You gotta love a good vampire movie, especially around Halloween. Of course by vampire we mean real, dark, gritty vampires. Real vampires don’t go on dates, don’t save the world and definitely don’t sparkle. They are not good guys. You don’t root for them to win. They are predators, and people are their food. If they look seductive sometimes, it’s not because they want a relationship with you. It’s because they want to get closer so they can eat you. Here’s our compilation of the best blood soaked, horror filled vampire movies of all time. Sorry, Twilight fans, that flick doesn’t make the list.
30 Days of Night (2007)
All monster, no seduction here. Except for sunlight, the vampires in this story are almost impossible to take down. A group of them finds a small isolated town in northern Alaska where the sun doesn’t shine for 30 days in winter in which to stage an unstoppable slaughter. It is rare to find a vampire story where large groups of them collaborate and coordinate to create such mass mayhem.
Near Dark (1987)
A great take on a vampire story with no fangs but lots of blood. The traveling vampire band that turns the movie’s protagonist are all truly sociopathic – even the vampire in a child’s body – and the sun burns them to a crisp, just like it should in real vampire stories. The vampire Mae (Jenny Wright) makes a truly seductive pale vampire of the night. The only negative to the story is that a “cure” is found in the end through the use of a blood transfusion. Vampirism shouldn’t be curable through more blood, but we’ll forgive them this one detail.
John Carpenter Vampires (1998)
This movie was adapted from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakly, and the vampires in it conform to all the classic vampire characteristics. They are absolutely evil, plus they are harmed by crosses, holy water, wooden stakes and (best of all) sunlight. It’s a western themed horror where a team of Vatican-funded good guys try to stop a master vampire from obtaining the ability to withstand sunlight.
Fright Night (1985 and 2011)
Both the original movie and the remake are great flicks that show what can happen when a vampire moves in next door. In both films, Charlie, a high school senior, and his girlfriend are pursued by the vampire when they discover what he is and threaten to reveal his secret. Only with the help of a fake celebrity vampire hunter, who eventually learns how to fight vampires for real, do they survive.
Let Me In (2010)
Based on the Swedish film Let the Right One In, this one is about a lonely bullied boy named Owen who makes friends with a girl next door who appears to be his age but is in fact an non-aging blood feeding vampire. She is living with someone who appears to be her father but it is revealed that she needs a partner to help her survive in the world. She befriends and beguiles needy young boys to help her, keeping them with her until they get too old or outlive their usefulness.
Interview With a Vampire (1994)
So bloody that it made Oprah Winfrey walk out of its premier screening in Los Angeles. Of course, it has blood, it has gore, but it also uniquely captures some of the ennui that living as an outsider to society for centuries must entail. The vampires in Anne Rice’s tale are certainly beautiful and seductive and sometimes feel bad about their nightly feedings, but make no mistake – they are not good boyfriend material. Those who fall for their hypnotic gazes are about to have their last one night stand.
Lost Boys (1987)
Favorite quote “Great! The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!” This teen vampire thriller is a bit campy but it’s an undeniable 80s classic. The vampires in this film can be both seductive and monstrous, tremendously strong but also vulnerable to the usual vampire weaknesses. Those 80s hairdos add a little comedic relief.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Where Lost Boys is a bit campy, this film very much so, but the vampires who rule the “Titty Twister” bar are still ancient, evil and bloody. George Clooney plays a ruthless kidnapping murderer in this film but goes on to become a good guy, as his evil is far eclipsed by the vampires that want to kill him and the family he kidnapped.
Because in most myths anyone who gets bitten by a vampire becomes a vampire too, there always exists the possibility of exponential growth, where vampirism spreads out of control and effects almost everyone. Stakeland follows a cross country trek in a depopulated world where this very scenario has wiped out most of human kind. What most of the vamps lack in intelligence (they are a little bit zombie-ish for some tastes), they make up for in numbers.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Dracula is not our favorite, but it’s sorta a classic and has to be included. The bloody Count travels to England where he pursues the reincarnation of his one true love (so he can turn her into a vampire of course). The film does break a few “real vampire” rules… the Count is seen out and about in daylight, and the love story aspect of it is a little strong. However, since most of the vampire lore of the 20th century spring from Bram Stoker’s original tale, it’s still one to watch.
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