Top Ten Vampires Movies
This is a list devoted to my ten favorite vampire films. It is also based on the ones that I have seen. If I’ve missed some or you think I got it wrong feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think. Otherwise, enjoy the list!
Buffy The Vampire Slayer the motion picture sometimes gets lost in memories over the years next to the wildly iconic show that stemmed from it’s creation. The television show staring Sarah Michelle Gellar was without question one of the best shows on TV in the 90′s and possibly of all time. The film was great tongue in cheek horror/comedy to what would someday develop into the darker and more dramatic show. Joss Whedon said high school was essentially hell for him, so he decided to use that metaphor to create Buffy’s world, and what would be more fun than taking a dim witted gorgeous cheerleader and making her fight evil, and with Luke Perry no less? This film is a ride of comedy, fun, and even some scary, in a way only Joss Whedon could deliver.
A different approach was taken to the vampire genre with this with the character Blade born Eric Brooks, his mother was bitten by a vampire while he was in the womb giving him all a vampires powers but none of their weaknesses. Snipes makes him the most compelling vampire hunter ever in film. His charisma, brilliant one liners, dark persona and his insane martial arts makes Blade infamous in fiction and a non-stop action packed exciting film to watch.
When a newly divorced mother and her two sons relocate to a small coast town in California the last thing they expect is for the town is plagued be overrun by bikers and an odd number of mysterious deaths. The youngest son aligns himself with two other boys who claim to be vampire hunters ,but unfortunately the older brother finds himself intrigued by the gang of bikers and an enchanting girl. This film is often considered a cult classic, but the build up to the finale, not to mention how simple choices can so drastically define ones future (even if we are talking glamorous vampire lore here) and determine who or what a person will become. The style, the comedy, and the allure of the vampires of this film make it a classic so memorable it is truly one of the first films that come to mind when people think of vampires, and rightly so.
This is how you make a modern day vampire film that is action oriented, which may explain why the third Underworld is in high demand. Len Wiseman creates a fast paced story, that has stunning visuals and incorporates this fantasy world effortlessly into the world of humans. It takes only the first scene to clearly set the plot and transpiring events for the rest of film and leaves ample time to develop the character’s and the story itself. Underworld is no mindless tale with nothing but action and violence to distract you. Each of the character’s and their back round are incredibly complicated and diverse from one another, but their connections are made throughout the story. The immediate bond between Speedman and Beckinsale was incredible, and with the acting talent to back up their quick affection for each other, it became entirely plausible. The rest of the actors helped make this incredulous world seem believable as well. From vampires, werewolves, and insane ancient stories creating the kind of double crossing and character conflict seen in complicated dramas the actors performances were spot on. Especially Bill Nighy as Viktor, who was remarkable as the ancient vampire with his own personal agenda. The intricate plot doubled with the fast paced original action sequences and a visually exquisite palate to take in makes Underworld a rare achievement in it’s genre. It has all the elements plus more, of a great action or vampire film.
After a tumultuous journey through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferal of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, and is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, becoming one of his many minions. After turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward and is enthralled by her. When her doctor, Van Helsing, realizes that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiance, John Harker, and attempt to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead. After Nosteratu, Dracula was one of the first films to really explore the idea of vampires successfully. Unlike Nosteratu it came at a time when films were making the transitions from being silent movies to “talkies”. While making the transition the film still relies greatly on it’s visual stimulation and the many close-ups on the actors without much dialogue. If you are a fan of vampire movies, this is a movie that must be seen. It is the grandfather from which all other vampire films have since stemmed.
If Dracula is the grandfather of vampire films, then Nosferatu is without a doubt the Great-Grandfather of vampire films. The shooting of this silent film was plagued just as eerily as the actual “deaths” in the film are. The strangeness of what was going beyond the scenes reflected strongly in it’s execution, but it worked for it. When Count Orlok moves to Wisburg and brings the plague, this reveals his connection to the Realtor Thomas Hutter, and the Count’s obsession with Hutter’s wife, Ellen. The simplicity of the odd and creepy nature of this tale needs no words. The creativity behind shadows and subtleties is something that much of today’s film lacks, and while at the time was wildly innovative, and is still compelling even today.
This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel of the same name. There is a raw sensuality that was explored in this stylistically stunning film that hadn’t been present in other vampire films prior. Dracula, played by Gary Oldman is both terrifying and simultaneously irresistible. When he begins to peruse Harker’s betrothed Mina Murray, it comes as no surprise that she weakens under his spell. His seduction of her brings on a challenge of Harker and others in a vain attempt to save Mina, but even they are weak against the power and seduction of this Dracula. Beyond the blatant eroticism director Francis Ford Coppola makes a film that is impossible to take your eyes away from. It is visually as invigorating as Dracula is seductive and foreboding. I adore this dark and sultry film.
I’ve seen this film at least a dozen times and I’m pretty certain it isn’t supposed to be funny, but I’ve always interpreted it as a dark comedy. This was without question William Dafoe’s greatest performance, and though his character is obviously disturbed, with the director Murnau (John Malkovich) constantly trying to thrawt Schreck’s (Dafoe) insanity and hide it from the studios it becomes simply funny at times. An uncomfortable sense of funny. The story itself is intriguing, a film about the making of the great grandfather of all films vampire, 1922′s called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens. The production of Nosferatu had to deal with the disappearance of many of the crew members, and even the deaths of some. This film is entertaining, but also very compelling. The story itself is more interesting than the actual film Nosferatu itself and that’s saying a grand thing. Probably one of the most ambitious and successful films in this original genre. One I never get tired of watching.
From Dusk Till Dawn is an odd film in it’s structure. It’s almost like two different movies thrown together with the same characters. When Seth Gecko and his younger brother Richard are on the lam after a bloody bank robbery in Texas they head for the border and escape into Mexico. Using a family and their RV as a shield they head to pay off the local kingpin. They stop at a local strip joint to pass the hours until dawn, but what they find is a dark and frightening place non of them could have anticipated. Somehow there is the odd mix of graphic violence, humor, sensuality, and male bravado all mixed into this film directed by Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Sin City). The screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino which is where a lot of the great dialogue and character transitions actually work. It is a bizarre unorthodox film that probably shouldn’t work at all, but absolutely rules anyway.
What made this movie so amazing was a perfect cast, but also the adapted screenplay by Anne Rice herself. Taking her own masterpiece and working it into a dark vampire movie unlike any that had been made before it. The story is motivated by Louis’s inner conflict. He has the cravings of a killer, and yet the conscience of a man. Refusing to let go of his humanity and acknowledging all that he truly is and once was, is Louis’s source of strength and yet simultaneously his weakness. The story is told in the same methodical manner as Rice’s novel version. The inner turmoil of Louis’s conflict is so desperate and yet so tangible. Tangled into the mix with the gleeful and maddening Lestat who revels in everything he is, Louis finally understands he is not just a companion to Lestat, he is his own obsession. When Louis realizes Lestat’s real affection is for Louis’s humanity and not Louis himself, he and the child vampire Claudia leave the America’s and head to Europe in search of other vampires like them. Now Louis has Lestat’s demise to wallow over as well, and together he and Claudia are the perfect couple of lamentable despair. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves Anne Rice, it pays such a beautiful homage to her genius of the written word. Even if you’re not a fan of her novels this movie is worth a couple hours just to watch one of the greatest character’s of all time being visualized so perfectly with Cruise as Lestat. This epic tale of loneliness, regret, and accepting the gamble of life is a story like none other told, and it’s a vampire film like you’ve never seen before. The brutality of them and the beauty of them is a most enjoyable paradox.
Honorable Mentions: Twilight, John Carpenters Vampires, Blood: The Last Vampire, Vampire Hunter D, Salems Lot, Fright Night, Cronos, and I Am Legend