November 17, 2011 | 10:30am
Ever since Stephenie Meyer captured the mainstream vampire, the fanged seducer -- once-celebrated for his strength and ability to terrorize -- has never been the same.
The great creature of the night became the rebel without a tan.
Meyer's flowery vampire fantasy land has left today's teen readers wanting the dark side dressed up in true love -- and has left us yearning for the vampire's better, bloodier, and ballsier days.
The Twilight saga continues, as Breaking Dawn (part one) premiers at midnight. If you're a true vampire fan, you can skip the theaters (and the tear-filled theater bathrooms) for a real vampire yarn.
Here are just five vampire books better than Twilight:
5. Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite (1992)
Back when the creepy high school kids were called goths and others actually feared them, they had certain items in their twisted toolbox.
Along with Skinny Puppy records, Brite's novel about the young vamp Nothing was practically mandatory. His introduction into the underworld provides the sex, drugs and rock n roll required from teen vampires.
4. Vampire the Masquerade by White Wolf Publishing (1991-2011)
Created as a role-playing game, much like Dungeons and Dragons, Masquerade has garnered an impressive reputation among genre fans for its dense mythology.
While the series composes the rules and story lines that run the game, the volumes provide tales for various clans as they fight their way to dominance.
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
The original bestseller that started it all remains one of the best. The Count who cornered the market on seduction still towers over the man-children that sell books today.
The original Dracula, as told through diary entries and letters, will always be unique despite countless imitations.
2. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (2009)
Introduced in the post-Twilight era, this forensic approach to bloodsuckers uses vampires to release a virus, which taps into every reader's disease phobias.
These monsters aren't pretty and they don't care if you survive. Told through the eyes of a CDC doctor who has to save New York, the story avoids unnecessary love-triangles and sticks to classic horror.
1. Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice (1988)
Forget the movie of the same name. (It never happened. No one needs to know.) The third book in Rice's Vampire Chronicles summed up everything we like about vampires, including a convincing take on the vampire as a heartthrob. Too bad her later books didn't follow through.