Vampires, Vampires Everywhere...

Tara & I went to see '30 Days Of Night' last night, and while having one or two nifty little moments, it pretty much sucked. Waaaaaayyy too much stupidity involved. So it made me think- what are the greatest vampire movies ever? Fuck knows. But here are my favorites:

10. Dracula (1931)

First of 3 Dracula entries (he is the greatest vampire character of all time). This one's Bela Lugosi. Classic. Set a lot of precedent's for future vampire movies.

Several famous elements often associated with Dracula are not visible in this film. At no point does Dracula display fangs. Also, the famous vampire bite mark on the neck is never shown either.

9. Salem's Lot

I must have read the book ten times it was so damn scary. Tobe Hopper did a damn good job with this made for TV adaptation, creating an image of a vampire that has become iconic in it's own right.

The movie was almost directed by Zombie king George A. Romero.

8. Dracula (1958)

Christopher Lee & Peter Crushing as Dracula & Van Helsing- a casting wet-dream, this is the stuff that classics are made of.

In the United States the title was changed to "Horror of Dracula" to avoid confusion with the classic 1931 version. This was a real concern since the Bela Lugosi version was still being booked into theaters when this was released.

7. Blade 1 & 2

I couldn't decide which one of these two to pick, so I've been lazy and put em both in. They rock, for several reasons: the occasionally amazing action sequences; excellent design (eg- the reapers in 2); and that ever desirable shit-cool-ocity that only the best films possess.

When the original film was first being developed, David Fincher was supposed to direct. He later dropped out to pursue other projects.

6. Nosferatu

Again classic, and shit scary, particularly impressive for a silent film.

Director F.W. Murnau found lead actor Max Schreck "strikingly ugly" in real life and decided the vampire makeup would suffice with just pointy ears and false teeth.

5. Near Dark

Vampires + Cowboys + Ultra Violence = Very, very good movie.

Unusually for a vampire movie, the word "vampire" is never mentioned.

4. From Dusk Til Dawn

This movie oozes with the shit-cool-ocity i mentioned earlier. Mostly down to one man- George Clooney, who seems physically incapable of uttering anything other that the most insanely quotable of lines. The flick also draws excellence from the fact that it starts off as regular Tarantino fare, action-thriller-kidnapping, then about halfway through the film, suddenly out of nowhere- VAMPIRES EVERYWHERE!!! Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Before George Clooney was cast, Tim Roth, John Travolta, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken were all offered the role of Seth Gecko. All passed because of scheduling conflicts. (Thank jeebus..)

3. Interview With The Vampire

Tara and I disagreed on whether this film romanticizes vampirism. I reckon that people are likely to watch this movie and think, hey, being a vampire's pretty sexy.. but that said, I can see how a lot of that could probably just be put down to Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise. This is one of those brooding, tortured vampire flicks, where the protagonists aren't being chased by vampires, but are the vampires themselves, so it plays to the sexual element that is present even in the likes of Dracula. Aside from all that, it's a superbly made film (Wicklow, represent) that's both engaging and terrifying.

Tom Cruise was placed on an elevated platform during some scenes to reduce the height difference between his character and other vampires (Moo ha ha).

2. The Lost Boys

80's vampires- sweet! Kiefer Sutherland at the height of his powers, both Corey's, and Joel Schumacher in the director's seat, it's a wonder this movie went so right. But we only have to look at one line to see why: "One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires."

Reference city- the names of the Frog brothers are Edgar and Alan, a reference to Edgar Allan Poe; and the movie's title is a nod to Peter Pan's troupe of boys who never grew old.

1. Bram Stoker's Dracula

This gets number one for me because in my mind it's everything a vampire movie should be. Lavishly designed, over the top, scary as hell, conscious of the history and tradition of the genre, and as 'Gothic horror' as it gets. And god damn does Gary Oldman deserve to be counted amongst the likes of Lee & Lugosi, turning in not one, two, three, but four different visions of the classic character in the one movie, all uniquely effective & terrifying. It's just a shame that the same praise can't be heaped on Keanu Reeves' performance...

Prince Vlad's scream after he drives his sword into the cross is not the voice of Gary Oldman. Lux Interior, lead singer of punk band The Cramps, recorded the scream and it was dubbed in.

(Trivia from IMDB.)

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