The slayer is usually a heroic figure, a lonesome avenger, or sometimes, although not usually, a bounty hunter-style character, hunting Vampires for profit. Vampire hunters have also popularly been depicted as hunting various creatures such as werewolves, demons, and other forms of undead as well.
While predominantly depicted as human, examples of other types of vampire hunters also exist. Dhampiric figures, having a mix of human and vampire blood, are a popular form (such as Alucard from the Castlevania series; D of Vampire Hunter D and Blade of the Blade series of comic books, movies, and television episodes). Even rarer are vampire hunters that are vampires themselves. Two examples of this type can be found in Morbius from Ultimate Spider-Man, and Zero Kiryuu in the manga and anime series Vampire Knight.
The most widely known example of a vampire hunter is Abraham Van Helsing of the novel Dracula and in other works of fiction adapting or modifying that work.
As far as movies are concerned, Peter Cushing has been the most convincing actor for the role and the prototype for all successful vampire slayers that followed him. The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1959), Dracula AD 1972 (1972), Satanic Rites of Dracula (aka Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride, 1973), and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974), were all produced by Hammer.
In John Carpenter's Vampires (1998), adapted from the novel by John Steakley, Jack Crow (played by James Woods) is the leader of a Catholic Church-sanctioned team of vampire hunters. The plot is centered on Crow's efforts to prevent a centuries-old cross from falling into the hands of Valek, a Regent. Valek was once a priest who was thought to have been possessed by demons. The Bérziers Cross was used in an exorcism that was cut short but the result was that Valek was forever changed into the first vampire.
Other more recent figures include Buffy "the Vampire Slayer" Summers from the television show and film of the same name. Buffy's spin-off series Angel is also focused on a vampire hunter, the titular star, Angel "the World's Champion," a vampire himself, is often portrayed battling vampires. Vampire hunters have also appeared in video games, such as BloodRayne.
The organizational strength of depicted vampire hunters can vary wildly. Most hunter characters are in small groups working alone and in secret. Sometimes the hunting is a family tradition handed down to future generations of a bloodline.
On the other hand, the Hellsing Organization in the anime television series, Hellsing is a British government paramilitary strike force with access to troops, heavy combat vehicles and weapons and even allied vampires.
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Types of vampires