Movie Reviews

What We Do In The Shadows: 10 Best Guest Star Appearances

FX’s vampire mockumentary series What We Do In The Shadows has hosted a variety of guest stars in its past three seasons. Season 4 begins July 12th on Hulu, and there’s an anticipation for more. Maybe some actors who’ve formerly played vampire-related characters like Sarah Michelle Gellar or Antonio Banderas will show up. Throwing a surprise celebrity into the mix has only made this show more enjoyable.

What makes several guest appearances the best on the show are the actors’ other, sometimes related roles. The most clever use of the cameos is when they give a nod to another vampire or supernatural role they played in a different series or feature film. The most stand-out and comedic guests have been characters who make us laugh by having a laugh at themselves. 

In 1853, Laszlo rented a beach house in San Diego from Jim the Vampire. After 167 years of hunting him down for his last month’s rent, Jim found Laszlo in Staten Island. So Laszlo left to start a new life in Pennsylvania as a bartender called Jackie Daytona in the episode, “On the Run.” Eventually, Jim wound up at the bar and grill where he was working so they fought, started a fire, and exchanged a singing bass for last month’s rent debt forgiveness.

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Though he is a recognizable voice actor who has played countless animated characters over the years, most know Hammill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. While this Tatooine farm boy turned Jedi Master may not have encountered any vampires in that galaxy far far away, he sure did his fair share of taking himself seriously, which made Jim the Vampire that much funnier.

Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor were brought to the Vampiric Council to be tried for vampicide in the episode “The Trial.” When put in a holding cell with two other prisoners, they thought they had the audience of the council and made their case for innocence. But in fact, they were in the company of Garrett, a prisoner serving time for Laszlo’s crime from decades earlier.

To describe Garrett is to sum up Drax in Guardians of The Galaxy, Dave Bautista plays a naive tough guy without much of a filter. The character Garrett has the same intimidation factor as Drax and ignorantly misses the fact that Laszlo is the guilty party he’s been hoping to encounter for all these years to enact his revenge. Embracing these comedic dumb brute roles is serving Dave Bautista, and the viewers well.

As a highly ranked member of the Vampiric Council, Paul heard the three Staten Island vampires claim their innocence of killing Baron Afanas in the episode “The Trial.” He wasn’t inclined to believe them, as the Baron’s familiar enthusiastically testified against them. Though the entire council took into consideration how they felt about the Baron in the first place. Paul called the Baron rude and a backstabber.

He may be most widely known for his role as Pee-Wee Herman, but Paul Reubens has also played a vampire before. Alongside Kristy Swanson in the 1992 feature film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he was Amilyn, a vampire sidekick to Lothos, played by Rutger Hauer. In addition to making new vampires and invading school dances, he managed to lose an arm before ultimately being defeated by Buffy. 

In the episode “The Trial,” Danny is part of the Vampiric Council where he is bare-chested and showing off with, Viago put it, “cool Mexican tattoos all over his chest.” As he listens to the vampires’ case he doesn’t believe their witness, calls the victim loco, and refuses to give the half-vampire council member’s opinion more than half of his attention. He is a tough guy who is vocal about his viewpoint.

This isn’t Danny Trejo’s first vampire rodeo. As an actor with over 200 credits to his name, it isn’t surprising to find a vampire bartender on the list. He played Razor Charlie in Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn. Although his role of Danny is a bit more esteemed, he sure plays it with the same uninhibited instinct.

The second witness in the episode “The Trial” was Nandor’s familiar, Guillermo. Guillermo would not betray the vampires and let them take the fall for his crime. He confessed to the Vampiric Council that he was the one who actually killed the Baron by opening the front door on him at dawn. Evan figured that this was an impossibility by the looks of Guillermo and gave a stifled laugh at the idea. 

Evan Rachel Wood is well accustomed to playing the part of a high society vampire. From Vampire Queen of Louisiana in the HBO original series True Blood to the Immortal Princess of the Undead on the What We Do in the Shadows Vampiric Council. Much like her character’s disinterest in men on True Blood, Evan wasn’t overly concerned about what they would decide to do about justice for the Baron because she considered him to be a psychotic mad man anyway.

As the leader of the Vampiric Council, Tilda dismisses Guillermo’s defense testimony as improbable and elects to have him as a snack instead in the episode “The Trial.” She believes he is attempting to protect his masters by lying to the council. She explains that he doesn’t look like a vampire killer.

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Only Lovers Left Alive similarly stars Tilda Swinton as Eve, the female vampire counterpart to Adam. She is a lone wolf, as Tilda described her, who doesn’t sweat the small stuff, having lived as long as she has. Much like Tilda’s Vampiric Council character, she is a strong woman.

During the trial of Nadja, Laszlo, and Nandor, the Vampiric Council reviewed a list of vampires such as Rob, Keifer, Tom, and Brad, that could not attend and introduced one that managed to Skype in. Wesley, the half vampire/half vampire slayer with a delayed connection managed to hear enough to discover that the Baron died. However, the council was frustrated by the lag of his call and his being a Daywalker, so they didn’t give his opinion very much weight.

Wesley Snipes stars as a half vampire/half mortal called Blade in the 1998 film Blade (and its sequels, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity). This character ironically had everything Wesley on Skype didn’t have, mainly speed and strength. His character was completely out of the loop during the trial because his connection was so slow and weak. Not to mention, he lacked any power or ability to persuade the council.

When Nadja and Laszlo’s familiar Topher accidentally dies, they are devastated and decide to bring him to Wallace, the Necromancer, to bring him back to life. For $350 he agrees but is distracted, so he turns him into a zombie by mistake. The vampires want a refund but accept name tag keychains with the wrong names on them from his souvenir shop instead.

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Benedict Wong has also held mystical powers in his role as Wong in Doctor Strange and more recently in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, though Wong was a much more devout and useful character than Wallace proved to be. Wong even held the title of Sorcerer Supreme when Doctor Strange was blipped away by Thanos.

Nadja and Nandor reached out to who they thought would be a helpful vampire, Count Bakula. They Skyped him to pick his brain for some Vampiric Council guidance. Once Nadja realized his name was Scott Bakula and he wasn’t a Count or a vampire, she apologized and wrapped up her call with him. It took Nandor a bit longer to get the hint.

Scott Bakula starred from 1989-1993 in NBC’s much-loved series Quantum Leap. He plays a physicist who inadvertently begins attempting to correct historical mistakes when he stumbles upon spacetime leaps. In 1989, the idea of Skype would have been just as improbable.

As Nadja and Laszlo’s familiar, Topher is impressive. He can do no wrong. They think he’s the best. Guillermo’s not sad about it when Topher accidentally dies, but Nadja and Laszlo are distraught and determined to bring him back to life. Unfortunately for everyone,  rather than coming back to life, Topher becomes a zombie.

Now playing a dead person, Haley Joel Osment is much better known for seeing dead people in M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 film The Sixth Sense during his childhood career. In only one episode, Topher manages to get electrocuted, impaled, have his neck broken, and electrocuted again. Playing the part of a zombie may be new on his resume, but he leaves this series well-practiced in dying.

NEXT: What We Do In The Shadows: 10 Burning Questions Fans Have For Season 4

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