With the Twilight buzz in full swing as Breaking Dawn – Part 2 hits the theaters – we started thinking of all the vampire movies made over the years. From “Creature Features” as a kid to recent blockbusters, who knows how many vamp movies have been made. Without mentioning the “Twilight Saga”, here are some of the top vampire movies of all time (in chronological order).
Nosferatu (1922): Starring Max Schreck as the hideous Count Orlok set the early standard for the really really creepy vampire. The film also inspired the story behind the very cool Defoe film Shadow of the Vampire (2000) which speculates that Schreck was an actual vampire. Trivia: The production company that made Nosferatu filed bankruptcy after losing a copyright suit to the widow of Bram Stoker.
Dracula (1931): Starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula with his classic Hungarian accent.
Blacula (1972) The blaxploitation picture starring William Marshall. In most if not all of the films with vampires the blood suckers are general white with the exception of Blade. This 70s stab at a funky vampire is a classic and beats Eddie Murphy’s horrid Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) by a mile.
Fright Night (1985) Roddy McDowall as the real/fake Vampire hunter … inspired an entertaining but far to self aware 2011 remake with Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell.
The Lost Boys (1987) Having lived in Santa Cruz (called Santa Carla in the film), this one has a special place in my heart. Add to it the mega-80′s cast including Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, and Corey Feldman – it’s a true classic. Also has one of the most disturbingly 80′s saxophone scene on the Beach Boardwalk.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry with some pretty funny smaller parts with Paul Reubens (AKA Pee Wee Herman) and Rutger Hauer.
Interview with the Vampire (1994) The Anne Rice book with the all-star cast of Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Tom Cruise.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. The movie stars Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino and Juliette Lewis and features an infamous “snake dance” scene with Salma Hayek.
Wesley Snipes as the human-vampire hybrid that hunts vampires with the help of legendary musician/actor Kris Kristofferson. The film based on a Marvel comic also spawned two sequels, Blade II and Blade: Trinity.
Underworld (2003) Kate Beckinsale in a leather body suit … need we say more. So good it lead to two sequels, Underworld: Evolution (2006) and Underworld: Awakening (2012) and a prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009).
I Am Legend (2007) Not the greatest of films but a pretty good Will Smith action movie. The book, I Am Legend, written in 1954 by Richard Matheson was also the basis for The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971).
Daybreakers (2009) Ethan Hawke stars as a vampire and scientist working for big pharma in the year 2019. The dominant ‘species’ is vampire and there are massive blood shortages. It’s has a cool stylized look and a great cast including Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill.
Let Me In (2010) This is the American version of the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In. Both films are worth seeing for the strange mixture of youthful infatuation and gory suspense.
HONORABLE MENTION: I have to give a nod to the 1979 TV Mini-series Salem’s Lot – not only was it quite disturbing as a kid but it also starred David Soul AKA Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson from the cult “buddy cop” TV series Starsky and Hutch.
Did we miss any of your favorite vamp films? Let us know in the comments.
– Bradford Hornsby, Alice@97.3/San Francisco