I’m a big fan of horror movies, and especially of a good vampire movie. While there are tons of cheap crap vampire movies out there, there are is also a wide array of great movies that, best of all, vary in style from one film to another. The trouble with making a top ten list for vampire movies is that some people like comedies, others like the strange surreal films, while others want blood and guts and the scariest movie they can find.
So my top ten movie list is focusing on ten great, diverse vampire movies. This list is the top ten for variety in this genre. This list will show you the wide variety of options directors have when using vampires as the subject of their films.
Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Gravens (1922)
This is the grandfather of all vampire movies, a movie that never should have been made. This film is a black and white silent picture that stars Max Schrek as the creepy Count Orlock. This film was an expressionist film that remains extremely popular today, but because of a weird way: half the people who still watch this film find Nosferatu extremely creepy and scary, while the other half find it campy and hilarious.
This is one of the earliest vampire films, and after it’s release, Bram Stoker’s widow sued the director, saying this was a blatant rip off of her late husband’s novel: Dracula. The court found in her favor, and every negative of this film was supposed to have been destroyed, but pirate copies kept cropping up all over the place. Once the copyright to Dracula wore off (copyrights last 70 years after the author’s death), the movie was re-released in DVD format and is now available on DVD. Whether this movie hits you as very creepy or hilarious, it’s worth seeing.
John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)
John Carpenter’s Vampires is one of the better recent vampire movies that actually takes the effort to be a vampire movie, and not an action film disguised as a vampire movie. James Woods plays the role of the main protagonist, a vampire hunter who is obsessed with wiping the mall out with his team after he witnessed his parents murdered by the blood sucking undead when he as a child.
He discovers that a group of vampires are searching for a powerful doom for mankind. The Vatican then secretly enlists a team of vampire-hunters, led by Jack Crow, to hunt down and destroy all of them before they find a crucifix that would give them the power to walk in the day.
After destroying a nest of the evil monsters, Valek, the vampire master, comes after Jack and his team, leading to a fast paced action based movie that still focuses mostly on vampires against the human undead hunter. A great action paced film that is mostly action based, but definitely has its moments of out right terror.
Lost Boys (1987)
This is a favorite among many vampire movie fans, and will almost always pop up on a top ten list of vampire films. This Joel Schumacher film is also pop culture famous because it featured the two Coreys at the height of their teenage heart throb popularity in the late eighties.
Don’t let this scare you away, this is a good movie, and it is a very traditional story in a modern setting, mixing the two well without bastardizing either. A single mother and her two sons move to a small coastal California town. There are some mysterious deaths, as well as a pesky motorcycle gang. The younger brother makes friends with imaginative boys who claim to be vampire hunters. The older brother falls for a beautiful girl and then begins acting stranger and stranger while exhibiting all the classic signs of vampirism.
Wanting to save his brother, the younger one joins his friends to search for the head vampire and to destroy it in order to return his brother to normal. An excellent modern vampire movie that is sure to delight all fans of the genre.
Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Interview with a Vampire is based on the best selling novel by Anne Rice. This novel, and the movie that follows it rather closely. This is what you would consider the “high end” or “high art” type of vampire movie. Literary, and based on story and theme rather than general genre considerations.
Interview with a Vampire is about a plantation owner named Louis who lost his brother and his will to live, but Lestat likes the man and offers him the chance to become a vampire. Louis accepts, but finds that he hates being a vampire and he refuses to take human life. The two of them end up turning a little girl into one of them, and she becomes the reason for Louis to continue to live, as the two live together as family through the centuries that follow the 1700s.
The interview comes as a young journalist finds a man who tells him he is a vampire who is over 200 years old, and he tells his story. The movie is like the novel, following the philosophy and reflections of this vampire who refuses to take human life. This is a very different, change of pace film that will find its fans, and was critically acclaimed for good reason.
The 1958 version of the film Dracula was ground breaking in many ways, and is the first of eight movies in the “Hammer” series. Christopher Lee plays Dracula in nearly all of these films, and the “Hammer Series” of Dracula films remain classics among vampire fans. In this first film, the protagonist, Jonathan Harker, attacks Dracula at his castle (apparently somewhere in Germany). He fails, and Dracula travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker’s fiancée. The only one who may be able to protect them is Dr. Van Helsing, Harker’s friend and fellow vampire hunter.