I want to assemble a list of characters who can be classified, however generally, as monster hunters. It is borne in upon me that there is a distinct type of hunter character who have begun to bear each other a lot of resemblance in modern pop culture. I want to describe it more thoroughly. Help me out here. Check out this list, see who I'm forgetting, find connections between the characters if you can.
I'm trying to describe rather than define; someone at Boskone, I forget who, quoted Samuel Delany on the subject and said that defining usually leads to a quagmire of it-isn't-this, it-isn't-that, drawing meaningless borders, whereas describing is more actively useful. (They said it better than that.)
Here's what I've got so far. Lots of help from this TV Tropes page: The Hunter.
Films and TV:
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Haven't seen this one.
Van Helsing (2004). Have seen this one. I loved every cheesy minute, and I'm a classic horror fan. Hating on this movie would be kind of like hating on Ghostbusters for its historical inaccuracy.
The Brothers Grimm. Enjoyed even though I realize it was stupid.
Blade, apparently. Haven't seen this series.
Brides of Dracula et sequii. Hammer films with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. I'm devoted to him.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series and comics). Seen, loved.
Supernatural (TV series). Seen, couldn't really get into it, but get the general concept.
Sleepy Hollow (the Tim Burton film). Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane hits a lot of monster-hunter hot points; see below.
The Last Man on Earth (the Vincent Price movie; I know it's also a book which I haven't read). I loved the twist.
Ghostbusters. Duh, forgot this one.
Trollhunter (2010). The funniest monster-hunter movie I know.
Books and print media:
Baltimore; Or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. (book and comics) Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. I've raved about this one before. Sprawling, complex horror novel of nested stories. (Instead of the Spanish Influenza, the WWI-era world got a plague of vampires. One man will attempt to end it: a one-legged Englishman with a furious grudge and a harpoon.)
"The Dunwich Horror," by H.P. Lovecraft: Professor Armitage, plus Profs. Rice and Morgan, are the best-defined examples of monster hunters in Lovecraft, to my mind.
Classical mythology: Theseus. He's young and Chaotic Good, and he treks around Greece killing monsters. So does Hercules, come to think of it.
Dracula, Bram Stoker. Van Helsing (original flavor), plus Harker, Morris, Godalming, Mina Murray, and the whole slaying crew.
Any number of paranormal detective or paranormal romance characters. I don't read these genres much; who are the most clear-cut examples?
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I haven't seen or watched.
Solomon Kane (series), Robert E. Howard. Apparently this is also a film now, but it never played in this part of the States, damn it. I've also read comics based on the books, which were a lot of cheesy fun.
A lot of common threads here. kestrell, alexx_kay and I discussed some of them the other day.
--A heritage. Last of a long line of monster-hunters, all descending from Moses or Alexander the Great or Thomas a Didymus or somebody cool in antiquity.
--It's Personal. The Zombie King killed the father of Arabella Leatherchick, Monster Slayer, and she has but one objective now.
--A badass coat and a personal arsenal. Astonishing numbers of these characters have fantastic outfits: a long leather or military coat is common, with hammerspace pockets or Bags of Holding or something inside the lining to hold a huge array of swords, guns, knives, throwing stars, etc. These hunters never go *clang* when they fall over, because they're too cool for that.
--A lair. Your savvy monster hunter knows she will need a bolt-hole with food, drink, weapons and a change of clothes. Lofts, forgotten cellars, the sealed platform at Scollay Square... when a noob has to take shelter there, he usually finds tragic family photos and gris-gris and body parts in jars, and Arabella Leatherchick notices him messing about just in time to shout, "Don't touch that, you fool!"
--A queasy, disturbing gray area between monster and hunter, usually with a token good monster and a scalding hot love affair with a friendly vampire. Ordinary humans might as well not exist, aside from being redshirts. Arabella finds it easy to forgive Count Joris von Blutzenkriemer for being a man-killing fiend, because he said sorry in a really sincere way and also he's a stud.
--Amnesia. Nightmares. Traumatic flashbacks. The notion that Arabella may actually be two sandwiches short of a picnic and the monsters aren't real. See also: Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow with his mommy issues, his recurring nightmares, his fainting, and his hand scars. Speaking of which:
--Scars and missing body parts. Because scars are hot, and also they're a fantastic shorthand for backstory and characterization. Give somebody three long claw marks down their face and you've got the audience asking questions which you can answer at your leisure.
--A good-natured Muggle sidekick, who unlike the monster hunter can have a sense of humor, and who is also totally ignorant and exists to be the audience surrogate and have things explained step by step. Though admittedly most fantasy contains at least one such character. A love interest, a spunky girl sidekick, an obnoxious reporter, a wide-eyed child.
That's all I got for the moment. Anyone else wanna throw in some characters or unifying factors?