In Dracula, by Bram Stoker, the Count is an old man (although, granted, he youthens as the story progresses) who is not at all attractive. His fangs are visible, he has hairy palms, is mostly bald, and is extremely pale. He often flies into rages that are terrible to behold. While, even with his horrible exterior, he still manages to convey an appeal to women (probably his confidence, power, and predatory pheromones), many of them are slightly repulsed by him when they first see him.
But, in the end, Dracula is a predator and a villain, killing people with nearly wanton abandon. You must cut off his head AND stake him through the heart to kill this beast. (As an interesting note, Stoker's vampire could walk in daylight, although he didn't prefer it and was less powerful in it; it didn't kill him outright or immediately. That got tacked on later.)
Count Orlok, a rip-off on Dracula when the studio couldn't get rights to the book from Stoker's estate, is one of the first versions of a vampire on film. He is ugly, pale, and scary -- like Dracula in the book -- and a sense of menace surrounds him.
However, a few years later when the play based on the novel was a success and the Stoker estate allowed a film version to be made, they cast a fairly suave guy, Bela Legosi, to play Dracula. His dancer background made him glide across the screen and his debonair European sensitivities gave Dracula a sexiness that slowly became the norm when presenting vampires of any sort on film.
This is how I like my vampires-- ugly, predatory, and out for your women. I want to see them beheaded and staked, and I want it to be a bloody and god-awful action; none of this turning to dust the instant the stake enters their heart crap (even though I was a big fan of Buffy).
Today, we live in a world where vampires are, for the most part, sexy, young, misunderstood, and wracked with guilt. They do things to stay alive like simply stop feeding (which should make them dried out husks over the long haul, but in most versions simply makes them paler and a little less strong) in order to fit into society. They love transitory humans, they care for them, protect us from their more predatory cousins, and write poetry and make diary entries. In other words, for the most part, vampires aren't vampires any more. Hell, sometimes they GLITTER in the sunlight!
Right now, we have at least three vampire tales on TV (Being Human, True Blood, Vampire Diaries) as well as vampires showing up in other shows (Sanctuary, Demons, et al). And, of course, we have the current Twilight Saga movie series. In most of these, the vampires are good looking, young, sexy. Many are tortured and don't want to kill human beings.
Here's what I want from my next book or movie vampire:
- Sex appeal: However, this sex appeal is used only for conquest. To make him/her a better predator. Remember, Ted Bundy was considered sexy by many of his victims-- it helped him to be a better killer.
- Blood: I want this vampire to kill people. I want him to be remorseless about it. I want him to be a serial killer.
- Weaknesses: I want the classic weaknesses; garlic, silver, holy water, holy symbols/symbols of faith, running water, thresholds on homes, ash/holly stakes through the heart, cutting off of head, salt, rice, etc.
- Age: I want older vampires. Teenagers who become vampires would, most likely, do stupid things that would cause human beings to kill them. I want my vampire older, wiser, more wicked, and cunning. He's survived this long among the sheep because he doesn't make himself known.
- Rage: Let's go back to vampires who rage when things don't go their way. Who have petty jealousies and kill people for simply being in their way.
- Powers: I have never liked a vampire who became a bat, wolf, or mist. However, I do like my vamps to control vermin and wolves, who have the strength of 20 men, who have limited arcane and/or mental powers. I also prefer them to dislike and avoid mirrors (due to seeing themselves as the dead/undead they are, rather than what they appear to be) rather than to be invisible to them.
- Scary: Lastly, let's make them scary again. Frightening. Let's make a movie with an R rating because of the violence involved. Hell, the movie should be a serial-killer movie where the killer just happens to be a vampire. No more misunderstood high school goths. I want something that keeps you awake at night for hours after you watch it because every creak in the house makes you think one of them is coming to get you. I don't mean to say I want fountains of blood and gore -- often not seeing the blood and gore is scary than seeing it -- but I want him seducing women and killing them. Attacking the men and beating them to death. I want heroes falling to him because he is just that bad-ass, cunning, and powerful.