J. Forrest Ackermann, or “Uncle Forry,” had many claims to fame within the annals of horror. Apart from his magazine, the tours of his memento-brimmed home up until his death, his ownership of both the Dracula and Mummy rings, he also created an iconic character who wanders in the imaginations of countless fans. She of the raven hair and very skimpy outfit–blood-red with the upturned white-collar. Long black boots. Her tell-tale crescent earrings. The swarm of bats that seem to follow her around everywhere. Flashing blue eyes and flashing white fangs…
One cannot help but hope that sometime soon a wily film (or television–hopefully cable) producer will realize herein lies a ready-made character with a ready-made audience. If “Wonder Woman” deserves a series, why not another type of superhuman amazon? Like Angel and Nicholas Knight as well as Mick St. John, she could be a defender of the innocent (or at least her friends) against genuine evil. Demons. Vampires who’ve given up on their humanity. Worshipers of power and cruelty. Those that police and government either cannot or will not acknowledge as real.
When I first encountered her, Vampirella traveled with Pendragon, a side-show magician (formerly genuine sorcerer) and a handsome young scientist named Tyler, who’d developed a blood substitute to keep her thirst at bay. In the course of her four decades of history, she’s encountered Dracula as well as vying with members of her own family (like her blond twin Draculina). One Van Helsing tried to destroy her. Another fell in love with her. The great demon Chaos was her enemy, author of countless schemes to destroy her. Originally, she was said to be the lone survivor of the planet Drakulon. Later it was said her memories were distorted. According to this, the world she remembered was that portion of Hell ruled by her mother, Lilith (Adam’s first wife and the consort of demons). Since she was a vampire like none other, sunlight and crosses had no effect. But the thirst, she had that. Oh yes. Dealing with it became a major plotline in all her incarnations (like Spiderman and the Dark Knight, Vampirella has changed with a succession of writers and editors).
This is all good stuff! Drama! Comedy! Adventure! Great villains! Fantastic supporting characters! On top of that an exciting (in every way) heroine–like a cross between BSG’s Starbuck and a female Damon Salvatore. Imagine blending “Charmed” and “Smallville” with “True Blood” with a few dashes of “Buffy.” It might turn out terrible beyond words–quite possibly in a gloriously wonderful way. Or maybe it would become a quirky, brilliant piece of stirring entertainment. We can hope.
Which brings up casting. We need a beautiful dark-haired woman to play a scantily clad vampiress who kicks ass and inspires devotion. Consider first Olivia Wilde, of “Tron: Legacy” as well as “House.” She seems to possess every requirement we might desire, up to and including genuine acting ability. An ironic choice would be Eliza Dushku, still perhaps best known as the vampire slayer Faith. What about the soon-to-be catwoman Anne Hathaway? Mila Kunis is another possibility, along with who knows how many unknowns.
Or this might be that vampire role for which Angelina Jolie has been waiting… I’m just saying.
Truth to tell, a stunning number of models have already donned the scarlet outfit of Vampirella–including the sad motion picture version with Talia Soto. Yes, it exists. No, we don’t like to think about it. Just a terrible example of how (like Doc Savage) a good idea can end up ruined through mediocrity. Let us pass this unfortunate event by and dwell on it no more. Others who’ve posed as Vampirella include scream queens Brinke Stevens, Julie Strain and Caroline Munro. Like Sherlock Holmes or Lara Croft or Dracula, she is a character immediately recognizable by look. Literally hundreds of artists created portraits of her at one time or another. Do an image search on Google if you don’t believe me. Like Superman, she requires the right touch to tell her story. When and if someone finds that touch, or hook, or angle, we might be in for quite a treat.
Meanwhile, let us imagine still more casting choices. Summer Glau. Jessica Alba. Kate Beckinsale. Olga Kurylenko (these last two already played vampires elsewhere). Morena Baccarin (from “V”), Alessandra Torresani (from “Caprica”).
Who would you choose?