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May 3, 2010

Midnight Top Five - Vampire Movies

Vampire movies have always been a tricky lot. The most iconic is surely Bela Lugosi/Tod Browning's Dracula, but even that one has its share of detractors. (Heck, some even consider the Spanish version made on the same set to be better.) But there are a few vampire films I truly love, and I figured it'd be an easy topic to go Top 5 on...right now.

(Sorry just plain suck.)Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922, F.W. Murnau) - Any discussion of vampires on film, especially any related to the history of cinema, has to start with Dracula and/or Nosferatu, German expressionist F.W. Murnau's silent masterpiece. If you're one of those anti-black-and-white folks you could check out 2000's Shadow of the Vampire, which follows the film's production. (And it's a true story, isn't it?) Max Schreck, whose name LITERALLY translates to "terror", creates one of the most iconic images in horror history with his performance.Dracula (aka, Horror of Dracula) (1958, Terence Fisher) - Christopher Lee's first outing as Dracula might be my favorite vampire film. Period. I've always loved the gothic feel of Hammer's films, and this one covers Bram Stoker's classic story well. Also, look for the future Alfred Pennyworth, Michael Gough, in a supporting role!Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979, Werner Herzog) - Who says remakes can't work? While I won't compare it to the original, Werner Herzog's version of Nosferatu offers haunting visuals and an eerie romantic feel, plus a fantastic musical score. It's one of the most visceral horror films I've ever seen, even if you have to look at Klaus Kinski most of the film.Fright Night (1985, Tom Holland) - The film I once listed as my favorite horror film of the 1980s is also a film I consider a near flawless vampire film. Sure, it's cheesy and a bit out of date, but it probably did as much to mold my perception of vampires as any film has. Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent is the ultimate horror hero.From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, Robert Rodriguez) - My initial response to this film, as a fifteen year-old, was "What? The guy mom loves from ER can kick ass?" But even then I knew that this flick, in all its goofy glory, was the vampire version of Assault on Precinct 13. (Well, I would have thought that had I seen Assault on Precinct 13 at the time.) Regardless, the combo of Rodriguez and Tarantino have a lot of fun with the vamps-in-a-titty-bar siege picture, and Clooney and Keitel cancel out the annoyance that is Juliette Lewis.

Honorable Mention goes to.......Bunnicula: The Vampire Rabbit (1979, Charles A. Nichols) - Based on the popular series of books, this 1979 Saturday Morning special was a favorite of Mini The Mike growing up. At the time I didn't know that it deviated greatly from its source, which today would be a clear sign that it bad sucks. I however, was more enthralled by that powerful nose twitch Bunnicula possessed, and spent many moons trying to convince our kittens to use Bunnicula powers. Which, they of course can't...there's no such thing as a vampire cat!

Or is there?


I Like Horror Movies said...

A fine selection, though FDTD has never been a favorite of mine. I hate to be cliche, but Let the Right One In would have hit my top 5, while the original Dracula would have fallen out of my top five in place of Hammers awesomeness =D

The Mike said...

LtROI is right on the cusp for me, Carl. I've only seen it once, so I left it out...but I bet time will be kind to it.