The vampire genre is one that has been intertwined in our storytelling, perhaps the longest. From folklore, mythology, classic tales and modern ones. High cultured to the lowest, the vampire walks among them all. So how to keep it fresh? Is there really such a thing as ‘a generic vampire movie’? Or is it all about choosing the one fitting our personal taste?
A list of works about vampires that were published before Dracula.
This is a list of five vampire movie, telling all very different parts about the human experience and the life and desires we have.
Only Lovers Left Alive – The Deep One
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Premise: A depressed musician reunites with his lover. Though their romance, which has already endured several centuries, is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.
What Kind of Vampire Story: This is one of these moody movies capturing the brooding boredom of vampiric lore and were the vampires are an instrument of showing the human spirit throughout the ages. The instruments are vintage, the music and literature talked about are classics, the clothes are mouth eaten. More than a scary action story that are common for the modern vampire, it is more a discussion about the very human questions. What keeps us going on? What is the point of it all? For more philosophical discussions from Shakespearean theater actors, this is the Vampire movie for you.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula – The Classic
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Premise: This movie version is one of those Dracula adaptations that are following the plot of the original novel pretty close. A young man travels to eastern Europe and are captured by the vampire Dracula. He goes to London after seeing a picture of the man’s betrothed, Mina Murray. From there on, the streets of London are victim to the reign of horror caused by the undead.
What Kind of Vampire Story: A love it or hate it movie, this is one that divide vampire fans all over. The over the top costumes, the stiff acting, the cliche dialogue, it is certainly an acquired taste. But even though it can get to cute for some, no one can deny this movie was a game changer for vampires in movies. It stripped away the black cloak, introduced us to retractable fangs among other things. It is a movie for those that love the campy and gothic feeling of flowing dresses with long hair and in all seriousness loves the used and tested gothic horror tropes.
What we do in the Shadows – The Funny one
Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Stars: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
Premise: Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane – like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
What Kind of Vampire Story: Now a household name in Hollywood, the world was perhaps introduced to Taika Waititi though this low budget mockumentary. It was what the vampire lore needed. Something fun, something that didn’t need to take itself so serious and some dark humor to laugh at. At that time, a great fresh breath of air combining both the vampire genre as well as the found footage horror genre, it is still today used to satire and honor the vampire lore. With an american TV-series adaptation from the original New Zealand movie, this is the movie for those that want to have a laugh, but still uphold the gothic horror aesthetic.
Thirst – The Uncomfortable One
Director: Chan-wook Park (as Park Chan-wook)
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hee-jin Choi
Premise: Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.
What Kind of Vampire Story: It is a very dark look at life and the human nature, inspired by the very bleak naturalist novel, Thérèse Raquin. By making the main character a catholic priest in celibate, the contrast the flesh thirsty for intimacy and warm blood makes an eerie watch. Also, did we mention it is loosely based on the bleakest novel of all time?
Let the Right One In – The Endearing One
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Premise: Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.
What Kind of Vampire Story: This takes the outsider perspective to the max, showcasing a very humane story about being an outcast, both in the broader society as well as in the more social settings. The cold and sterile Scandinavian pessimistic social democratic onlook on vampires contrasts the steamy and sensual stereotype.
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