Vampire movies…they’ve been around a while and come in all different shapes and sizes. But with the film market saturated with fanged blood-sucking ghouls, what ones are REALLY worth watching and what one’s are best? If you’re missing out on any because of vampirism fatigue, we have set out to chronicle the top ten essential vampire movies that you really shouldn’t miss…
10. SALEMʼS LOT (1979)
It has the lot. James Mason, the guy from Starsky & Hutch and a head vampire who is a cross between Neytiri from Avatar, Nosferatu and Richard OʼBrien from the Crystal Maze, and if that doesnʼt scare you nothing will. The film is improved as he/it doesnʼt talk, which only seems to enhance the vampireʼs sinister character rather than diminish it. Itʼs a rarity, a Stephen King movie that doesnʼt suck.
9. CRONOS (1993)
Hollywood films love a good Scarab. You never see or hear of them at any other time or place. Even in Egypt they look at you like youʼre mad if you mention them. the ʻCronos deviceʼ is a little mechanical beetle (the scarab) that attaches itself to you, feeds on your blood and offers immortality in return. Del Toroʼs debut film is a multi-layered tale of history, science, religion( and scarabs) all wrapped up into a fresh-take on an, at times, tired genre.
8. BLADE (1998)
A Dark, sinister, action-packed, edgy,entertaining movie packed with coolness. Say that again…coolness. It has Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson (and Stephen Dorff to a lesser extent). How can it be anything else? It was the film that really boosted Marvelʼs rise to power and paved the way for people like Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi to make superhero movies. Director Stephen Norrington shows his background in music videos with a banging soundtrack. It has techno in it, more films should do this…
7. BRAM STOKERʼS DRACULA (1992)
What a line-up! Francis Ford Coppola directing, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Monica Belluci, Sadie Frost, Richard E. Grant and even Tom Waits. To be fair this is also a disadvantage as Reeves, the lead, effectively drowns amid the talent. Though this was early on in his career. It doesnʼt skimp on the eroticism and goes beyond its Victorian origins in that sense. But overall itʼs all about Oldman as the vampire supremo Dracula, who is a delight to behold and steals every scene.
6. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007)
Formulaic? Yes. It’s got a gloriously simple and straightforward plot where a town that due to its northern position has 30 days of constant night and is attacked by vampires,with much blood and gore spilled. But it’s all done surprisingly well. It is simply good fun and even Josh Hartnett doesnʼt ruin it (which is somewhat surprising). Melissa George (She was the sexy one called Angel, in Home and Away) gives a good supporting role as his estranged wife, despite her accent wavering between Aussie, English and American. Thereʼs nothing new here, blood, carnage, tension and a lack of scarabs. Watch it because as vampire movies go, it’s a blast.
5. NEAR DARK (1987)
A massively underrated film. Bigelowʼs vampires are grim, gritty, mean and dirty. There is nothing foppish or romantic about them. What makes the film stand out even more is the camaraderie of the gang as they cruise the freewayʼs looking for fresh kills. A Texan, gothic western road-movie with a stellar cast (Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein and Bill Paxton) who are all excellent. Near Darkʼs emphasis is on the vampire as a hunter, not a lover, and still holds up as a great movie nearly 30 years later.
4. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
Itʼs set in the 80ʼs, in Sweden and the hero is a 12-year old boy, oh and the vampire is very good with a Rubikʼs Cube…hang on, bear with me…This is a vampire film that is absolutely stunningly made. It was Oscar nominated. Yeah? thatʼs right, impressive huh? Itʼs nostalgic, romantic, violent and unpredictable, unhampered by Hollywoodʼs tight reins creating an atmospheric, weird little oddball of a horror film. Scandinavians canʼt do anything wrong lately and this is a good example of how to make a vampire film or any film for that matter.
3. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994)
Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas as impeccably-attired pale vampires. There’s certainly something here for the ladies, for the men? Well no,as the main female is 12-year old Kirsten Dunst. But hold on…she steals the show. Its a tough role to play, how many child actors ruin films by effectively being pretty poor? loads. Not Dunst, she nails it. If you like your vampire films to be decadent, full of pomposity and blatant homo-eroticism then this is for you. The production values won an Oscar, and its hedonistic, gothic splendor continues to influence and inspire to this day.
2. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1994)
A Tarantino and Rodriguez vampire flick…you know what youʼre going to get. It doesnʼt disappoint. A film so over-the-top in its violence and ridiculousness that it works brilliantly well. Tarantino and Clooney have arguably never been better and inject just the right amount of humour and menace, oh and it has Salma Hayek dancing in a bikini cuddling a snake. A must-see film for anyone who likes entertainment and crotch-firing pistols.
1. THE LOST BOYS (1987)
Everything that was great about the 80ʼs is here. Right here. The mullet hairstyles, the dated clothing, the synthetic rock music soundtrack. Kiefer Sutherland…look forget Jack Bauer..THIS is the real Sutherland. The Lost Boys is a vampire film that is in reality about teenage rebellion, acceptance and angst. Adolescent trials and tribulations. Youth culture. Too heavy for ya? Corey Feldman is in it, and he makes everything alright. Because Feldman was an 80ʼs God. It isnʼt particularly scary but donʼt let that put you off, because The Lost Boys is to vampires what the Goonies were to entertainment. It just rules and is still the king of all vampire movies.