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5 Oct 2012

Friday Fives: Top Five Vampire Films

For every Friday of the month I'll be listing the top five films for each common horror monster: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, slashers, and zombies.  This week we're starting with my babies:

Top Five Vampire Films
1) The Lost Boys (1987)
Four troublesome boys are probably the worst to turn into vampires.  The Lost Boys is campy and creepy with insane 80s fashion and music.  The town of Santa Carla is terrorised by an unknown killer as residents go missing every night.  The culprit? A gang of teenage vampires who stalk the boardwalk causing fights and chaos as well as keeping an eye out for their next kill.  Teenagers Mike and Sam are new to the town and Mike is immediately initiated into the vampire gang while younger brother Sam befriends the local "vampire hunters", Edgar and Alan Frog.  And by vampire hunters they are really just two young boys who read way too many comic books and like to dress in army gear.
It's not the most serious of films but Kiefer Sutherland's creepy vampire leader David is a chilling antagonist.  The boys may look like your typical rebellious gang but they're brutal killers with a vampire face that could haunt your nightmares forever.  They love a good street fight but they love a good vein tearing and head ripping as well. 
2) Near Dark (1987)
Near Dark came out in the same year as The Lost Boys and completely underrated IMO.  In Near Dark a teenage boy gets initiated into a family of travelling cowboy vampires.  He made the mistake of hitting on "daughter" Mae.  Even when these vampires aren't feeding they still have the urge to kill and while Caleb is unsure about murdering innocent people he's slowly being drawn into that way of life and he's a step away from giving in.  When his family track him down he's torn.  Stay a vampire or protect his family from his new one?
Definitely a joint fave with The Lost Boys.  These vampires appear more human than Keifer Sutherland and his gang but there are subtle hints to how supernatural they really are.  One of the family members Severen is one of the most brutal and murderous vampires around.  Bat shit insane too.  One of my favourite things about the film is that not once does the word 'vampire' even get uttered but we know what's happening and what they are.  One of the best examples of showing and not telling for a writer.

3) Fright Night (1985)

The remake wasn't too bad but the original will always be a classic.  Another vampire flick that didn't take itself too seriously either, Fright Night was a hilarious yet terrifying horror with a fantastic cast. Nobody could play vampire Jerry Dandridge as well as Chris Sarandon, not even Colin Farrell.  Charlie Brewster is the teenager who spends way too much time watching really bad horror flicks and spying on the new neighbour, convinced of his vampirism.  Of course Charlie is actually right but it's just too insane for his friend, Ed, girlfriend, Amy, and TV horror host/actor Peter Vincent to believe.

Great 80s music with scary looking vampires.  They might use a bit of sex appeal at first but believe me when I say you wouldn't want to bump into their true form at night.  You do also wonder if Charlie will even survive this encounter with Jerry Dandridge.  After provoking the vampire too many times Jerry really shows just how dangerous he can be once he starts coming after his loved ones.

4) Salem's Lot (2004)

The 1979 is just as creepy but I loved and preferred the 2004 adaptation because it was a lot closer to the book this time around.  The 1979 version didn't quite give me the feeling that a vampire infestation was affecting the whole town.  Multiple characters were merged into one and it only felt like a small amount of people were targeted.  With the 2004 version the whole town was explored.  Most of the characters you see in the book appear in the adaptation and when more and more people fall victim to vampires you can see that a lot better than in the 1979 film.  With more characters in this adaptation they get just as much focus and plots as Ben Mears.  Vampires in this are more like a disease.  One person gets infected and the plague spreads quickly around the town. 

5) Van Helsing (2004)

Van Helsing was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed watching famous horror monsters merging together for one whole plot with a cameo from Jekyll and Hyde and an evil plan that connected Dracula to Frankenstein's monster and werewolves.  I loved the homage to the 30s and 40s Universal horror monster films and they fitted in nicely together.  Kate Beckinsale was kick ass as the heroine Anna Valerious and Hugh Jackman was a great choice for the snarky amnesiac Gabriel Van Helsing.  Count Dracula is more than a lurking bloodsucker in this film.  He's a vamp with a plan, keeping his goals a mystery in preparation for the ultimate surprise on the victimised village near him. 

My favourite aspect of this film was how vampires looked.  I love it when you can clearly see some inhuman appearance and be reminded that they only appearing human.  Their true nature is hidden enough until they're attacking.  Jaws lengthen and stretch like they've drunk Mr Fantastic's blood and in the blink of an eye they can turn into giant bat-like creatures. 

Any more awesome vampire films to add to the list? :)


  1. Of this list, I've only actually seen VAN HELSING. I suppose I should probably be embarrassed. :) I don't tend to watch vampire pics much, though I have seen INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE more times than I care to admit. I think there are others, but I'm forgetting them right now.

  2. As you know, horror's not really my thing, but I saw the original Salem's Lot around the time it came out (it was made-for-TV, as I recall). It really stuck with me as a great, scary vampire story. I now have the book, but have yet to read it. Once I do, I think I'll re-watch the original movie, and then perhaps the new version and see if I agree with you. :)

  3. Jaime, I was actually thinking the same thing. While I love vampires and I've watched classics like The Lost Boys and Dracula (Gary Oldman version) I actually found it hard to pick out a number five. I liked Let The Right One In and Daybreakers but I was looking for the films where the vampires were actually evil. I enjoyed Interview with A Vampire but Louis irritated me. I just can't tolerate brooding and miserable vampires.

    Colin, it was terrifying! ^^ But as a film adaptation it didn't work as great at the 2004 version. I do hope you'll enjoy the book and the recent 'Salem's Lot. I know you're not a horror fan but I think you'll be safe with King. :) There's more to him than pure horror. There's always so much depth and reality to what he writes about.