10/20/08 - Top 5 Werewolf Films - Do this tail make my ass look big?
10/21/08 - Top 5 Vampire Films - They want to suck your blood.
10/22/08 - Top 5 Maniac Films - Serial killers and madmen.
10/23/08 - Top 5 "Other Side" Films - Ghosts, demons and satanism. Oh my!
10/24/08 - Top 5 Monster/Other Films - A potpourri of mixed goodies.
Earl's Top Five Vampire Films
This one was a bit harder to trim down to just five than my werewolf movie list. There just has been so many great vampire movies. I have omitted some of the more recent CGI-inspired films like Underworld, Blade, Van Helsing and even Night Watch/Day Watch (which were great, by the way). Why? Just because. I don't know...I never really felt like I was watching a "vampire" movie in those instances. And it's my list, so there!
5. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) - This was a tough one to include. The depiction of the vampires absolutely sucked in this film! Robert Rodriguez has a penchant for going a bit too far with some things and he certainly did it here making the vampires look just plain ridiculous. But it had Clooney and Tarantino chewing up the scenery and it had Salma Hayek doing a booty dance with a big snake. The premise alone makes the choice a worthy one. I also liked how you couldn't even tell it was a vampire flick until almost halfway through the film. I really could have picked any of the films down below in the "Honorable Mention" category here, but this one was just so much damned fun! Not really scary, but lots of fun.
4. Dracula (1931) - This was another one that was tough for me to include due to it's overall camp value. It certainly hasn't stood the test of time as well as some other horror films from that time period. But it is so iconic, so important to the genre that it really had to be included. Bela Lugosi hams it up admirably and Tod Browning lights the Count in eerie, almost hypnotic ways. It's an absolute must-see for fans of vampire films.
3. Vampires (1998) - There is so much that is so wrong with this entry from John Carpenter. James Woods acts as if he is pissed his agent signed him up for this one all the way through it. Daniel Baldwin is just awful. And the budget was extremely low even by Carpenter's standards. But I loved sinking my teeth into (see what I did there?) this tale of truly evil vampires and the connection to the Catholic church. The vampires themselves were frightening and blood-thirsty, reversing a trend that Anne Rice had perpetuated with her novels. And I'm a blatant John Carpenter sycophant. The man can do almost no wrong in my book.
2. Martin (1977) - Is it sacrilegious to pick this film as my favorite all-time George Romero flick? Some would believe so. But I love this film! If you haven't heard of it, it is the story of a young man who believes he is actually 80+ years old and a vampire. He even drinks blood. He is sent to live with his uncle or cousin (I forget), who will try to save him. It's a great character study of a man who believes he is a vampire and acts out on those beliefs by drugging women and slicing their wrists to feast on their blood. The cuts between color and black and white work wonderfully to depict dichotomy of the real and fantasy worlds of Martin. It's not your traditional vampire flick, but it is a really good one.
1. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauns (1922) - The first (kinda) and still the best. F.W. Murnau and Max Schreck brought this version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" tale to frightening light. The names were changed due to copyright reasons, but it is basically the same story as the version filmed by Browining 9 years later. Schreck was just so creepy in the titular role that it is hard to believe that he is only onscreen for about 10 minutes. Vampires on film went from Schreck's gruesome portrayal to Lugosi's more charming persona for quite a while. But nowadays filmmakers are returning to Murnau's original vision. About time I say. What is so scary about a vampire in a tuxedo anyway?
Honorable Mention: Innocent Blood, Near Dark, Lifeforce, Fright Night, Salem's Lot (TV), The Lost Boys, 30 Days of Night.
Did I miss a favorite of yours?