A bit of a change of pace from the regular film reviews bought to you on this blog. Having talked with a film friend on Social Media about various vampire movies after the news broke out that there will be a limited steel book release of the 1985 classic FRIGHT NIGHT, gave this author a sudden brainwave to feature below five of the best vampire horror movies from the last 30 plus years that have moved away from the tried and tested formula of all the original Dracula movies.
To go into a bit more detail, these films below show a different side to vampires seducing hapless human victims in more modern settings rather than in a murky, creepy looking castle. Some of them also explore certain myths that were only ever mentioned but never explored before. Until now.
George A. Romero’s MARTIN (1978)
Taking a break from his Living Dead franchise that begun our love and obsession with zombie apocalypses, Romero opted for something a bit different within the same year as Dawn of The Dead. Here, we’re introduced to Martin, a troubled young man with a thirst for human blood. He believes he’s a vampire but yet daylight doesn’t affect him, he can see his own refection in mirrors and he’s not afraid of garlic. Is he really a vampire or just an incredibly disturbed youngster who has watched one too many vampire movies as a child? Romero does for vampires what he previously done for zombies by putting his own personal stamp on this genre and making something wholly different, thus ranking itself as one of his very best films.
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)
What happens when someone new moves in next door to you and you suspect that new next door neighbour not to be quite human, and in fact a vampire!? Do you 1. Mind about your own business and carry on with your life, getting a good education and seeing your girlfriend? Or 2. Investigate and prove that the person that’s just moved in next door to you really is a centuries old bloodsucker? For teenager Charley Brewster, the curiosity gets the better of him and he soon finds himself in for a lot more than hes bargained for when he becomes too nosy for his own good…
Getting a more glossy remake in 2011 which was enjoyable enough, it just can’t beat the original and this really is a pure 80s horror classic. Very happy to find this is soon to get the bluray treatment as it was absolutely begging for it.
THE LOST BOYS (1987)
From director Joel Scumacher comes this fangtastic story of two brothers, Michael and Sam, who move and relocate with their single mother to the small beach town of Santa Carla in California. While Sam meets and befriends two other boys working in a comic book store who also happen to be vampire hunters; Michael instantly becomes infatuated with a beautiful girl in town, which leads him to a gang of bikers who are linked to mysterious deaths that have also taken place in town. At first glance, these teenage bikers just seem like a gang of trouble making delinquents causing disruption to the seemingly good community of Santa Carla, but as Michael is pulled deeper into their social circle, he uncovers that this town has been harbouring a terrible secret; that these troublesome bikers are in fact undead bloodsuckers beyond the grave. As Michael also becomes one of them, its up to his younger brother and his two vampire exterminating friends to save him and the rest of the town before its too late.
With a brilliant soundtrack including the songs ‘I still believe’ by Tim Capello and ‘Cry Little Sister’ by Gerard McMann, this is another 80s cult classic.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994)
A 200 year old vampire willing to chronicle his entire life story to a human interviewer instead of making him his human prey? What madness is this? Actually it all makes perfect sense within the context of this particular film which was adapted from ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ series written by author Anne Rice and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Neil Jordan (The Crying Game). The vampire being interviewed in question is Louis, who lived a young suicidal man after the untimely deaths of both his wife and daughter during the 18th Century. His paths cross with the charismatic vampire Lestat who offers Louis immortality over death and invites him to become his eternal companion. This film tells the story of how Louis deals with immortality, how he struggles dealing with the powers of darkness that were forced upon him and how he prefers to drink the blood of live animals rather than humans.
Its a very interesting take on the vampire lore, with both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise sharing electrifying on-screen chemistry together as both Louis and Lestat respectively, with able support from the likes of Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea and Christian Slater. This is one that has always remained an absolute timeless favourite of mine.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2009)
Possibly the greatest one on the list (I always save the best one until last). A Swedish vampire masterpiece set in 1982 in Stockholm. The story here follows 12 year old Oskar, a quiet and shy boy who finds himself the constant victim of school bullying and plagued with dreams of exacting sweet revenge on his tormentors. His prayers and dreams are soon answered in the form of Eli, a young girl about his age who gives him the inner strength to finally strike back. There’s just a few peculiarly alarming things about Eli – she hates the sunlight, doesn’t eat ‘normal’ food and has a thirst for human blood. This film explores and addresses the subject of what could happen if you let a vampire enter your home without actually inviting them in. The end results and consequences aren’t pretty at all. It’s something we’ve never seen before and believe me when I say its pretty terrifying to witness.
This film also got an English language remake entitled ‘Let Me In’ for all those in the world that don’t have the patience to keep reading subtitles, not to mention it was a scene by scene remake that didn’t really offer anything new nor different to its predecessor. Do yourself a grand favour and just stick with the Swedish original.