Though vampires have taken a bow from their prime position as Hollywood’s favorite monster, for a while there, the world couldn’t get enough pale, sparkling creatures threatening to suck our blood. From True Blood to Twilight, vampire mania led to some of the steamiest scenes of self-control ever to air on TV screens.
While the glory vampire days of the mid 2000s have been replaced by zombie fever, don’t kid yourself: Vampires are eternal. These stone-cold monsters have been the subject of human fascination for centuries. Lurking above the petty human concerns of life, these immortal beings have time to amass libraries, fortune, and sex appeal. Consequently, vampires are pretty darn compelling protagonists. You want them on your screen, even if you don’t want them following you down dark cobblestone alleys.
The Lost Boys (1987)
The Lost Boys occupies a distinctly '80s soft spot, where teen heartthrob film meets vampire horror flick. When brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move to a small California town, they discover their new home is actually a haven for vampires. But unlike Bella Thorne's innocuous Twilight vampires, these ones are headed by Kiefer Sutherland, and are ruled by bloodlust, not lust.
Let The Right One In (2008)
We knew the Swedes could make inexpensive furniture. Who knew they could make the best vampire film in history? Let the Right One In begins as the story of Oskar, an all-too-human 12-year-old who faces frequent bullying from his stronger neighbors. The only person who shows him kindness is Eli, who is definitely not a normal little girl. She only comes out at night, and her arrival coincides with a strange series of disappearances. Despite their difference in species, these two desperate and lonely kids form a deep bond, the implications of which take a dark turn.
Like the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, this film is particularly convincing because both leads are played by amateur actors the same age as their characters. But remember — this grim movie is not intended for 11-year-olds!
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
I'm happy to argue with anyone who says that the lusciously locked Brad Pitt in Interview With the Vampire is not the sexiest vampire of all time. Pitt plays Louis, a is New Orleanian vampire with a past, who agrees to share that past with nosy reporter (Christian Slater). Louis and his maker, Lestat (Tom Cruise), have one of the most deliciously destructive relationships in history. Watch as they war over their love for Claudia, the 12-year-old girl who Louis makes into a vampire. Set in New Orleans, Paris, and other dark alleyways, Interview With the Vampire embodies all the vampire cliches in the most satisfying ways.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
And now, for something completely different: socially awkward goofball vampires, struggling to make it in the real world. What We Do in the Shadows tracks four vampires sharing a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. As for a snapshot into their strange home: The uptight ringleader, Viago, is constantly pestering his two roommates to clean up the bloody dishes in the sink; the oldest vampire is decaying in the downstairs closet; former tyrant Vladislav attempts to charm Wellington’s ladies; and all Deacon, the youngest vampire, wants to do is “be cool.” Their dynamic gets more complicated when Petyr, the 8,000-year-old vampire in the basement, turns a young New Zealander into a vampire, and the roommates have to teach him their ways.
What We Do in the Shadows combines the stiff hilarity of mockumentaries with the adrenaline of horror-comedy flicks like Shaun of the Dead.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Honestly, it’s not surprising that Tilda Swinton, former Narnia White Witch and forever alien beauty, plays such a convincing vampire.
In this acclaimed drama, Tilda Swinton (Eve) and Tom Hiddleston (Adam) play longtime vampire lovers. Adam and Eve have long quelled their thirst for blood, and now live intellectually stimulating, exciting lives. But their equilibrium is threatened by Adam’s younger sister (Mia Wasikowska), a young vampire who has yet to tame her wild side.
Think back to Edward Cullen quivering whenever he’s within a foot of his klutzy girlfriend. One thing all vampires, Mr. Cullen included, struggle with is self-control. Nowhere is the vampire’s fight against his impulses more magnified than in the South Korean film Thirst.
Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, makes the amateur mistake of agreeing to an experimental vaccine. As it goes in the movies, Sang-hyun catches the disease the vaccine's attempting to cure. On the verge of death, Sang-hyun manages to survive through an emergency transfusion of vampire blood. Formerly living an austere, priestly life, Sang-hyun finds his new reason for existence is the pursuit of human blood. What's a priest to do?
The Hunger (1983)
The 80’s must’ve been a fabulous time to be a vampire. Starring David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, The Hunger is the steamy story of a love triangle between two vampires and a doctor who studies sleep and aging.
Here’s the gist. Miriam Baylock (Catherine Deneuve) is a vampire who promises humans eternal life by turning them into her vampire lovers. But as John (David Bowie), her lover, finds out, eternal life doesn’t mean eternal youth. After John ages significantly overnight, he seeks out the help of Sarah (Susan Sarandon), the only doctor who might be able to help him. But with Miriam on the prowl, John is putting Sarah in far greater danger than he could’ve expected.
The real takeaway? Vampires are eternal, and so is David Bowie's style.
Don't write off this acclaimed horror film as a relic of Old Hollywood just yet. While the effects are clunky and the vampire costume almost hilariously gremlin-esque, Nosferatu is actually one of the scariest movies ever made. In fact, we have this ripoff of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula to thank for the vampire mania still persisting to this day.
The movie has all the classic elements of a vampire movie you know today, from a lone traveler coming across a castle in Transylvania to a downright terrifying, black-clad man stalking the hallways. What makes it special is that Nosferatu practically invented these elements. If you're looking to deepen your knowledge of the vampire movie genre, it's worth watching the movie that started it all.
What screams "cult classic" more than an over-the-top performance by Nicolas Cage and fake vampire teeth? This film is a lesser-known gem of the vampire movie genre. In it, Nicolas Cage plays Peter Loew, a workaholic who subsists on late nights in the office and one-night stands. All that changes when he encounters (or envisions?) a vampire in a club bathroom, who proceeds to feed on him. Loew becomes convinced
that he's going to turn into a vampire himself.
But how much of this suspicion is actually just the byproduct of Loew's addled mental state?
The whole film is worth watching for the scene in which Loew dons fake vampire teeth and attempts to seduce a club full of women. As fans of The Wicker Man
can attest, no one can portray unhinged mania better than Nic Cage.
Fun fact: The famous Nicolas Cage "You Don't Say?" meme
has its origins in Vampire's Kiss
Near Dark (1987)
Before Kathryn Bigelow directed Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty, she was spearheading the return of the serious vampire film in the 1980s. Critics loved Near Dark, an amalgamation of the Western, biker, and vampire movie genres.
In the film, a young country boy reluctantly joins a roving gang of vampires, who scour the countryside for — what else? — human blood. Before he can become an official member of the tribe, the nocturnal family must first see whether Caleb can “cut it” as a vampire.
This On the Road meets Dracula film is absolutely worth a watch.
If you think you've seen all the teen vampire movies and TV shows in existence, think again. No product of pop culture has managed to one-up this 1977 film.
Unlike Edward Cullen, Martin isn't handsome or sparkling or endearing. He's a sad, melancholy teenager who happens to be sure that he's an 87-year-old vampire. After his mother commits suicide, Martin is shipped off to live with his uncle in an industrial town outside Pittsburgh. There, he continues his vampiric hobbies of sedating women and drinking their blood through straws (!). His zealot uncle is also convinced that Martin is a vampire, and is determined to save Martin's soul through any means necessary.
Martin is a fascinating character study in the guise of a vampire movie, but trust us — it's scary, too.