There are more vampire films then we care to think about in the world. Some come from the bygone era of black and white silent while some are traditional Japanese anime. Vampires aren’t even the same stereotype anymore. Once they were feared creatures that kept Eastern European villagers in there places. Now you’re more likely to see them wooing young girls and planning a life with them, sparkliness optional.
Here I’m going to tell you about my favourite vampire films and the newest one I like is still 10 years old. Have a look and see if you agree. These are the films we have to thank for the vampire films of today.
1. Nosferatu or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Hands down this is my favourite vampire film ever. Nosferatu is a vampire but not like you’ve seen before. Yes the storyline is practically the same has Bram Stoker’s masterful telling of Dracula but the way F.W. Murnau directed this silent classic makes it a success in its own right. Stoker’s wife found the Nosferatu retelling to be that similar to her late husbands book that she had a law suit brought against the film. It was ordered that all copies of Nosferatu were to be destroyed due to infringement and copyright, so we’re very lucky to have this film.
Max Schreck plays the weirdly eerie Graf Orlok, who doesn’t have regular vampire fangs and really wants to live in the country Hutter is from. Especially the house across from him and his lovely wife. The direction is creepily fabulous, the music defines the film and Schreck was made for this role. Nosferatu changed horror in the silent age, especially outside of Hollywood. It kept audiences believing that vampires were creatures that should be feared because they aren’t human. If you saw his shadow creeping up your stairs you’d be a little scared.
Best line: “Nosferatu. Does this word not sound like the deathbird calling your name at midnight? Beware you never say it- for then the pictures of life will fade to shadows, haunting dreams will climb forth from your heart and feed on your blood”
2. Dracula (1931)
Dracula is Dracula has in Bram Stoker’s telling of the Transylvanian Count come to suck your blood. It’s a classic tale told in such a way that classic Hollywood fans can’t fault it. Filmed in its entirety in black and white, which was normal for the late 20’s/ early 30’s, it gives a superb gothic, horror feel. Dracula in this film is a suave and elegant looking gentleman which will keep the ladies happy. If in colour it would have changed his persona to a good guy but the black and white really helps the coldness settle in. There’s a great use of camera work with some of the most famous shots from the film being close ups of Lugosi’s face.
Everyone else who’s ever played Dracula throughout the century may have done a good job and may have brought something different to their portrayal but Lugosi is Dracula. From his real Romanian accent and impeccable taste all the way down to his perfect vampire hairline. Lugosi nearly didn’t get the role even though he’d played Dracula on Broadway. He eventually won over the executives and Universal’s decision paid off at the box office.
Lugosi was buried in one of his Dracula capes.
Best Line: “I never drink… Wine.”
3. Queen of the Damned (2002)
Between Interview With the Vampire and Queen of the Damned this wins it for me. If there’d have been a Memnoch the Devil film maybe it’d be a tad different.
Queen of the Damned embodies everything the early noughties vampire ever was, even though it’s loosely based on The Vampire Chronicles book of the same name by Anne Rice which was released in 1988. There’s also quite a few elements of The Vampire Lestat (1985) woven into the film.
Stuart Townsend plays a new and much better Lestat than Tom Cruise did in Interview With the Vampire. This may be down to the big era differences in the film but Townsend fits in the film extremely well. He makes it believable and gives off a sexy, trendy vibe that we now see in 99% of vampire films released over the last few years. Anne Rice vampires have always been intriguing and this comes across strongly in the film. It also doesn’t hurt that they had pop sensation Aaliyah playing Queen Akasha her skills as an actress were fantastic and she played the perfect aloof, seductress Queen, who even after slumbering for 100’s of years, knew she was still the centre of the world. This is something that is common in the Vampire Chronicles series. Vampires are sexy and gorgeous but power, control and survival are more prominent and this comes through in the film.
It’s a great film to watch to compare vampire films over the eras because it has some typical ‘old fashioned’ vampire traits we don’t see in modern films; Queen of the Damned uses mesmerising to get people to Lestat’s concerts, hypnotising and straight out killing. Anne Rice is the undisputed Queen of Vampires so it only goes to say the films that are based on her books should have a bigger, more loyal, fan base than new comers like Twilight. The soundtrack is more important to this film than most as Lestat is a lead singer in a band. Jonathan Davis of Korn and Richard Gibbs wrote and performed all the songs in the film and they have a great rock, electro vibe.
This film became a cult classic after Aaliyah sadly died in a plane crash after filming but before the film was released. Her last acting role saw her play the ancient Queen of the Vampires and she nailed it.
Best Line: “I don’t have time for this.” “All a vampire has is time!”
These are just three films we think you should watch. Each is completely different and worked in the time they were released. Vampires in films have changed so much that they’re not very recognizable anymore. The Lost Boys and Underworld series are well worth a watch for something really different. I mean a young Keifer Sutherland has a evil vampire leader in the 80’s in Lost Boys and Kate Beckinsale in tight catsuits with weapons in Underworld. What more do you want?