Top 10: Vampire Movies
The 10 best vampire movies ever made.
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|CloudStrife84's Rating||My Rating|
Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire) 1922, Unrated)
Forebearer of today's vampire fiction in cinema, Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau is a true landmark of a classic, that saw a new type of story brought to the screen, based upon the famous novel Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. A horror film deemed so "excessive", that it was actually banned here in Sweden and not made available to the public until half a century later, in 1972. Another 40 years have passed now since then, with vampires evolving (or de-evolving in Twilight's case) to a variety of different manifestations and sub-cultures. Some elegant and sophisticated like Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with a Vampire. Others more grotesque and monster-like, such as the adversaries of Blade in the action trilogy with Wesley Snipes. Then, of course, there's the sparkly ones, but let's not tarnish the good memory of this film with examples that have failed to honor its legacy. The wonderful thing about Nosferatu though, is not just the historical significance in defining the vampire genre, but that the story, despite its age, is genuinely thrilling. From the very first moments we meet real estate agent Hutter and his wife, I am captured by the expressive performances, and even more so by the celestial orchestral score, which ranges evocatively between beautiful and inspiring, to macabre and eerily dark. There's an authentic sense of impending terror, as Hutter's impish employer dispatches him to Transylvania to meet up with Count Orlok - a mysterious nobleman who expresses interest in purchasing a new residence in Hutter's home town of Wisbourg. What follows is a series of spine-chilling occurrences, as Count Orlok's true intentions crawl out of the shadows, involving Hutter's innocent wife and an insatiable thirst for blood. Tinted in red, yellow and blue to represent various hours of the day, the imagery takes some getting used to, but is really an element I quite liked as it gave the presentation even more character. I also loved how the grand music score went in perfect harmony with every scene. A mood yet intensified by Max Schreck's iconic performance as Nosferatu, which is destined to endure through the ages. Up until now, the wonders of the silent film period have been a stranger to yours truly, but after last year's love letter The Artist and this spellbinding, ancestral horror tale, it is with equally awestruck eyes and ears, that I now put on my adventure gear and venture deeper into the era's riches. Much like the mythological being in rendition, Nosferatu, down to the very last detail, is an immortal masterpiece, whose 90 year-old rule continues to glimmer as if impervious to the winds of time. Steadfast and unbroken, it is the belief of this critic that it will sit upon the throne at least century more. Or so I wholeheartedly hope. Five out of five blood vials to this gloriously unhallowed grandfather of all things morbid and grim. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-Movie-Reviews/281824101875153?ref=hl
Blade II 2002, R)
My favourite vampire movie of all-time (altough Bram Stoker's Dracula comes at a very close second). Guillermo has brought his own touch to the genre, with influences from movies like the Alien, Predator and The Matrix franchise, all coming together in a terrificly well-executed blend. Wesley Snipes is the king of cool, and his great one-liners is just one of many reasons to like this movie. The special effects are very impressive for their time, and look like they could have been made today. Heck, they even look better than those found in most contemporary action films. It may not have the sophistication and class of other vampire films, but it's one that entertains on a very high level, and leaves the 10 year-old in me more than satisfied. So if you prefer the action-oriented type of vampire flicks, then this is definitely one you shouldn't miss. Best one in the trilogy, without doubt.
Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992, R)
Dark, sensual and very atmospheric. Precisely the way a movie about Dracula should be. The storyline is great, and the visuals even better. At least when it comes to the art direction and production design, which is nothing short of impressive. As for the acting, it's sadly one of the departments that comes with a few drawbacks. For while actors like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins are excellent in their respective roles, the talent level of the supporting cast is very inconsistent. I'm mainly refering to Keaunu Reeves here, whose half-hearted performance and unconvincing accent, leaves a lot to desire. The movie is also bordline cheesy in some scenes. Not so much that it's really bothersome, but not too easy to ignore either. Also on the list of negatives, is the special effects. They look really dated by now, and even downright bad here and there. Considering it's made in 1992, however, I suppose you can't demand too much of it. At any rate, there's something about this film that keeps me coming back for more, and it only gets better for each time I see it (with an exception for the effects that is). Because despite said shortcomings, its strengths more than makes up for it, and I wouldn't have seen it so many times if I didn't consider it something special. For when all is said and done, this is a vampire movie beyond the norm. A memorable piece of film-making, that I'm more than happy to add to my collection.
Interview with the Vampire 1994, R)
Atmospheric, dark and beautifully crafted. Has all the elements a good vampire flick needs, and is easily one of the best ones I've seen...vampire movies that is. I did have some issues with it though that lowered my rating. For example, the dialogue was a bit uneven, ranging from mediocre and bland to rich and almost poetic. Also, it did have quite a few corny moments which I found a bit hard to overlook. And lastly, the ending was kind of weak and not as good as I had hoped.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2012, R)
Van Helsing, Blade, Dean and Sam Winchester. There's certainly no shortage of vampire hunters in the realm of visualized fiction. I never quite imagined, however, that the Great Emancipator himself would join those merited ranks. A winning concept no doubt, but is the movie as awesome as its title? As we've previously seen in Wanted and the Russian-made Day Watch, director Timur Bekmambetov has an impressive knack for cool and stylish visuals. His particular abilities in that area is showcased here as well, though thankfully without overshadowing the genre-fusing plotline. They could have toned it down a little in the action though. Like so many times before in the ambivalent sphere of popcorn movies, it's in too much of a hurry and rather choppy in the editing. I really enjoyed the neat set pieces, but it often goes into overdrive, misusing the slow-motion technique that we first saw on the big screen with Zack Snyder's 300 (you know, where they slow everything down, speeds it up really fast and then slows it down again). It's getting a little tiresome when employed in such excess. But it's a very fun and pleasant ride, that honors Lincoln's legacy, while entertaining us through and through. An example of that is a rip-roaring train sequence, that involves Abe fighting off a host of vampires, with the train speeding hastily across a wooden bridge, crumbling in flames. It was exceptionally exciting, despite the shortcomings mentioned. Albeit mostly consisting of unknowns, I really liked the cast as well. Leading man Benjamin Walker, who sort of reminded me of a young Liam Neeson, does a terrific job in the title role; instilling the legendary president with dignity and charm, yet chopping off vampire heads with equal effectiveness. Excellence also springs from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as Lincoln's darling wife, Mary Todd. She is the epitome of beauty and lethality combined. So when all is said and done, the adventures of "Honest Abe" made for a highly enjoyable and captivating hunt. It's just too bad he never caught the scent of Twilight's Edward Cullen. His head on a spike would have earned it an instant 5-star rating!
Fright Night 2011, R)
Nice to see a new vampire flick that doesn't involve any glitter or awkward teen angst. This is more like the ones we got in the 80's and 90's, where vampires do what vampires are supposed to, as in sucking blood and spawning terror, as opposed to just sucking. Pacing-wise, it's pretty draggy in the first half. Had it been like that for its entire length, it would have earned nothing more than a mediocre 3 stars. Luckily, however, it gets a lot better in the second act, where the action is kicked up into a gloriously bloody gore-fest. Great SFX as well, even if I wasn't too keen on the whole "monsterization" of the vamps. And by that I don't mean the way they are depicted as a race - for their are undoubtedly a bunch of evil bastards in this - but rather their physical transformations into over-the-top CGI freaks. A little more subtlety would definitely have been preferable. And altough creepy and suspenseful, I'm not sure it really deserves the title "Fright Night". Maybe I'm just jaded, but in my view, it was never any scary. A pretty entertaining film either way though, with dependable performances from the entire cast. Christopher Mintz-Plasse in particular is very fun as the typical nerd, who also happens to be a self-entitled vampire hunter. Sort of reminiscent of the movie The Lost Boys, except with more humor and better action. An optimal pick for Halloween, or if you're in the mood for a good horror-comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Bakjwi (Thirst) 2009, R)
Asian film-makers sure have a flair for being original. Here it's the vampire genre that they given a new twist to. Although quite absurd and far-fetched story-wise, this was a very engaging experience (not to say delightful to look at, with its stunning mise-en-scene). Unlike other vampire films, which tend to focus on the glamorous side of things, this one gives thought to all the moral implications. It harbors a depth and intelligence that the Twilight-movies could only dream of. So for people like me, who love the supernatural but also crave some substance, this was the perfect alternative.
The Lost Boys 1987, R)
Vampire flicks are usually not my cup of tea, but this was one of those rare exceptions that I really liked. Mainly because it has its own signature to it, and doesn't remind me of anything else that I've seen. Granted that it's very much a product of the 80's (what with the choice of music, wardrobe and hairdos), but it thankfully never got in the way of the story, and I was still able to take it seriously throughout. With that said, it's certainly a movie I can safely recommend. Especially to all the vampire buffs out there ;-)
From Dusk Till Dawn 1996, R)
What strikes me the most about Rodriguez and Tarantino, is how incredibly uneven they are as film-makers. I mean, they can make everything from yawn-inducing duds like Death Proof and The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3-D, to such historic and eye-popping achievements as Pulp Fiction and Sin City. Anyway, as it comes to this movie, it definitely lands in the "good pile", and is one of their more successful collaborations. The dialogue is spot-on (as you may expect when penned by Tarantino) and the action really entertaining. What's more, the cast also includes a stunningly sexy Salma Hayek. She may bite my neck any day of the week ;-)
Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) 2006, R)