The vampire, what is the world’s obsession with these beautiful fangy folks?
This is Let’s Talk Horror part 2 and we are talking about the vampire. You can check out part one here.
The idea of the vampire has been around for centuries, like actual centuries. They are well entangled in ancient tales and myths from far-flung corners of the world and embroiled with all sorts of different beliefs and religions, Matthew Beresford, author of “From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth” (Reaktion, 2008), states,
“There are clear foundations for the vampire in the ancient world, and it is impossible to prove when the myth first arose. There are suggestions that the vampire was born out of sorcery in ancient Egypt, a demon summoned into this world from some other.”
The vampire appears in many variations from around the world, Asian vampires, such as the Chinese jiangshi (pronounced chong-shee) are evil spirits that attack people and drain their life energy; the blood-drinking Wrathful Deities that appear in the “Tibetan Book of the Dead,” and many others. You can find loads of interesting articles on the vampire throughout history to be found on the ancient origins website.
So you fancy something with a bit of.. teeth? Vampire movies: a guide
Let’s do this the logical way and we’ll go in order of when the film was released!
Nosferatu– 1922 F.W. Murnau- you know this dude
Can you believe Nosferatu is almost 100 years old? I mean, that is incredible! Nosferatu is a tale you will recognise, Estate Agent Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is dispatched to the Transylvanian Mountains.. sounding familiar? It’s pretty identical to Dracula, however, it is an incredible piece of cinematic history that I implore you to watch.
Dracula– 1931 Tod Browning and Karl Freund- another OG vampire
Now then, once again “The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.” There is quite a lot of that going around, that Mina (Helen Chandler) is a virtuous and apparently irresistible young maiden. But this rendition features the wonderful Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, Lugosi was no stranger in the monster circuit he also starred in The Wolf Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein and The Body Snatcher.
Count Dracula- 1970 Jesus Franco- Another OG Vampire tale
Count Dracula (Christopher Lee), a gray-haired vampire who regains his youth by dining on the blood of maidens, is pursued in London and Transylvania by Professor Van Helsing (Herbert Lom), Jonathan Harker (Fred Williams) and Quincey Morris (Jack Taylor) after he victimizes them and their loved ones.
Fright Night– 1985 Tom Holland (no, not Spidey)- investigation vampire
For young Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), nothing could be better than an old horror movie late at night. When two men move in next door, for Charley with his horror movie experience, there can be no doubt that their strange behavior is explained by the fact that they are a vampire and his undead day guardian. The only one who can help him hunt them down is a washed-up actor, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who hosts Charley’s favorite TV show, Fright Night. Vincent doesn’t really believe that vampires exist, but does it for the money.
Near Dark- 1987 Kathryn Bigelow- seductive vampire
Cowboy Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) meets gorgeous Mae (Jenny Wright) at a bar, and the two have an immediate attraction. But when Mae turns out to be a vampire and bites Caleb on the neck, their relationship gets complicated.
Vampire’s Kiss– 1988 Robert Bierman- not real vampire vampire
Peter (Nicholas Cage) is a typical white-collar New Yorker, all he thinks about is making cash and chasing women, after a steamy night of passion with a fiery young lady who bites him on the next, he believes he has become a vampire! As a result of this, he begins to stalk women, fake fangs and all!
Bram Stoker’s Dracula– 1992 Francis Ford Coppola – the OG vampire
I promise we are moving away from the rather common Dracula story soon! Coppola’s rendition is drawn again from the book of the same title, Dracula. This time our enigmatic batman is played by the absolutely wonderful Gary Oldman. Fun fact- The scene of Lucy (Sadie Frost) getting back into her coffin in the underground crypt was shot in reverse, to give it an eerie quality.
Cronos– 1993 Guillermo Del Toro- arty Spanish vampire
It is 1536, Mexico, during the Inquisition, an alchemist builds a mysterious and sophisticated device named Cronos to provide eternal life to the owner. In the present days, the antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) finds Cronos hidden inside an ancient statue while cleaning it. He accidentally triggers the device and soon his wife Mercedes (Margarita Isabel) and he note that he has a younger appearance. Soon he finds out what the device does and that some will stop at nothing to possess it.
Interview With The Vampire- 1995 Neil Jordan- fancy dandy vampire
Louis (Brad Pitt), an 18th century depressed lord is a vampire, and he wants to tell his story to the world through. After being turned by the enigmatic, erratic and pretty murderous Lestat (Tom Cruise), he starts his new immortal life. Which is not without its problems. There is so much to say about Interview with the Vampire, it’s arguably the formulative Vampire novel/ film for many people. The one that brings them into vampires and the gothic horror genre.
From Dusk Till Dawn– 1996 Robert Rodriguez- shooty western vampire
Its a story we can all relate too, whilst on the run from a bank robbery gone wrong Seth Gecko (George Glooney) and his loose cannon brother Richard (Quentin Tarentino) hightail to Mexico, they stumble across a topless bar, what a win right? Wrong. There are loads of Vampires and they want to chomp down on Seth his brother and the hostages they’ve gathered along their trails!
Blade- 1998 Stephen Norrington- knifey knifey slashy vampire
Half-mortal, half-immortal Blade (Wesley Snipes) is out to avenge his mother’s death and rid the world of vampires, however, these modern-day technologically advanced vampires are in search of his special blood type needed to summon an evil god who plays a key role in their plan to execute the human race. The Blade trilogy includes the acting chops of Kris Kirstofferson, Norman Reedus and Ron Pearlman!
Queen of the Damned- 2002 Michael Rymer- lots of vampire on vampire kinda stuff
Okay, confession time, so Queen of the Damned was a bit of an awakening for me.. I mean that soundtrack, those costumes, the moody aesthetic. It’s safe to say I was drawn in and completely captivated! My walk to school every day had the soundtrack playing on my CD walkman! Queen of the Damned features the same Lestat (this time played by Stuart Townsend) as Interview with the Vampire, both being based on novels by Anne Rice, but oh he is nothing like he was. Now he has reinvented himself as a rock god who’s music awakens Akasha (The late Aaliyah RIP), queen of all the Vampires, who’s got big ideas to make lil Lestat her new king! Akasha leaves death and destruction in her wake and the vampires must stand together to end her reign of terror!
Underworld (series)– 2003 Len Wiseman- vampire Vs werewolf action
Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire warrior, is entrenched in a conflict between vampires and werewolves while falling in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons. Now, Selene is played by the utterly divine goddess Kate Beckinsale and honestly, it’s worth it for seeing her alone add on top of that Michael Sheen and oh boy it’s a fun time, as far as a cheesy action/ horror vampire flick goes? You can’t go wrong with the early Underworld movies.
I am Legend– 2007 Francis Lawrence – ferocious vampires
When you say I am Legend, you can be forgiven for thinking we are talking zombie outbreak. But in actual fact, they are vampires that stalk the shadows. Robert Neville (Will Smith) a scientist, who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus which wiped out all of New York City. Neville, is immune and he works tirelessly to try and create a way to reverse the effects using his own blood. I am Legend features arguably one of the saddest moments in any horror film I have ever seen, if you know what I am referring to, you know.
30 Days of Night- 2007 David Slade- creepy nasty vampire
An isolated Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last of the light fades, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires. Hell bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team (Josh Hartnett and Melissa George) stand between the survivors and certain destruction.
Let the Right One In- 2008 Tomas Alfredson- little vampire just wants a friend
Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli (Lina Leandersson), a beautiful but peculiar girl. Eli is 12, but she has been 12 for a couple of hundred of years. There was an American version released the following year however, we recommend checking out the original in Swedish!
Daybreakers- 2009 The Spierig Brothers- the government are vampires
In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.
Thirst– 2009 Park Chan Wook- moral dilemma vampire
Sang-hyun (Kang-ho Song), a priest working for a hospital, volunteers for a secret vaccine project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh.
Byzantium- 2012 Neil Jordan- lady vampires
Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara (Gemma Arterton) meets lonely Noel (Daniel Mays), who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) befriends Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.
Spoilt for choice
There are so many different types of Vampire movies for you to sink your TEETH into, sorry.. no, I’m not: but there are thousands. Now, not all Vampire movies look like the sparkly, leather-clad, soft focus ethereal creature from your
dreams nightmares; some are much more primal and demonic. For films with a more of a demon creature from hell look toward I am Legend, 30 Days of Night and Near Dark. We could go on for hours about all the different renditions of the vampire in film, but these are just a few to get you started and to boost your Vampire knowledge!