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Friday, 4 September 2015

Top 20 Vampire Movies Ever! - So Many To Choose From... - #FanFridays 4


So it's Friday, which means I'm allowed to get my geek on and I have picked one of my favourite subjects: Vampire movies. Welcome to Fan Friday #4 - I hope you enjoy your stay.

Top 20 Vampire Movies Ever!
So Many To Choose From...

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Anyone who knows me, or has perused my blog for a little while will already be aware that I love all things vampire. Books, TV, movies, the lot, but I have to admit my favourite format is vampire movies. Last count I have approximately 166 on DVD or Blu-ray - I say approximately because my DVD catalogue counts each disc and some have multiple discs, a couple I have twice and others have more than one film to a disc, so without going through and counting one at a time I can't be completely accurate :).

I should warn you, I tend to rate films by how many times I can watch them over and over again, rather than anything sensible. So these are my top 20 vampire movies based purely on entertainment value. Considering how many times I have seen all of these, they should probably be all number 1 :).

20. Near Dark (1987)

Caleb falls for Mae, a beautiful young drifter, who ends up biting him and turning him into a vampire. He faces the choice of killing for blood and travelling with Mae's violent, vampire companions or being killed to keep him quiet.

This is an 80s vampire movie with some grit to it. A lot of vampire films during the decade were quite light hearted, but this one is definitely not that. The vampires are ruthless hillbilly types who would sooner cut your throat as look at you. When I first saw this movie I loved the romance between Mae and Caleb, these days I really appreciate all the other vampire characters for making life interesting. This is definitely not a sweet teen movie; it earns it's UK 18 rating.

19. Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

Young women are being drained of their lifeforce, becoming old before their time and then dying. Captain Kronos, the famous vampire hunter, is called in by an old friend to get to the bottom of what is happening.

Time for some kitch now as we delve into the early 1970s. This is a classic period vampire film with peasant girls and sword fights and it is cheesy, but it is highly entertaining. I love that the vampires aren't just your run of the mill, blood-drinking-turning-other-people-into-vampires type fiends. They're just a little different and the film gives us a whole slew of suspects. If you like a more gentle horror, this is the vampire film for you.

18. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

After his mother is killed by a vampire, Abraham vows revenge and is nearly killed for his trouble. However, then Henry Sturgess offers to train him to hunt vampires properly. Later in life this knowledge comes in very handy when the US is faced with a the threat of a vampire takeover.

I was sceptical before going to see this film, but I absolutely love it. It has action, it has special effects, it has a great cast and it has a plot - a really good plot. The characters are well rounded and the premise might sound ridiculous, but this film has you buying into it completely. So very much worth a watch.

17. Dracula's Widow (1988)

Raymond owns The Hollywood House of Wax, a small wax museum with a gory bent to it where he makes all the exhibits himself. When he purchases relics from Romania for his new Dracula exhibit he gets one box extra and that contains Vanessa, the true wife of Dracula. Raymond is in trouble.

Back to the 80s for number 17 and this film is low budget and has some really cheesy moments, but somehow it is brilliant. It drags you in and won't let you go even when the effects are a little bit off. Vanessa is completely merciless, a true she-demon who dominates Raymond for her own purposes. It's kind of terrible, but I can watch it over and over again.

16. Interview with the Vampire (1994)

In late 1800s New Orleans Louis de Pointe Du Lac has just lost his wife and child when he meets the vampire Lestat who welcomes him to the life of a vampire. Louis does not make a very good vampire and feeds on rats rather than the humans Lestat preys upon. Of course it cannot last.

This is an incredibly beautiful film, made with the highest budget and to the most exacting standards. Sitting here I can already hear the amazing score in my head as I think of the beautiful period scenes. This is the kind of film that sticks with you. It is full of love and betrayal and sadness and yet the fact Louis survives gives it just a glimmer of hope. Louis has always been my favourite character from The Vampire Chronicles and I think this film does the book justice.

15. Sundown - The Vampire in Retreat (1989)

David and his family are travelling to the small American town of Purgatory so he can help find the problem with the town's blood substitute plant, which he originally designed. Little does he know the town is not about setting up an industry to supply others with the blood substitute, but is a town of vampires who no longer wish to have to kill to survive.

Oops, another 80s movie. How can I resist a movie that has David Carradine as Count Mardulak, overlord of a town of vampires? This film also has Bruce Campbell as a completely incompetent vampire hunter, the descendant of the original Van Helsing. Maxwell Caulfield chews the scenery as the evil Shane, but that's what he does best, so all is well. The only way to put it, is this film is funny and so very, very entertaining.

14. Vamp (1986)

Keith and AJ are trying to get into a fraternity and want nothing to do with the usual fraternity rituals, so they offer their services as procurers of things instead. The frat want strippers so Keith and AJ head off with the rich kid Duncan to find some. Unfortunately for them they end up in Katrina's club where all the strippers are vampires.

Grace Jones makes a terrifying vampire (see above). This film also has Dedee Pfeiffer, little sister of Michelle Pfeiffer. I simply love the premise of this movie. It's a little bit silly, but they commit to it and the fact that Keith has to deal with insane gangs as well as vampires and cops who don't believe a word he says is brilliant. There is the strangest striptease ever towards the beginning, which has to be seen to be believed and I just love the whole film. It's very 80s and very fun.

13. Dracula (Frank Langella) (1979)

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A ship crashes into the Whitby coast with only one survivor: Count Dracula. He is found by Mina Van Helsing, a sickly young woman who succumbs to his powers. Lucy Seward and her family welcome their new neighbour and Lucy also fall for his charms, despite her fiance, Jonathan Harker.

This is almost Dracula, but not quite. It has most of the players, but doing slightly different things. It's very character driven and it has a special place in my heart because it took me a long time to see it. When I was much younger we were watching it and at the point where Dracula climbs down the outside of the house my darling twin started screaming and we had to switch it off (we couldn't have been more than about 10). It was years before I got to see it again :). The film has the most annoying Jonathan Harker ever, but I do like the fact that Lucy stands up to all the men, even Dracula himself.

12. Underworld (2003)

Selene is a Death Dealer, a vampire whose sole purpose is to pursue and kill Lycans, the ancient enemy of the vampires. However, when she discovers a Lycan plot to do with human Michael Corvin she has to risk her own place in vampire society to discover what it means.

There is nothing I don't love about Underworld, it hits every button I have: strong female lead; confused, human in the middle of supernatural crap; hurt/comfort; vampire society and rituals; werewolves and other things I can't say because of spoilers. The effects are fantastic, the characters have depth and Bill Nighy as Viktor is just amazing. Even the plot holds together, which isn't always a given when it comes to vampire movies.

11. Fright Night II (1988)

Charley Brewster has convinced himself that the vampire next door was all in his head and just his way of dealing with a serial killer murdering his best friend and trying to kill him and his girlfriend Amy. Unfortunately for him there is another vampire about, her name is Regine and she wants revenge on Charley.

Many sequels suck, so does this one, but in a good way :). All those of you who like college stories, this is the vampire film for you, because Charley is working his way through college and the last thing he needs is vampires to mess it up. Regine is a fantastic vampire; she is sexy, deadly and very, very focused on her task. When she finally reveals her grand plan to Charley it is delivered with perfect calm and total seriousness. This film hits my biggest vampire button ever, but I can't say what because of spoilers. Everyone should see this film at least once!

10. Innocent Blood (1992)

Marie lives for two things, blood and sex. Unfortunately, she is a picky eater, she only eats bad guys, which can be tricky. Joe Gennaro is an undercover cop inside the Mafia. Their paths cross when Marie eats one of the men Joe is working to put away.

I think the whole premise of this movie can be summed up by Marie's best line: "I fucked up, okay?!" said with voice full of vampire re-verb. This is a buddy movie that turns into a romance as a vampire and a cop race to stop the Mafia from all becoming vampires and unbeatable. I love the fact that when Marie feeds there is blood all over the place and she's not completely invulnerable. The film has some hilarious moments and some great effects and the characters are superb. It also has one of my favourite love scenes ever because of the handcuffs - I shall not elaborate. ;)

9. Lifeforce (1985)

The crew of the space shuttle Chruchill, sent to investigate Halley's Comet, find three humanoids, a girl and two men, in suspended animation in the comet's tail. They go to bring them back to Earth, but fire kills everyone on board, leaving only the humanoids in their cases. The girl wakes and begins to infect London with a plague of energy eating vampires.

These are not blood sucking vampires, they are energy sucking ones and it's a cross between a zombie apocalypse film and a vampire one. I love the combination of sci-fi and horror and the vampires are simply awesome. I always get the feeling the plot got away from the writers a little bit, but I still love it. The fact that it has Patrick Stewart as a possessed psychiatrist is just all the better.

8. Moon Child (2003)

Sho is a street kid in Mallepa, a thief with bad luck, until he meets Kei, an immortal vampire. Kei helps teach Sho how to be successful and Sho give Kei a reason to go on. Of course as Sho climbs the underworld ladder it can't last forever.

I love this film because it is part vampire film, part Japanese mafia style shoot-em-up and it is all about the characters. I cry every time I watch this in several different places. There is such innocence in the beginning of the film that is stripped away piece by piece. It has love, it has betrayal, it has some absolutely brilliant fight scenes and the characters are wonderful. It's not high budget, it was written by a Japanese rock star and it stars two Japanese rocks stars, but it is truly brilliant.

7. John Carpenter's Vampires (1998)

Jack Crow runs a crew of vampire hunters and they live by rules. When the rules start getting broken and a master vampire is on the hunt, people start dying.

I think this is probably the definition of gritty vampire film. There are no last minute saves or cosy little vampire chats in this movie. It's all about blood, guts and not very nice people doing a job no one else can do. It's perfect. I tried to read the book the film is based on once and have to say I really disliked it, so I have to hand it to John Carpenter for knowing what to keep and what to throw away. This film is exciting and interesting and you want to hit most of the characters even as you're cheering them to victory. Great film!

6. Blade II (2002)

Blade has to team up with the Blood Pack, a group of vampires who have been training to kill him specifically, when a greater threat looms. There is a new kind of vampire on the street, Reepers and they kill vampires and humans alike.

I enjoyed the original Blade film, but I think number 2 is the best of the three. The Reeper vampires are superbly animalistic and horrific and the whole cooperation, knife edge betrayal, romance plot is exciting and engaging. Having Danny John-Jules as a badass vampire is the icing on the cake.

5. The Lost Boys (1987)

The Emersons have just moved to Santa Carla after an acrimonious divorce and the two brothers, have to deal with the move. Michael, the older of the two, falls in with a gang on the boardwalk, while Sam meets the Frog brothers, self-proclaimed vampire hunters. This comes in handy when the gang turn out to be the undead and they've infected Michael.

This is my gateway vampire movie. After the great Dracula debacle there were no vampire movies in my life, then this came to the cinema when I was just old enough to see it. It has everything an 80s teen desired - handsome lead in trouble, handsome bad guys, pretty girl also in trouble, quirky younger brother and side kicks. There is nothing I do not like about this film and I can still quote it to this day.

4. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Eve returns from Tangier to the side of her depressed lover, Adam, a musician in detroit, to help bring him out of his low. They have been doing this for centuries because they are vampires. When Ava, Eve's disruptive little sister arrives, their lives are thrown into dangerous chaos.

Now this is an entirely different kind of beastie to the other films on my list. This is what I like to think of the literary fiction vampire movie. Normally I wouldn't get on with a film like this, it is all character driven and, to be honest, not a lot happens, but what does is so incredibly gripping and Adam and Eve are such wonderful characters portrayed by such amazing actors that I can watch this over and over again. The depth of feeling in this film is incredible. It should not be missed.

3. Dracula Untold (2014)

When faced with giving his son to the Turks as he was at the same age, Dracula chooses a different path. Then to prevent the destruction of his people he makes a deal with the monster in the mountains and becomes a vampire. He must survive three days without killing for blood or become a monster forever.

Luke Evans is amazing in this film and I am hypnotised by his performance. The movie is exciting, it has a good plot and it has the most amazing ending. This film has good guys and bad guys and it's not really about vampires, but war using supernatural means. I love it.

2. Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island (2009)

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Akira travels to Higanjima to try and find his missing brother, only to discover that the whole place is crawling with vampires. As the head vampire, Miyabi, stalks him and his friends, Akira must find a way to escape.

This is another Japanese title and it is based on a manga. It has all the classic manga characters in it and some of them are a little annoying, but the plot is great and the rest of the characters carry it. As you would expect with this kind of Japanese film, the fight scenes are incredibly well put together and the whole film romps along nicely. The vampires are nasty, the good guys are just a little inept and it is a highly entertaining film. I can watch it over and over again, hence it's very high placing.

1. Fright Night (1985)

Charley Brewster is a horror fan and one night he sees people moving into the old house next door. Then he sees a woman murdered and is confronted with the fact his next door neighbour is a vampire. Of course no one believes him, not even his best friend Ed and his girlfriend Amy. They hire Peter Vincent, the TV vampire killer and Charley's idol, because they think Charley is nuts, but will listen to Peter.

So why is this my favourite vampire movie of all time? It's simple: it has everything. I love Charley, I love Ed, I love Amy, I love Charley's mother, I love Billy, the vampire's daytime guardian and I love Jerry, ruthless, sophisticated vampire that he is. Jerry is everything a vampire should be: powerful; sexy; clever; ruthless. He should win, everything is stacked in his favour, but he never had to deal with Charley before.

This film has one of my all time favourite scenes from any vampire film in it and it makes me cry every time I see it. I can't say exactly what because I don't want to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it, but it is brilliant and involves the use of Jerry coat like Dracula's cape.

Don't get me on to the subject of the remake, because they wrecked it. They took everything that was good about this one and threw it away, leaving only the generic stuff and some terrible ideas. Not even David Tennant could save it. Watch the original - it is soooooo much better. :)

~*~

So there are my favourites all laid out for you. I hope you enjoyed my picks.

Which are your favourite vampire movies? Do you agree with any on my list? Have any recommendations for me?



Speaking of all things scary (at least a little bit) if you like Halloween and like to share ghost stories, a little bit scary original fiction, scary art or things like that, come and join our blog hop:

Share a Scare - A Halloween Blog Hop - 31st Oct 2015 

Bloggers, authors and artists all welcome.

8 comments:

  1. Some cool "choices" Kronos has been a favorite (as a kid saw it at the Drive-In... Even scanned and posted the entire story a while back... And a popular DVD site using the scan of my comic's cover as their "ad-Art" at their site)....
    Lifeforce was a "fun" film.... enjoyed the way the "Vampires" would die if not fed....
    We thought that they did a very good job with Anne Rice's "Interview"....

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    1. The way they go completely mental and explode in Lifeforce was always entertaining. The scene with the vampires in the cages will never leave me - great cinema. :)

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  2. What? No The Hunger, Vampire Hunter D or What We Do in the Shadows? For shame.

    Maybe we just have different tastes in vampire movies, cause I hated Underworld.

    I also loved the soundtrack to Queen of the Damned, but the movie was kinda dumb.

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    1. I have to admit, the Hunger is not one I really enjoyed - I got bored in the middle :). As for Vampire Hunter D and What We Do in the Shadows - I had to choose 20 and they would have been honourable mentions, promise. As you can see I have a thing for 80s vampire movies more than anything :).

      I thought Queen of the Damned was superb in places and utterly terrible in others. As long as I watch it and pretend it has nothing to do with The Vampire Chronicles I don't want to throw things at the TV at least ;) I watched it again the other day actually.

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  3. That's awesome that your are a twin--me too. I have mostly only seen your top 5, but agree with all of those. Lost Boys has a great soundtrack, too :)

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    1. Soph and I had the soundtrack on vinyl and we played it endlessly when we first got it. I can still remember most of the words :) It's a sing along must whenever I happen to hear any of the songs.

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  4. Of your top 5, well ones I've seen, The Lost Boys would be my No 1. I'm a fan of Nosferatu - both the original B&W (Murnau) and remake with Klaus Kinski (Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre). Also rate the John Malkovich-William Dafoe film about the'making' of Nosferatu - Shadow of the Vampire. And who could forget Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee - well I'm that old.

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    1. I have to admit to not being overly fond of Nosferatu - but it is many years since I have watched either version, so that may have changed :). I have Shadow of the Vampire somewhere I think. Christopher Lee was such an awesome actor and I do like his Dracula films, but they don't quite make it into my top 20 :).

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