Vampire movies might feel a little overplayed in our post-Twilight era—but in all honesty who doesn’t love a good vampire flick? There's just something so cool and thrilling about an immortal blood-sucking creature prowling through the night. The folklore surrounding these supernatural terrors has been around for centuries, so you know the ghoulish bloodsuckers aren't going away anytime soon.
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And that’s what we’re here to talk about—the scary kind of vampires. So if you’re looking for some Twilight-y melodrama, I’m sorry to say you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re willing to stay, we invite you to check out these 19 spooky vampire movies that will make your blood run cold. Grab the garlic and start watching.
Based on the Marvel comic books of the same name, the Blade films are filled with plenty of action and vampire slaying. The original trilogy of movies stars Wesley Snipes as the titular character, a half-human and half-vampire hybrid who protects humanity from vampires. Due to his nature, Blade lacks the typical weakness vampire have—meaning he doesn’t flinch at any sunlight—but he also retains their agility and strength. Using his powers to his advantage, and his sharp swordplay skills, Blade sets off on a journey to prevent an all-out war between humans and vampires.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)
Starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, this heady vampire movie from Jim Jarmusch tackles themes of eternity and purpose. The film focuses on two vampire lovers, Adam and Eve, who have been together for centuries. Adam is a gifted musician who has influenced the development of the art form throughout history. He becomes conflicted and existential when he's unable to contribute to the industry out of fear that he might be recognized. With nothing left to do, Adam contemplates suicide, pushing his partner Eve to intervene. After seeing a gun loaded with a wooden bullet, Eve is forced to confront Adam about his depression, all while trying to navigate whether or not they truly have a place in this world anymore.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Fans of horror comedy will eat up this vampire mockumentary. The film follows a group of vampires—Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr—who live together in a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. The foursome are several centuries old, and they each possess unique abilities such as levitation or bat transformation. The camera crew focuses on the group’s struggle to acclimate to the modern world as they continuously run into issues when it comes to hunting. When a group of humans are brought to their home, they attack and feed on them. But Nick, one of the victims of the feeding frenzy, gets turned into a vampire. Together, Nick learns the ropes about being a vampire while teaching the group about the modern age.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Years before the iconic television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer made her debut in 1992 in a film of the same name. This movie follows Buffy Summers, a teenage Valley girl who learns that she is The Slayer, a vampire hunter chosen by destiny. Reluctant to believe this is her fate, Buffy initially denies the claim. But when her powers of agility and heightened senses manifest, Merrick, a Watcher whose purpose is to guide Buffy, takes her under his wing. When Buffy learns that there are vampires snooping around her community, it’s up to her to save the day and hopefully still maintain a normal teenage life.
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Horror fans are plenty familiar with the zombie apocalypse trope. But in the case of Daybreakers, instead of zombies, we have vampires who have completely overrun the world. Starring Ethan Hawke, this film centers on Edward Dalton, a vampire hematologist in search of a blood substitute after human resources have run dry. During his research, Edward meets a former vampire named Lionel (Willem Dafoe), who claims to know a cure for vampirism. Before long, the duo gets wrapped up in a deadly chain of events and conspiracies that could mean the end of either humanity, or vampire-kind.
Let the Right One In (2008)
Can there even be a discussion of vampire movies without a mention of this 2008 Swedish masterpiece? Let the Right One In is, by turns, psychologically terrifying, intensely gruesome, and deeply emotional. Oskar and Eli are both outsiders: Oskar is bullied at school, and Eli is, well, different. Can their budding relationship endure the differences between them, and the cruelty of those around them? Watch to find out, as well as to see why many consider this one of the best vampire movies ever made.
The Hunger (1983)
Despite mixed reviews, The Hunger, a crazy, sexy, ’80s romp, has become something of a cult film. A gorgeous vampire couple, Miriam and John, get romantically entwined with an aging specialist, as they attempt to find a cure for John, who has suddenly fallen very ill. If for nothing else, see The Hunger for the three legends it brought very close together: Susan Sarandon, Catherine Deneuve, and David Bowie.
Nosferatu is one of the most iconic vampire movies ever made. Despite the fact that it’s a silent film—grainy, black-and-white, and without any CGI wizardry—it is just as chilling as any modern-day horror flick. Max Schreck’s terrifying portrayal of the long-clawed, pale-faced monster will haunt your dreams, and make you think twice about conducting business in remote wooded areas in Eastern Europe.
This vampire thriller, from director Neil Jordan, takes a look at the less glamorous side of eternal life, and all the psychological trauma that goes with it. A vampire mother and daughter (an excellent Gemma Arterton and Saorsie Ronan, respectively) have been on the run from a group of evil vampires, whose codes they have violated, for centuries. Secrets are revealed and blood flows freely after they settle in a small costal town in the present-day U.K.
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Park Chan-wook, master of Korean horror, delivers a uniquely nightmarish experience in Thirst. After a failed medical experiment, a lonely Catholic priest realizes he’s turning into a vampire. Matters go from bad to worse, when, after discovering the intense desires and physicality that come with his newly acquired vampirism, the priest begins an affair with his friend’s wife
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Audiences and critics alike lost their minds for this Persian language feminist thriller. In a fictional Iranian ghost town called “Bad City,” a young female vampire doles out her own version of justice. Director Ana Lily Amirpour was praised for her fresh take on the vampire genre, combining elements of horror, crime noir, and spaghetti westerns.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
It’s hard to go wrong when you round up Hollywood’s top two leading men at the time, and cast them as vampires. In the present day, vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, portrayed by Brad Pitt, tells his life story to a reporter. His tales include his transformation into a vampire two centuries prior at the hands of Tom Cruise’s character, as well as his relationship with Claudia—a vampire cursed to remain trapped in a child’s body, as portrayed by a young Kirsten Dunst.
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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Bank-robbing fugitive brothers force a family to smuggle them across the Mexican border in this black-humor/horror cult favorite. The brothers and the family enter a Mexican strip club, only to realize that the club’s employees double as a horde of ferocious vampires. Starring George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and more, From Dusk Till Dawn was actually Tarantino’s first paid writing job.
The first authorized cinematic production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Stoker’s widow sued F.W. Murau, the director of , for plagiarism), this classic flick gave us the archetypical Hollywood vampire. Bela Lugosi’s iconic performance will remind you why you fell in love with vampire movies in the first place.
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Let Me In (2010)
Many approached Let Me In, the American remake of , warily, as the Swedish film set the bar so high. Yet, unlike most American remakes, Let Me In did its predecessor justice. Instead of Stockholm, the setting is New Mexico, and the main characters went from “Eli and Oskar” to “Abby and Owen.” Much like the original, the film is worth seeing for the fantastic chemistry between the young lead actors alone.
In life—and especially in horror movies—STAY AWAY from creepy-looking artifacts. Otherwise, you might find one that will turn you into a vampire. Such is the case in Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos. After his vampiric transformation, a Mexican antiques dealer is hunted down by those who want the ancient item for themselves. Cronos was del Toro’s first feature film, and, while fantastic in itself, it’s interesting to see how the film laid the groundwork for later masterpieces like and .
Near Dark (1987)
Part of the vampire movie revival of the 1980s, this vampire-Western, directed by Academy Award-winning Kathryn Bigelow, tells the story of Caleb, a young man living in the midwest, who is unwittingly initiated into a group of gun-slinging vampires who live and travel the country in an RV. Though it was poorly received at the time of its release, critics praised the film, and it has since gained a cult following.
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Ever thought that Max Schreck’s portrayal of a vampire in Nosferatu was just a little too realistic? In Shadow of the Vampire, a comedic-horror gem, director E. Elias Merhige creates a fictionalized meta account of the filming process, in which the lead actor is actually a vampire, unbeknownst to the other actors. Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Schreck’s Nosferatu is so eerily spot-on that he was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Lost Boys (1987)
When two brothers move to a costal California town with their single mother, they fall in with very different crowds. The younger sibling, Sam, meets two brothers who insist that the town is overrun with vampires. The elder, Michael, starts hanging out with a biker gang—of vampires. Watch this campy horror-comedy for the 80s heartthrobs: the movie features Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim, and Corey Feldman, to name a few.
Featured still from "Let the Right One In" via Magnet Releasing