It would be an understatement of epic proportions to say that vampires are popular these days. Then again, it is difficult to find a period in the last 100 years when we didn’t crave us some blood-sucking fare. Because every decade since 1900 some kind of vampire film has been brought to the huddled masses. Count Dracula himself has flashed his fangs in more than 170 films, while less royally affiliated blood suckers having vamped through 100s more. And don’t get us started on books. All you have to know about this genre’s allure is that the Twilight series has sold more than 42 million copies. There’s even a film festival devoted to the terminally pale: Vampire Film Festival.
However, since 1994, when Lestat and Louse (Cruise and Brad Pitt, respectively) mastered the carotid crunch in Ann Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, more than 100 vampire films have been given eternal life, and that’s a conservative estimate which doesn’t include slurpers from television shows like ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘, ‘Angel‘, ‘Vampires Diaries‘ and the engorged and very popular HBO series ‘True Blood.’
Interview With The Vampire Trailer
And just within the last decade, give or take a year or two, vampires have found it a particularly good time to be addicted to blood. Another Ann Rice novel, Queen of the Damned, was brought to the screen, although the film did include plot points from her book The Vampire Lestat as well. With 10 books in her series, and the current feverish climate for such work, Ann Rice’s Lestat and company could find celluloid life once again.
Series, in fact, have become the life blood of the genre. The Blade franchise produced three vampiric epics with Wesley Snipes as Marvel Comic’s part human, part vampire hero who’s out to rid the world of vampire evil. In the final installment, Blade Trinity, the eponymous hero, goes mano y mano with Count Dracula himself. Depending on your allegiance to the series, you may or may not think it lost a little, um, life, by the third film. The Underworld series has been similarly robust. The fourth release, Underworld:Awakening, hit theaters this year, nine years after coming to life in 2003. Notable for its depiction and detailed history of the war between vampires and werewolves—a theme that will be picked up in a very popular and romantic later series—Underworld has a devoted following that manages to keep the films profitably undead. While not a direct translation, Kate Beckinsale’s vampire warrior Selene has her origins in Marvel Comics Selene Gallio, a psychic vampire born 17,000 years ago. Seventeen thousand years of life. Wow! Imagine the liver spots!
The Twilight series has almost become an island unto itself, pulling in more than $2.5 billion and forever etching Bella and Edward into our subconscious. Where Count Dracula was once the face of vampiric ghoulishness, the sauve and painfully romantic Edward now holds that reconstructed mantel. While you many be conflicted about your unconditional love for the series—ah, the blood-curdling angst!—it has contributed, indirectly, to some popular blood-sucking programs. With Buffy and Angel no longer patrolling the shadows, True Blood and Vampire Diaries have made up for their absence with some highly entertaining and erotically potent blood letting. The latter is heading for a 4th season on the CW Television Network, while True Blood, currently in its fifth season on HBO looks like a strong contender for a sixth go-around. And to prove that vampires just won’t die, two more movies came out this year: Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
True Blood Fifth Season Trailer
The Best Of The Rest
True fans of the genre will readily produce their own list of favorites (we want to see them in the comments section below!) and have their own criteria for what gives a vampire movie its bite. For the sake of sanity, our brief list starts after Interview With The Vampire in 1994 and calls out a few notable creations, most of which fans of the genre will have seen, along with a few that might be new to you. It’s not comprehensive, but we think it’ll raise your blood pressure nonetheless.
First, who can ignore Christopher Walken as a vampire? We couldn’t. His vampiric turn Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction (1995) is everything you’d except: Acerbic, dark, and ironic. But it’s Lili Taylor, who takes the lead in this clever spin on the genre in which bloodsucking is equated with the hell of addiction.
Quentin Tarantino (writing, acting) and Richard Rodriguez (directing) weighed in on the subject with From Dusk Till Dawn, a hyper-violent story about a couple of bank-robbing brothers trapped in a bar in Mexico battling vampires. Cartoonish at times, but never boring. Not for the timid.
Hugh Jackman, in Van Helsing (2004), had the thankless duty of confronting none other than the master of the macabre himself, Count Dracula—in Transylvania, no less. Don’t be surprised when Frankenstein and The Wolfman make appearances. So, does Kate Beckinsale as Van Helsing’s love interest Anna Valerious. At the very least, it’s never less than a good time.
It’s hard to say that about our last choice, Let The Right One In. Creepy to the core and successfully unnerving, this Swedish film follows the trials and tribulation of Oskar, a bullied 12-year-old who develops a friendship with the girl next door. When she turns out to be a vampire, he becomes conflicted about his love for a girl who needs to drink blood to survive. At least she teaches him how to stick up for himself. The dark, snowy suburb of Blackenberg in Stockholm contributes to the films sinister quality. A bloody good take on the vampire story.
Did we miss your favorite vampire film or television show? Let us know about it in the comments sections below! Or give us you list of the best vampire films of all time!
Connect with Tom and the TomCruise.com team on Twitter, Facebook, WhoSay, Orkut, Gree, Sina Weibo, Google+, Tumblr, and Tencent Weibo. Plus, get all the latest news and insider information when you sign up for the TomCruise.com official newsletter today!
Tom’s Film and Events Calendar…