How to Have a Twilight-Free Vampire Movie Marathon
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
If you don't buy Twilight's 'moody'=vampire equation, here are some real vampire movies to waste a weekend on...
My wife is one of those “Twi-hards”. Those die hard Twilight fans that read the books and watch the movies and actually believe that they are actually something to write home about. She’s sat me down and had me watch them on DVD (because there was no way I was about to be seen in the theatre watching them), and I have to say, I don’t get it. And obviously, I’m not meant to. These books were written for a certain demographic, and that doesn’t include thirty-something geeks. So while we’re being bombarded with all things Twilight at the moment (the new movie, Eclipse, comes out this summer – my wife will be in attendance – I’ll be seeing Iron Man 2 by myself next week), I propose a bloodsucking marathon that proves that the only time a vampire sparkles is just before he bursts into flames.
10. The Last Man On Earth (1964)
Vincent Price stars in the first – and closest – film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s excellent novella I Am Legend (soooo much better than the Will Smith crapfest). Here, Robert Morgan is a scientist, who has been working on a cure for a plague that has been killing of the entire population – and turning them into vampires. He watches his family die, and believes he is the last human, only to find a young woman on one of his expeditions. He takes her home, but finds out that she is also a vampire, one of a group that hasn’t become one of the mindless drones, but has developed a drug that keeps them from acting out on their bloodlust. She informs Morgan that he hasn’t just been killing vampires, but people from this new society, which has gotten him in a lot of hot water. The movie ends differently than the novella, but it’s still just as powerful. It’s slow-moving, mindless vampires also helped give rise to the zombie era, by inspiring George A. Romero to make Night of the Living Dead.
9. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Penned by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, this super-gory film has two bank robbers (George Clooney and Tarantino) taking a family and their RV hostage to get across the border into Mexico. Once there, they stop at a topless bar, to have a few drinks. The father, played by Harvey Keitel, is an ex-minister who has lost his faith, and is taking his kids on a trip to find himself. All is not right with this hole-in-the-wall bar, and soon the bar employees and strippers reveal themselves to be gruesome creatures of the night. Highlight of this movie is seeing Salma Hayek dancing in a bikini with an albino boa constrictor. That’s the sort of image that never leaves you.
8. House of Dark Shadows (1970)
Producer Dan Curtis decided to capitalize on the popularity of his gothic soap opera, and make a feature film version. It took the Barnabas Collins storyline from the show, and ran it through the end they wanted for the show – for Barnabas to end up evil till the end and destroyed for his sins. The movie looks like the series if it had been produced by Hammer Studios. Fans of the show or of 70s horror should check this one out.
7. Nightlife (TV, 1989)
A year before he would haunt Collinwood, Ben Cross played Vlad in this horror-comedy classic. He has been searching for quite some time for his long lost love, Angelique, played by Olivia D’Abo. She had been buried in Mexico with a group of mummies in order to hide from him, only to be dug up by an archeological expedition. She falls for a mortal doctor who has dreams of curing her, while avoiding Vlad’s wrath. Hard to find, but worth the time.
6. 30 Days of Night (2007)
A group of vampires decide to spend a month up in Alaska due to its 30 days of darkness. These guys aren’t a bunch of deep thinkers, all pining for their humanity and wishing they could give up their immortal existence. They’re monsters! And they have only one desire – our blood. Throw in some drama from a sheriff and his estranged wife who couldn’t get out of town before the darkness fell, and a group of townspeople that don’t all get along, and it makes for a terrific haunted house-style movie, but all encased within one town. And the little girl in the store has to be the best child vampire I have ever seen. The ending was good, if a little contrived, but it’s forgivable because the film is just that good.
5. Fright Night (1985)
Oh, sure, we’ve all done it. You spend every waking hour watching old horror movies, and eventually, you’re going to believe that one of your neighbors is a soulless, bloodsucking beast. Unfortunately, for Charley Brewster, it’s true. One night, while spying on his new neighbor Jerry, he sees her with a beautiful, half-naked woman. But soon, all goes wrong, when he witnesses him murder her. And when Jerry tries to let Charley off scott-free, well, Charley makes things worse. So to help him destroy the monster next door, Charley enlists the help of his friends and a washed up actor who hosts the late night horror movie on television, played by Roddy McDowell. There are plenty of suspense and scares in this 80s masterpiece.
4. The Lost Boys (1987)
We may have lost one of the two Coreys, but in the eighties, they were a hot ticket, and they shine in this movie about a single mom and her two boys that move to California to live with her dad till she gets on her feet. Right off the bat, Sam Emerson (played by Corey Haim) realizes something’s amiss when he reads a billboard proclaiming their new hometown as the “Murder Capitol of the World”. Grandpa downplays it, but Sam can’t ignore it. His brother Michael winds up falling in with a group of teenage vamps, and Sam meets the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) running their parents’ comic book store. They hand him a horror comic to enlighten him as to what’s really going on in town. Beautifully filmed, great music, and some wonderful one-liners make this one a must own.
3. Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Anne Rice’s first novel in the Vampire Chronicles was a wonderful read. Although there’s much that has been excised for the film, the heart of the novel is still there, as we follow Louis (Brad Pitt) and Lestat (Tom Cruise), and their journey to find out what the un-life is all about. Louis has lost his wife and child, and has nothing left to live for. One night, he meets Lestat, who makes him an offer: He can choose to die, or to live forever. Louis chooses immortality, and nothing will ever be the same for him. Over the years they pick up a companion in Claudia, whom Louis feeds on. While Anne’s vampires do tend to get overly sentimental at times, they are still monsters, and not someone you would want to meet in a dark alley. Fantastic performances by Pitt and Cruise (and that last one pained me to say), as well as Antonio Banderas as Armand. It’s too bad we’ll probably never see any more of the novels adapted since Queen of the Damned was such a bungled mess.
2. Dracula (1931)
The first authorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel actually used the popular stage play for inspiration. One of the first “talkies”, director Tod Browning didn’t want to use incidental music, because he thought it would confuse audiences. This lack of a soundtrack actually makes the film more atmospheric and downright spooky in places. Bela Lugosi is brilliant as the centuries old Count, traveling to London to find new blood. Edward van Sloan is as always wonderful as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and Dwight Frye is absolutely chilling as Renfield. Seriously, just listen to that laugh he gives when they find him on the ship, and then try to get to sleep that night. It still freaks me out.
1. Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
F.W. Murnau’s unauthorized 1922 adaptation of Dracula. This silent classic presents Count Orlock as something of a horrible bat-shaped man. Orlock, portrayed by Max Schreck, acquires property in Bremen, and travels there to wreck havoc upon the unsuspecting townsfolk, who believe a plague is upon them. The imagery is at times both beautiful and horrific, and the silence makes for some very creepy moments. The scene of Orlock climbing up the stairs with only his shadow being seen has been copied numerous times, and yet, it still seems fresh here. Florence Stoker, Bram’s widow, demanded that all existing prints of the film be destroyed since she hadn’t received payment for the copyright. Luckily, one or two survived, and thank the maker they did.
The Forsaken (2001)
Shadow of the Vampire (2001)
John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula [it’s hard to get past Keanu Reaves and Winona Rider killing the English accent, but totally worth it for beautiful set designs and Gary Oldman’s take on the Count] (1992)
Any of Hammer Studio’s Dracula pictures, starring the always wonderful Christopher Lee
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