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Top 10 Vampire Movies You Should See Instead Of Twilight: New Moon

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com in 2009.

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

Count Von Count

Count Von Count: Loving lists.

I’m always one to jump on fads, hence a section of this website dedicated to lists (geez, no-one’s done THAT on a blog or website before), but there is one fad I simply cannot buy into – the current trend of super-pussified, sensitive vampires. TwilightThe Vampire Chronicles, etc do nothing to add to the lasting legacy of vampire fiction, on the contrary they actually drag it down.

Take the great vampires characters of all time; Count Orlok, Count Dracula, Lestat de Lioncourt. Edward Cullen? Methinks not. Vampires vaporise and die in direct sunlight, they don’t sparkle beautifully.

With that being said, and seeing the imminent release of the new Twilight film, New Moon, is just around the corner, allow me to present to you the Top 10 Vampire Films You Should See Instead Of Twilight: New Moon.

Honourable Mentions

Nosferatu (1922): Arguably the single most influential vampire tale ever put to film; Nosferatu misses out on the list simply because I would like to make the list a more contemporary one. And it’s in the public domain, so go ahead and download it without fear of SWAT busting through your door.

Universal and Hammer: Out of the list once again for contemporary reasons, both Universal Studios and Hammer Horror series of films sparked vampiric interest in the 1930’s and the 1960’s respectively, and portrayals of Dracula by both Béla Lugosi and Christopher Lee are iconic still to this day.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995): Deep in the period of Leslie Nielsen’s career where the dead horse was well and truly beaten, but I still like it. It’s not good, but it’s still Mel Brooks, dammit.

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10
Salem’s Lot (1979)

Salem's Lot

Ok, technically not a theatrically released film but a two part mini-series, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot deserves a spot on the list by simply by being so influential to later 1980’s ‘suburban vampire’ tales (some of which appear here, how exciting), and also being the source of the super-creepy, Nosferatu inspired, Kurt Barlow. And it also stars Hutch himself, TV’s David Soul – awesome! There is also a 2004 remake starring Rob Lowe and Rutger Hauer, which I own but have not yet watched.

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9
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

Interview With The Vampire

Starring the super-hunky vampire trifecta of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas comes Anne Rice’s primary tale in her Vampire Chronicles saga – a saga which Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is a dubious bastardisation of, thematically. A gloomy, gothic and violent tale, this is one that does not shy away from the brutal characteristics of vampires but also shows the dark, romantic and beautiful sides of these same creatures. Like Twilight but, you know, not lame. But stay away from sequel Queen of the Damned – it sucks balls.

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8
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker's Dracula

The final classic-vampire-novel adaptation on the list, Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the classic vampire story stars legendary actors Gary Oldman as the noble Dracula and Anthony Hopkins as his nemesis Dr. Van Helsing, as well as not-so-legendary actors Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and (personal favourite) Cary Elwes. Memorable for its fantastic gothic mood, with brilliant sets and costumes, and spooky atmospheric direction by Coppola – which leads to its major problem as the storytelling is lost in the visual smorgasbord.

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7
Fright Night (1985)

Fright Night

Now we are reaching the fun stuff. The ultimate urban vampire film and one of the first to incorporate comedy into the mix of scares, a movie so good that not even the infinitely annoying Evil Ed can bring it down. It fully commits the classical vampire lore and exploits it to the max with references to holy water, crosses and absent reflections. Why Jerry Dandridge is not more of a pop culture figure is beyond me, but be prepared for some gruesome visual effects (Evil Ed’s death, of particular note) as well as a pre-Married With Children Marcy D’Arcy.

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I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend

The third adaptation of legendary author Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, with the first two being The Last Man on Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price and The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston. Consider this a joint entry into the list as each film brings a different perspective of the source material. I also may be cheating the list as these aren’t your bog-standard vampires, but the results of a global plague which transforms humans into these creatures, which could also be regarded as zombies. But this is my list, so bite me. Also, with the Will Smith version, the alternate ending makes for a far more satisfying film – trust me.

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5
Blade (1998) / Blade II (2002)

Blade 2

Perhaps the instigator of the super hero sub-genre of film, Blade – and its arguably superior sequel – is mighty fine comic book fare indeed. Re-imagining Marvel’s campy vampire hunter into grumble-bum Wesley Snipes was a brilliant move, and showed the world a dawning of an age where comic books were increasingly not intended for children. And despite its awesome ensemble cast, Blade Trinity licked a great deal of camel ass.

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4
The Lost Boys (1987)

Lost Boys

Before Joel Schumacher nearly destroyed Batman by way of nipple, he directed oh-so-80’s classic The Lost Boys after Richard Donner passed to make Lethal Weapon. A big influence on the future Buffy franchise, it also features one of my favourite movie vampires in Keifer Sutherland’s David (even though he does have probably the weakest death of all time). Oh yeah, it also has Feldman and Haim at their peaks – bitchin’.

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3
Let the Right One in (2008)

Let The Right One In

Released the same year, here we have our ‘anti-Twilight’. Featuring very similar themes (vampire/human love story), this Swedish masterpiece does not condescend and treat its audience like morons, but maybe that is why Twilight is so successful. If you are not afraid of a slowly paced, dark film with subtitles – one that challenges you to use your brain – then I wholly recommend this. It should be number one but the following two entries are just too badass…

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2
30 Days of Night (2007)

30 Days of Night

Inexplicably dogged by critics, it is a harrowing tale of a small Alaskan town in survival mode when a group of vampires take over during its annual ’30 days of night’ period. Based on the graphic novel* of the same name and featuring a claustrophobic snow setting à la John Carpenter’s The Thing, its quasi-realistic comic violence and uneasy tension make for a friggin’ great vampire film.

*Mental note to self – buy graphic novel.

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1
From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

From Dusk Till Dawn

Numero uno, and unfortunately for this list one of my favourite all-time movies has vampires in it. You wouldn’t think so really, based on the poster and the fact that you technically don’t see any mention of vampires until an hour in, one would think that this is going to be another Tarantino-esque gangster flick (which for the first hour, I guess it is). It perfectly leads you one way to kick your ass another in another direction. Featuring over the top bloodshed and gore – with all the style that Rodriguez usually brings – and the greatest weapon ever put on film (wooden jackhammer, perfect for staking); this is the kind of vampire I dig the most: ass kicking, gruesome and violent. One of my favourite movies, and whenever someone mentions Twilight, I recommend this.

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