Vampires. They are mythical creatures that have been in conversations from storytellers as far back as 1047 A.D. and are not going out of style anytime soon, by the looks of it. Vampires have not only been the center of some of the best horror movies of all time, but have held their own across many other genres from the early black and white days of cinema to recent years.
If you’re in the mood to dive into a story about the undead who famously need to drink blood to remain immortal and may or may not be repelled by garlic, check out our picks for the best vampire movies.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Speaking of vampires inspiring a variety of genres, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez very much proved this with their action horror film (with a twang of western influence), From Dusk Till Dawn. The 1996 movie stars George Clooney and Tarantino as fugitive bank robber brothers who find themselves trapped in a saloon frequented by vampires on their journey to escape into Mexico.
In the ‘90s, vampire lore crossed paths with the superhero genre when Wesley Snipes starred in an adaptation of the Marvel Comics title, Blade. The movie follows the titular vampire hunter, who is a human-vampire hybrid himself, as he protects the mortal world from evil vampires. It was also one of the first Marvel adaptations that helped usher in the influx of comic book movies. Watch it before Mahershala Ali’s remake comes out in 2025.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Romance has always followed the world of vampires, and that was beautifully captured in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. The 2013 fantasy film stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as vampire lovers, aptly named Adam and Eve, who have been married for centuries. As Adam becomes depressed by the direction of modern society, the pair’s relationship gets tested when Eve’s little sister (played by Mia Wasikowska) turns up.
You certainly can’t go wrong with Bela Lugosi’s Dracula in 1931. It’s just about as classic as you can get with vampire movies. Based on Bram Stoker’s novel, Lugosi plays Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England to suck the blood of various victims.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
If you’re looking for a vampire flick to enjoy with the entire family, Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania franchise is a delightful take on Count Dracula. In the 2012 first movie, Adam Sandler voices the vampire as the owner of a hotel geared toward other monsters and a father of a vampire daughter (Selena Gomez), who falls in love with a human (Andy Samberg).
Let The Right One In (2008)
Sweden’s Let The Right One is one of the most highly-regarded vampire movies of all time. Based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the movie’s screenplay), the film follows a 12-year-old boy who is the victim of constant bullying who befriends a young vampire girl.
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What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Hilarious New Zealanders Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement got their hands on the vampire genre for a 2014 mockumentary horror comedy called What We Do In The Shadows. The movie is about a group of vampire housemates who live together in Wellington, New Zealand. That film then inspired a series that is ending with Season 6 in 2024.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Another comedic vampire movie that has become a classic is 1987’s The Lost Boys. The movie, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring the likes of Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland and Dianne Wiest, is about two two brothers who move to a fictional town in California with their mother only to find out it's a secret haven for vampires.
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt once played vampires together… What else is there to know to sell one on 1994’s Interview with the Vampire? Well, the movie is also based on a bestselling Anne Rice book (Rice also wrote the movie’s screenplay) that follows the story of a 200-year-old vampire who tells his story in the present-day to a San Francisco reporter (played by Christian Slater).
Famed South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, who also helmed Oldboy, The Handmaiden and Decision To Leave, made his own vampire flick with 2009’s Thirst. The movie, starring Parasite’s Song Kang-ho, is about a Catholic priest who turns into a vampire after a failed medical experiment and begins an irresistible affair.
A Girl Walks Home At Night (2014)
Another gem of a vampire movie from outside of Hollywood is 2014’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night by Persian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour. The black and white movie touted as a vampire western is about a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who begins preying on men who disrespect women in her city in Iran.
After Stephanie Meyer led a phenomenon with her vampire romance novels, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson helped make it a hit Hollywood franchise starting with 2008’s Twilight. The movie is about a teen girl named Bella (Stewart) who falls in love with a 100-year-old vampire who goes to her new high school in Washington, and becomes intertwined not only with his “vegetarian” family, but a vampire sociopath who's out for her blood, as well. It’s probably the only vampire movie with its own LEGO set on the way.
Perhaps the earliest vampire film with a commercial following is 1922’s silent German expressionist film, Nosferatu. The classic (and very old) movie is also inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but instead follows Count Orlok as he preys on the wife of his estate agent and the fictional German town of Wisborg. Check it out before Robert Eggers’ 2024 Nosferatu movie comes out in late 2024!
So, so many great vampire movies to explore! We may not be immortal, but all these films, from a variety of eras, can help one explore the timeless influence the mythical creature has on cinema!