Frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere, Film and Media critic Bob Ross, selects his Top Ten Vampire movies, (in no particular order):
Horror of Dracula (1958) — First Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee starring, Hammer classic, shocking for its time. Sexy, bloody fun.
Salem’s Lot (1970) — David Soul, James Mason, dir. by Tobe Hooper. Great supporting cast. Based on early Stephen King novel about vampires invading small Maine town.
Near Dark (1987) — Director Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, Hurt Locker) brings a vampire family to Oklahoma flatlands. Brings hip references to a Western biker motif.
Let the Right One In (2008) — Bullied 12-year-old falls in love with an exotic vampire girl, faces tough choices. Swedish original, remade in 2010 as Let Me In, also good and no subtitles.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) — Francis Ford Coppola directed a superb cast — Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves — in a visually compelling and unusually faithful adaptation of the book. No CGI, either. The dandy effects are all done in the camera.
Dracula (1979) — Frank Langella reprises his Tony-nominated portrayal in the Broadway revival of the 1927 play based on Stoker’s novel. Langella turns the bloodsucker into a matinee idol. Ladies love him.
Interview with the Vampire (1994) — Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. What else do you need to know? OK, directed by Neil Jordan, based on Anne Rice‘s novel so its set in old New Orleans. Kirsten Dunst is a hoot. Gothic fun, R-rated for sure.
Nosferatu (1922) — F.W. Murnau’s silent classic, a German expressionist gem, was based on Stoker’s story but he could not get copyright approval so he changed the name. Spooky thrills, old-school.
Dracula (1931) — The definitive archetype, with Bela Lugosi. Everybody’s touchstone for Dracula movies. “I never drink . . . wine.”
Fright Night (1985) — Roddy McDowell is a hoot as an aging TV personality who helps a small-town teenager expose a very weird neighbor (Chris Sarandon). Comic-horror-charmer. The 2011 remake isn’t bad but it’s unnecessary.