Thursday, October 28, 2010

Top 10 Best Vampire Films


Vampire films have graced the silver screens for nearly 100 years, and Dracula – the Godfather of this genre - has appeared on screen more than a dozen times. His popularity has definitely lead to a modern rise in Hollywood film. There have been hundreds of films starring vampires of all kinds. There are some that can come out during the day, while others cannot. Some are allergic to garlic, while others order double garlic on their pizzas. Crosses and holy water will instantly destroy vampires in some stories, while other vampires just laugh and knock these objects out of the hero’s hand. But no matter how you spin the story, one thing's for certain, these fascinating, mythological creatures must all feed on the blood of animals and/or humans for survival. And just like humans, vampires have evolved as well. They are no longer just scary ugly monsters in horror films. If the last 20 years have taught us anything it's that to be a successful vampire you must be young and sexy, not old and creepy.

If you're sick of the vampire craze and assume there are no new vampire stories to tell, you are dead wrong! In fact, you won’t be able to drive a stake into this genre anytime soon. As long as there is money to be made, there will always be a new vampire tale to tell.

Anyway, all this vampire talk got me thinking of my favorite blood-sucking films. And what better way to present my thoughts then to give you a fang-tastic top 10 list. Although my list may not be definitive, hopefully it will introduce everyone to some of the greatest vampire movies around. These are movies with real "bite." You can definitely sink your teeth into them. They're bloody good ones. Please, somebody stop me.

10. Nosferatu (1922)
One should always respect and pay homage to the films that were groundbreaking. Nosferatu is hands down the vampire film that started it all and set the pace for all others to come. It inspired many of the early Hollywood vampire movies with its dark and eerie vibe, and is still well regarded amongst filmmakers today. This film was supposed to be a screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, but, since the filmmakers didn't have the rights to the book, they produced this somewhat similar version of the same tale. This vampire film is actually fairly creepy in mood and texture by even today’s standards.

9. Fright Night (1985)
This horror spoof was actually a surprise summer hit back in the 80's. The set up: A teenage horror-movie fanatic Charley (William Ragsdale) seeks the help from a washed-up horror-movie actor (Roddy McDowall) when he’s unable to convince his girlfriend, his mother, his best friend, and the authorities that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is a dangerous vampire. Sure, this film is sorely out-dated, but who cares. It's campy, it's fun and full of cheesy surprises. You’re so cool, Brewster! Colin Farrell will be taking on the vampire role in the upcoming reboot, which should hit theaters on August 19th 2011. I actually think this remake will be pretty good.

8. John Carpenters Vampires (1998)
My brother Tom, who hooked me on vampires, took me to see this movie and I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Vampires is an oldie but a goodie and starred James Woods and Daniel Baldwin as vampire hunters who, guess what, hunt down vampires and destroy them for the church. Although it's not as deep in story, its an action packed festival of vampire staking fun from start to finish. It's what you call a popcorn flick. It's fun vampire madness in the name of the catholic church! What's not to love?

7. Daybreakers (2009)
What’s not to like about a futuristic thriller? It’s dark and creepy, but more importantly it has a pretty unique plot. The set up: almost everyone on Earth purposely caught a virus in order to become immortal. The catch is that they’re all now vampires, and the supply of pure human blood is dwindling. Oops! As it turns out a diet without human blood has some pretty severe side effects for vampires. It’s definitely a vampire film worth seeing.

6. The Lost Boys (1987)
This cult classic was one of the first films to explore the idea that being a vampire might actually be pretty cool. This film was a pretty important precursor to the Twilight series and takes viewers into a world that explores teen angst, and drama. Even though it's a tad-bit dated now, it is still pretty cool compared to a lot of other average vampire movies out there.

5. 30 Days of Night (2007)
I'm a fan of Sam Raimi's films and director David Slade and I thought they did a great job with this movie. The plot was interesting enough to keep me anticipating the characters next move. It was super dark and eerie not to mention incredibly bloody. The thought of vampires having their own language was a nice touch too. And the twist in the end was an unexpected surprise, one that I really liked. It's a very campy film in a sort of fun loving, kill everyone kind of way.

4. Underworld (2003)
Forget Team Jacob and Team Edward for a moment, this series was the first to start the ongoing battle between vampires and werewolves. But it is easy to forget that it’s about vampires since Kate Beckinsale (team vampire) looks distractingly… um, distracting, in her oh so tight leather combat suit. Underworld’s premise was also among the first to reach for a scientific explanation – viruses from a bat and a wolf turned the entire planet into the two rival species. The vampires are a little weak in this series, which I found annoying, but it’s still a pretty fun ride.

3. Bram Stokers Dracula (1992)
Coppola's direction brings a very realistic portrayal of the book to the screen, as realistic as the horror/fantasy element permits that is, and it has a host of top notch actors in boot – gotta love Gary Oldman, he plays one killer vampire. This sensual vampire film may be looked at as a let down by it's rigid following of the book, i.e. trying to cram too much into a 2 hour movie. At times it leaves the story feeling a little hollow, but this is still an important film in the vampiric world. And despite having Keanu Reeves staring in the it, "Whoa, you're fangs are like really long," it's still a great film, definitely one worth checking out.

2. Let the Right One In (2008)
This Swedish film is a work of perfection. The movie is so subtle in its brutality, and yet so equally haunting in its approach that it regularly pins the viewer to their seat in anticipation. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In follows the bullied, isolated, preteen boy who finally befriends the new "girl" next door. But when townspeople suddenly turn up with throats ripped to shreds, he has to decide if fear or friendship will take the upper hand. I loved this film! I thought it was a very interesting take on vampires, one that has never been told before. I highly recommend checking it out. You can also see the American version, Let Me In, which is currently in theaters.

1. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
I loved the idea of a story being told through the eyes and soul of a vampire - just a somber, yet simple tale of the life of the tortured and undead. Brilliant! “Interview” is perhaps one of the most faithful adaptations in film history. If you haven’t read Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles yet, I urge you to do so immediately. This film definitely sets the bar pretty high when it comes to vampire films, and with a combination of Anne Rice's script and Neil Jordan's direction, the film not only looks amazing, but contains good material as well. It immediately recasts vampires as irresistibly sexy instead of horrifyingly ugly. And to this day I still maintain Tom Cruise did an exceptional job portraying the “Brat-Prince” – Lastat. With that being said, this is easily, and without doubt my favorite vampire film of all time.

"God kills indiscriminately, and so shall we."

So there you have it. All my favorite blood-sucking vamps on one list. And for any of you wondering why Twilight isn't on this list, sorry, but that movie does not deserve a spot on the “Best Vampire Films” list. Perhaps it would better suit the “Best Teenage, High School, Romeo and Juliet type, Sparkly Skinned Vampire” list. A list that I doubt I'll ever make.

Anyway, now's your chance to let the world know which vampire films you thought were left off this list. The comments section is yours. Have at it!


Groverfam said...

well I must say you set a fantastic argument and make me want to watch every single one. I have only seen interview and bram stoker's but both would be on my list...I want to go back and see the old ones just for the fun of it.

Nick said...

Good list, but From Dusk Till Dawn needs to be on this list. Great movie!

Anonymous said...

Even though Interview is an excellent movie, I still would have put Let the Right One In at #1. that movie is seriously and hands Down the best there is. Nice list though... glad to see Twilight didn't make your cut.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Thirst is another really good vampire film. If you haven't checked it out yet you should.

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