With Neil Jordan’s return to the genre with Byzantium, it’s time to go all fang-tastic with a top ten of the best vampire movies around (and not a single Twilight film in sight).
10. The Hunger (1983)
Tony Scott’s directorial debut is an underrated visual treat. Looking more like a n extended advert, this tale of aging vampires caught up with lust and blood in 80s America has Catherine Deneuve as a Queen vampire and David Bowie as her lover who has less time to live. Throw in Susan Sarandon and you have one of the sexiest vampire movies around.
9. Love At First Bite (1979)
Unlike Mel Brooks’ woeful Dracula: Dead And Lovin’ It, this spoof of the famous Count is a real hoot, thanks to a gloriously hammy performance from George Hamilton as Dracula, coping with 70s New York. Richard Benjamin is a blast as Van Helsing. All together now: Children of the night! Shut up!
8. Fright Night (1985)
This 1980s horror comedy takes the vampire legend and puts it in a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf tale as William Ragsdale believes that new neighbour Chris Sarandon, is a blood-sucking vampire. Enlisting a late-night TV horror host to help, this has plenty of gory fun and a opportunity for Roddy McDowell to let rip. The remake wasn’t bad but not a patch on this.
7. Cronos (1993)
A toss up between two Guillermo del Toro vampire films (the other being Blade 2), this one wins because of it’s ingenious twist, as a mechanical spider turns a man into a blood sucker and turning the clock back for him. Clever and inventive, this first feature from the fantasy director is one of his finest.
6. Dracula (1958)
No horror list should go without a Hammer film being present and so I have gone for the one that started it all and made a star out of Christopher Lee. Peter Cushing plays Dr Van Helsing and under Terence Fisher’s direction, this became the blueprint for some of the best and definitely most fun horror films around.
5. Nosferatu (1922)
There’s nothing more creepy than a vampire but F.W. Murnau’s silent classic gave us the creepiest of them in Max Schreck, who literally appears from the shadows to take his prey. The weird pointy ears, bald head and long fingers gives him a distinct characteristic and even if you haven’t seen it, his image is now legendary.
4. From Dusk To Dawn (1996)
What starts off as another Tarantino heist film suddenly turns into an ultra-violent, gore-fest vampire flick with George Clooney and Harvey Keitel held up in a bar in Mexico surrounded by blood suckers. Cracking dialogue, grisy effects and a just w whole heap of bloody fun.
3. Dracula (1931)
My first venture into horror must have been a late night TV screening of this classic Universal film as Bela Lugosi became a legend playing Bram Stoker’s immortal. A little shaky on viewing now, it is still regarded highly in the horror faterity but alas Lugosi couldn’t shake the character, no matter how hard he tried.
2. Near Dark (1987)
Before she became an Oscar winner, director Kathryn Bigalow made this neat twist on the vampire format, as a family of blood-suckers travel around the desert in a van with blacked-out windows and throwing in a western feel as well. Bill Paxton is brilliantly nutty in a film that got somewhat lost by the release of the other modern vampire tale, The Lost Boys. One to hunt down if you get the chance.
1. Let The Right On In (2008)
The best vampire films around is more a touching love story and tale of friendship between a bullied boy and the mysterious young girl who moves into his apartment block. This Swedish thriller is full of style and looks beautiful. The swimming pool scene is simply stunning to watch. The Hollywood remake (produced by Hammer) Let Me In, does a good job but this highly original story is very hard to touch. Moving and simply magnificent.