While many blogs are waxing creepily about their favorite slasher or ghost or white-person-possessed-by-a-demon movie, I thought I’d do something different. Today I’m talking about vampires. These creatures have always fascinated me – as a kid I worked my way through many an Anne Rice book on the bus ride home from school. I love them so much that I’ve featured them in my upcoming book, To Astera, With Love. Here are the seven best vampire movies for your binge-watching pleasure.
Charley Brewster’s life is an average, all-American teen who is obsessed with horror. After several disappearances in his town occur, Charley begins to suspect his neighbor, Jerry Dandridge. Jerry catches on to Charley’s suspicions and tells him to mind his business – or else. In comes a man named Peter Vincent, a vampire hunter and host of the television show, Fright Night. Charley is obsessed with the show and believes that Peter is the only one who can help.
I remember watching this movie with my older siblings on VHS (yes, I am an elder millennial) and being simultaneously afraid and scared of Jerry Dandridge, played by Chris Sarandon (who’s also the voice of Jack Skellington).
30 Days of Night
It’s winter in Barrow, Alaska, a small town that annually experiences 30 days of a polar night. Many of the townsfolk leave for larger cities and the ones who stay behind, including Sheriff Eben Oleson (played by the smoldering Josh Hartnett), prepare to hunker down. They expect business as usual, but when a dusty-looking stranger wanders into town and destroys their only method of communication to the outside world, things get ugly. A group of vampires arrive and begin slaying the townsfolk, forcing the remaining survivors into an attic with several days of night left on the clock.
This has been the only vampire movie that has truly scared me. I was so freaked out after seeing it in theaters, I called my sister and made her talk to me all the way home. If you’re a fan of the gorier stuff, I highly recommend this. Also, if you’re a millennial and remember when Josh Hartnett was the heartthrob, this movie is for you.
Interview with the Vampire
After he is ambushed by vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, reporter Daniel Malloy realizes he’s got a story on his hands. The vampire tells him all about his life before and after his turning. A wealthy plantation owner in Louisiana, Louis grows sick of living after the death of his wife and child in childbirth. While roaming through a graveyard one night, he is attacked by Lestat de Lioncourt. Lestat turns Louis, who is soon disgusted with the fact that he now requires blood to stay alive. At first, he survives on rats and feral animals, much to Lestat’s dismay. Soon Louis is unable to take the gnawing hunger and turns a young girl named Claudia as she sat at her dead mother’s side. The trio began as a family of sorts, with Louis doting on her and Lestat tutoring her to be a top predator. As the years pass and Claudia realizes she’ll never grow old, she lashes out at the men, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually leads to her death and Louis’ further disconnection with the world.
This movie is on most people’s lists for a reason – it’s a great movie featuring talented actors, beautiful costumes and sets, and the right amount of gore for a horror film. This is for fans of vampires, historical fiction, creepy and murderous children, and Brad Pitt’s entire everything.
Blade, a half vampire/ half-human vampire hunter, raids a club secretly owned by vampires. After a vampire is taken to the hospital and feeds on Karen, a hematologist, Blade takes her in and saves her before the vampire infection can take hold. He and his friend Whistler explain to Karen that vampires are real and they want to destroy all of humankind, a fact confirmed by the young head of a vampire faction named Deacon Frost. But Karen is marked by the vampire that bit her, and as Blade fights to keep her safe, he comes up against a familiar face.
This movie is a cult classic, and for good reason. Wesley Snipes is excellent as the title character, and from what I’ve read, the characterization and execution of the movie is similar to the comic books. It’s perfect for fans of 90’s movies, plenty of gore, and movies with strong black characters.
What We Do in the Shadows
Roommates suck, and in this movie, they literally do. This mockumentary is about vampires Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr. They are roommates living in New Zealand just trying to get blood and get by. When Petyr, the oldest vampire of the group, turns a young man named Nick, the group is hesitant to accept him and his friend, Stu. Overtime, though, the vampires bond with Stu more than Nick and drama ensues.
This movie is hilarious. It’s the perfect campy film for anyone who’s not a huge fan of horror but loves supernatural. Additionally, those who love Flight of the Concords will enjoy seeing Jemaine Clement as Vladislav “the Poker.”
Queen of the Damned
Set sometime after the events of Interview with the Vampire, Queen of the Damned follows Lestat as he becomes a rock star and reveals the existence of vampires. Because of this, he is warned that other vampires planned to kill him. As he’s attacked by these vampires at one of his concerts, the mother of all vampires, Akasha, rescues him. Meanwhile, human and member of the supernatural- scholars the Talamasca, Jesse Reeves, finds out her great aunt is a vampire with ties to Lestat.
This movie is my guilty pleasure. I know, I know the book is usually better and in this case I completely agree. Anne Rice is a master world builder and the movie doesn’t fully do her vampire universe justice. However, there’s something about this film that is lovable – whether it’s the killer soundtrack, sexy costumes, or the way Akasha is obviously the original HBIC, I’m not sure. If you’re looking for a slightly cheesy early-aughts film to add to your repertoire, check this one out.
When Michael and Sam Emerson move to their grandfather’s Santa Carla, California home with their mother, the boys are more than a little upset. But when Michael meets his beautiful manic pixie dream girl, Starr, at a concert on the boardwalk, he draws the attention of a group of bikers led by David. He invites Michael into the fold and soon Michael slowly begins turning into a vampire. Meanwhile, Sam meets the Frogg brothers at a comic book store, who warn him about vampires and who he eventually calls upon when he realizes his brother is becoming one of them.
This movie holds a special place in my heart because it was filmed in Santa Cruz, a beach town close to where I grew up in San Jose. I love the characterization of the vampires in this film, and it is so iconically ‘80s that it’s hard not to love. It’s not gory, more campy, so if you’re not a fan of gore I highly recommend.
What are your favorite vampire films? Leave a recommendation below!