Monday, August 22, 2011

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 10 Vampire Movies

I love me some vampires. In fact it’s well documented on this very blog. One of my first blog posts talked about how Dracula saved me as a kid. Now with the Fright Night remake hitting America I thought it would be a good time to look back at my top ten vampire movies. This was pretty damn hard but I got there in the end, as always these are the movies that have stuck in my mind. So let’s get out there, make like Dennis Miller and stake some vampire bitches.

10: Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1991)

Oh hi western themes, meet a vampire movie. I will admit that this isn’t the best movie in the world but there is just this sense of fun that is present through the entire run time that charms me. I loved this when I was a kid. Basically a human family is brought to a small town in America to work on a factory that will produce fake blood that can be used by hospitals. Townsfolk get around wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and umbrella’s during the day, seem a little kooky, but are actually pretty nice. Unfortunately rogue vampire elements are about to start a vampire civil war, so they can feed on real blood. Throw in Bruce Campbell as the descendant of Van Helsing and fun is to be had by all.
Sundown starring ZZ Top. Those guys rock.

09: Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi is awesome. The only time he is more awesome is when he’s being played by Martin Landau in Ed Wood. But I digress. The presence that Bela gives to the character of Dracula is why the character has been cemented as one of the classics. Even I recognised the Bela version of Dracula even though I never saw the movie when I was a very small child. Just remember you can only do the creepy hand thing Dracula does if you’re Hungarian and double jointed. I think that's why Gary Oldman will never surpass Bela as Dracula in my opinion. Oh but the one thing Francis Ford Coppola's version did have over the original was Tom Waits as Renfield.
Bitch Please!

08: Fright Night (1985)

The original and so awesome that Hollywood took one look at it and said “There is money to be made from that name boys. Quick to the remake vehicle.” An everyday kid sees finds out his neighbour is a vampire and he needs to become the hero from all the old horror movies he’s watched. I think the real joy of the movie is how it plays with the conventions of vampires, it’s actually pretty old school with the vampire rules, and yet actively goes out of it’s way to modernize how we view vampires. Add to all that a wonderful performance by Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent, a late night horror movie host who becomes a fearless vampire killer; kind of.

Now that's a hell of a butter face.

07: The Lost Boys (1987)

Only number seven? Outrage. Well look I love this movie, the Two Corey’s are great, Kiefer makes for a frightening vampire, special effects are great, the ending is humorous and this was one of those movies that was watched numerous times during my childhood. It’s just I have plenty of other vampire movies that I adore or respect just a little bit more it gets beaten down to this position. But don’t worry it’s not going to be beaten by Dracula 2000, no sir. If I was being truthful with everyone, I think this movie loses a few points because of the fashion. I mean wow, people dressed like that? Still Kiefer did look bad ass so it can't be all that bad. 

Death by Stereo; a new way to kill vampires.

06: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Okay vampire killers, let’s kill some vampires. Clooney just makes this movie cool, and it was this movie that really grabbed him attention. Sure he was the heart throb doctor on ER, but damn did he score some major bad ass points with his role as Seth Gecko. From the warped mind of Tarantino (writer) and Rodriguez (director), what starts off as criminals on the run, turns to a balls to the wall vampire survival movie. In fact when if first came out many people thought it was a crime movie and where completely surprised by the vampire in the second half. That’s what’s so great about this movie, it doesn’t matter if you know vampires are in it, the gear shift in mid movie means you won’t be bored. Also it’s nice to see some brutal bloody vampires. They do not mess around. Beating people with severed limbs, ripping heads off, and all down with a Mexican flare that just makes it a little more unique than the average vampire movie.
Were you staring at a) Tarantino, b) Clooney or c) Hayek? For the
correct answer please turn over book.

05: 30 Days of Night (2007)

Speaking of brutal vampires. I love the comic book series, and was excited to see what this movie would be like. While not everything was what I hoped for, at least the vampires rocked the house. Predator like, they were feeding machines, sharks with human characteristics. The innate sexiness that vampires seem to exude was stripped away and audiences were left with something unfamiliar. I also like the fact that you don’t get a lot of explanation about the vampires, they just appear and begin to feed. Not knowing exact origins of the vampire made them scarier. Also any movie that has Melissa George in it, and that I can stand has to be high on the list.

If you find this vampire sexy, check yourself into the mental ward.

04: The Night Flier (1997)

The vampire in this one is kind of in the background, a white whale to be chased down if you will. The Ahab of this tale is tabloid reporter Richard Dees as played by Miguel Ferrer. I was entranced by the character Richard Dees and his manic search across rural America for a serial killer he believes to be a vampire. It’s a unique vampire movie, and an adaptation of a Stephen King story that works. By having the main character chase down the vampire there is a pace to the movie that some vampire movies lack. Also when all is said, and there is the big reveal, holy heck was it cool. Do yourself a favour and watch this movie.

Miguel Ferrer a career in playing assholes.

03: The Night Stalker (1972)

With this television movie we stay in the realms of the reporter, and take a look at one of my favourite characters. Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) is a reporter in Las Vegas who begins to think a serial killer is possibly a vampire. In fact he looks at the evidence and knows he’s a vampire he’s just got to make the city officials believe him. It’s great to watch a smart character piece everything together early, and instead of going full on vampire hunter he tires to convince the police to do the killing. Kolchak is a smart man, through and through. The vampire kind of plays second fiddle and doesn’t really have enough time to be all the memorable, but for me it’s the location, they way the story is played out, and of course the most excellent character that is Kolchak that truly makes this movie.
So bad ass doesn't need to even look at the vampire.

02: Interview with the Vampire (1994)

I don’t like my vampires too weepy. The oh woah is me act grates on my nerves. Personally unlife is wasted on some vampires. So here we go with a movie where the main character Louis (Brad Pitt) is a constant whiny bitch. Thank goodness for Tom Cruise (I didn’t think I would ever say that) as Lestat who really gives a good showing of what a proud vampire should be, something between your best friend and the devil. But this movie is a really good movie about a vampire recounting his unlife, while Louis isn’t normally what I like to see in a vampire it’s very well acted. Also seeming the story spans many lifetimes we get to see vampires in different situations across time and the world. Sexy, stylish, a wonderful story that manages to really get in depth into the psyche of different vampires.
Don't let the goofy blonde hair fool you, he's the DEVIL!

01: Near Dark (1987)

Kathryn Bigelow made a vampire movie that is poetry in motion, a true love letter to the night and the world vampires inhabit. A young man falls in love and the girl turns out to be a vampire. She turns him as she also has feelings for him as well. It could have been a wonderful love story, but it gets seriously screwed up when her family is introduced. Here we have vampires who are a close knit family, they actually have some values that we can admire, and yet they are scary as hell as they have no compassion towards humans. We are cattle to this fucked up family. This movie hits upon themes of family, love and life. The way this movie is filmed is beautiful, and captures the night in such a way that you can understand why the vampires love the night. Truly my favourite movie as it has memorable characters, some gruesome set pieces, and can both make me shudder and intrigued.
The cast of Aliens in some rough times.

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