Ten Best Vampire Movies (That you probably haven't seen)
The vampire is one classic monster that people never seem to get tired of watching in the movies. Since the silent era there have always been vampire movies and many of them have become classics. But while most people know Nosferatu or Dracula, and have seen modern favorites like Lost Boys and Interview With the Vampire, there are a number of oddball vampire movies out there where the creators tried to do something truly different. This is a list of some of those movies. All of these films have become cult classics over the years with a passionate following but no matter how much their fans love them they still have remained obscure from the majority of the movie going public.
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS: OR PARDON ME BUT YOUR TEETH ARE IN MY NECK (1967)
Directed, co-written and co-starring Roman Polanski before he made classics like Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown, this film never found the audience that is deserved on its initial release but has since found a small loyal cult of fans. The premise is basically a satire of the popular Hammer vampire films but thanks to two dim-witted vampire hunters and sexy Sharon Tate it is turned into a bawdy farce. The humor and style is very sixties and it has the same lush art direction and vibrant cinematography and costumes of the Hammer films of the time. But underneath the glossy style there is also a foreboding darkness that lurks underneath that makes this movie seem like something really special.
George Romero is so well known for his zombie films that few people know that he has done anything else. One of his best films, Martin, is about a young man who drugs people and extracts their blood with razor blades. He claims to be over 80 years old but acts and looks just like any other young man barely out of his teens. In some ways Martin is like The Graduate, a quirky coming of age story about a young man unsure of where he is going, and in others it is a strange psychological thriller about a possibly mentally ill man who thinks he is a vampire. Romero injects the film with his usual social satire. You probably haven't ever seen anything like it.
At first glance this movie looks to have more in common with zombie films than a vampire movie but under the direction of David Cronenberg (The Fly, A History of Violence) you know that you are going to get something a bit off the beaten path. Rabid is about a woman who gets in a motorcycle wreck and after her body is reconstructed using an experimental procedure she starts to undergo a strange transformation. She grows a spike out of her armpit and begins to crave human blood. When she acts on her impulses it doesn't prove fatal but gives her victims a strange case of rabies. Cronenberg uses all this as an excuse for weird sexual metaphors and a cult classic is born.
NEAR DARK (1987)
Before Katheryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the best director Oscar for The Hurt Locker she was best known for gritty B-movies like this one. The movie has a very simple plot: Boy meets the wrong girl and ends up with her family of vampires as they travel around wreaking havoc. Part horror, part action with elements of both the Western and Crime dramas thrown in Near Dark is a fun trip through a stylish genre bending fun house.
LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM (1988)
Bram Stoker was so well known for Dracula that few people even think about what else he wrote. This campy movie about a strange snake goddess vampire woman is loosely based on one of those. Weird for the sake of being weird, director Ken Russell couldn't take this story seriously so he played it for laughs. The result is goofy fun plus you can enjoy a young Hugh Grant as he says his absurd dialogue with an admirable deadpan.
VAMPIRE'S KISS (1989)
Okay, calling this movie "great" is probably a bit of a stretch but if you have ever enjoyed watching Nicholas Cage horribly overact in a movie then this is one for you. He was even so dedicated to being a hardcore method actor that he ate a live cockroach for the movie. While PETA probably wouldn't approve I think this has to go down as one of the all time weirdest performances ever. People who like to see a good cinematic train wreck really need to check it out.
Director Guillermo Del Toro has given us movies like Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy but he got his start with this Mexican horror film. An elderly antiques dealer finds a strange artifact that latches onto his skin and his youth begins to return to him. The problem is in order to stay young the artifact needs a steady supply of blood. A creepy and fun twist on the vampire tale this movie made Hollywood take notice of Del Toro and he had been delivering the same level of quality ever since.
THE ADDICTION (1995)
You may have to look for this one a little bit but it will be worth it. This strange black and white indie is about a grad student who is bitten by a vampire and struggles with her new lust for blood. Is she evil now and if so what does this mean? Can she choose not to indulge her addiction? Director Abel Ferrara (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) has created a vampire movie with a truly philosophical twist. It is about a vampire struggling with what it means to be a vampire. Unfortunately it has never been released on DVD but it can be found on other formats if one looks hard enough. And hey it has Christopher Walken in it!
BLOOD AND DONUTS (1995)
After spending over twenty years in hibernation a vampire wakes up under a donut shop and tries to reconnect with the outside world. A quirky comedy rather than a horror film, this is a truly original vampire story. Before going under our hero promised his lover that he would make her immortal and now that he is awake again she wants answers. He tries to deal with his guilt while contemplating romance with the woman who runs the donut shop and helping a cabby deal with a violent gangster played by director David Cronenberg.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
They remade it recently as Let Me In but for my money the original Swedish version is far superior. A young bullied boy makes friends with a strange little girl who turns out to be a vampire. Coming of age films are rarely this moving and complex. Vampire movies are rarely this creepy and suspenseful. It will cast a spell from the beginning until its haunting ending.