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Top Ten Greatest Vampire Films

Updated on September 21, 2014
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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.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

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.

7. Blade

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.

5. Twilight

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.


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.

Which of these Top Vampire Movies is your Favorite (includes some not discussed here)?

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Thoughts on this Greatest Vampire Movies lens? - Which are the best vampire films in your opinion?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Cool lens

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Back to bless this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Halloween used to be the hot time for vampires but now they are hot...or is that cold all year around and only gaining in popularity, was here a year or so ago and on a return to enjoy your excellent reviews...vampires just have an attraction to us....they suck us in!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed Shadow of the Vampire. Willem Dafoe was wonderful.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      It is very interesting how vampire movies changed in last decades. The narration is different, style is different, but the romantic undertones are still there. I guess the mere thought of immortality does the trick...

    • potovanja profile image

      potovanja 5 years ago

      Today i found so many grea lns subject and yours is one of them. Great very informative lens, my frind. Thank you!

    • raelcalu profile image

      raelcalu 5 years ago

      i agree with most of the movies listed except for Blade...i rather put Underworld in it.

    • raelcalu profile image

      raelcalu 5 years ago

      i agree with most of the movies listed except for Blade...i rather put Underworld in it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Watch most f them. I don't watch Let the Right One In. Hope watch it soon.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      salem's lot is a creepy movie which scare the wits out of me. twilight series are not so creepy, they are more romantic in nature.

    • profile image

      georgeadri69 5 years ago

      Interview with the Vampire is my favourite, but I also like Underworld quadrology as it have more action involved.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Okay ... I'm from "The Lost Boys" generation. I remember wanting to make my own Jamie Gertz "gypsy" skirt after seeing hers in the opening carnival scene. My friend had a mad crush on Corey Haim, but I always went for the "older" men, so Patrick floated my boat!

    • DeniseDurham2011 profile image

      DeniseDurham2011 5 years ago

      OMG I can't pick one movie in your list. I love them all. I thought I had seen just about every vampire movie, but Let The Right One In was new to me. Your list is pretty inclusive, as there are different kinds of movies. Very good!!!!!

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      My favourite vampire movie is the underworld series.

    • Shana rios Chavez profile image

      Shana rios Chavez 5 years ago

      i was stuck between anne rices movies and the lost boys those are my favs great lens!!!

    • manicnymph profile image

      manicnymph 5 years ago

      Thanks for not mentioning Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned. The book was amazing and the movie was absolute drivel, I couldn't have been more disappointed if they had cast the Muppets as lead characters. The whole book was about the Legend of the Red Haired Twins and the movie didn't mention it once. The casting, writing and acting was all horrific. If I were Anne Rice, I would be horrendously disappointed and get my name disassociated with it entirely. Thanks for the vent! :P

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 5 years ago from Florida

      Buffy the Vampire will always be my fav!

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Clearly you did not read the intro section, because it clearly states this is not my ranking but a blend of many movie bloggers and fans on Rankography.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      what are you fu***ng stupid?????? twilight is not a vampire movie at all!!! you see vampires do not sparkle!!!!!!!!! oh and they are not vegetarians... omfg......

    • krakensquid profile image

      krakensquid 5 years ago

      Nice movie lens! Feel free to check out mine :)

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      Neat Lens! Thanks.

    • dvdmoviereviews profile image

      dvdmoviereviews 5 years ago

      sorry not to see the Hammer Horror Dracula films on the list.

    • Sabre1000 profile image

      Sabre1000 5 years ago

      Agreed with all of them except the sparkling Vampires of Twilight.

      Sheesh!

      But I rate Lost Boys and Near Dark pretty high.

    • profile image

      AnnaleeBlysse 5 years ago

      I'll probably go see the last Twilight movies just because I like vampires and don't know what happened. I saw a Pattinson being sarcastic about how the movies aren't really a secret because they're based on books. Suppose he thinks every person that saw the movie read those books? Makes me curious if he enjoyed them.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      An excellent vampire lens - love it!

    • profile image

      ouriloilo 5 years ago

      Vampires have come to fascinate people in the last few decades. This can be seen in the mushrooming of vampire-themed movies. Glad there are no such real vampires.

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @Rhidawn: Cool, I added it to our Plexo.

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @Laniann: Thanks so much for the blessing Laniann

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @BrandonSharp: Horror of Dracula just missed the Top 10. I think it was 11th or 12th.

    • Rhidawn profile image

      Rhidawn 5 years ago

      I have a vampire lens as well.. Looks like we share some of the same taste in vamps! Nice lens!

    • BrandonSharp profile image

      BrandonSharp 5 years ago

      Nice lens, but where is 'The Horrors Of Dracula'?

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 6 years ago

      A great list of vampire movies worth check out. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      "Let The Right One In" stunned me with just how good it was. I have watched a LOT of vampire movies and had pretty much given up on the genre being nothing more than campy fun but this one really touches a nerve. The book is excellent also.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Absolutely Nosferatu. That is a creepy film! Thanks for all the visits!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hands Down, Van Helsing shpuld be Number One!!! Don't get me wrong Blade was good, but Van Helsing was much better! Jackman did an excellent job with that role!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Another excellent listing and they all "vant to suck your blood", not Blade of course...but he has his moments!