For almost every vampire, there is a vampire hunter. Vampires may be exciting, they may be hot, they may even have good intentions once in a while, but they also drink human blood. Because of that, they will always have human enemies. Hunters know the truth: vampires exist and represent an existential threat to the human population. Fortunately, hunters also know there are ways to get rid of vampires if one has the right tools and the will to use them. Vampire hunters are often on a noble quest to save people who inadvertently find themselves preyed on by the undead. They put themselves in harm’s way because they have nurtured the skills they need to protect and defend others. And if that means they can work out a personal vendetta against vampire-kind in the process, even better.
Here we rank pop culture’s mightiest vampire hunters. No vampires or dhampirs, though. While a number of vampires and half-vampires hunt their own kind, including Vampire Hunter D, Blade, and Angel, you won’t find them on this list. The hunters listed aren’t children of the night. Some of them are purely human, while some have a little something extra that makes them the perfect adversary for the vampires they seek to end. Regardless, these hunters discovered the vampire threat and decided they couldn’t sit this battle out. They jumped into the fight and found they were actually pretty good at it. This is what makes them accomplished vampire hunters. Here they are, officially ranked.
20 ROBERT NEVILLE (I AM LEGEND)
In Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend and many of its adaptations, Robert Neville is the last man on Earth. He is the only individual who's avoided being infected by a disease that turns people into vampires. Neville spends his days dispatching sleeping vampires by driving stakes through their hearts and his nights barricaded in his house as the vampires become active.
As Neville researches the cause of the disease, he also determines better ways to kill the vampires, including exposure to sunlight. Neville becomes so efficient at killing the vampires, that he attracts the attention of a new community that has learned to live with the disease — a development that ultimately leads to Neville’s downfall — and his becoming the legend of the title.
19 THE FROG BROTHERS (THE LOST BOYS)
Santa Carla, a small California beach town, is infested with vampires. While most people spend their days playing in the sun and sand, unaware of what lurks in the shadows after dark, brothers Edgar and Alan Frog know the truth. When they meet the new guy in town, Sam, they attempt to use comic books to teach him about the vampire threat.
They eventually team up with Sam to take down the vampires after Sam’s brother becomes infected. This puts their largely untested knowledge of the undead to the test. While the Frog Brothers have a surprisingly good grasp of the ways to kill vampires, their execution could use some work. But they manage to stay alive, and that counts for a lot.
18 FATHER CALLAHAN (SALEM’S LOT AND THE DARK TOWER SERIES)
Father Donald Callahan is a creation of horror novelist Stephen King. He originally appeared in his book ‘Salem’s Lot where he first learned about vampires. In that book, the troubled alcoholic priest leads his first vampire hunts. However, when Callahan encounters Kurt Barlow, the head vampire, he loses his faith and is forced to drink Barlow’s blood. After those demeaning events, Callahan slinks out of town.
When Callahan resurfaces in several of King’s Dark Tower books, he becomes a more effective vampire hunter, learns more about the different types, and eventually finds his faith restored. Although he eventually dies during a battle with a gang of vampires, his story is ultimately one of redemption, and his commitment to hunting vampires is a big part of that.
17 VANESSA VAN HELSING (VAN HELSING)
Vanessa, from the TV show Van Helsing, is a descendent of Abraham Van Helsing. However, she was adopted at a young age and has no knowledge of her heritage. So, when vampires rise and take control of the world, she’s quickly taken out. Three years later, she wakes up and learns that she’s an almost perfect vampire killing machine. She has amazing fighting skills and her bite turns vampires back into humans
Yet, there’s something odd about this vampire hunter. She learns that when she drinks blood, it makes her stronger and faster. Also, if she feels threatened, she flies into an animalistic rage, fighting without mercy. As a hunter, Vanessa’s all instinct, no tactics. Hopefully she’ll eventually learn how to better manage her vampire-hunting skills.
16 CARL KOLCHAK (KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER)
Carl Kolchak sees dead people — and all kinds of supernatural monsters. The protagonist of 1972 and 1973 TV movies and of a one-season TV series from 1974 to 1975, Kolchak is a journalist who keeps finding himself investigating stories whose causes turn out to be supernatural.
Kolchak sees the supernatural threats to the world clearly, but he has trouble convincing others that what he discovers is real. The proof of his claims is often destroyed, making his stories seem implausible. And yet, using trial and error and a crude knowledge of the supernatural, Kolchak tends to prevail over the creatures he takes on, including a vampire he staked in his very first television outing.
15 CIB (ULTRAVIOLET)
Those who are familiar with the 1998 British mini-series Ultraviolet will know that CIB's listing here is a bit of a misdirect. While the vampire hunting organization says they are part of CIB as a cover story, the group is actually the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. It has the joint support of the British government and the Vatican and is led by a priest.
The organization uses often-brutal tactics to hunt down and kill any vampires they find. Meanwhile, they study the vampire’s physiology and they investigate what the vampires are up to as they organize against humankind. The Congregation knows they’re in a war with the vampires — and they’re determined to win.
14 ANITA BLAKE (ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER)
Anita Blake, the protagonist of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series is, as the title states, a professional vampire hunter who works with the police to stop supernatural threats. In Blake’s world, the existence of supernatural creatures is public knowledge, which means someone must control the creatures that break the law. That person is Blake.
Not only is Blake a vampire hunter, she is also a necromancer who can raise the dead to question them. Throughout the book series, Blake gains additional powers, often due to her encounters with powerful vampires. While Blake is highly competent at her job, she often gets a little too close to the supernatural creatures she’s supposed to investigate and execute.
13 JACK CROW (VAMPIRES)
In John Carpenter’s 1998 film Vampires, Jack Crow leads a team of vampire hunters — until they are almost all slaughtered in an ambush by the first, and therefore strongest, vampire. Crow, one of only two of the team’s survivors, goes after the master vampire who is looking for a Catholic relic that will allow him to become invulnerable to sunlight.
With the help of a priest, a prostitute, and his lone living team member, Crow manages to thwart the vampire’s plans and kill him in the process. Along the way, Crow also beats up a priest and kills a whole lot of lesser vampires. Crow’s not the most pleasant individual, but he gets the job done — and when it comes to vampires, that’s what matters.
12 MELAKA FRAY (BUFFYVERSE)
Melaka Fray from the Fray graphic novel is a vampire slayer, she just doesn’t know it. Far in the future, long after Buffy’s time, Fray learns about her calling. There hasn't been a slayer for a long time because the forces of darkness were mostly killed off, but in Fray’s time they start to make a comeback.
Although Fray had the enhanced fighting and healing abilities that come with the slayer package, she hasn’t had any of the dreams that alert slayers to their special purpose. Instead, that knowledge was granted to her twin brother, Harth, who used it to become a vampire, and to try to bring Hell to Earth. With very little training, Fray bests Harth’s supernatural army and thwarts his plans.
11 SOLOMON KANE
Solomon Kane, a creation of Robert E. Howard (who also created Conan the Barbarian), is a dour late 16th century Puritan who dresses all in black and wanders the world fighting monsters and demons of all kinds, including vampires. The character appeared in a number of stories in pulp magazines but has also been the subject of a film, comics, and even a role-playing game.
Despite his rootless, solitary existence, Kane is a remarkably effective hunter and killer. He tracks supernatural evil across Europe and Africa with a single-minded intensity that always leads to the downfall of the beasts he’s hunting.
10 ABRAHAM LINCOLN (ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER)
According to Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Lincoln wasn’t just the 16th president of the United States, he was also an ace vampire hunter. At the tender age of 11, Lincoln learns that his mother was killed by vampires, and he vows to kill as many of the undead as possible in retaliation.
In the course of pursuing his quest to end the bloodsucking scourge, he learns that evil vampires are purchasing slaves at auction for food. Lincoln comes to the conclusion that ending slavery will end vampires. He becomes the president to pursue those ends and manages to largely drive the vampires from America. Credit where it’s due — serving as president by day and vampire hunter by night isn’t easy.
9 LUCIAN (UNDERWORLD)
The vampires that populate the Underworld movies are fixated on keeping their bloodline pure. This is an issue that started with the first Lycan, Lucian. Lucian was the child of a werewolf at a time when werewolves were slaves to vampires. Unlike the werewolves, though, Lucian could change from human to wolf at will, making him the first Lycan.
When Lucian falls in love with a vampire and the relationship is discovered, the leader of the vampires condemns the couple to death. Lucian manages to escape and rallies the Lycans against the vampires, starting the Vampire-Lycan War that’s still raging centuries later. Between being enslaved by them and watching them kill his lover, Lucian has some pretty legitimate reasons for wanting to eradicate vampires.
8 HOLTZ (ANGEL)
Daniel Holtz is a powerful vampire hunter who appeared on the Buffy spin-off Angel, but that doesn’t make him an ally of the supernatural-slaying vampire-with-a-soul. Holtz originally hunted vampires in the 18th century. But when Angelus and Darla killed his wife and infant son and turned his daughter into a vampire, Holtz agreed to a demon’s offer to go into suspended animation to seek his revenge on the vampires later.
Holtz is reanimated in 2001 where he learns Angelus now has a soul — and an infant son. Wanting to cause Angel as much pain as possible, Holtz devises an elaborate plan to kidnap the baby and turn him against Angel. While Holtz was an effective vampire killer, he was perhaps even more effective at exacting revenge.
7 SAM AND DEAN WINCHESTER (SUPERNATURAL)
Sam and Dean Winchester, the heroes of the TV show Supernatural, hunt anything that goes bump in the night and sometimes that means vampires. They are accomplished vampire hunters both together and individually. Not only have they taken out whole nests of the undead, Sam even killed the first and most powerful Alpha Vampire.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all vampires are bad. The brothers have been known to spare vampires who don’t feed on human blood. Furthermore, for a while Dean’s best friend was a vampire with a heart of gold named Benny who eventually agrees to die in order to help Dean get his brother back.
6 ABRAHAM WHISTLER (BLADE)
It’s undeniable that Blade is the star vampire hunter of the Blade stories. However, Abraham Whistler plays a big role in Blade’s life as a mentor, father figure, and knowledgeable dispatcher of vampires in his own right. Whistler became a vampire hunter after his family was taken out by a brutal vampire that also tortured him. His mission is driven by vengeance, leading to a lonely existence focused only on ridding the world of the undead.
When Whistler finds a young Blade and realizes how powerful the half-vampire boy is, he trains him and develops a serum to suppress his bloodlust. Whistler turns Blade into an accomplished vampire killer and fights with him against the vampires he hates.
5 RAYNA CRUZ (THE VAMPIRE DIARIES)
The Vampire Diaries featured quite a few vampire hunters over its eight seasons, including major characters like Jeremy Gilbert and Alaric Saltzman. However, the most fearsome and relentless of these is Rayna Cruz. Cruz became a vampire hunter in the 19th century. When her father died, a tribe of Native American shaman give her enhanced abilities to continue to pursue her fight against the undead, including strength, speed, and multiple lives.
Since then, she’s hunted down any and all vampires she comes across. On the show, Cruz tracks vampire protagonist Stefan Salvatore tirelessly. Eventually she agrees to give up her last life to Bonnie, a member of Stefan’s inner circle, because, unbeknownst to Bonnie, she will inherit Rayna’s need to kill all vampires.
4 THE BELMONT CLAN (CASTLEVANIA)
The family that slays together stays together — at least that's the case for the Belmont Clan, a family of vampire hunters from the Castlevania video games. The Belmonts stand against Dracula — who is constantly being resurrected — generation after generation with their main weapon, a whip called the Vampire Killer that can destroy vampires and other creatures of darkness.
Simon Belmont is perhaps the most well-known member of the family and was the first protagonist in the Castlevania games. He takes on Dracula at his castle and manages to defeat him, despite being injured and cursed in the process.
3 THE HELLSING ORGANIZATION (HELLSING)
The manga and anime series Hellsing centers on the work of the Hellsing Organization, a military group whose goal is to protect Britain from supernatural creatures. The organization is run by Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, a descendent of Abraham Van Helsing. She is absolutely loyal to her country and dedicated to her mission, and ensures the organization is highly effective at rooting out and stopping supernatural evil.
Of course, the Hellsing Organization has a not-so-secret weapon in the form of the nearly invincible vampire Alucard. Sir Integra is Alucard’s master and when the going gets tough, Alucard is Hellsing’s best hope to get the job done. Fortunately, the organization is typically able to handle all sorts of threats, even without the vampire’s help.
2 BUFFY SUMMERS (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)
Buffy Summers is the latest in a long line of vampire slayers. Each generation grants one girl the power of the slayer and in Buffy’s generation, that girl is her. Buffy initially resists her calling, but eventually embraces her role as the Chosen One. She becomes highly accomplished at dispatching vampires and all kinds of other demons, and stops the apocalypse on more than one occasion.
Buffy grows so committed to her mission that she has died twice and still comes back for more. By the end of the TV series, she also decides to share her power with other potential slayers. Beyond her physical skills, her strength of character — including her faith in others — makes her truly exceptional.
1 ABRAHAM VAN HELSING (DRACULA)
Professor Abraham Van Helsing of Dracula fame isn’t a super-powered vampire hunter like many on this list. However, he’s the most famous vampire hunter there is and his place at the top of the vampire slaying heap shows no signs of fading anytime soon. In the novel Dracula, Van Helsing works with John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Quincey Morris, and Jonathan and Mina Harker to root out and kill Dracula. He is the resident vampire expert, shedding light on the undead and how to kill them.
Van Helsing has appeared in countless adaptations of Dracula, often as the most knowledgeable and accomplished vampire hunter there is. Van Helsing’s legacy has endured with Dracula’s resulting in both his and his descendants continued fight against the vampires.