While John Carpenter’s Vampires did divide critics upon release, the horror-action movie’s cast went on to some pretty impressive roles. Vampires is something of an anomaly in the legendary horror filmmaker’s canon. An offbeat blend of Western tropes, vampire lore, and gory horror, Vampires follows a group of hard-drinking, foul-mouthed vampire hunters led by Jack Crow. Crow was raised by the Catholic Church to kill vampires and assembled a team of hyper-competent killers, but almost all of them were wiped out shortly after the movie’s opening scene by the main villain, Jan Valek.
While Vampires isn’t John Carpenter’s best horror movie, it is a fun genre mash-up that contains a few memorable scenes. While Jack’s best friend Tony takes Katrina, a prostitute with a psychic connection to Valek, hostage, Jack is forced to pair up with the well-meaning but inexperienced Father Adam Guiteau to take down the centuries-old vampire. What ensues is a string of violent action set-pieces and a handful of tense horror scenes as Tony, Katrina, Jack, and the priest take on Valek and his many minions. In the years since the movie’s release, the cast of John Carpenter’s Vampires has ended up in some surprising places.
8 James Woods As Jack Crow
James Woods was a major star before John Carpenter’s Vampires. Where Carpenter’s earlier Halloween and its first sequel made Jamie Lee Curtis a major star, Woods was already well-known for roles in Videodrome, Salvador, Once Upon A Time In America, Nixon, and Casino. However, Vampires was something of a turning point for the star’s screen career. After the action horror movie’s underwhelming box-office performance, Woods transitioned to playing less major live-action roles. He played supporting parts in Any Given Sunday and The Virgin Suicide in 1999, but since then, most of his major movie roles were voiceover work in the likes of Stuart Little 2 and Surf’s Up.
Woods made a pair of exceptions to this rule when he appeared in White House Down and Jobs in 2013. Since then, he has been mostly relegated to TV work, playing fictionalized versions of himself in Dice and Family Guy. He was also credited as an executive producer on Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic Oppenheimer, which might go some way to redeeming the star’s questionable reputation. In the years he has spent largely offscreen, Woods has acquired a name for himself thanks to many frank, profane, and sometimes unintelligible politically charged social media posts.
7 Tim Guinee As Father Adam Guiteau
Since Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, and James Woods were all established stars by the time John Carpenter’s Vampires was released, it is fair to say that the movie’s breakout performer was Tim Guinee. Guinee played Father Adam Guiteau, an inexperienced young priest who finds himself hopelessly out of his depth when he is called on to help Jack defeat Valek. By the movie’s ending, Guinee has transformed, not unlike Guinee’s career real-life shift. Since Vampires, the actor has appeared in everything from Blade to Water for Elephants to the 2019 biopic Harriet. However, he might be best known as Major Allen in Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
6 Sheryl Lee As Katrina
Before appearing in John Carpenter’s Vampires, Sheryl Lee was a star thanks to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. While Lee reprised her role in 2017’s Twin Peaks revival, this was not the actor’s only notable role since her collaboration with Carpenter. In 2010, Lee appeared in the acclaimed drama Winter’s Bone, while 2014 saw her star in White Bird in a Blizzard, Jackie and Ryan, and The Makings of You. On the small screen, Lee appeared in One Tree Hill, CSI NY, House MD, Dirty Sexy Money, Lie To Me, and Psych. She was also cast as the narrator of Desperate Housewives, Mary Alice Young, before being replaced in the role.
5 Daniel Baldwin As Tony Montoya
Like Lee and Woods, Daniel Baldwin was already fairly well known by the time John Carpenter’s Vampires was released. The prolific actor continued to star in plenty of projects, beginning with Phoenix and The Pandora Project later in 1998. The next year, Baldwin starred in Active Stealth, Tunnel, and Silver Man, while 2000 brought Homicide: The Movie. Since then, Baldwin has starred in King of the Ants, The Sopranos, Anonymous Rex, Grey Gardens, Christmas with a Capital C, After Effect, Bound, Hope Lost, Sicilian Vampire, The Neighborhood, and many more movies and shows.
4 Thomas Ian Griffith As Jan Valek
Thomas Ian Griffith gives a memorably creepy performance as Valek, the villain of John Carpenter’s Vampires. However, this is not the place where most viewers will recall the actor’s face. Griffith also plays Terry Silver in Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid Part III villain who returned to become a pivotal antagonist in the Netflix spinoff. Before reprising this iconic role, Griffith acted in For The Cause, XXX, and Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision. He also wrote one episode of Netflix’s hit show Virgin River as well as co-writing Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings in 2019.
3 Maximilian Schell As Cardinal Alba
Screen veteran Maximilian Schell was coming to the end of a decades-long career when he appeared as the villainous Cardinal Alba in John Carpenter’s Vampires. However, the actor did appear in a few more movies before he died in 2014. Schell played roles in 2000’s I Love You Baby, 2001’s Festival in Cannes, and 2008’s crime caper The Brothers Bloom.
2 Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa As David Deyo
Actor and martial artist David Deyo had an impressive screen career before John Carpenter’s Vampires, and the actor didn’t take any time off after the movie. Since working on Carpenter’s strange Western, Deyo has appeared in Pearl Harbor, 2001’s Planet of the Apes remake, Elektra, Memoirs of a Geisha, Tekken, 47 Ronin, The Man in the High Castle, The Man with the Iron Fists 2, Skin Trade, and Kubo and the Two Strings.
1 Mark Boone Junior As Catlin
While Mark Boone Junior played a relatively minor role in John Carpenter’s Vampires, the character actor went on to have an illustrious career. While likely best known for his roles in The Last Man on Earth, Carnivale, and Sons of Anarchy, Boone also appeared in hits like Batman Begins, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Memento. Outside of these, Boone played roles in The General’s Daughter, The Thin Red Line, Dead Birds, Frankenfish, 30 Days of Night, Halloween II, and The Mandalorian since John Carpenter’s Vampires.