7 Essential Dracula Stories | SYFY WIRE

WATCH: 7 essential Dracula movies

Contributed by
Aug 17, 2018, 1:45 PM EDT

Just try thinking of "vampires" and the fanged face that probably materializes in the your mind — if he's not already glaring through your window — is Dracula.

He was inspired by an actual serial killer. He's not a full-time glampire. He doesn't sparkle or seduce unsuspecting teenage girls, and is more likely to give you nightmares than NC-17 fantasies. However, ever since Bram Stoker immortalized him as the monster of his 1897 novel, Dracula has become the icon of his subgenre more than any other being that rises out of a coffin after sundown to hunt for human blood.

Stoker never intended Dracula to have looks. The movie version that was supposedly closest to his own vision was the 1922 thriller Nosferatu, for which Max Schreck was morphed into a ghoul with heavy prosthetics that made the actor completely unrecognizable (that was the goal). Those deranged elf ears and claw hands can't possibly be human.

Dracula would evolve into his most recognizable form when Bela Lugosi transformed into the character in 1931's Dracula. That one film was what would forever merge his name with that of the legendary vampire and make him the inspiration behind countless party store Halloween masks. It's nearly impossible not to recognize that grave voice, intense stare, and insanely defined widow's peak.

Future Draculas would continue to haunt the screen. Each actor to wear that cloak brought something unforgettable to the role, from Leslie Nielsen's so-bad-it's-good vamp fail in Dracula: Dead and Loving it to Gary Oldman’s steampunk predator in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Many iterations of the character would famously crawl through Mina’s window in the dead of night, but it was Frank Langella's 1979 Dracula that made the scene so memorable it was emulated by the Indoraptor in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

From hypnotic stares to bat transfigurations, watch to see what makes each of these 7 bloodsuckers essential to the underworld of horror cinema.