But vampires? Now you're talking. Vampires are suave, stylish and sexy. Even when they turn on you, you get the benefit of eternal youth and an excuse to stay up all night, every night.
With Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston now playing hipster bloodsuckers in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, we look back at previous screen vampires to discover what makes them so cool.
The simplest way to become a vampire is to don fake teeth and fangs very much, I vant to suck your blood. Yet Max Schreck went much further, perfecting a chillingly inhuman look as Nosferatu with a bald head, rat's ears and long nails.
The reclusive Schreck kept his acting secrets to himself but Willem Dafoe, who played the actor in Shadow Of The Vampire, believed that "it was really about dealing with the costume and the make-up... because it was so extreme that it informed everything you did".
These days, vampires are much prettier, although Johnny Depp admitted that his old-school portrayal of Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows was an attempt to remind audiences that "a vampire should look like a vampire", adding: "It was a rebellion against vampires that look like underwear models."
Bela Lugosi, Hollywood's definitive Dracula, reckoned: "You can't make people believe in you if you play a horror part with your tongue in your cheek." Then again, since vampires can't come into your home without an invite, it pays to know some good knock-knock jokes.
By putting the dead into deadpan, Hiddleston and Swinton are following a long line of witty screen vampires, from Chris Sarandon in Fright Night to James Marsters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who upstaged his co-stars by returning the snark with interest.
That said, a word of warning: judging from the broad parody of Leslie Nielsen in Dracula - Dead And Loving It or Matt Lanter (as "Edward Sullen") in Vampires Suck, you don't need to go for the jugular to garner laughs.
It's no surprise that Hiddleston's vampire in Only Lovers Left Alive is a rock star. Ever since Lugosi twirled his cape, there's always been an element of style to the screen vampire, and whole subcultures have turned the ashen pallor and preference for black into fashion statements.
Christopher Lee nailed the cooler-than-thou approach in his run of Dracula films for Hammer: "I decided to play him as a man of immense dignity, immense strength, immense power, immense brain."
More recently, Wesley Snipes's kick-ass, zinger-laden Blade ushered in a new era of vampire action, but the immenseness remained. "The lifestyle of it, the controlled rebelliousness, is wonderful to me. And it's therapeutic, too. A role like this lets you vent," Snipes explained.
It's lonely work being a vampire, and the best performances have mined the rich vein of tragedy inherent in spending centuries alone with an insatiable bloodlust. Gary Oldman acknowledged that "vampires are fascinating - they are selfish, destructive creatures who half despise what they're doing yet can't avoid doing it". Bram Stoker's Dracula producer Susie Landau admitted that Oldman was cast because "he had a tremendous weariness, which none of the other actors who read for the part had".
John Amplas was equally sympathetic as the titular troubled teen in Martin despite the character only *thinking* he was a vampire. The key to playing the role? "I was struck by Martin's isolation. His obvious sense of being different. Of not being able to fit in. Of having an obsession, an addiction that he himself did not fully understand the source of."
After three years of playing Dracula on stage, Lugosi figured out that "the blood-sucking monster of the story excited strange thoughts and strange feelings [in the audience]". Well, quite. We all know what vampires really want - and we're only too happy to imagine them doing it.
Accordingly, screen vampires are usually cast to convey a healthy appetite, of one sort of another - although, as Robert Pattinson wryly noted, sometimes you don't have to do anything to impress. "Last year... I'd have to fight to chat someone up. This year, I look exactly the same... and yet lots of people seem to have just changed their minds and decided I'm really sexy."
While today's male vampires tend to prefer the romance of Twilight to the violence of the night, the ladies - from snake-straddling Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn to Kate Beckinsale's leather-clad Selene in Underworld - know what really gets guys hot under the collar...
Did we say guys? Girls, too. In The Hunger, Susan Sarandon's character was meant to be drunk when she was seduced by Catherine Deneuve's vampire. Instead, Sarandon decided, "Wouldn't it be much more interesting if I went to bed with her because I chose to? And because she's hot and I want to?"
So, on reflection, forget the make-up, the laughs, the attitude or the sadness. If you want to play a vampire, just get naked.
Only Lovers Left Alive opens in UK cinemas on February 21.