When writing Dracula, I bet Bram Stoker could never have imagined how much the public would embrace the idea of vampires as part of supernatural fiction.
Hundreds of films have been made about the centuries-old bloodsuckers that sleep throughout the day and hunt for prey at night.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the very best vampire movies you simply have to see!
Novelist Ben Mears (David Soul) returns to the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine to discover all is not what it seems. With increasingly odd things going on, he suspects the Marsten house overlooking the town contains many of the answers along with its mysterious owner Mr Barlow.
Salem’s Lot is one of those cracking films adapted from a Stephen King novel and is different to most vampire movies in that the main culprit isn’t to be seen for most of the film, though the consequences of his actions certainly are.
A certain scene with Ralphie Glick at the bedroom window has terrified many and even made it into our scariest scenes list.
A young man falls for a woman who he discovers is a vampire and reluctantly joins her group of travelling bloodsuckers who cause chaos wherever they go.
Kathryn Bigelow’s more humane take on vampires and the struggles in which they live is every bit captivating as it is enjoyable. Starring Adrian Pasdar as farm boy, Caleb, and the brilliant Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen as members of the wicked family of vampires, Near Dark is full of bad-ass charm wrapped up in a road movie.
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
As the title suggests, Bram Stoker’s Dracula follows the novel very closely. Young lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula to finalise the details on a property acquired by the nobleman in England. The Count imprisons the young man in his castle and departs for England to woo Joanthan’s fiance, Mina Murray, who he believes is the reincarnation of his lost love, Elisabeta.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by the great Francis Ford Coppola, is one of the best vampire movies ever made! With the terrific Gary Oldman as Dracula, he’s both dashing and enigmatic as he strolls around town as his ‘younger’ self, and positively frightening as his real older self.
This 1992 film has been spoofed many a time, most notably by The Simpsons in which Mr Burn’s adopts the same hairdo as Oldman’s Dracula.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula has a cast to die for (Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits) and even features Monica Bellucci in the role as one of Dracula’s vamp women who seduces Keanu Reeves’ Jonathan Harker in one of the Count’s bedrooms. Reeves’ English accent has been the source of ridicule for many years but adds to the film’s charm. A classic.
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
Criminal brothers Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and psychotic Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) are on the run from the law when they kidnap a family of three, headed by former minister, Jacob (Harvey Keitel). Dragging their hostages to a roadside bar named Titty Twister across the Mexican border, Seth promises to release the family after his rendezvous with Carlos, who’s meeting him at the bar the next morning, but will they survive the night?
A comedy-action take on the vampire genre, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn is very much a murderous drama for the good first half of the film before turning into something much more supernatural in the latter half. How can you dislike a film where Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin and Salma Hayek are vampires doing battle with George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel?
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
A journalist (Christian Slater) interviews vampire Louis (Brad Pitt) on his life, from being turned to living out his immortal existence with vampire Lestat’s companion.
Based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name and directed by Neil Jordan, Interview With The Vampire is probably the most mainstream of these vampire movies, featuring the acting chops of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas.
In the film, we follow Louis’ journey of becoming a vampire in the 18th century and discover that it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be. Not even the introduction of a vampire child, Claudia, into his relationship with Lestat can lessen the pain and torment he suffers though he takes to becoming a guardian for the young girl. Whilst Lestat enjoys the thrill of being immortal and preying upon humans, Louis despises the idea and continues to struggle to accept the fate he chose.
Whilst Brad Pitt’s Louis is the whiny of the bunch, Tom Cruise’s Lestat is definitely the fun-loving highlight. Scary and powerful, his moments light up the screen. The tension really comes to the forefront with the introduction of Claudia, especially when she’s spent decades with the two of them and becomes frustrated that she’s a psychologically adult woman trapped in an eternally young body.
Interview with the Vampire is one of those fascinating vampire movies to analyse because of the different experiences the various vampires go through. Some take to life as a vampire more easily whilst others have regrets. Some don’t even have a choice.in the matter.
Though it feels quite the blockbuster in many ways, this is not your ordinary vampire movie.
An ancient vampire named Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) has been living with her current partner John (David Bowie) for over 200 years. When John begins to suffer from insomnia and appears to age drastically in just a matter of days, he decides to seek help from Dr Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon). Whilst at first she fears he’s overreacting, she quickly realises that John is in desperate need of her help.
This seductive, sensual flick, featuring a love triangle between the three main characters, is one of the finest vampire movies ever made and gained a cult following for good reason.
Loosely based on Whitley Streiber’s 1981 book of the same name, The Hunger is a quiet powerhouse of a vampire movie thanks to the performances of its three leads and its captivating plot of a vampire who’s simultaneously afraid of being alone yet treats her partners like used tissues.
Featuring music from goth band Bauhaus and a striking placement of classical piece, Lakme (The Flower Duet), The Hunger is an iconic vampire movie of the 1980’s.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
Shot as a faux documentary, What We Do In The Shadows follows the lives of three ancient vampires Viago, Vladislav and Deacon (and Petyr) as they try to fit in with modern society in Wellington, New Zealand.
This horror comedy from New Zealand had the audience roaring their head off with laughter at Grimmfest and for good reason. Written and directed by Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi, who also star in the film alongside Jonathan Brugh, the film brilliantly pits the classic horror tropes of vampirism against the technological and societal headaches of modern life, resulting in a laugh-out-loud spectacle.
Gore is firmly pushed to one side as this vampire movie is aimed at sinking its teeth into the comedy jugular instead and is cleverly put together to delight fans of the genre.
Such was the success of the movie upon its release in 2014, What We Do In The Shadows went on to spawn a television series.
Seen them all? Well, take a look at our full range of vampire movie reviews for more recommendations.