Top Ten Greatest Vampire Films
We have been fascinated with vampire films since the beginning of the film industry. However, the concept of vampires can be dated back thousands of years although the term was first used in the early 1700s and popularized by John Polidori's 1819 book, The Vampyre. It is hard to say why we are so fascinated with vampires, maybe it grew out of the desire for eternal life, or maybe it was an early explanation for the mass murderers that must have existed throughout history.
Whatever the reason, we continue to be fascinated with the concept of vampires, bloodlust and eternal life. The current wave of vampire films, shows and books is but one of many waves that have existed over the past three hundred years. In the early days of the film industry, FW Murnau and Max Schreck stunned audiences with their silent vampire film classic, Nosferatu. Later in the 1930s, Bela Lugosi revolutionized the role as Count Dracula.
In the 1950s, Christopher Lee frightened the world with his portrayal of the Count in Horror of Dracula. in the 1990s, there was a new wave of vampire movies, including Gary Oldham's portrayal of Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice's tormented vampires in Interview with the Vampire and Keifer Sutherland leading his vampire rat pack in The Lost Boys. However, the latest wave might be the most fervant of all with hit TV shows such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and True Blood and a wave of movies from the sexy teenage drama, Twilight, to the stark and imaginative, Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In.
Our listing of the greatest vampire films is a blended average of member rankings at Rankography movies.
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10. Twilight 2: New Moon
Who Will She Choose - Edward or Jacob?
At first there was just Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, but after the near death event at the end of the first installment in the Twilight Saga, Edward decides to go away to avoid their relationship developing any further. During the hiatus, Jacob Black steps in to fill the void and we learn a lot more about the Wolves. This classic triangular love affair makes New Moon one of the most romantic vampire movies
While a good vampire movie, this film was much more about the characters than it was about concept of vampires or werewolves. In the first film, there were so many new concepts that the movie seemed to fly by quickly.
New Moon has a much slower pace because there are less discoveries. One of the few new discoveries is The Volturi and they are a great addition to the cast. Michael Sheen as Aro and Dakota Fanning as Jane provide great performances of strong characters. Overall, it is an enjoyable vampire film but not as mind-blowing as the first installment and not as exciting as Eclipse (the third installment in the Twilight movies).
9. Shadow of the Vampire
What Really Happened on the Filming of Nosferatu
Shadow of the Vampire is a movie about the filming of the classic German vampire movie, Nosferatu, in 1922. The film's star Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) became so obsessed with his role that many rumors emerged that he was actually practicing in bloodlust. A few of the cast members died or disappeared and this movie follows the events surrounding the filming.
It also explores the tension between Schreck and his director, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (John Malkovich). This film is beautifully acted and a truly fascinating tale about the legendary vampire film. If you have been entranced by Nosferatu in the past, you will want to see this movie about its filming.
If you liked Shadow of the Vampire, you should also check out Ed Wood
8. From Dusk till Dawn
Keitel, Clooney and Tarantino Come Together in this Strange Film
I think the best way to describe Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk till Dawn is bizarre. The first hour of this film could be award winning. It is a glimpse into the deranged journey of two murderous, thieving brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) as they head for the Mexico border. It felt like a very good art house film in the vein of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Monster.
But then halfway through the film it denigrates into a vampire movie that feels more like a low budget zombie movie, with lots of blowing heads off of bodies and exploding torsos. Before the zombie transformation, this film might have been in the running for awards, after the transformation --- they lost me.
However, I do think you should see this film for the first half of the movie and two amazing scenes, in particular. First, a scene in which Clooney discovers that Tarantino has killed another victim (serial killer style). Second, when Salma Hayek dances seductively for Tarantino at the roadhouse. Both are fascinating scenes that leave a lasting impression. You can find that Hayek Snake Dance on youtube but it is a bit too racy for me to imbed into this lens.
A Race Against Time to Save the Human Race
This film is part vampire movie and part martial arts fighting film. Blade (Wesley Snipes) is on a mission to rid the world of vampires. Along the way, he learns that he is half human and half vampire himself. While the storyline is somewhat interesting, this is really more of a fighting movie.
The martial arts and sword-based fighting scenes are entertaining but at times a bit absurd. The key to enjoying the film is to suspend reality and not expect much from the acting or the storyline; just go in for a good old fashioned fighting action film.
6. Van Helsing (2004)
The Monster Hunter Tracks Down Dracula
Leveraging on his success as Wolverine in the X-Men trilogy, Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing, a legendary monster hunter sent to rid the world of Count Dracula. This is another fighting movie dressed up in vampire's clothing but it is far more entertaining than the Blade series.
This film is enhanced with CGI so the stunts, special effects and settings are visually stunning. The town center in Translyvania harkens to Medieval Times but with a modern flair. The fighting scenes are over the top, especially the battles with Dracula's three vampire witches.
Overall, this is a very entertaining vampire movie with strong cast and great special effects.
The Edward Cullen and Bella Swan Saga Begins
What does one say about Twilight saga when everyone has seen it (at least based on box office numbers), read the books or heard about it in blogs. It is the most talked about series since Harry Potter. Some would tell you it is not a vampire film but rather the love story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Others would say it is more of a teenage soap opera, such as Dawson Creek or Pretty Little Liars.
However, one cannot deny that the Twilight movie brought a lot of originality and creativity to the Vampire mythology. The "vegan" family of beautiful vampires living in Forks, WA are captivating and intriguing. Millions of us have found the films to be entertaining and I think they will live on long after the final installment is released.
If you loved the Twilight series, you should also check out the Underworld series
4. Nosferatu (1922)
Max Schreck's Performance is Chilling
I wish that Nosferatu was made after sound was introduced to film because it is difficult to convey terror in a silent film. However, Max Schreck is incredibly chilling in this 1922 classic vampire film despite the lack of sound. There were rumors that Schreck took his method acting so literally that he actually experimented with bloodlust, but those were probably just rumors to promote the film. Yet, no one can deny how completely he transforms himself in his role as Nosferatu.
If you have never seen Nosferatu, it really is a must see. The filming of Nosferatu and Schreck's transformation were recreated in Shadow of the Vampire, starring William Dafoe, which also appears later in this vampire movies list.
3. Let the Right One In
A Unique Vision of Vampires
Occasionally, a film comes along that turns a whole genre on its head and this Swedish movie is just such a film. We are taken on journey through a much starker glimpse into the life of a vampire, Eli (Lena Leandersson). Unlike other vampire films that portray a bloodlust that resembles sexual urges, Let the Right One In likens a vampire's need for blood to an addiction to drugs.
Against this backdrop Oskar (Kara Hedebrant) meets and falls in love with Eli, who is recruiting him into her fold. The film takes some interesting twists and turns that continue to intrigue us throughout.
But ultimately it is the addiction ritual that fascinates us. We watch in horror as Haken (Per Ragner), Eli's helper harvests blood from a murder victim to satisfy her addiction. We watch as Eli experiences withdrawal symptoms when she is left without human blood for an extended period. And then we see her savagery unleashed on a victim after her long withdrawal from blood. This stark vision of a modern vampire changes our perception forever and why it just might be the best vampire movie ever made.
If you liked Let the Right One In, you should also see Cronos
2. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Coppola Directs the Best of all Dracula Movies
Francis Ford Coppola directed this latest interpretation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale. Gary Oldman provides a chilling portrayal of Dracula in this close adaptation of the original book. Interestingly, the film was originally going to be directed by the Executive Producer, Michael Apted, but Winona Ryder, cast as Mina Murray, took the script to Francis Ford Coppola and he was interested in signing on to the project.
After capturing Jonathan Harker (Keenu Reeves), a young attorney traveling Eastern Europe, Dracula is enchanted by a photo of his young wife Mina Murray (Winona Ryder). He travels to London intent on seducing her and begins a trail of bloodshed in London. Oldman's portrayal is really the key to this adaptation of Bram Stoker's masterpiece and really catapulted him into the limelight as one of the best movie villains of all time.
1. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
A Brilliant Cast Brings Anne Rice's Novel to Life
After a plantation owner, Louis (Brad Pitt), loses his wife and daughter in childbirth he loses his will to live. Lestat (Tom Cruise), a vampire, approaches Louis with the chance at eternal life as a vampire. In hindsight, this was an extraordinary cast including Cruise, Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Slater. No wonder it is considered by many to be the best vampire movie of all time.
The film, based on the best-selling novel by Anne Rice, captures the melancholy and tortured soul of a vampire locked in an eternal struggle between life and death. It is a dark and brooding vampire film that will captivate you and hold you entranced for the full two hours. In particular, Kirsten Dunst's childhood performance as young Claudia is particularly mesmerizing. To me, this is the granddaddy of vampire movies that all others must be judged against.