Drawn to the Vampire, Part 6

Penny Dreadful, thank you for being a thing.

Writer and director John Logan created the series for Showtime, inspired by nineteenth-century gothic thrillers that were mass produced and sold on the cheap. You’re likely more familiar with the vintage magazines than you realize; perhaps two of the most famous serial stories to appear in the penny dreadful magazines were String of Pearls and Varney the Vampyre (the former introducing us to Sweeney Todd, “the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” the latter an early influence of author Bram Stoker, predating Dracula by more than fifty years).

The Showtime series offered a fresh take on classic literature, combining tales from many beloved gothic horrors. Logan borrowed public domain characters such as Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein, Van Helsing, and Dr. Jekyll, and placed them in the same setting of Victorian era London.

Showtime’s presentation of Penny Dreadful (starring Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, Billie Piper, Harry Treadway, and Rory Kinnear) recently wrapped up after three complete and beautifully tragic seasons. And dammit if I wasn’t devastated to learn that there wouldn’t be a fourth season. Even if they felt that they’d taken the current plotlines and characters as far as they could go, the premise could easily be renewed with a whole new troupe of characters and stories from other gothic horrors. The above mentioned Sweeney Todd and Varney the Vampyre, just to name two. This series was so wonderfully written and acted; at some point, I think I’ll do a series of “Drawn to” illustrations dedicated just to this show. But for now, I’ll let my focus fall upon the ultimate antagonist of the series, and while he wasn’t physically introduced until the third act, this was possibly my favorite portrayal of this infamous figure to date.


Mi Vampire_Dracula-Dr Sweet

Christian Camargo portrayed the iconic master vampire. The character of Dracula has appeared in film, television, and theater more times–and by more actors–than I have time to research. He’s been portrayed as mysterious. He’s been suave and sophisticated. He’s been over-the-top and mad with power, and he’s been a vicious beast without mercy. But Camargo’s portrayal combined the best of all worlds. There was a subtlety to his mystery, more aloof and indifferent than “mysterious man of the night.” But when we learn who he truly his, his power shines through without question, letting the viewers know he’s an imposing figure to be feared. Credit must be given–not only to Camargo’s acting chops–but also to the writers, art directors, and set designers to bring this character to life in a way that retained the classic appeal of Dracula while still seeming wholly original.

If you’ve yet to watch the series or don’t have access to Showtime, you can now watch seasons one and two on Netflix. So, uh, yeah. What are you waiting for? You’re still reading, which means you’re not watching. Go. Seriously. Thank me later.

That’s it for today. Until next time…

Drawn to the Vampire, Part 5


“A last fire will rise behind those eyes
Black house will rock, blind boys don’t lie
Immortal fear, that voice so clear
Through broken walls, that scream I hear…”

Cry Little Sister, Gerard McMann

As a child of the 80s, there really is just one vampire flick that comes to mind in association with Generation X. And said vampire flick boasts one of the most 80s soundtracks imaginable, next to the Breakfast Club. I mean, can you look upon the poster for the 1987 film The Lost Boys and not hear the lyrics, “Cry little sister…“?

And the vampires. I mean, from the perspective of an 80s teenager, these guys were cool as shit. It’s no wonder they chose Kiefer Sutherland to play the role of David, the leader of this rag-tag group of lost souls.


Mi Vampire_David

The spiked hair, the rocker mullets, The Two Coreys, Jami Gertz (mmm…)–this movie had it all. And speaking of Coreys, did anyone else notice that Corey Haim’s character had a poster of Rob Lowe hanging in his bedroom? I would have loved to be part of that art direction meeting:

Art Director: “We need to decorate the teenage boy’s room. What do teenage boys like?”
Assistant Art Director:”Rob Lowe?”
A.D.: “Perfect.”
A.A.D.: “I was kidding.”
A.D.: “It’s already done.”

(Note: On the DVD commentary, director Joel Schumacher says that it was there because he had recently directed Lowe in the 1985 film St. Elmo’s Fire. But still…)

Apparently, this movie also introduced us to the phrase “vamp out,” a term used regularly in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Lost Boys clearly influenced the world of Buffy, especially when you compare the stylistic nature of said “vamping out.” You could swap any given vampire from either movie and you’d hardly notice a difference. That’s not a negative critique–I’m a fan of Buffy, and the style suits the show perfectly. Interestingly enough, Kiefer’s father, Donald Sutherland, starred in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie from 1992.

I’ll keep this post short, ending it with a little throwback video of the above-mentioned song, Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann. Take a quick second to grab yourself some hair gel… Got it? Good. Now, enjoy.

Drawn to the Vampire, Part 4


Sadie Blake

Mi Vampire_Sadie Blake.png

See what I did there? I got right to it with this post. Meet Sadie Blake, as portrayed by Lucy Liu from the movie Rise: Blood Hunter (or simply Rise, as writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez intended, which admittedly, I prefer). Sadie is not what you would consider a conventional vampire. There is no “vamping out,” no fangs, no supernatural powers. In fact, much like the 1982 film, The Hunger (starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, & Susan Sarandon), the word “vampire” is never uttered in this movie.

Sadie was a reporter who was raped and murdered following a story she wrote about a secret gothic cult. After waking up in the morgue, she realized that the cult held more secrets than she previously thought and she vowed revenge against them, hunting down their members one by one.

There’s another interesting correlation between Rise and The Hunger; since the vampires don’t have fangs, they need to use other means to acquire the lifeblood that satiates their cravings. In The Hunger, they use an Ankh pendant. In Rise, Sadie uses a similar secret blade, this one in the form of a cross, as shown in the above illustration tied around her neck.

In Lucy’s own words regarding the movie: “I first read the script at 3:00am in the morning and so I understood the project from that perspective, what it needed and what the character was about. It wasn’t strictly horror—it has an incredible emotional undercurrent, that and it had a thriller, noir quality about it.” I enjoyed the movie but more importantly, it was Lucy’s performance that places her among my favorite pop-culture vampires. How can you not love Lucy Liu? And not for nothing, but in addition to her acting, she’s also an amazing artist–definitely check out her work.

That should do it for today. Hope you enjoyed this illustration, and if you’re not already following my blog, maybe now’s a good time to start, yeah? I mean, really, what’s stopping you? Oh, and if you’re a fan of vampire fiction, my own book is for sale from Amazon. (nudge-nudge)

Drawn to the Vampire, Part 3

For the third installment in my Drawn to the Vampire series, I ventured back to the earliest days of cinema, offering my rendition of the infamous Count Orlok, from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, starring Max Schreck.

Count Orlok

Mi Vampire_Count Orlok.png

This one was a blast to work on. Nosferatu is a classic vampire flick, holding a rating of 97% on Rotton Tomatoes (which ain’t too shabby). It’s a must-see film for fans of both vampires and horror. In the case of this movie, the silent nature of the film actually adds to the suspense, and Schreck’s performance as Count Orlok is wonderfully creepy.

This was originally intended to be a Dracula film, but due to issues the German production company faced obtaining the rights, they released the film as an unauthorized adaptation (changing vampire to nosferatu, and Count Dracula to Count Orlok). Stoker’s heirs sued and won, and all copies of the film were to be destroyed. Fortunately for us, some survived.

In 1979, Werner Herzog wrote and directed a stylistic remake of the film titled Nosferatu the Vampyre (or Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night, translated from German). In this version, some of the original names from Stoker’s Dracula were used, like changing the name of Count Orlok back to Count Dracula.

The image of Count Orlok, as depicted above, has been revamped throughout countless media (does that count as a pun?). Vampire: The Masquerade is a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) in the same vein as Dungeons and Dragons. One of the classes of vampire players could choose to belong to was the Nosferatu Clan, and the disturbing character descriptions are strikingly similar to the visage of Max Schreck’s Count Orlok. In 1996, Aaron Spelling produced a short-lived TV series based on the RPG titled Kindred: The Embraced, and in it actor Jeff Kober masterfully played a lead member of the Nosferatu Clan named Daedalus. I loved this show, and it’s hard to saw how long it would have lasted had the lead actor of the series, Mark Frankel, not faced an untimely death from a motorcycle accident.

That should do it for today. As always, stop back soon for the next installment of Drawn to the Vampire!

Drawn to the Vampire, Part 2

30 Days of Night.

Welcome to the second in my series of illustrations featuring my favorite pop-culture vampires. My inspiration for today: After an Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month, it is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires (from IMDB). Who wouldn’t want to watch that, eh?

Danny Huston, who you might know from season three of American Horror Story: Coven, plays Marlow Roderick, the leader of a group of vampires who are understandably drawn to the town of Barrow, Alaska, where their food is plentiful 24/7. And Huston plays his role masterfully. Josh Hartnett is the sheriff who comes to the rescue, and he does a fine job as well, but this post ain’t about him (he’ll get his day when I do my Penny Dreadful posts). The movie is based on a graphic novel of the same name (written by Steve Niles and Illustrated by Ben Templesmith), and while the movie deviated from the novel at some points, it was fairly faithful to the overall concept of the comic (a very noticeable change being the merging of two characters, Marlow and Vicente, into one character, the aforementioned Marlow Roderick). Which brings us to my illustration.

Marlow Roderick

Mi Vampire_Marlow Roderick

Loved this character. Gore-loving, bloodsucking, devilish–an all-around joy to watch on the big screen. And it was Danny Huston who brought the character to life. That’s what I attempted to capture here, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

The movie has a sequel, Dark Days, which I’ve yet to see, though as I understand, it follows the comics more closely than the original film. The sequel doesn’t have the most favorable rating on IMDB, though I’ve never let something as silly as a rating get in the way of my enjoyment of something.

That’s all for today. Trying to keep this short, since–like me–you’re really just here for the pictures. Enjoy, and stop back soon for Drawn to the Vampire, Part 3!

Drawn to the Vampire, Part 1

In light of the recent release of my first vampire novel, I thought I’d do a series of illustrations showcasing my favorite pop-culture vampires.

The first on my list does not come from a traditional vampire series, rather he’s a prominent character in an urban fantasy series by author Kevin Hearne called The Iron Druid Chronicles. The main character in the series is the charismatic, if often sarcastic ancient druid, Atticus O’Sullivan (born Siodhachan O Suileabhain–find someone who speaks Old Irish to pronounce that one for you). Despite being human, he’s managed to survive for more than 2,000 years through the help of his own herbal concoction of Immortali-Tea® which he also provides to his faithful Irish Wolfhound companion, Oberon (Oberon even has his own Twitter account. Seriously. Check it out). Assisting Atticus in his legal needs is an attorney by the name of Leif Helgarson, who happens to be–you guessed it–a vampire (come on–he’s a lawyer; he was either going to be a vampire or a land shark, and this ain’t no SNL sketch).

Leif Helgarson

Mi Vampire_Leif Helgarson

As his name suggests, Leif is of Scandanavian decent. More specifically, he was born a Viking. After his family was murdered by Thor (yeah–that Thor–turns out he was kind of a dick), Leif went in search of a vampire who could embrace him, so he’d have the strength and power to take his vengeance on the old Norse god. His first wish came true–he became a vampire. But he’d have to chill a few centuries before he could face the king of dude-bros in battle. As it turned out, he needed help to traverse the godly planes to Valhalla, and so he secretly buddied up to a druid named Atticus, pretending to be his friend for as long as it suited his needs.

That’s as far as I’ll go with his backstory. After all, I don’t want to spoil it for you. If you haven’t read The Iron Druid Chronicles, I suggest you look into them. They’re action-packed and laced with wonderfully dark and sarcastic humor (something Hearne has a gift for). For the sake of this illustration, I deferred to his description in the books; he’s a sophisticated gent, prone to wearing high-quality suits and is fond of well-aged beverages (his favorite drink of choice is a vintage 2,000-year-old blend–the blood of his old pal, Atticus). And while he lives in modern times, he’s never quite adjusted to the era, having a tendency to speak in a lyrical prose more suited to a Shakespearian play. He makes for a fun and interesting character to read about, and I look forward to seeing more of him in Hearne’s novels.

Much like Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods, the Iron Druid Chronicles are packed full of gods from pantheons worldwide, both past and present. These assorted gods attain their strength through the power of faith (they exist as the result of belief itself, and the more people who believe in/worship them, the stronger they become). Atticus O’Sullivan is among the few beings capable of traveling back and forth between the godly realms, and unfortunately for him (or perhaps fortunately for us), he has a habit of causing a bit of mischief wherever his sandal-clad feet may take him. Hounded is the first in the Iron Druid Chronicles, and is a great place to start, available at Amazon.com. If you’re like me and a fan of audiobooks, voice actor Luke Daniels does an incredible job with the series over at Audible.com (highly recommended).

That’s it for today, folks. Short and sweet. Check back soon for Part 2 of my Drawn to the Vampire series.

Drawn to the Bad Guy, Part 5

There can be only one.

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, this series stemmed from an illustration I did of my favorite pop-culture villain. Instead of simply posting this one image, I chose to build up to it, illustrating other favorites, turning it into a top five list.

I’m cheating a bit with this post; it’s somewhat of a two-fer, as was my Joker post. But this one has a twist. You see, since I was a child I’ve been a fan of Darth Vader as a villain. Who isn’t? But you don’t have to search too far to find quality images of Vader, both officially licensed art and fan art. Of course I could do my own version, but frankly, I didn’t feel the draw to do so (more puns). But there is another villain that holds near equal standing in my heart, and that is the Kurgan from the 1986 film Highlander, as played by Clancy Brown.

Without further ado, the final on my list of top five pop-culture villains is,

1. Darth Kurgan


I know–cheating, right? This isn’t a real villain. Not entirely, anyway. But this was a labor of love. In addition to altering his already awesome sword into a Kylo Ren-esque light saber, I tweaked his chest plate (Boba Fett style), belt buckle, cod piece, left leg, and left wrist-guard (all Vader style). And then, of course, I placed him on an alien planet. You can’t tell me this sith lord wouldn’t have all others trembling in their dark robes. Darth Maul? Darth Tyranus? Darth Sidious? Pfft. Panzies–the lot of them. None could hold a holo-candle to Darth Kurgan. You think you have what it takes to embrace the Dark Side? Darth Kurgan is the Dark Side.

Why did I choose to combine the two villains? The Force Awakens, that’s why. The saber. The hilt. The scornful posts from the hordes of upset fans across the web decrying the need for such ridiculous adornment to an already perfect weapon. I was not one of these naysayers. No, when I first saw the preview that revealed the new saber, my immediate thought was, “Kurgan.” And from there, the above image had been building in my mind, itching to be made a reality.

kylo ren kurgan

As I mentioned, I’m a long-time fan of Clancy Brown as the Kurgan. And as I finish this list of top five baddies, I realized that at least three of the five possess a very similar trait (four, if you count Vader): a killer voice. Riddick had it. The Lord of Darkness had it. Vader had it. And Kurgan definitely had it. Part of the plot of Highlander was that the immortal Kurgan had his throat slashed by Sean Connery‘s Egyptian-Spaniard character Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez (great job casting, Russell Mulcahy! Don’t misread that last jab–I really do love this movie. But Clancy Brown was the only actor in the film who was believable in terms of character origins). But the throat slashing forever altered Kurgan’s voice, making it a rich, deep, and gravely audible monstrosity, forever inspiring future actors to imitate his larger-than-life onscreen persona.

And speaking of his iconic voice, I should probably point out that Clancy Brown already has many legitimate ties to Star Wars via his extensive work as a voice actor. In addition to random side characters (like stormtroopers and Imperial officers), he voiced the brother of Darth Maul, Savage Opress, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, and most recently he voiced a rebel sympathizer named Ryder Azadi in Star Wars: Rebels. The animation designers clearly modeled the character of Ryder after Clancy’s visage, as shown below, right.


In addition, I decided to put together a movie promo poster, as well. So here’s that:

Rise of the Kurgan

And that completes my Top Five list of favorite pop-culture villains. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. More random posts to come, and more lists of favorites, as well. All the best.

Drawn to the Bad Guy, Part 4

From the Clown Prince to the Brat Prince…

Let me start out by saying, no offense intended to Tom Cruise. I enjoyed the movie Interview With A Vampire; it’s among my favorite vampire flicks, and Tom Cruise portrayed the character brilliantly. But in regards to my fondness for this particular character, it’s the version from the novels that I’m drawn to as opposed to the theatrical representation. And honestly, for the sake of this illustration, my main issue with Tom Cruise stems from his success; he simply has too recognizable of a face. Yes, he played the character quite well, but if I used his version of the character for my illustration, I wouldn’t be drawing the character, I’d be drawing Tom Cruise. That’s a rough problem to have, Mr. Cruise; you’re more than an actor, you’re an icon. OK, enough about that. On to number two on my list…

2. Lestat de Lioncourt

The Vampire Lestat. As with Riddick, who started this list at number five, Lestat isn’t necessarily a villain, though if you now of him only from Anne Rice‘s premier vampire novel, Interview With a Vampire, you might have been led to believe otherwise. He was somewhat detestable in that novel (as was he in the movie), truly living up to his title of the “Brat Prince.” And if you only know him from that novel, you’re missing out. The Vampire Lestat was the second book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and she approached it as though he wrote the book himself. In it, he was able to give his side to the story, and we got to know Lestat in a whole new light (or lack thereof, as it were). Still among my favorite vampire novels of all time.

According to Anne Rice, her visual of her favorite creation was a young Rutger Hauer. In her own words, as posted on her Facebook page celebrating Rutger Hauer’s 71st birthday,
…for me, Hauer was the spitting image of ‘The Vampire Lestat.’ You want to know what Lestat looks like to me? Look at this photograph. I didn’t base Lestat’s description on Hauer. I didn’t encounter him till after I’d written ‘Interview with the Vampire’ in which Lestat sprang to life  pretty much on his own. But this is surely how I see my beloved Brat Prince hero.” By the time Interview With a Vampire made it to the big screen, Rutger Hauer was too old to play the bratty protagonist. Which is unfortunate, because his skill as not only an actor but with improvisation would have made him so perfect for the role. But, as the French-born Lestat would say, c’est la vie.

And since that is how Anne Rice visualizes her own character, I decided I’d better base my illustration on Hauer, as well. Placing him in a Victorian-style painting just seemed like a no-brainer. Can’t you picture this hanging in Louis de Pointe du Lac’s plantation home?

Mi Lestat

Once again, I had a great deal of fun putting this one together. Despite both Tom Cruise and Stuart Townsend putting a face to the name (Townsend portrayed Lestat in the 2002 film version of Queen of the Damned), for the most, part it’s left to the reader to create their own mental image. And while Rice did provide a template by naming Hauer as a model, it was still on me to bring him to life. I actually had the most trouble with his complexion; I almost made his flesh white, but that seemed too unnatural, and not in a good way. Ultimately I feel like the subtle ruddy tint I added was just enough to make him look only somewhat unnatural, or rather the right amount of preternatural, without looking like a statue.

One quick note before I go. In the course of putting together this digital illustration, I’ve learned that Anne Rice has been experiencing some medical issues, which she discusses briefly on her Facebook page. As a long-time fan, I just wanted to take a moment to wish her all the best for a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Anne!

And that was number two on my list. Number one was actually the first of the illustrations that I did in this series, but being my favorite baddie, I wanted to save him for last. So stay tuned, I’ll be posting him real soon. And now that I’m done with Lestat, I’ve been inspired to do another list. In the near future, I’ll be putting together a list of my top 10 favorite vampires, complete with illustrations like these. And you can be certain Lestat will still be on that list–with a new interpretation, of course. Until then…

Ha! I bet you thought I wasn’t going to mention my own upcoming vampire project. Well, I did. Just now. But there’ll be more fanfare when the time draws near. See what I did there? “Draws” near. A pun. Laters.

Drawn to the Bad Guy, Part 3

Here we are, number three on my countdown of five favorite pop-culture baddies. This is a dual post, actually. Am I cheating with that? I don’t care; my blog, my rules.

When Tim Burton brought Batman to the big screen in 1989, he brought with him one of Batman’s most quintessential foes. I really don’t know the story behind Jack Nicholson being cast as the Joker, but I do know that Nicholson was no stranger to playing the psychological duality card; only nine years earlier he’d expertly captured the sociopathic meltdown of Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. His mastery of the performing arts along with his iconic eyebrows and devilish grin made him the perfect actor for the role. (Hold on–did I just say that The Shining came out only nine years before Batman? It’s been twenty-seven years now since Batman came out. That just doesn’t seem right…)

When Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman franchise sixteen years later with Batman Begins, he started the game with a villain who was virtually unknown to the viewing public; sure, the plethora of comic book fans were well-acquainted with Ra’s al Ghul, but the mass public knew only of the standards from the recent films and the 1960s TV show, like the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman. This was a bold move on Nolan’s part, and it paid off. At the very least, it whet our appetite, leaving us wanting for more.

Which brings us to…

3. The Joker

The Dark Knight was released in 2008, and not only was this the first b394bdBatman movie to not have the name Batman in the title, but it also introduced us to a new Joker. And while the internet had not embraced the news of Heath Ledger portraying the Clown Prince of Crime with open arms, early publicity photos and movie stills showed us a wonderfully creepy version of the Joker that we didn’t even know we yearned for. His untimely death prior to the release of the movie would make this among the last times we would see Ledger on film; he would never know the true impact he had on the role, forever changing how we would see the Joker.And with that…

I really don’t know which version I prefer. I suppose I’d probably lean toward Ledger’s performance; there was a lot more mystery to the character that made him more interesting. Though Jack Nicholson’s portrayal was a boatload of fun; wonderfully dark with biting humor and memorable one-liners.”Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” “Never rub another man’s rhubarb.” “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” “I’ve been dead once already. It’s very liberating. You should think of it as therapy.” “Jack is dead, my friend. You can call me… Joker. And as you can see, I’m a lot happier.”

And with that…

Mi Jokers

Both Nicholson and Ledger brought something to the role worthy of their immense talents, giving us two amazing, larger-than-life versions of the same character. Jared Leto is next on the list in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, and we’re being told that this could be the wildest version of the Joker, yet. I’m looking forward to seeing his interpretation, though I doubt I’m going to be adding his version of the character to my list of favorites. No offense to Leto, as I think he’ll do just fine with the role, but that fact that Heath Ledger helped to reinvent our perception of the Joker doesn’t mean that every new iteration needs to be reinvented. More to the point, I’d love to see a version of the Joker that mirrors the comic book version more accurately, both visually and in his mannerisms. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to play one of the Batman Arkham games, you’ll get a good idea of how the character could (and I feel should) be handled the next time around.

It does strike me that the way Leto is playing the character is pivotal to the movie itself; a classic interpretation simply wouldn’t work with this new film. Comic_Book_-_Batman_251_Cover_(1973)I’m just saying that I hope we one day get the chance to see a classic, live-action version of the Joker and possibly even a classic Batman (with his blue cowl and gray tights). That would be a fun flick to see. They could make it a period piece; take us back to the late 1940s and start over there. No high-tech gadgets or tank-like Batmobile. Just bare-bones detective work, a little skillful hand-to-hand combat, and possibly a few Batarangs for good measure.

And that’s it for number three. My top two favorite baddies are coming up, and I’m still having a riotously good time putting these together. I hope you’re enjoying them, too. If you haven’t started following my blog yet, feel free to click that fancy button now. And it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you decided to share my posts with a friend or two. Go on; you know you want to. And I decided I won’t even mention my upcoming vampire project. You know–the one I plan to reveal this spring? Yeah, I’m not going to say a word about that. See you soon.

Drawn to the Bad Guy, Part 2

“What is light without dark? What are you without me? I am a part of you all. You can never defeat me. We are brothers eternal!”  -The Lord of Darkness

Happy Monday! So this post is arriving less than a week after my last post. I don’t know if I’ll maintain that momentum moving forward, but I’m enjoying this “Drawn to the Bad Guy” concept that I have going, so we’ll see how this goes.

Ridley Scott conceived of and directed the cult classic Legend, starring Tom Cruise as Jack, Mia Sara as Lili, and Tim Curry (entirely unrecognizable) as the Lord of Darkness. Scott wanted to tell a Brother’s Grimm style fairytale, but crafting a new story to work seamlessly with  the medium of film rather than trying to twist an ancient tale to fit haphazardly into a medium that it wasn’t designed for. The result was a modern classic of light versus dark, innocence vs corruption, pitting Jack–a simple forest dweller–against the personification of evil himself, the Lord of Darkness. As with many cult classics, this movie was not a commercial success during its initial theatrical release, though it soon became a huge underground hit. I remember seeing it numerous times as a child on cable channels such as WGN and TBS before I ever saw the full, uncut version on DVD.

4. Lord of Darkness

Number four on my list of favorite movie villains is the Lord of Darkness. No stranger to cult classics, Tim Curry rose to prominence portraying the character Dr. Frank-N-Furter in another cult classic, The Rocky Horror Show (incidentally, I recently read that Tim Curry will be returning to The Rocky Horror Show in the fall of 2016, playing the criminologist narrator). I remember watching a documentary about the making of Legend, and as I recall Tim Curry wore so much makeup and prosthetics for the role of Lord of Darkness, there’s not a single bit of “Tim Curry” shown in the film. As part of the costume, Mr. Curry had to walk on stilts and wear a massive set of horns atop his head; when fully attired he was an impressive 12-feet-tall from the base of his cloven hooves to the tips of his blackened horns (this info is from memory–if anyone wants to correct me in the comments, feel free). And “impressive” is the only word truly befitting the prosthetics. Even by today’s standards they’re incredible–and the movie was released in 1985.

In the movie, the Lord of Darkness was more than an imposing figure. Yes, he was evil, yes he wanted to kill the last of the unicorns and absorb their power casting the world into eternal darkness. But nobody’s perfect. The Lord of Darkness is still a flawed character, and flawed characters can be made likable through their flaws. In the course of his hunt for the unicorns, his minions kidnap the fair maiden Lily (inspiring Jack to rescue her), and while in his “care” he clearly starts to have feelings for her (although he does try to force those feelings to be returned via some magical seduction and a little black dress). Ridley Scott could have easily selected an actor who already possessed the size and musculature required of the lead villain, but Tim Curry is the one who brought charm to the character, making even the epitome of evil a likable force.

OK, enough chit-chat. You came here for my digital illustration, so here you be.

Mi Lord of Darkness Poster

I’m already working on number three on my list, so keep an eye out for that. And as I’ve mentioned previously, if you’re a fan of vampire fiction, stay tuned this spring for my big reveal!