Film and TV

8 Unconventional Vampire Films That Don't Suck

As a lifelong horror movie fan, I've grown to dread most vampire films. How can such a venerable and classic film monster be so off-putting to me? Most vampire films just seem to suck, and not just in the cool, neck-bitey way. I guess that I see a particularly common lack of originality in most vampire movies, as most of the modern ones seem to just rip off Anne Rice or go the pseudo-super hero route like the Blade movies. Very rarely are vampires even portrayed as scary anymore, they're more often black vinyl clad immortals with complicated sex lives and super powers.

A lot of people like those types of vampire movies, so to each their own. I've tended to enjoy ones that break from the mold in one way or another, and bring something new and interesting to the mythology. Sure, the old style, cape and coffin vampires are fun, but it's difficult to really take them seriously anymore. It's just such an old fashioned image, and has been done to death. Yes, I like Hammer horror films, and the old Universal monster movies, but they don't generally scare me, they've become somewhat quaint over the many decades since their releases.

While this is not a comprehensive list, here are a few vampire films I really like for one reason or another.

8. "The Hunger" - 1983

OK, The Hunger is not a "great" film, but it's definitely heavy on atmosphere and was a break from the typical, caped Dracula mold. The film has a great beginning that used footage of Bauhaus playing their iconic song "Bela Lugosi's Dead," and it's no wonder that so many goths I've known love this movie. Despite having more than a few flaws, "The Hunger" also has David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Catherine Deneuve, not to mention an odd take on the idea of immortality and everlasting youth, making it a memorable entry into the vampire genre.

7. "Martin" - 1976

This is one of George Romero's '70s era films that's not as well known as his zombie masterpieces, but it's a very good unconventional vampire movie. John Amplas plays Martin, a young man who may or may not be a real vampire. Whatever he is, Martin has problems, because he has visions from the distant past that indicate he's an old world vampire. Then again, these may be fabrications of his own mind - it's never entirely clear. After a train ride in which Martin drugs and kills a woman by slashing her wrist with a razor and then drinking the blood, he is taken in by an old relative who believes Martin is a real nosferatu. The film never lets on whether Martin is a supernatural being or a mentally deranged killer, but that is part of why the movie is so interesting. I'd rank Martin as one of Romero's best films, it's certainly worth a look.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.