Fangs for the memories

From the silent classic "Nosferatu" to the romantic chiller "Twilight," screen vampires seem to just keep coming back.

Vampires are hard to kill, as everyone knows, and the current bumper crop of entertainment featuring the baleful bloodsuckers shows they're as popular today as when the silent shocker "Nosferatu" first gave filmgoers the willies back in 1922. The 2009 TV series "The Vampire Diaries" is based on the book series of the same name by L.J. Smith. In it two vampire brothers Stefan and Damon - one good, one evil - are at war for Elena Gilbert, a teenager who looks exactly like a woman both brothers loved more than a century ago. Who will win Elena's heart? And how safe are the residents of Mystic Falls?

"Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" (2009) is based on the popular fantasty-adventure book series by Darren Shan. The film tells the story of teenager Darren Shan played by Chris Massoglia, whose life changes after he stumbles upon a traveling freak show and gets turned into a bloodthirsty creature by a vampire named Larten Crepsley portrayed by John C. Reilly.

"Twilight" (2008) is based on the young adult vampire-romance book series by Stephenie Meyer. The film tells the story of a teen, played by Kristen Stewart, whose heart is captured by a vampire, portrayed by Robert Pattinson. The two struggle to manage their forbidden love affair when a new vampire makes it his quest to hunt her down for her blood.

"True Blood" is an HBO drama series based on the "Sookie Stackhouse" book series by Charlaine Harris. In it, vampires and humans co-exist in Bon Temps, a small Louisiana town. Anna Paquin plays Sookie, a telepathic waitress who falls in love with a vampire played by Stephen Moyer, shown here.

Starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale, "Van Helsing" is based on the character Abraham Van Helsing from Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula." The 2004 film mashes together characters and plotlines from the film "The Wolf Man" and the novel "Frankenstein." In it, Van Helsing is a monster hunter who is sent to Transylvania to destroy Dracula.

In the 2003 film "Underworld," a beautiful vampire warrior, played by Kate Beckinsale, is caught in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. She hates werewolves, but falls in love with a human who is bitten by a werewolf and becomes one of them.

Inspired by a Marvel Comics character, "Blade" (1998) is the story of a half-vampire, half-human superhero, played by Wesley Snipes, who battles Frost, a vampire who aims to enslave humanity. Two sequels, "Blade II" and "Blade: Trinity," were produced after the film's success.

The 1997-2003 TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was a cult hit spun off from a much less successful 1992 film of the same name. The show starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, a "slayer" who battles vampires and demons.

With an all-star cast including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and a young Kirsten Dunst, "Interview with the Vampire" was a box-office hit in 1994. Based on the 1976 novel by Anne Rice, it involves a vampire who tells his life's tale of love and loneliness.

From Francis Ford Coppola, director of the "Godfather" films, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) follows the count from Transylvania to London to find a young woman who is the double of the love he lost centuries earlier. The film starred Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder.

In the teen vampire horror/comedy flick "The Lost Boys" (1987), a group of teenage vampires attempts to recruit a new member, who doesn't know he's getting up to his neck in trouble. Among the stars are Jason Patric, Corey Haim and Kiefer Sutherland -- all in over-the-top 80s hairdos.

David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve portrayed undead lovers who fit quite well into New York City's goth scene in this highly stylized 1983 horror film. But they find that even vampires have romantic issues when Bowie's character begins aging while Deneuve's does not.

Stephen King's best-selling 1975 novel about a small Maine town that gradually becomes infested with vampires became a hit TV miniseries in 1979. It was adapted for television a second time in 2004.

George Hamilton was a fading leading man known mainly for having dated LBJ's daughter Lynda Bird Johnson when he revivified his career with this 1979 comedy. In it, Dracula is exiled from Romania by the Communists, and winds up disco dancing in New York City.

Befitting the swinging '70s, Frank Langella gave the undead count a highly sensual interpretation, drawing critical acclaim but only modest box office. Laurence Olivier costarred as Dracula's archenemy, vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing.

The heyday of "blaxploitation" films aimed at African-American audiences brought this 1972 horror film starring William Marshall as an African prince who was turned into a vampire by Dracula himself, then released from his coffin to wreak havoc in modern Los Angeles. Marshall reprised the role in the 1973 sequel "Scream Blacula Scream."

The gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows" became an overnight sensation six months into its five-year ABC run when a new character was introduced: vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid. The show became a cult hit, and Frid continued to appear at fan conventions decades after the series ended in 1971.

In 1958, Britain's Hammer Film Productions revived the Dracula franchise with a graphic new version of Stoker's novel starring the imposing London-born actor Christopher Lee. The film was a hit, generating a series of sequels featuring Lee.

Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi played Dracula on Broadway before reprising the role in Tod Browning's iconic 1931 film, in which he uttered the immortal line, "I never drink ... wine."

Screen vampires have thrilled and chilled as far back as "Nosferatu" F.W. Murnaus 1922 silent classic. The German film was the first adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," but because it was unauthorized, the characters names were changed.