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Alternate Takes: Top 10 Vampire Movies

October 11, 2014 | Posted by Shawn S. Lealos
Blade II

Welcome to Week 321 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

If you saw the 411 review this week for Dracula Untold, you will see that Terry Lewis hated the movie. Well, I hated it even more and would have ranked it lower. Don’t see the movie because it rapes the legacy of Dracula. It has fun action, but damn is the story horrendous. With that in mind, here are 10 vampire movies you should watch instead of Dracula Untold.

Top 10 Vampire Movies

10. 30 Days of Night

Starting off this list is a movie that I might love mostly because Twilight neutered and totally screwed up vampires. 30 Days of Night actually made the vampires evil and horrific again. The effects in this movie were awesome and this is a great horror movie for fans who just want to see vampire carnage.

9. Daybreakers

Honestly, one of the most underrated vampire movies out there is Ethan Hawke’s Daybreakers. Released in 2009, the movie takes place in a futuristic world where vampires have taken over the world and there are only batches of humans living on the fringe of society trying to survive. The movie also uses the Blade Trinity idea of vampires having blood farms, with humans left barely alive to give them the blood they need. However, Daybreakers is miles better than Blade Trinity.

8. Shadow of the Vampire

In 2000, one of the greatest recent non-traditional vampire movies traced the fictional making of Nosferatu. Shadow of the Vampire starred John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau and Willem DaFoe as Max Schreck, the actor who played Nosferatu in the original movie. This movie supposes that Max Schreck was, in fact, a real vampire hired to make the movie more realistic in exchange for the neck of the leading lady at the end of shooting. The movie, granted a limited release, garnered enough critical acclaim to earn two Oscar nominations.

7. Only Lovers Left Alive

The most recent movie on this list is Only Lovers Left Alive, a vampire movie like no other. In this movie, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as Adam and Eve, two vampires who are tiring of their existence. They are married, but live apart, with Eve in Europe and Adam in Detroit. The movie mostly takes place in Detroit, which is awesome since the dying city is a perfect contrast to the dying vampires. The movie is a meditation of the existence of vampires and outliving the world. There is some horror, which comes after Mia Wasikowska’s vampire shows up and shakes things up.

6. From Dusk Till Dawn

I am a huge Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez fan, and when the two men teamed up, I was really excited. The first half of the movie is pure Tarantino, with two killers on the run, and the second half is pure Rodriguez with the vampires attacking out of nowhere. The cast was awesome and the movie was just a load of fun.

5. Blade II

Blade was honestly the movie that proved that Marvel Comics could make it as movies. While not a lot of people have heard of Blade before the movie (outside of comic fans), it proved to be the first really successful comic book movie based on a Marvel Comics property. I’m not saying that X-Men would not have happened if not for the success of Blade, but X-Men might not have happened without Blade’s success. Well, Blade II is superior in every way, directed by Guillermo Del Toro with an awesome mutant villain and a team of vampire mercs led by Ron Perlman.

4. Near Dark

The success of The Lost Boys is what hurt Near Dark, a vampire movie that is better in every way than the more teen-centered Schumacher film. Directed by future Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow, Near Dark is a brooding and violent vampire movie that never once, through the entire film, uses the word “vampire.” A roving pack of blood suckers, led by the child like Homer and the charismatic Jesse, arrive in an Oklahoma town and find a new companion when a young girl in their pack bites and turns a guy, which then drives a wedge into the group. The standout performance in the movie is by Bill Paxton as the sociopathic vampire Severen, stealing every scene in which he appears.

3. Let the Right One In

In 2008, the Swedish novel Let the Right One In became one of the greatest movies about vampires to ever hit the big screens. Many Americans know the story through the remake Let Me In, but the original holds a power that transcends almost every vampire movie to come before. Ignoring the pathos of teenage love and gothic romance, this story is about childhood friendships, trust, loyalty, murder and eventually betrayal. Out of all the non-traditional vampire movies, Let the Right One In sits at the top as the king of the current crop of vampire movies.

2. Nosferatu (1922)

The first real vampire movie was the German Expressionist horror movie Nosferatu. F.W. Murnau wanted to adapt Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, but the estate of Stoker refused the permission. As a result, Murnau changed the vampire’s name, and changed some of the plot, and made it anyway. The estate sued Stoker and a judge ordered all copies to be destroyed. Luckily, some copies survived and fans today can still enjoy one of the best vampire movies of all time.

1. Dracula (1931)

You can’t make a list of the best vampire movies without the very first movie with the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula. I did not include any other Dracula movies. I loved Francis Ford Coppola’s version and have to admit that I never saw the Hammer movies, although I have heard great things about them. I chose Dracula as my top choice because I love Bela Lugosi’s performance in the movie. It was based more on the stage play than on the novel, which Nosferatu was unofficially based on. However, if you want a real treat, grab the Dracula DVD that also has the Spanish version on it, which is superior to the American version. However, both are classics that remain at the top of most vampire movie lists.