Vampires have been a staple of cinema practically from its birth and can mostly be split into one of two categories, a menacing figure who stalks and kills throughout the centuries through guile and supernatural abilities or unrelenting killing machines. Either way, I can’t help but love a good vamp flick and it doesn’t matter if the film is made from the perspective of the undead creature or the humans that make up its food source.
A difficult task and some gems have been left out, but today I’ve set about whittling all these films down to the 5 I find the most enjoyable, And below is the result.
1. Interview With The Vampire
The novels of Ann Rice were the books that got me into horror fiction and my second favourite of the series happened to be Interview with the Vampire, which, made it somewhat of a surprise that I found the 1994 Neil Jordan adaptation such a delight.
Dripping with both style and sexuality, Interview with the Vampire has a taboo feel to it and not just because of the blatant homoerotism that stems from the two male leads (Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise), but also because mortal humans hardly feature, instead you join two tortured souls as they flow through the centuries.
A magnificently gothic and skilful adaptation that somehow gets the best out of Tom Cruise without the stunts and action that he’s now mostly known for, while a young Kirsten Dunst portrays a truly tragic character in a way that shows even then she was destined for stardom.
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Taking you to 19th century London, Dracula is a centuries-old vampire attempting to find love as well as avoiding monster hunter Van Helsing, it would be impossible to compile a list of great vampire movies without talking about possibly the most famous vampire of all: Dracula.
Similar to Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a rich and sexually charged gothic horror. But what makes this movie such a delight is the skilled direction of Coppola, which flowed with such grace and style that at times you forget you’re watching a movie about an undead creature stalking Victorian London and forcing you to connect with Dracula, a victim of circumstance, not a monster
3. Shadow of the Vampire
In 1922, a film director takes a crew to rural Czechoslovakia in the hopes of producing Nosferatu, a knock-off telling of the story of Dracula, little do they know that they are closer to the real lord of darkness than they realize.
Shadow of the Vampire, is creepy, atmospheric & yet funny and sits somewhere between fact and fiction, yet never stops being a treat is a treat for people like me that studied Nosferatu during my university days, filled with Easter eggs, you will struggle to tell which bits actually happened and which bits didn’t.
4. Blood Red Sky
When I read the synopsis for Blood Red Sky, I expected the Vampire stuck on a plane to be the villain of the piece, but as soon as the terrorist showed up, I knew this film was going to take a different route and I was all for it.
Blood Red Sky (2021) was a very bloody movie. The make-up effects were superb and entirely believable, but the genius of the story comes from the genre crossovers that elevate the story beyond just another terrorist taking over a film only to come up against a surprisingly difficult oppersition. Director Peter Thorwarth and writer Stefan Holtz clearly worked hard to develop the story into something more, one that didn’t leave characters as one-dimensional beings.
5. 30 Days of Night
The thing about Vampires is that you are safe in the daytime, that is unless you happen to live somewhere where the sun stays set, such as Northern Alaska where you have 30 days of perpetual darkness.
Adding a new twist on a sub-genre such as this can be hard, as I mentioned above, vampire movies have been around for a long time and the one thing that linked most of them together is vampires’ inability to go out in the daytime, meaning all a human has to do to survive is wait until sunrise, 30 Days of Night changes all this by transporting the action to a part of the world where safety isn’t merely hours away but weeks off, it also helps that the movie is fantastically gory.
Special mention should go to some other great vampire flicks that almost made the list: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Fright Night, The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, Blade and From Dusk Till Dawn.
Did I mention your favourite or miss it completely? comment below your top 5