Vampire movies bucket list: Must see films for fans of the genre

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS -- Pictured: Harvey Guillen as Guillermo. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS -- Pictured: Harvey Guillen as Guillermo. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX /

Vampire movies have been a horror genre staple for decades, enchanting viewers with their seductive and mysterious allure. These nocturnal creatures have become one of the most popular and long-lasting monsters in film history. But what is it about vampire movies that make them such an effective tool for terrifying audiences?

At their core, vampire movies play on our deepest fears and desires. These films often depict vampires as immortal beings who prey on humans to sustain their own existence. The idea of facing our own mortality is something that many people can relate to and the thought of an immortal, supernatural being that can never die is both terrifying and fascinating.

Another reason why vampire movies work so well in horror is the creatures’ ability to blend in with society. Unlike other monsters, such as zombies or werewolves, vampires can pass as normal human beings. This makes them even more dangerous and unpredictable. They can be anyone, anywhere, at any time and this constant threat keeps audiences on edge.

Moreover, vampire movies often portray vampires as seductive and alluring, drawing in their victims with their charm and hypnotic powers. This element of sexuality adds another layer of fear to the horror genre, tapping into our primal desires and the fear of being powerless against temptation.

The use of vampire mythology in movies also allows filmmakers to explore complex themes such as morality, temptation and redemption. Vampire movies often show vampires struggling with their own inner demons, torn between their thirst for blood and their desire for love and connection. This inner conflict makes the vampires more relatable and sympathetic, adding depth to the character and the story.

In summary, vampire movies have become a timeless and versatile tool in horror. They tap into our deepest fears and desires, blend in with society, explore complex themes and showcase the struggle between good and evil. Whether depicted as terrifying monsters or tragic anti-heroes, vampire movies will continue to captivate and terrify audiences for years to come.

Here are some of the best vampire movies to watch:

  • Interview with the Vampire (1994): Interview with the Vampire is a 1994 American gothic horror film directed by Neil Jordan, based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice. The film stars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas and tells the story of a vampire named Louis who tells his life story to a journalist. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success, grossing over $220 million worldwide. It also received two Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Original Score.
  • Let the Right One In (2008): Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson, based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The film follows the story of a young boy named Oskar, who befriends a mysterious girl named Eli who moves in next door.  As they develop a close bond, Oskar begins to realize that Eli is not what she seems – she is actually a centuries-old vampire. The film explores themes of loneliness, love and the nature of evil, while also incorporating classic vampire mythology. Let the Right One In received critical acclaim and has since become a cult classic in the horror genre.
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a 1992 American gothic horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The film is based on the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker and stars Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins. The film tells the story of Count Dracula, who travels from Transylvania to England to spread the undead curse and pursue his lost love, Mina Harker. With its lavish production design and visually stunning cinematography, the film received critical acclaim and won three Academy Awards for its makeup, costume design and sound editing. Bram Stoker’s Dracula remains a classic and faithful adaptation of the novel and it is regarded as one of the greatest vampire films of all time.
  • Dracula Untold (2014): Dracula Untold is a 2014 dark fantasy action film directed by Gary Shore and starring Luke Evans as the titular character. The film is an origin story of the legendary vampire, exploring his transformation from a human prince into the feared creature of the night. The plot follows the story of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, who makes a deal with a powerful supernatural being to gain the strength and power to protect his people from an invading army. However, in doing so, he risks losing his humanity and becoming a monster himself. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success at the box office. Dracula Untold offers a unique take on the classic vampire tale and explores the themes of sacrifice, love and power.
  • Only Lovers Left Alive (2013): Only Lovers Left Alive is a 2013 independent film directed by Jim Jarmusch, featuring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in the lead roles. The movie is not your typical vampire horror story, but a romantic drama with a twist of supernatural. The story follows a reclusive and centuries-old vampire couple, Adam and Eve, who are struggling to maintain their existence and their love in the modern world. The film explores themes of love, loneliness, art and immortality, as Adam and Eve contemplate the meaning of life and the world around them. With its unique approach to the vampire genre and stunning visuals, Only Lovers Left Alive offers a fresh and thought-provoking take on the age-old tale of the undead.
  • The Lost Boys (1987): The Lost Boys is a 1987 American horror-comedy film directed by Joel Schumacher. The movie follows the story of two brothers, Michael and Sam, who move to a small coastal town in California with their mother. Soon, Michael becomes involved with a gang of young vampires, while Sam teams up with the Frog Brothers, a pair of self-proclaimed vampire hunters. The film features a star-studded cast, including Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Feldman. It became a cult classic and is considered a defining film of the vampire genre. The Lost Boys is known for its blend of horror and humor, as well as its iconic 80s soundtrack.
Vampire movies bucket list: Must see films for fans of the genre
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS — Pictured: Kayvan Novak as Nandor. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX /
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014):  What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 horror-comedy film that follows the lives of four vampire flatmates in Wellington, New Zealand. Directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the film uses a mockumentary style to capture the hilarious and mundane aspects of their daily lives. The vampires, Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr, are centuries-old and struggle to adapt to modern life. They face challenges like paying rent, getting invited into clubs and dealing with the conflicts that arise between roommates. It has received critical acclaim for its unique take on the vampire genre and has spawned a successful spin-off television series.
  • Shadow of the Vampire (2000): Shadow of the Vampire is a 2000 horror film that tells the fictional story behind the making of the 1922 classic silent film Nosferatu. The movie is directed by E. Elias Merhige and stars John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. The film blurs the lines between reality and fiction, presenting a unique take on the legend of vampires. The story follows filmmaker F.W. Murnau as he hires a real vampire named Max Schreck to play the role of Count Orlok in Nosferatu. As the filming progresses, Murnau’s obsession with creating the perfect vampire movie begins to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Shadow of the Vampire received critical acclaim for its unique take on the vampire genre and the performances of Malkovich and Dafoe.
  • Fright Night (1985): Fright Night is a horror-comedy film from 1985 directed by Tom Holland. The movie follows teenager Charley Brewster as he suspects that his new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire. When Charley tries to convince his friends and family of Jerry’s true identity, no one believes him. Charley then enlists the help of a washed-up horror actor, Peter Vincent, to help him defeat the vampire. The film was a commercial success and became a cult classic, known for its blend of humor and horror, as well as its iconic soundtrack.
  • Near Dark (1987): Near Dark is a 1987 American horror film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The film follows a young man named Caleb who falls in love with a beautiful young woman named Mae, who turns out to be a vampire. As Caleb is turned into a vampire himself, he must navigate the dangerous world of a vampire gang known as the Near Dark, who travel across the American Southwest in search of their next victims. The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but has since gained a cult following for its unique take on the vampire genre, combining horror and western elements. It also features an iconic performance from Bill Paxton as the violent and charismatic vampire Severen.

These movies offer a mix of horror, romance, comedy and drama and are considered some of the most iconic and influential vampire films in cinema history. Whether you prefer the classic or modern take on the genre, there’s something for everyone on this list.

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What’s your favorite vampire movie? Comment below and let us know.