9 Vampire Films with Actual Scary Vampires

Vampire Films

The concept of blood-sucking immortals stalking the night began long before they were written, and long before they were brought to the silver screen. The era of silent films introduced these supernatural denizens, bringing to life several notable literary "undeads".

Recently, there has been a raving fanaticism on vampire YA novels that spawned film counterparts. While there is nothing wrong with the notion of handsome and beautiful vampires that fight for humanity (we won't be forgetting Buffy's Spike and Angelus, after all), some viewers have missed the daunting thrill of films with vampires that will really make your blood curdle.

So, here are some films that feature vampires that stalk their prey in the setting sun or in the dead of night in a sleepy town, or around the world; as such, this list does not include films like Blade or Underworld, which cater to the more "cool" and action-packed dimension of supernatural films. This list is more of a 'terrible vampire situation I don't want to be in, but I have to do all I can to survive and save the people I care for'.


Nosferatu

Nosferatu was produced by German filmmaker, Friedrich Murnau in 1992. It was a silent film and didn’t show them actually biting their victims. It’s original title actually translates to Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror. What makes Nosferatu a scary vampire film is that its vampire, Count Orlock, is so unlike the charming gentlemanly vampires portrayed in books. Instead, he is creepy, slightly deformed, and heinous in his words and actions. This is definitely one vampire that will haunt your late nights long after the credits have rolled in. The term "nosferatu" evolved from a Greek word that means ‘plague carrier’. There is a film titled Nosferatu: The Vampyre made in 1979, yet this no longer features Count Orlock, but the story of Dracula, although there had been a suit filed against the makers of Nosferatu by Florence Stoker, claiming that the film was based on her husband's works.

Watch Nosferatu (1992).



Max Schreck as Count Orlock
Max Schreck as Count Orlock | Source

Dracula

Do I even need to explain this? Written by Bram Stoker, the masterpiece Dracula immortalized the dichotomy of charm and danger of its titular character, Count Dracula, and further thrilled the world with this famous vampire slayer, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. From the book stands, Dracula made its way to Broadway. It was in 1931 when Bela Lugosi portrayed Count Dracula in the silver screen that people were under the thrall of the charming, but doubtlessly dangerous vampire. Suffice to say, many Dracula films were produced, portraying the same paradoxical nature of the night stalker.

What makes Count Dracula a formidable nightmare is his power and control over his victims. Watch Dracula and validate to yourself why this is a classic.

Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula
Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula | Source

'Salem's Lot

Based on a Stephen King novel of the same title, this film adaptation spawns of the creepiest vampires in film history. It's hardly a wonder this film is on this list (It's Stephen King, after all). There was a TV movie made in 1979 and another in 2004. If you want unabashed screaming, you'll surely scream your head off at the 1979 version where there's a floating kid outside a window in the dead of night - with a maniacal look on his face! You'll never be able to sleep peacefully again.

The story is about a sleepy town named 'Salem's Lot (short for Jerusalem's Lot) that gets a new resident, who turns out to be (surprise!) a vampire. In a few days, more than half of the town gets turned and pandemonium begins. Written in 1975, this story's horror and thrill is translated into the film well, making your blood pump for action as the last few residents of the town fight their once friends and families for survival.


Salem's Lot (1979) Trailer

Salem's Lot (2004) Trailer

Fright Night

Maybe you've heard of the 2011 remake. Regardless of whether you've seen it or not, it will still be a good idea to check out the original Fright Night produced in 1985, that spawned quite a cult following. Although Colin Farrell makes a handsome vampire, there is no denying the horror he brings on the town and city as he terrorizes its residents, especially the teenage protagonist, Charley Brewster. What makes this film and its remake great to watch is that the characters fight back, despite being ordinary human beings with not much clue on how to actually get rid of a vampire. There is, after all, real terror in knowing that your neighbor is a literal monster who turned your best friend into one, threatened your family, and took your girlfriend. Fright Night's vampires are destructive and intelligent blood-sucking killers that, despite their good looks, will make you either want to torch them or lock yourself in a cathedral.

You can also check out the sequels Fright Night Part II (1988) and Fright Night 2 (2013).

Fright Night (1985) Trailer

Fright Night 2011 Trailer

The Lost Boys

Many vampire film connoisseurs have this on their list of must-watch vampire films. Succinctly, this is a film about two brothers who move to a town in California, which happens to be infested with vampires.

Filled with teenage snark and manly action, this 1987 film revolves around family issues, brotherly conflict that veer off the edge when the brothers meet different sets of friends that have something to do with mysterious deaths and vampires. Darkness, angst, and terror in the form of fangs, plus hormones and a rebellious streak to spread chaos in this film will certainly give you the chills.

The Lost Boys Trailer

Near Dark

A 1987 western horror film, Near Dark is favored for its vampire portrayal that is mirrored in some films today: a mix of good and evil. The story is about a young man who meets a young woman who turns out to be a vampire. The young man, Caleb, gets bitten and is taken in by the young woman's (Mae) family. Beset by many problems in his new vampire lifestyle and one vampire's desire to turn his sister, Caleb escapes with his family and the vampires give chase. The film is action-packed and delivers a heart-warming ending. Nevertheless, its vampires are generally predators that see humans as walking happy meals.

Near Dark Trailer

John Carpenter's "Vampires"

Directed by John Carpenter, Vampires is a 1998 western horror film adapted from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley. The story is about a group of vampire hunters led by Jack Crow (played by James Woods). There is action, violence, and the ultimate vampire villain. The film shows how the vampire hunters hunt and fight raving blood-thirsty vampires and dealing with a victim that got bitten and is succumbing to the vampire poison in her veins. For those who lean more to badass crossbows-and-guns versus fangs, this is a must-watch. What separates this film from action vampire films like Blade, though, is that the vampire hunters are largely wild and ordinary humans who fight supernatural beings with ordinary weapons and ordinary skills, but with extraordinary courage.

Vampires trailer

30 Days of Night

In 2007, 30 Days of Night was shown to the world. Based on a graphic novel, this film is about an Alaskan town that doesn't see the sun for, that's right, 30 days every year. Of course, this is the time that vampires decide to ravage the town and eat everyone. It seems that, in the film, the vampires have been going from place to place, feeding on people and leaving no one alive, or turned, then burning the place down. Starring Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, this horror film brings real terror as the survivors try to fight off the vampires, hide from them with minimal food and water for more or less a month. The action scenes are also laudable, and the vampires, despite looking a bit humanoid, do not exude charm, only monstrous fangs and savage thirst.

There's also a sequel titled 30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010).

30 Days of Night Trailer

Daybreakers

Daybreakers is a 2009 sci-fi action film wherein the world today is run by vampires. Yes, vampires are the dominant species in this film and the humans are hiding for their lives. The protagonist is, in fact, a vampire scientist. The twist here is that the savage and monstrous vampires we think of are the vampires that are deprived of blood for so long that they become wild and raving mad. In the course of the story, we find out that there is actually a way for the vampires to become human.

Although the film's vampires show decency and civilized manners at first, there is no denying that the bloodthirsty and raving mad vampires that jump and bite heads off or scavenge around human intestines will make you cringe and thank God that vampires haven't overrun the world yet (well, if they're real....).

Daybreakers Trailer

Which of these vampire films have you seen and liked?

  • Nosferatu
  • Fright Night
  • Dracula
  • Daybreakers
  • Salem's Lot
  • 30 Days of Night
  • Vampires
  • The Lost Boys
  • Near Dark
See results without voting

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5 comments

Anate profile image

Anate 2 years ago

While I do love vampires, I have not seen many of the movies with them. I personally have always preferred my vampires for the most part to be evil monsters. I do like Angel and Spike as exception to the general rule in Whedon's work though. Excellent article.


Maximum A profile image

Maximum A 2 years ago Author

Ah, my favorite vampires, Angel especially. Thanks for the comment, Anate. You should definitely watch these films - the vampires are just creepily evil.


Anate profile image

Anate 2 years ago

Yes, although I did find both of their relationships with Buffy somewhat creepy. At least Spike waited for her not to be a high schooler.


Maximum A profile image

Maximum A 2 years ago Author

...there is that.... lol. I missed those series. Can't find a good one these days.


RJ Schwartz profile image

RJ Schwartz 11 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

Thank you - those sparkle vamps are so foolish looking. Nice work and analysis.

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