Top ten lists are funny things. Equal parts subjective and compelling, it puts a weird value on a movie beyond just its capacity to entertain. For instance, if I were to make a top 10 of the greatest vampire movies, I would be compelled to add Nosferatu. Except, I don’t particularly enjoy Nosferatu. Yes, it is a beautiful, haunting, important piece of art that has had an astounding impact on cinema history. That doesn’t mean I really want to watch again. It is easily one of the most important movies in vampire history, but do I want to lose out on something more enjoyable on the list like The Lost Boys? No. So, this list isn’t the most important or even the best, this is simply ten must-see vampire movies.
10. The Hunger
Sleek and sexy have become synonymous with vampire thanks to movies like The Hunger. While it has its share of typical nudity and eroticism this 80’s classic is a rather unique in its view on the vampire legend. The film focuses the selfish nature of deciding to be immortal at the expense of others. This is not some unholy creature that creeps in the shadows, it’s a person who decides their life and their desires outweigh all else. In many ways it’s an interesting companion piece to American Psycho in its exploration of American ideals in the 80’s via death and horror. Plus David Bowie is in it and that’s usually enough for us.
9. Interview with the Vampire
Anne Rice’s novel Interview with The Vampire changed the horror landscape indelibly. She changed vampires from blood sucking monsters to glamours immortal beings filled with pathos and regret. That this eventually unleashed sparkling vampires, CW soap operas, and an endless stream of sexy brooding figures on the world is something she will have to answer for with her creator. While the film did not have the same profound effect as her novel it is still a wonderful adaptation and a great vampire flick.
8. Stake Land
More post apocalyptic western than traditional vampire flick, Stake Land is weird but welcome treat. It’s more ambitious than its budget allows but makes up for it with shear craftsmanship. The teaming of Nick Damici and Jim Mickle has produced some fantastic work over the years. This is one of them.
7. From the Dark
A drive through the Irish countryside becomes a fight for survival. Dark, tense, creepy as hell, bare-bones storytelling, and just wonderful from beginning to end.
Guillermo Del Toro is at his best when he’s doing his Spanish horror films. His directorial debut is no exception. Our own Paul Childs used it for one of the 2018 31 days of horror marathon movies, which you can read here.
5. Let the Right One
This Swedish film is a more pensive and languid telling of the vampire myth. Beautifully shot and well-acted. The American remake has its merits but just isn’t quite as good as this one.
4. The Lost Boys
Is there anything more 80’s than The Lost Boys? Big hair, big jewelry, Keifer Sutherland, the guy from Bill and Ted that isn’t Keanu, the Corey’s, general excess, the saxophone guy, the soundtrack – But most importantly a sense of fun. There is an indefinable sense of energy in classic 80’s movies, this film is no exception.
3. Fright Night
Let’s face it the 80’s were kind when it came to vampire movies. This is another classic from the era. A simple, straightforward tale of a kid who thinks his neighbor is a vampire. The remake is OK but doesn’t have the heart that the original has. Some of you are going to complain that this is higher on the list than The Lost Boys. It’s OK, you all are allowed to be wrong from time to time. We won’t judge you. Promise.
2½ Salem’s Lot (2008)
Ok, I’m cheating here as this was a TV miniseries and not a movie. And its 2 and a half in a list of 10. Sue me. I don’t care. I love this adaptation. While it often deviates from the original novel it still feels like Stephen King’s work. Great character development with catchy nostalgic nuisances, slowly building horror and dialogue that just zings. The 1979 adaptation, while straying further still from Kings work, is also fantastic (and preferable to many.)
2. Near Dark
Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of hillbilly vampires in southwestern United States is as chilling and compelling as it is wild and unique. A great horror movie from a great director.
This list was insanely hard to justify. I could easily swap out any one of these honorable mentions with the ones on the list. If you haven’t seen them go check them out immediately.
What We Do In Shadows, 30 Days of Night, Shadow of the Vampire, Last Man On Earth, Blade I and II, Underworld, and yes even Nosferatu.
Whether you are watching Hammer, Universal, or even Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, all these movies age fairly well. Somethings are going to stick out, fake-looking blood, bats on wires, Keanu Reeves “accent” – whatever. The story itself though is the quintessential vampire movie and for good reason. It has wonderful characters, a brilliant use of the mythology, and manages to be both creepy and oddly romantic.
Did we forget your favorite bloodsucker? Our or priorities all messed up or do you agree with or list. Let us know in the comments below. And as always follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Also, yes we know Alex Winter is the other guy in Bill and Ted. So you don’t need to write us corrective letters filled with nerd rage. Unless you know… you really want to. You could tell us how crappy we are. How vile. Tell us we’re scum. Yeah. We’re such a bad nerd site. So small and worthless. Yes. yes. Now choke us a little bit…..*ahem* Sorry.