It's almost Halloween again, which means its time to see the appearance of those classic horror costumes like Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and of course, Dracula. Vampires have a long history in horror and are always a perfect option for Halloween, both with costumes and horror films, depending on your choice to celebrate.
If you're the stay-in-and-watch-movies type, you might be contemplating a vampire film to add to your evening, but are sick of the same old vampire films you've seen a hundred times. So today, we decided to put together a few underrated vampire films to check out this season.
10 HORROR OF DRACULA
Dracula is easily the most famous vampire, and as such has appeared in a number of different horror movies over the years. You're likely familiar with the more recent and incredible Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Gary Oldman, though he isn't the only Drac in town.
This Halloween you should instead explore Christopher Lee's bloody and iconic version of the Count as seen in the Hammer Films classic Horror of Dracula. The film also features Peter Cushing and Michael Gough and launched a series of films starring Lee as Count Dracula.
David Cronenberg might not seem like the typical director of a vampire film, which makes sense, as Rabid is like no other movie in the genre. The Canadian master of body horror mixed the vampire genre with his unique area of expertise to terrify and disgust viewers with 1977's Rabid.
Marilyn Chambers starred as a woman who discovered a phallic stinger in her armpit after a surgery that feeds on the blood of her victims. These victims then become vampiric monsters who also transfer their infection with a bite, further mingling this body horror vampire film with zombie elements. Rabid is a must-watch for fans of Cronenberg's unique brand of horror.
8 ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
Jim Jarmusch recently revisited the horror genre with his zombie film The Dead Don't Die, but he previously explored the vampire lore with Only Lovers Left Alive. The film starred Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two ancient vampires who have grown bored with the art they helped inspire over the years.
The film explores their romance and the state of vampires in the modern world, no longer hunters of humans but instead samplers of the finest blood to avoid the contamination of the party scene. Only Lovers Left Alive may not be as dark or violent as some of the other films on this list, but the great cast and unique take on the genre earn it a viewing.
7 THE ADDICTION
If Only Lovers Left Alive wasn't dark enough, don't worry, we've got you covered. 1995's The Addiction stars Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken and was directed by Abel Ferrera. As suggested by the title, the film uses the premise of vampirism as a metaphor for drug addiction.
With that central theme, The Addiction introduces an odd element into the vampire genre, as not only are the vampires themselves addicted to blood, but their victims are all mostly entranced and teased with the allure of vampirism, further alluding to the cycle of drug use and addiction that permeates the film.
6 STAKE LAND
Set in a post-apocalyptic vampire-infested America, Stake Land follows a group of survivors as they navigate the unforgiving new world. Of course, vampires aren't the only threat, as government factions and militias still battle for control of the world.
We've discussed new takes on the vampire genre a lot today, but Stake Land truly offers a unique look at a world that has lost the battle against vampires, and the small glimpses of hope they continue to fight for. Plus, Stake Land features weaponized vampires air-dropped on cities, which should be enough to convince you if you weren't already.
5 SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE
Horror movie fans, and vampire fans, in particular, are likely aware of the classic 1992 horror Nosferatu, which was directed by German Expressionist F. W. Murnau. The film features Max Shreck as the evil Count Orlock and is without a doubt the most influential vampire film ever made.
Shadow of the Vampire is not the most influential, but it does take a comedic surrealist approach to the filming of Nosferatu, which focuses on the urban legend that actor Max Shreck was actually a real vampire on set. Willem Dafoe shines as Shreck, though the rest of the cast help make Shadow of the Vampire an offbeat addition to your Halloween viewing.
4 THE HUNGER
Vampire films are inherently erotic in most cases, and Tony Scott's 1983 film The Hunger explored this incredibly well. More erotic thriller than a horror movie, The Hunger stars Catherine Deneuve as an eternal vampire who pits David Bowie and Susan Sarandon against each other for her affections and immortal favor.
The film may focus heavily on the atmosphere over the story, but that only makes the film more enticing to fans who enjoy seeing the raw violence and sexuality that have become ingrained with the vampire mythology. The Hunger is another film that was critically ill-received but would later develop a cult following.
3 NEAR DARK
Kathryn Bigelow's dark western Near Dark features an amazing cast that includes Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar, and Jenny Wright. The film introduces a traveling family of vampires who take on an unwilling new member and was a fresh dark take on a genre that had found new popularity in the comedy genre.
Near Dark wasn't financially successful when it was released, but it soon developed a cult following as part of the new era of dark vampire films in the 80s. Paxton's performance as the bloodthirsty Severen stands out, as does the innocent love story that blossoms amidst the death and destruction that follows the nomadic vampires.
No hidden gem vampire list would be complete without including a nod to Guillermo del Toro's horribly unknown entry in the vampire genre, Cronos. The film stars his frequent collaborators Ron Perlman and Federico Luppi in del Toro's first feature film.
Cronos is actually a reference to a device that grants long life, though the cost is obviously a thirst for blood. The film is a fantastic look at the early work of Guillermo del Toro while also being incredibly gory. While incredibly different in tone, his style will be easily recognizable to fans of his big-budget vampire film Blade II.
George Romero may be best known for his contribution to the zombie genre with his legendary films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and more, but he has worked in other aspects of horror as well. And while his titular vampire Martin is not your typical undead bloodsucker, that doesn't make it any less bloody.
Martin instead believes himself to be a vampire and lives in a potentially imaginary world where he obsesses over the sexuality of vampire mythology. Viewers are never really sure if Martin's thirst is psychological or truly vampirism, which only adds to the film's unique take on the classic vampire genre.