Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Post Sucks

I know that I have posted about Vampires and Vampire Movies, before. But I have never posted about my personal favorite Vampire Movies. Inspired by yesterday's Ghost Movie post, I thought I'd share with you my favorite Vampire Movies of all time.

Vampire movies date back to the silent era, when German filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his unauthorized version of Bram Stoker's novel 'Dracula,' Nosferatu, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Graf Orlok. Murnau's version of a vampire was a horrific monster with pointed ears, fanged incisors and taloned fingers (an image Tobe Hooper would revive in his TV version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot). The making of Murnau's film was explored in Shadow of the Vampire, in which Willem Defoe plays Schreck as a real vampire. More on that film later...

Anyway, given the popularity of Stephanie Meyer's deplorably chaste "Twilight" novels, I think it's high-time to discuss the 10 Best Vampire Movies of All Time.

10. Dracula (1931). Tod Browning made this film version of the stage play which propelled Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi into stardom and made early film-goers swoon. Quaint by today's standards, but loaded with atmosphere and some rather startling performances (particular from Dwight Frye as the madman Renfield), Browning's movie is one of the first horror movies I remember seeing as a child.

9. Vampire Hunter D (1985). I haven't really talked about animated films very much, though I should (and will), one day. This post-apocalyptic anime film is the story of a young woman who calls upon a great vampire hunter to enact revenge against those who killed her family. Of course [SPOILER ALERT], it turns out that D (no, not that D) is himself a vampire (the most famous one of all), seeking redemption for his own lost soul.

8. Thirst (1979). Chantal Contouri stars as the last descendant of Elizabeth Bathory, kidnapped by a vampire cult who want her to be their leader. The cult manages a "farm' where human victims are "milked" in this disturbing Australian film from director Rod Hardy. This movie has no connection to the recent Japanese film of the same name, which I have yet to see..

7. Shadow of the Vampire (2000). John Malkovich; Willem Defoe; Cary Elwes; Udo Kier and Eddie Izzard star in this fascinating film that supposes the star of Murnau's Nosferatu was an actual vampire. Creepy and unsettling, Defoe's performance is fascinating, as always.

6. The Hunger (1983). Tony Scott directs this adaptation of Whitley Strieber's novel about an ancient vampire and her many lovers, infamous for its lesbian sex scene between the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. David Bowie co-stars in this now cult fave. Watch for an early appearance from future vampire Willem Defoe.

5. Interview with the Vampire (1994). Director Neil Jordan followed up The Crying Game with this gorgeous adaptation of the Anne Rice novel. Rice initially decried the casting of Tom Cruise as the cruel and youthful Lestat de Lioncourt, but recanted when she saw the final product. It's 2002 follow-up Queen of the Damned, was less-than-successful and no further attempts have been made to adapt Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles' for the screen. Still, Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas bring the sexy to Rice's homoerotic story and a young Kirsten Dunst delivers one of the most amazing performances ever by a child actor.

4. Cronos (1993). Guillermo del Toro's first film tells the story of ancient device in the form of a mechanical scarab which bestows eternal life upon its user by turning him into a blood-lusting vampire. Actor Ron Perlman makes his first of many appearances in a del Toro film.

3. Near Dark (1987). Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow cut her teeth (all puns intended) on this Western Vampire movie starring the gorgeous Adrian Pasdar ("Heroes"), Bill Paxton and Lance Hendrickson. A tale of evil, love and redemption, Bigelow's film was one of the first to bring the genre into to the late 20th century.

2. 30 Days of Night (2007). Director David Slade (Hard Candy) adapts the graphic novel about an Alaskan town under siege by ruthless vampires during a month of arctic darkness. Cruel, relentless and hardcore, the vampires in 30 Days... are (thankfully) about as far from Stephanie Meyer's "sparkling" twinks as one can get.

1. Let the Right One In (2008). This Swedish film took the genre by storm two years ago with its tale of an ancient child vampire ostensibly helping out a bullied young boy, but who is actually on the prowl for a replacement for her aging human thrall. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the screenplay), Let the Right One In has been remade by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves and from all advance accounts, it's actually a remake worth the re-making.
Let Me In is due for release this October.

Honorable mentions: The Lost Boys; Martin; Fright Night; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Blade II.

I know this will not be the last time Uncle P posts about vampires. Some things just never get old (literally).

More, anon.

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