Vampires: cinema’s staple monster, ever since all the way back in 1922 with the German horror film, Nosferatu.
Something about these enigmatic, cape-clad, bat-loving creatures resonates with audiences. They offer an insight into our dark questions and secret violent desires that no other monster can do quite so attractively.
You’d think, after almost a hundred years, that the well of inspiration would’ve run dry for filmmakers attempting to revive the undead bloodsuckers. Yet somehow, a huge variety of new takes have been created over the years, showing vampires in a variety of different lights… except sunlight, obviously.
From vicious, one-minded monsters stalking the arctic tundra, to romantic, angsty book-lovers driving around streets of Detroit, to ridiculously relatable weirdos attempting to get into Wellington night clubs. They come in all shapes, sizes, and blood-types – and that’s why we’ll never get sick of them.
This list unabashedly claims to have found the best of those gothic gems.
So, grab a glass of something red, and settle in to find out the boldest, broodiest, and bloodiest additions to vampire cinema.
10. Dracula (1958)
For the sake of variety, only one Dracula film has been included in this list.
And here it is: the hammer horror, Dracula, directed by Terence Fisher.
It was a hard call. There are so many classic adaptations of Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, and the horror icon himself has been played by the likes of Bela Lugosi to Gary Oldman.
But when it came down to it, the winner had to be the film that saw Christopher Lee take on the role. Alongside Peter Cushing (who played vampire-hunter, Van Helsing) Lee’s Dracula held a different tone to the thick-accented, shadow-lurking vampire played by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 adaptation.
This Dracula had the charm and suave we’ve come to expect from the character, but he was also deeply threatening. Despite Lee’s chilling performance, he declared that he was never able to fully play the Dracula depicted in Bram Stoker’s novel, due to poor scripts.
Whatever Lee may have thought, this film remains the benchmark for how vampires were represented for years to come. And it wasn’t just his own performance.
The film is packed with action, and in the climactic scene we see Lee and Cushing battling it out in a war of good against evil – candelabras are thrown, curtains are swung from, and ancient evils are disintegrated into dust.
Alongside this was the brilliant addition of technicolour that showed a whole range of crimsons, scarlets, and burgundies that the blood in 1931’s Dracula could only dream of.
And, at the end of the day, it’s all about the blood.