It’s October 11th! Which means we’re 11 nights in to my month of #HalloweenWatches, where I pick a seasonally-appropriate film each night and watch it. Often on Twitter, with GIFs and quotes and commentary galore. It’s been a bit hit or miss this year, but no longer! I’ll probably put Dracula’s Horror Bordello on tonight, and you’re all invited – plus I’m sharing 9 of my other favorite vampire films below.
I used to hate scary movies. In fact, I still pretty much hate scary movies – the ones with jump scares, anyway. I’m not fond of slasher flicks, dolls coming to life give me the heebie-jeebies, and ghost stories put my imagination on overdrive and freak me the fuck out.
(Seriously. Here’s an anecdote: I bought The Grudge on a vacation home in America because I was trying to overcome my fear of ghost movies and it had Sarah Michelle Gellar in it– I was in a phase. Anyway, I wouldn’t watch the movie until I was back in Japan because, by obscure logic, I assumed it took place in America – being an American remake of the Japanese horror film. I thought being in a foreign area would make it less scary. HAH! THE FILM IS SET IN TOKYO! And not only is it set in Tokyo, but it was filmed near some of my favorite places, so I recognized tons of landmarks. GOOD TIMES. I didn’t sleep for two days.)
However, for some reason, creature flicks have never fallen under the same personal ruling as general scary movies. That means that I hunger after vampire movies and werewolf movies and mummy movies (some mummy movies, anyway) and etc. Creature features are my fave.
Let’s get this bloodsucking film fest started! Here are 10 of my favorite vampire flicks*:
I formed an attachment to this film as a kid. To the point where I begged for a Siberian Husky stuffed animal just so I could name it Nanook. The whole gang of misunderstood youth plus being tempted to the dark side plus oddball humor plus family togetherness with a Siberian Husky as the family dog plus hot vampires really appealed to me. Also, this was my bestie’s and my jam. I’m not sure how many times we watched this together on the phone.
I also saw this film (the theatre scene, anyway) at a tender age. The sensuality and danger of the vampirism on that screen sank deep hooks into my psyche, which probably worried my mother. Add to that the fact that I got into the books, completely loved Lestat, and built an amusing past-time out of arguing with J over the relative merits and flaws of her beloved (Louis) and mine makes Interview with the Vampire a shoo-in for the favorites list.
Now, my mama actually raised me on this film. I don’t remember how young I was when I first saw Love at First Bite, but I do know that I cut my teeth on the humor and story conventions of films from the 70’s such as this. Obviously, the female lead in this film choosing to leave her known (and empty) life to run off with the vampire has skewed me in some very fundamental ways. These days, when given a choice in a narrative, I almost always choose the monster** too.
This film was one of my first introductions to anime – and it was a hell of an introduction at that! I remember coming in half-way through the broadcast of this on Sci-Fi Channel one Saturday morning. I was completely enthralled. Super dark, the vampires were actually terrifying, and young me found the main character enthralling. (I know it’s not widely favored, but I love Bloodlust too. Especially since it’s inspired a bit by Carmilla.)
My Buffy fandom runs deep, and I’ve got a lot of feelings about the show. I’ve also got a lot of love for the film from 1992 starring Kristy Swanson. My mom and I would watch this one together whenever it was on, laughing with all the snark and camp. So Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s on this list out of complete appreciation for what it is, in addition to its role as progenitor to Buffy the series.
Y’all knew this one was going to be on here. (The original, that is.) It’s one of the best #HalloweenWatches, featuring a disturbingly attractive Chris Sarandon, a hilarious and affirming Roddy McDowall, and the best parts of the vampire genre – strange neighbors, unconventional research, seduction and surrender, pop culture appraisal, and boy who cried wolf situations. It’s dated, but it’s still great fun.
It always cracks me up to see Robert Sean Leonard (Neil Perry? Claudio? Dr. James Wilson, is that you?) as a teenage vampire. I probably shouldn’t enjoy this film as much as I do, but it’s one of my guilty pleasures. It’s got that nostalgia factor – I can remember staying up late to watch it by myself when I was 10 or so. I always thought it was brilliant that some vampires were just people trying to get by, picking up pig’s blood on special from the local butcher.
Okay, so this is not technically the title of the film. Technically, the title of the film is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. See, I have this habit of renaming movies that do not match their source material. For example, I, Robot‘s real title is Will Smith – Action Robot Movie, or WS-ARM for short. Queen of the Damned is actually Queen of the Darned. And Bram Stoker’s Dracula is actually Dracula’s Horror Bordello. The film is GREAT. I love it, but it’s just not Bram Stoker’s novel. It’s actually the closest we’ve come to getting in film, but the romance plot sets it firmly apart. Regardless, I will watch this movie every October – the atmosphere is masterful, the Victorian setting wonderful, and almost all the acting is superb. Gary Oldman is my favorite Dracula, hand’s down.
I tend to really enjoy mockumentaries, and this one about vampires was no exception. It’s eminently GIFable, too. The film pretty much perfectly captures the main stereotypes of vampires, while still communicating the horror of vampire existence. It’s funny and awful and disturbing by turns, which is exactly what is called for. Plus, you know, werewolves not swearwolves.
And you thought we’d get through this list without a Guillermo del Toro film. Blade was fun. Blade II was better. Wesley Snipes continues to be a bad-ass as the Daywalker. Ron Pearlman gets to rock my world as a cocky, snarky son of a bitch. There’s a kick-ass vampire princess. And one of the vampires’ own schemes gone awry fucks up one of their old vampiric dynasties. Amidst an international backdrop. Really, it just does my little heart good.
Alright, it’s your turn. Hit the comments and tell me your favorite vampire flicks – maybe we can even schedule a Twitter livetweet of the most popular!
* This list is not in any particular order.
** For certain values of “monster,” anyway.
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