5 PHENOMENAL VAMPIRE MOVIES

Vampires has seen a rise in popularity over the past several years. Both television and movie theaters have experienced an influx of vampire movies and shows. Now I have to admit that none of the current vampire stuff have impressed me, but there have been some really great movies about these blood-sucking creatures of the night in the past. Going all the way back to the silent movie era, vampires have been a part of cinema history. So with such a vast number of movies to choose from, I decided to pick five of the best vampire flicks. Now as always, I wouldn’t call this the definitive list, but there’s no denying that these five vampire movies are most certainly phenomenal.

#5 – “UNDERWORLD” (2003)

Underworld” isn’t a typical vampire picture. It’s a full-blown action horror movie about a boiling conflict between vampires and lycans (also known as werewolves). Kate Beckinsale stars as undoubtedly the prettiest vampire in movie history and Scott Speedman is her hybrid lycan/vampire boyfriend. The dark, gloomy gothic tone of the movie is quite effective and the grisly action that takes the place of the normal vampire horror gives the movie its own special uniqueness. Several sequels have followed but none have matched the first film.

#4 – “DRACULA” (1931)

The images of Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula were the first I ever had of a vampire. Tod Browning’s 1931 horror classic was based on Bram Stoker’s chilling novel and Lugosi portrayed the character that would become one of the famous Universal movie monsters. The movie maintains a creepy vibe from the moment we enter Dracula’s castle in Transylvania until Van Helsing puts the stake through the heart. It’s a pure Hollywood classic.

#3 – “FRIGHT NIGHT” (1985)

Sure, 1985’s “Fright Night” has some issues but it’s one of those films that holds a special place in my heart. It’s the story of Charlie Brewster, a teenager who’s convinced that a vampire has moved in next door. He spies on and later goes too far in investigating his new neighbor and soon finds himself and the people he loves in some serious vampire-styled trouble. He teams up with a low-budget horror movie actor (played by the great Roddy McDowall) in hopes of ridding his town of the blood-sucking threat. It’s a fun mix of scares, gory special effects, and fantastic humor and I still love watching it.

#2- “THE LOST BOYS” (1987)

A truly funny and sometimes creepy teenaged horror tale about a vampire problem in a small California coastal town. This is hands down the best movie of “The Two Coreys” collaborations and it was certainly different from any other vampire film I had seen at the time. It features good work from Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, and especially Kiefer Sutherland who I felt stole the show. The movie has a great soundtrack and a cool 80’s vibe to it, but mainly it’s just incredibly fun and features more memorable lines than any other vampire film you’ll see.

#1- “NOSFERATU” (1922)

While it was a completely unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”, I still feel it’s the greatest version of the vampire classic ever put on film. While the names have been changed, the story is very much the same and the incredible vision of German director F.W. Murnau brings it to life in a genuinely eerie way. And Murnau’s ability to maintain such a level of creepiness through a silent movie is another testament to his incredible skill at visual storytelling. Max Schreck’s Count Orlok is both sinister and unnerving and I will always remember the scene of him rising from his coffin. This is an incredible film that should be seen not only by horror fans but also by fans of movies period.

Alrighty, there they are. And no, it’s not a mistake, no “Twilight” movies even came close to making this list. So what do you think? What did I miss? Be sure to take time to leave your favorite vampire movie below.

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14 thoughts on “5 PHENOMENAL VAMPIRE MOVIES

  1. Nice list there Keith. I’d include Coppola’s Dracula. I absolutely love that film. It certainly has flaws but the atmospher and production design are second to none. Plus, Tom Waits is in it 😉

  2. Great representation of different sub-genres! I’ve never seen Fright Night but I love all the others you’ve listed. On a slightly longer list I’d include Interview with the Vampire and Blade 🙂

    • Thanks so much for checking out the list. I did consider Blade. I remember I liked the first film of that series. But to be honest I didn’t care for Interview. Oh, but you definitely need to catch up with the Fright Night (not the remake). It’s so 80’s and I mean that in a good way.

  3. Glad to see the original Fright Night on here, Chris Sarandon was a sexy and terrifying prince of darkness! I don’t think I want to see the remake though, as the other remake Colin Farell did is disappointing, I’m talking about Total Recall.

  4. I am not sure if you know this…but I LOVE VAMPIRES! Real ones. The ones that burn, explode or disintegrate in the sun. (Vampires DO NOT sparkle.) The creatures of the night have been a fascination with me, all my life.

    I have a long list of films I hold dear or just enjoy the hell out of–including each one on your list–I will throw out some other ones for you…just in case. 😀

    1. Love at First Bite (1979) Yes, I am old. I saw this in the theater when I was 9 years old and it may, very well be what started it all (this and the very scary, to me at the time, TV mini-series Salem’s Lot.) George Hamilton as a very tan Prince of Darkness in this campy comedy horror film that is heavy on the comedy.

    2. Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992) LOVE IT! Visually stunning and very creepy (even the soundtrack is ominous) And hey…Gary Oldman–enough said.

    3. Near Dark (1987) directed by a-will-be-Oscar-winner, Kathryn Bigelow and featuring Mr. Bill Paxton. It’s pretty badass.

    4. Cronos (1993) Written and directed by one of my favs, Guillermo del Toro–this is an interesting character study that happens to have hints of vampirism.

    5. The Blade Trilogy–why? Because it kicks some serious butt! And as Deacon Frost responds to the cheeky “Who do you think you are?” question….”We’re the top of the F@#%*^ food chain!”

    6. Daybreakers (2009) One of the few modern–original ideas that I absolutely loved. From creature design to the detailed story–well done! Ethan Hawke is great and so is Sam Neill.

    Okay–okay–I will stop. See, I told ya I have many!

    I will throw in 2 books that are awesome new twist to the standard vampires:

    Justin Cronin’s The Passage, which is epic in scale and is the first of a trilogy–second book, The Twelve, drops 10-16-2012–can not wait!

    The Strain Trilogy–Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan–which I am hoping Del Toro will make into movies. Fingers crossed.

    Sorry, for the log comment–you got me all fired up with your great post! 😉

    • Great stuff man! I must have missed your love for Vampires. You’ve mentioned some good movies and others that I really need to catch up with. I’m really interested in Near Dark and Cronos.

      • Cool.

        Yes, every year I wait for my vampire fix–this year has been a bit lackluster. Underworld: Awakening was fun, but shallow…

        oh well! Maybe next year…

  5. I have to disagree about “Daybreakers” having an original idea. Check out “Thirst” (1979 Australia), followed by that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode in which, in the parallel Sunnydale, The Master has set up an extraction factory. “Farming” humans is a concept that has been around a long time.

    I was so lucky that I got to see “Fright Night” and “The Lost Boys” a number of times in a great theater about 30 miles away, much better than the theater we had back then. It was worth the drives! Back then, you could sit through a couple of showings without being shooed out in between.

    I can’t say that I care for the “Underworld” movies for one reason: The screen was so dark most of the time that I couldn’t tell what was happening! That’s about the time murky/muddy/dark cinematography started rearing its unattractive head.

    • I like the first Underworld movie. The second was so-so but I haven’t seen any sense then. It certainly isn’t “The Lost Boys” that’s for sure! 🙂

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