack in line. He wanted to feed. Period. The End. Unlike Lestat who was in love with himself and had luxurious taste and interests, David just. Wanted. Blood. And power. And control. Like, there’s no other way to say it. Some characters just are that evil. And there’s something very noble and respectful in that.

2./1. Angel and Spike – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (in no particular order)

This one was really tough for me, because I love them both for so many different reasons. When I revisit the show, I am torn between who really is the “one” for Buffy. They both have brutal pasts, and they both go through their own personal redemption arc. Angel’s broody demeanor, and Spike’s eff the world attitude (even when he became a champion) are so layered and complicated. You get a true sense that these characters have lived quite a long time and yes, they’ve seen some shit! Soul-self vs. soul-less self. Inner demon vs. inner human. Right vs. wrong… the duality of their characters is complex. And lovable. They are the love to hate/hate to love/oh my god, they’re my favorites type of characters. And hot damn, was Buffy one lucky girl to have had a piece of BOTH of that! 

Witch of the Black Circle
Dawn of the Blood Witch
Book One
Maria DeVivo

Genre: Horror
Publisher: 4 Horsemen Publications
Date of Publication: March 7, 2022
Number of pages: 217
Word Count: 64k

Tagline: When it comes to witchcraft, it's never just a teenage phase...

Book Description: 

For as long as she can remember, high school senior Joephie Turner's mother has told her she is cursed by a witch. As she settles into her new hometown of Northport, Long Island at the height of the 1980s Satanic Panic era, Joephie is accepted into a circle of friends obsessed with the occult. Demonic messages on cassette tapes, shady youth group leaders, and passionate sexual encounters push the teen into a thrilling world that lends a deeper meaning to the proverbial mantra: "sex, drugs, and rock and roll." Until it all goes wrong.

A decade later, haunted by nightmares of cults and rituals, formidable burgeoning witch Joephie pieces her memories together in search of answers about the small group of suburban teens that meddled with dark forces. As an adult, Joephie will have to decide what, or who, she is willing to sacrifice from her past in order to claw her way back to sanity.

Inspired by true events, Witch of the Black Circle is a deliciously wicked and nostalgic journey through time where the lines of reality and the supernatural blur. Content warning: satanic rituals; sex; graphic violence; language; drug use


Dan reaches over to his bag and pulls out his math book. In the front pouch, I notice a small novel with a black cover. “Hey,” I say, nodding my head in the backpack’s direction. “Whatcha reading?”

“Uh, nothing,” he answers, shrugging his shoulders.
I put out my arms and tap my fingers together like a baby grasping at something. “Lemme see it!”

“Nah. It’s really nothing,” he repeats, but he’s unconvincing, and it makes my curiosity burn a hole in my brain.

Kit’s curiosity is piqued as well, so she stands up and moves behind the chair with the backpack. “Now, now,” she sings. “No secrets here, Dan!” She grabs the bag from the chair and pulls out the book. “The Satanic Bible?”

Dan quickly shoots up from the chair, snatches the book away from her, and cradles it to his chest as to hide the cover from us. “Shhhh…” he admonishes as he looks side to side, assessing if my mother was in the vicinity or not.

I hold out my hand again. “What are you reading that for?” I ask. “Give it here.”

Reluctantly, he turns the book over to me, and I examine the cover, the spine, and the back like an investigator studying a piece of crime-scene evidence. Only, I don’t have on rubber gloves. I’ve known about this book. Heard about it. Knew the story of the author, Dr. Anton LaVey, and his Church of Satan. Practically, every youth ministry I had attended had mentioned the evil of this piece of literature at some point in time: If you even look at the book, you can be possessed. Being in its presence alone can have a profound effect on your heavenly soul. Dare not open or read the pages for fear of infiltration by a powerful demonic force. But as I actually hold the book for the first time in my life, I feel … nothing. No fear. No wonder. No spooky taboo. I press the book in my palms trying to feel for any ‘other-worldly’ vibrations or indication that if I open it up I will be damned to hell. But no. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. And more lies and deception from my past teachers come into clear view. “Dude. It’s just a book.”

“Yeah, I know it’s just a book,” he huffs, grabs it from me, and shoves it back into his bag.

The three of us sit back down in silence for a few minutes.

“You okay, man?” Kit asks, concerned.

“Yeah. Fine.”

Clearly, he’s not.

“Where’d you get it?” I ask.

“Why’d you get it?” Kit emphasizes.

Dan looks behind him and scans the kitchen again. Then, he moves his upper body slightly across the table as if to beckon me and Kit to huddle in. We oblige him and he speaks in a soft, hushed tone: “Thomas. This guy from my school. He got the connection with that Ricky kid and the Knights of the Black Circle.”

“The Knights of the Black Circle?” I ask. “What’s that?”

Dan glares at me and holds up his arm revealing the faded black circles drawn up and down his arm, over and over and over. I had thought they were just silly drawings borne out of boredom, but…

 “They wanted him to read the book and know some stuff before they accepted him,” he continues. “Thomas said he could probably get me in, too, and told me what passages to study and shit.”

Kit’s pretty eyes widen, and her bangs touch her eyelashes again. “He knows the Acid King?”

A sneer forms on Dan’s lips and he nods. “Uh huh.”

“Wait,” I protest. “What are you talking about? Who are the Knights of the Black Circle?

What’s an Acid King?”

“The Knights…” Dan explains, “they’re a group. Local. They do stuff. They know stuff.”

About the Author:
Maria is the Author of the Amazon bestselling and award-winning series The Coal Elf Chronicles, the YA psychological horror series The Altered Experience, and the NA Urban Fantasy series The Aestrangel Trinity. When not writing about dark fantasy and horror, she teaches Language Arts and Journalism to middle school students in Florida. A lover of all things dark and demented, she takes pleasure in warping the comfort factor in her readers’ minds. Just when you think you’ve reached a safe space in her stories, she snaps you back into her twisted reality.

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