8. Miriam Blaylock – The Hunger (1983)
Tony Scott’s erotic thriller The Hunger is a techno daydream that devolves into a nightmare. Catherine Deneuve plays Miriam, a centuries-old vampire posing as a rich and cultured woman in New York City. When her lover John (David Bowie), begins to age rapidly, Miriam’s secret comes to light: what she offers is not eternal youth and beauty, but simply eternal life. Eventually, all of her lovers succumb to time.
Miriam’s power over Sarah (Susan Sarandon), a young doctor desperate to discover the secret to eternal life, is deeply sexy. Sarah is immediately taken by Miriam. She accepts a drink she does not like, simply because Miriam insists that she will. Sarah blushes deeply in her presence, even asking directly if Miriam is making a pass at her, obviously hoping that the answer is yes. It’s so effortless that Miriam barely lifts a finger or says a word. Sarah is hers from the moment she walks inside her apartment.
Their union is short-lived. Sarah rejects the world of the undead, killing herself instead of living a life as a monster. Reality eventually sets in and Sarah’s life meets a sobering end, but it is fun to be in Miriam’s clutches for a while.
7. Cara Webb – Byzantium (2012)
In Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, Clara Webb (Gemma Arterton) is a vampire on the run. Decades ago, while dying of Tuberculosis, Clara freed herself from her abuser and turned herself and her young daughter, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), into vampires. But, because they are women – exiled by The brotherhood and forbidden to create – they are hunted.
Clara uses her power over men to her advantage. After being abused and humiliated in her human life, Clara is not merciful. She kills those who threaten her and Eleanor’s safety without thinking twice. As Clara, Gemma Arterton oozes sex appeal. From her smudged, black eyeshadow to her tight-fitted tops and high heels, Clara revels in her sexuality. She takes control of her body, refusing to submit to any man again. At times it feels like she wears her sexuality as a shield, a weapon yielded at anyone who would doubt her intelligence and power.
6. Edward Cullen – Twilight (2008)
Based on the book by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight became an overnight sensation, propelling Robert Pattinson to international fame (seemingly against his will). The frenzy surrounding Twilight lasted years and garnered massive hate and backlash. “…you would have thought teenage girls had taken to tossing cannonballs off overpasses onto rush hour traffic, as opposed to grooving to the erotic possibilities in a book series,” Sheila O’Malley wrote in her essay “Teenage Girls Know Something We Don’t“. “That girls loved Twilight was treated as a national emergency.”
With more than ten years of hindsight, it’s easy to see why Edward Cullen was so captivating and attractive. Twilight is a romance after all, and Edward is deeply devoted to Bella (Kristen Stewart). He is a monster to everyone but her. When Edward and Bella first kiss, he climbs into her bedroom through the window. She’s on her bed, in just a t-shirt and underwear. The scene is tense and erotic. When Bella finally breaks the distance between them, Edward hurls her onto the bed, gripping her thighs. He’s so overcome with lust that he has to physically throw himself off her.
Though Edward lacks a lot of usual vampire elements – he doesn’t burn in the sun or have fangs – his appeal lies in his sexual desire for Bella. Desperate for her blood, yet unwilling to give in. It’s erotic to be wanted that much, to have that much power over someone.
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