Saturday, August 13, 2011

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Justin Gustainis

The Baddest Vampire Ever
(onscreen edition)
by Justin Gustainis

Given the vampiric ambience of Roxanne’s site, I thought I would use my visit to present to you my candidate for the baddest (as in “That vampire is the evilest, baddest bloodsucker I’ve ever seen,” not “They say John Shaft is the baddest mofo in town.”) vampire ever to haunt the screen, either big or small.

My candidate isn’t one of the many Dracula portrayals, nor one of the nastier fangers from “True Blood” – and, most certainly, nobody who sparkles in sunlight (puh-leeze!) Instead, may I present to you: Prince Anton Voytek.

Voytek was the villain of a little-remembered 1979 made-for-TV movie called, oddly enough “Vampire.” It was a pilot for a series that was never made, but it had a pretty good cast, nonetheless: Jason Miller (who had made a big splash [no pun intended] in “The Exorcist” a few years earlier, E.G. Marshall (who had done some fine TV drama in the 1960s) and Kathryn Harrold (who was always good for playing a babe with brains). Voytek himself was portrayed by Richard Lynch, who made a career playing bad guys in film and TV, until he got old (now he makes a career playing old guys). In his prime (which 1979 certainly was) there was no badder bad guy than Richard Lynch.

So how formidable is this guy Voytek? At the beginning of the movie, he crawls out of the ground on land where (we later learn) his house once stood. The house was demolished decades ago, and is soon to be the site for a new church, which has finally motivated Voytek to get out of Dodge (or out of the dirt, anyway). Turns out, Voytek was going about biting necks thirty years earlier, and he was tracked to his lair by a vampire-hunting priest. Rather than eat a stake sandwich, Voytek (somehow) brought the whole house down on top of both of them. The priest was killed, and Voytek had no choice but to take a long nap.

Now Voytek is eager to establish himself again as a wealthy Euro trash nobleman (the “Prince” honorific is apparently true, except his line supposedly died out 300 years ago. Come to think of it, it did. He gets chummy with this married couple (Miller and Harrold) – he’s an architect, she’s an art historian. Turns out that Voytek has a bunch of paintings that have been stashed in a warehouse the last thirty or forty years. If they can be authenticated, they’ll be worth millions and Voytek can start living high again. Unfortunately, the art historian is a little too good at her job – she finds that the paintings, although legitimate objets d’art, were all looted by the Nazis during the war (how Voytek got them isn’t clear, but it’s not hard to envision him in an SS uniform).

So now the paintings have all been impounded, and Voytek is one unhappy bloodsucker. First he kills – and turns – the wife. On his way out of the house when he’s done with her, he passes a rare painting that he knows was the couple’s artistic pride and joy. Just for giggles, he drives a steak knife through it. Well, it was rare, after all….

Soon thereafter, Jason Miller’s character, half crazed with grief, starts putting two and two together, especially after his dead wife shows up and tries to put the bite on him. He ends up in the lobby of Voytek’s apartment building, raving, with a bunch of wooden stakes and crosses. He’s arrested on suspicion of terminal weirdness, and sent to a mental hospital for evaluation. But while there, in restraints, he has an unauthorized visitor.

Here’s a clip:

See? I told you this dude was nasty. The old guy with the cross is E.G. Marshall, BTW. He plays a retired cop named Harry who was friends with the vamp-hunting priest decades before, until the priest disappeared into the ruins of Voytek’s house. Harry has a pretty young niece, and you just know Voytek will get around to her sooner or later – and he does. And here comes one of my favorite lines of the film. Voytek calls Harry and says he’s nabbed the girl, and if Harry ever wants to see her alive again, blah, blah. Harry doesn’t take this too well and says to Voytek, “May God strike you dead!” “Oh, He has, Harry, He has,” Voytek purrs. “But I’m saving that story for when we meet – later tonight.”

So, to nobody’s surprise, Miller and Harry rescue the girl from the crypt where Voytek has stashed her (you were expecting a study carrel at the library?) But Voytek gets away, instead of finding out what two feet of pointed hickory feels like when it passes between your fourth and fifth ribs. As I said, this was a pilot for a series that the network didn’t pick up.

There you have my candidate for baddest TV/movie vamp of all time.

What’s yours? Why not make a comment and tell us?

Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.

Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Dial V For Vampire | Forbidden Spells | Bite Club | Scranton By Night ]

Senator Howard Stark wants to be President of the United States. So does the demon inside him. With the competing candidates dropping out due to scandal, blackmail, and ‘accidental’ death, Stark looks like a good bet to go all the way to the White House. And if he gets there, Hell on Earth will follow.

Occult investigator Quincey Morris and white witch Libby Chastain are determined to stop this evil conspiracy. But between them and Stark stand the dedicated agents of the US Secret Service – as well as the very forces of Hell itself. Quincey and Libby will risk everything to exorcise the demon possessing Stark.

If they fail, ‘Hail to the Chief’ will become a funeral march – for all of us.

About the Author

Justin Gustainis is a college professor living in upstate New York. In earlier incarnations, he has been a factory worker, soldier, speechwriter, and professional bodyguard. His short fiction has twice won the Graverson Award for Horror and received ‘Honorable Mention’ from Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 1. He is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Author website:

Giveaway Time

Justin is giving away a signed copy of each Hard Spell and Sympathy for the Devil
to 2 lucky commenters

open to worldwide shipping

To enter answer Justins' question above-

who gets your vote for baddest on screen vamp of all time?

Be sure to include your email address with comment


JenM said...

Hmm, to be honest, although I like sexy vamps, I don't usually watch scary vamp movies. However, I'll put in a vote for Drusilla from the Buffy series. That girl was both mad and evil. There was absolutely no redeeming her.

jen at delux dot com

loves to dive said...

O.K. if the little screen counts, gotta be Barnaby from Dark Shadows (you aren't the only old person who remembers the 70s you know)

Would love to read the books.
lvs2dv at gmail dot com

Cherry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cherry said...

I don't usually watch horror, ergo, vampire movies. But I did watch one because Brad Pitt was the vampire :) so that would therefore be the baddest and everything vampire movie to me :)

Cherry Mischievous
cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

Lorelei said...

I must have missed this one, or I've forgotten about it. Too bad the show didn't go on air, I would have watched it. 1979 was a great year for vampire movies. This looks great. Love to get my hands on a DVD someday.

I think that Angelis may have been the most demented vampire in recent memory--and he sure as hell didn't sparkle!

Leslee said...

Well, the only one I can think of is bad as in horrible is the main character of a movie called Rockula. The main character, I think his name was Ralph, was a teenage vamp and he was wanting to be a musician but he couldn't decide on his musical style so there were a bunch of musical numbers in different styles. Just about as painful as it sounds.

There was also a movie called To Die For with a vampire who was Vlad Tepes and there was a great scene where he melted that was claymation special effects. But in so bad he was good, I would go with Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows or Spike from Buffy.
denlsn at msn dot com

Bethie said...

I think Eric Northman from True Blood I very bad (and hot!)

I follow on GFC

Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Diana said...

For me is Gary Oldman from Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola.
I think the best vampire ever.
Thanks for the giveaway!

artgiote at gmail dot com

Debby said...

The only ones I have really seen are Dracula and Barnabas Collins. So between the two I would give Dracula my vote. debby236 at gmail dot com

donnas said...

I love Eric from True Blood.

But I am really looking forward to the Dark Shadows remake. The second remake they did of the TV show was ok, but I really have high hopes for the movie.


bacchus76 at myself dot com

Jen B. said...

I loved Dark Shadows. But I am a Buffy fan so I vote for Drusilla.
Thanks for the giveaway.

Anne said...

I'm 48, so Richrad Lynch's career was at it's hey day when I was a pre teen and teen. I used to love it when he was in something cause I new he'd be the perfect bad guy. He was ALWAYS the bad guy and usually the head bad guy.

I'd have to say the creep, scary a$$ dude from Nosferatu. Whoo, mama he was scary looking. I think they mentioned in a Patricia Brigg's novel that the character of Nosferatu was played by a real vampire who was just as scary in real life. ;-)

Suz said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win! I'm not a horror fan so am interpreting "bad" as cool...I liked Spike from the Buffy series. He could be evil and he could be sweet!

susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

erin said...

Thanks for the great interview and giveaway!

One of my favorite sexy but bad a** vampires would have to be Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. Before he got the be good chip and became part of the Scooby gang.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Barnabas Collins also gets my vote if only cause he started my vampire craze.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Krystal said...

I don't usually watch T.V. or movies much, but I think I'll go with Dracula from Dracula >< edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

Tore said...

I would agree Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was crazy and insane. Please enter me in contest.

Sinnaye said...

Twilight's Edward has to be the baddest ever... Joking. Just joking.
No, I agree with some of the comments above me citing Drusilla as a wickedly evil vampire. That sucker gave me the creeps with her dolls and all. Great creation of Joss Whedon and still to be outdone imho!


Julie said...

I don't know if he was the baddest, but he wasn't very nice: The Vampire Lestat from Interview with a Vampire.

jwitt33 at live dot com