With or without a soul, Spike from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is my all-time favorite vampire. (I started to say "fictional vampire", then realized that would be redundant.) Spike, with his soulful eyes, biting wit, and self-deprecating humor could definitely tempt me to try love at first bite. (And my oh my, what about those cheekbones???!!!)
Spike (as portrayed by the incomparable James Marsters) arrived in Sunnydale early in the second season with his lunatic lover Druscilla in tow. Introduced as the definitive Big Bad, no one could have guessed his character's journey would lead him to fall deeply and irrevocably in love with Buffy, proving just how quickly loathing can turn to love when one's nemesis is a diminutive blonde with a martyr complex and a weakness for creatures of the night.
Their sizzling chemistry was explored in Season Four in the episode "Something Blue" when a heartbroken Willow inadvertantly cast a love spell on the vampire and the Slayer. To the horror of Buffy's friends and family, Buffy and Spike begin to nuzzle each other's necks and pick out china patterns for their wedding. In Spike's piece de resistance, the Season Five episode "Fool for Love", the pre-vampire Spike is revealed to have been a sensitive soul, something of a mama's boy who was christened "Spike" and "William the Bloody" not because he was so fearsome but because he wrote poetry so bloody awful it made you want to drive a spike through your forehead. (What writer who has ever been reviewed by KIRKUS couldn't identify with that?) This episode also revealed that by the 1980's Spike had metamorphosed into a leather-clad vampire so preternaturally cool that Billy Idol stole his platinum locks and rebel's snarl.
Spike won my heart for keeps at the end of this episode when he marched up to Buffy's house with shotgun in hand, determined to purge his life and heart of the Slayer forever. Instead he ended up letting her cry on his shoulder while he awkwardly patted hers. More tingles ensued when Buffy and Spike finally consummated their attraction with a swoon-worthy kiss at the end of the legendary musical episode, "Once More with Feeling."
What I'd like to know is: Who is YOUR favorite vampire of all-time? Do you prefer Angel's Heathcliff-style brooding to Spike's caustic sarcasm? Did Frank Langella's smoldering DRACULA tempt you to leave your balcony door unlocked or would you prefer to have Gary Oldman's untrimmed fingernails caressing your throat? Does Louis or Lestat light your fire? Do you prefer the laid-back Southern gentleman Bill from Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series or the cunning and elegant Jean-Claude from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books? In a fictional world where every vampire has a little bit of soul, who would YOU be most likely to greet at your front door with those two immortal words, "Bite me"???