I'm a fan of gothic and vampire-themed media who loves writing about notable actresses and famous women.
16 Famous Goth Women and Famous Female Vampires
Here's a look at some famous (and beautiful) vampire and gothic-type women from TV and films over the years.
You know... vampires and gothic women were not always what you see on TV and in the movies today. Oh to be sure, we had our share of vampiric temptresses, but we also had some dark and seductive vampires and goths that were almost like June Cleaver (or a meat cleaver). So when you hear someone say "Come to the dark side... we have cookies"—a few of these ladies may be the ones that baked them.
Let's start with the lady that most consider the prototype of the dark beauties that we all came to love....
1. Vampira (Maila Nurmi)
Probably the first really cool goth chick was Vampira. Vampira was Maila Nurmi, a Finnish-American actress who was born Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi on December 11th, 1922 in Petsamo, Finland (which is now Pechenga, Russia). Her measurements were an amazing 38-17-36!
Maila actually based the Vampira character on Charles Addams' character Morticia Addams in the Addams Family cartoons. Her husband, Dean Riesner, came up with the name Vampira.
At the height of her popularity, she was so famous that she appeared in a sketch on the "The Red Skelton Show" with horror greats Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney Jr. She also appeared in Ed Wood's infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space as a Vampira-like zombie.
"You're watching our Halloween movie White Zombie, starring Bela Lugosi, John Harron, Madge Bellamy, and a bunch of other people I've never heard of."
— Vampira in Ed Wood (1994)
Video: "The Vampira Show" (1954)
2. Morticia Addams (The Addams Family)
The Addams Family TV series barely beat The Munsters to the small screen, debuting on September 18th, 1964 on ABC. And of course the life's blood of the Addams Family was Morticia Addams, played by Carolyn Jones.
What can you say about Morticia? She's aristocratic and sophisticated, but still deeply devoted to her family—and the one to rein in Gomez when he went a little too far. Which was pretty much... always.
"I've been yours since that first day you carved my initials in your leg."
— Morticia Addams, The Addams Family (1964)
3. Lily Munster (The Munsters)
The second gothic TV mom was Lily Munster (played by Yvonne De Carlo), also known as the Countess of Shroudshire (Dracula).
Unlike Morticia, Lily really was royalty, but she behaved more like a 1960s TV mom. Like Morticia, Lily was deeply devoted to her family.
Oddly enough, neither Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) or Al Lewis (Grandpa) thought that Yvonne would take the role of Lily because she was a "real actress."
In the pilot, Lily was called Phoebe and was played by Joan Marshall.
"Grandpa, if you want the ketchup, just say 'Please pass the ketchup,' not 'Shoot me the plasma!'"
— Lily Munster, The Munsters (1964)
4. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Elvira started out as a movie host like Vampira did. As a matter of fact, she was so close to Vampira that it sparked a court battle.
When you looked at Elvira, you saw a wicked vampiric-looking temptress... until she opened her mouth. Then it was all quick-witted (and usually cheesy) barbs delivered with a Valley-girl cadence.
Elvira became so popular at one time that she had two PC games, two Elvira-themed pinball machines, and two movies. She even appeared with U2 when they played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Halloween night, 1992.
Elvira: Bloody Mary.
Bartender: No hard liquor served past eight o'clock. Do you want a virgin?
Elvira: Maybe, but, ah... I'll have a couple of drinks first.
— Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)
5. Darla (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have been about slaying vampires, but it had some of the best vampire characters on TV. Darla was the sire of Angel, and not your typical-looking vamp. And Darla was also the first vampire to ever be seen on Buffy in the first episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (she was even in the unaired pilot).
Her blond hair and blue eyes separated her from your standard "dark" vampiresses, and it was even mentioned in the series that Angel may have been drawn to Buffy because she resembled Darla—and in real life, Julie Benz auditioned for the role of Buffy but lost out to Sarah Michelle Gellar.
"You're hurting me!... I like it!"
— Darla, Angel (1999)
6. Drusilla (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel)
Drusilla, probably my favorite "crazy vamp," was the child of Angelus and the girlfriend of Spike. Juliet Landau literally chewed up the scenery in ever scene she was in. The blend of childlike innocent and homicidal maniac might have been lost on a lesser actress, but Juliet pulled it off with what appeared to be ease.
Drusilla: You have beautiful skin.
Lilah Morgan: I moisturize.
Drusilla: That was very thoughtful of you.
— Angel (1999)
Video: Darla & Drusilla (Transylvanian Concubines)
7. Willow Vamp (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Willow Vamp was the precursor to Dark Willow and a major cult character. I think everyone loved seeing shy, demure Willow turn into the sexy, man-eating Vampire Willow. And like Juliet Landau with Dru, Alyson Hannigan tore up every scene she was in. Again, this role would have been lost on a lesser actress.
— Willow Vamp, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). Simple line, but it was all in the delivery.
8. Lillie Langtry (Kindred: The Embraced)
In the cult series Kindred: The Embraced, the stunning Stacy Haiduk played the mysterious, classy and deadly Lillie Langtry. Stacy has always had this kind of ethereal beauty that made the character. You may remember her as Lana Lang from the old Superboy TV show. I really think she should've shown up as a vampire on True Blood...
9. Sasha (Kindred: The Embraced)
Also on Kindred: The Embraced, Brigid Brannagh played the flip side to the reserved Lillie, the brash and fiery Sasha. The living descendant of Julian Luna, Sasha was forcibly embraced by the Brujah Cameron.
10. Morticia (The Addams Family films)
Morticia, again? Yes, you can't talk about beautiful gothic and vampiric women without mentioning Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams in the two Addams Family movies, The Addams Family and Addams Family Values.
Even though Carolyn Jones made Morticia hers, Anjelica owned the role in a different way, bringing in some of the TV Morticia and some of the Charles Addams original Morticia feel (I don't think she ever spoke in the New Yorker cartoons). Anyway, Anjelica's Morticia was familiar, but with her own unique twist.
Morticia: Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!
— The Addams Family (1991)
11. Claire Radcliff (The Gates)
Claire Radcliff of The Gates tries so hard to be good. But it's kind of hard balancing your inner Martha Stewart and Lady Bathory at the same time. So, she does the best that she can—and tries to cut down on snacks.
Of course, the gorgeous lady who plays Claire, Rhona Mitra, is no stranger to vampires. She was in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans as Sonja.
"I could end you, and you'd never see it coming."
— Claire Radcliff, The Gates (2010)
12. Jessica Hamby (True Blood)
Probably the hottest female vampire on TV was Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll) on True Blood. This gorgeous redhead came a long ways since she was introduced back in the first season.
She started out as a young girl from an abusive home who wound up being Bill's punishment for murdering another vampire. Bill had to turn Jessica, an innocent. But though Jessica started out as an innocent, she ended up far from that.
"I can kill anybody I want and there's an awful lot of people I'd like to kill."
— Jessica Hamby, True Blood (2008)
13. Pam (True Blood)
Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, or just Pam, is the "childe" of Eric on True Blood. Pam is also Eric's assistant, bouncer and at times reluctant sidekick.
Even though Pam is considered a supporting character, try telling that to the legion of Pam fans on the internet. "Team Pam" is a pretty big group.
She is played by Kristin Bauer.
"It may be 10 minutes from now or 10 years—the moment you think you're safe, I promise I will hunt you down and shred you like confetti."
— Pam, True Blood (2008)
14. Lily Munster (Mockingbird Lane)
In 2012, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller tried to re-vamp the original Munsters. Despite what the critics (and 95% of the internet said) I thought Mockingbird Lane actually had promise. Okay... probably because I loved Pushing Daisies and Eddie Izzard played Grandpa. But Portia de Rossi was no slouch as Lily Munster. Given time, this may have actually been something. But in TV... time is one thing you do not have.
15. Rebekah Mikaelson (The Vampire Diaries)
Original vampire Rebekah Mikaelson was played by Claire Holt in seasons three and four of the CW hit show The Vampire Diaries. The big news with her is that she also appeared on the The Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals.
16. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (Josette Laughlin, The Vampire Diaries)
Besides playing Josette Laughlin on The Vampire Diaries, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe was also in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, The Crow: Salvation, Devil in the Flesh 2 and Out for Blood (where she played a vampire). So she has a good-sized vampire/gothic background going for her.
Goth and Vampire Women Comments
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 23, 2017:
I think that Lilly Munster comes across as the 'archetypal seductress' mainly due to her prior roles as Princesses of exotic realms.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 21, 2017:
I absolutely fell head over heels for Morticia Addams over the way she would shuffle about the floor.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 04, 2016:
A brief article in this morning's daily reported a new book and photo album for Elvira's 35 years of prominence.
Essential readings for we Goths, goules and steampunks.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on September 28, 2016:
On relecting on the Adams Family whether it be cartoon, T.V. series or the movie remakes. I'v had a long hard think on which family members are Goth or in fact another genre. Morticia most definately. Wednesday ? Possibly! Lurch - borderline case, as he is the family's butler, he may be in the zombie category although he has mastered the harpsicord brilliantly.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on September 14, 2016:
Greetings my little Darklings.
Yes indeed. The scenario of a wyche or vampire Queen turning unsuspecting males into replicant humanoids dates back to the Grecian myth in the Odyssey where shipwrecked sailors were turned into swine by Circe. Circe the Greek word for a witch. She could also metamorh them back to human form to be her slaves.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 26, 2016:
Further to my posting on Yvonne de Carlo as Lily. Yes indeed her acting role was certainly a departure from previous filmography, She tended to be exotic Princesses in Arabian Nights types of scenarios or the Buccaneering lady on pirate ships. However Yvonne de Carlo did take to that role in the Munsters quite convincingly. Oh! Just to mention Maila Nurmi, i'm showing my age now but the were in the days of really scary movies.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 12, 2016:
Beguiling English 'Diva' Patricia Laffan in the 1954 production of Devil Girl from Mars, although she was neither a devil or a girl should rate a mention here. Miss Laffan portrayed Nyah a gothiquesc type of amazon woman sent by the Queen of Mars to procure Earthly males as breeding stock. Nyah selected two men to come with her but could not understand why their wives objected to this!
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on January 27, 2016:
When we got the T.V series of the Addam's Family followed by the Munster a season or two after we had no idea they had to compete for viewer's ratings with other channels in USA but accepted them as a sort alternative family based on a cartoon strip and a spoof on monsters respectively. Caroline Jones played the Morticia role serenely and could be suitably sensitive with her macabre wit. Angelica Hustin was a perfect reprise of Morticia. I didn't consider Yvonne de Carlo actually in a monster category, more like a more motherly bride of Frankenstein.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on November 26, 2015:
During a lull in activity i had decided to re visit some sites to review or amend previous comments. The exotic and alluring English actress Martine Beswick in her 1974 film 'Seizure' portrayed the Queen of Evil who had two henchmen, a giant and a dwarf. This deadly trio took delight in bringing nightmarish scenarios to unsuspecting victims.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 20, 2015:
The Hollywood actress and screen siren Nina Foch in her lengthy career as a celebrity certainly did this role earlier in film. Miss Foch had an extensive filmography both inb movies and on television. More to follow!
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 03, 2015:
The 1960's television series 'Thriller' hosted by Boris Karlof did have some episodes where there was a witch, vampire or a femme fatale portrayed but as it was a series of separate episodes staring lesser well known actors it is a bit hazy to recall names.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 20, 2015:
Glamorous English diva Honor Blackman in the 1965 'Secret of my success' convincingly portrayed the beguiling Baroness Von Lukenberg. A bizarre aristocratic lady not content to enjoy her position of power but also to breed deadly spiders the size of sheep which she put to good use for her own devious ends. Also she was clever enough to divert the blame for her creation toward others. Miss Blackman reprised a similar character and plot line in a later Doctor Who series albeit aliens not spiders.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 19, 2015:
Trying to think of the Hollywood actress who predated Elvira by a couple of decades I recall she was of Finnish nationality and only portrayed the Vampyre genre.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on September 25, 2014:
Greetings my little Darklings!
Difficult for us to imagine the attractive Hollywood actress Sharon Tate appearing in a 'Gothique' genre movie. That is exactly the part she landed in the 1966 production of Eye of the devil. Sharon portrayed Odile de Carey who along with her brother caused mayhem and mystery inside the sinster Chateau Hautefort.
Repose in peace Sharon.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 02, 2014:
Has Wonder Woman gone stark raving Goth in this latest movie?
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 28, 2014:
Could we have Grace Jones added to the list
Though techniquely not a vampyre but
ertainly a VAMP?
mts1098 on February 24, 2013:
This is the best collection of Vampire women I have seen...You got everyone I can think of...True Blood is a great series and I have followed it since it started...
Google Gothic on July 23, 2010:
Nice Hub. Love Elvira
ipodmovies on January 05, 2010:
Elvira was the best!
Tim from Los Angeles, CA on December 03, 2009:
Good hub here. I did not know that about U2, Elvira & Dodger Stadium @ Halloween '92. hopefully, there's video out there!