Vampires have never been scary for modern people. Many of the ravenous creatures on this list are, I suspect, an offshoot of zombies and perfect for Halloween viewing. These guys are not cute and cuddly. They don’t twinkle. You will not be taking long walks in the moonlight with them. They’re not interested in sex. They don’t care if you’re beautiful. We’re going to bring back sexy some other time, because its almost Halloween and you guys need some good vampire recs for the big day.
The scariest vampires for Halloween are from:
30 Days of Night (2007):
I was supposed to do a big review of this movie but realized the plot really doesn’t have enough depth for a full review. The plot is pretty simple: Lots of people get killed. In Barrow Alaska, for thirty days of the year, the sun doesn’t rise, and some vampires get the bright idea to infest the town and eat the citizenry. They’ll get to have thirty days of complete debauchery and they mostly succeed at this plan. Sure, their leader is killed on the last day before sunrise, but it hardly matters because the vampires would’ve had to leave anyway. This is not one of those victory type movies, with a happy ending, which I found surprising, because I expected the filmmakers to change it up from the comic books, which are also pretty bleak.
The vampires are animalistic, vicious, relentless, ravenous creatures, that are also highly intelligent. They can plan ahead, play tricks to lure out their prey, and even have their own language, with pithy mottoes. Not that they’re especially deep thinkers, but the humans don’t stand a chance. Crucifixes and wooden stakes don’t work on these vamps, but no fantasy, horror or scientific explanation is ever given for why or how they exist, either. Humans can be transformed by surviving a single bite and beheading is about the only thing that kills them.
I think we can all agree that any sequels should be ignored. There are two many good movies in the world, to be watching bad sequels.
Blade 2 (2002):
I think this movie is better than the first one, because Guillermo Del Toro directed it and Guillermo is more awesome than not. Technically it’s not actually a horror movie. It’s an action movie with horror elements, and those elements are some of the most ugly and disgusting vampires ever put on film.
Actually, there are several types of vampires in the film. There’s Blade, the Day Walker; the human looking vampires, susceptible to silver and garlic; and the scientifically created vampires, which were created in an effort to make day walkers like Blade, but have gone horribly wrong and feed on other vampires. They are immune to everything but UV rays and even the natural vampires are terrified of them. Yeah, the boogeyman has a boogeyman, too.
The science-vamps, as they rightfully should be called, (although that might be slightly misleading), are also fast, relentless, and utterly ravenous creatures, that are still intelligent, but only slightly more than zombies. They have mouth tentacles, leak any extra plasma from blood drinking, and still manage to be predators after they’re dead, so cutting off body parts doesn’t work either. Think The Strain, only done correctly.
I think we can all agree that, once again, the sequel should be completely ignored in favor of watching this movie several more times.
Let The Right One In/Let Me In (2008/2010):
Let the Right One In, and it’s American counterpart Let Me In, are two of the scariest child vampire movies ever made. I think perhaps they’re the only child vampire movies ever made. You know that bulldog determinism children can display when they want something? Now couple that with the insatiable desire to feed on blood and a child’s basic level of emotional manipulation, and you have a pretty horrifying combination, and these films perfectly capture that. These are not adults in the bodies of children, the way they’re usually portrayed in film. These are actual children, who don’t grow up mentally or emotionally, bringing a new level of horror and sadness to child vampirism.
The movies are also great depictions of the horror of just being children, (the uncertainty of parental care, and bullying), even if they don’t live forever.
Fortunately, there are no horrible sequels to this film. Yet.
From Dusk Til Dawn (1996):
This movie starts off as a heist film that unexpectedly turns into a horror movie about halfway through. Seth and Richie Gecko stumble across a nest of Mexican vampires, (in the series they’re called Culebras), while on the run from the police, after a bank heist. They, the hapless family they’ve kidnapped, and the other denizens of the bar where the vampires make their nest, have to fight for their lives, when the vampires decide to stage a massacre/eat in. The vampires, led by Santanico Pandemonium, (played by a stunning Salma Hayek), are clearly the bad guys, even though the bar itself is, in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, “a wretched hive of scum and villainy”.
These vampires have snake venom, super strength, and forehead bumps, like on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. There’s a lot of stake action, crossbows, and sunlight burning, by the end. I need not tell you that almost none of the humans make it out alive.
And yes, you should ignore the sequels. That’s a law.
Fright Night (1985):
Charlie has a vampire problem. There’s a vampire living next door who is after his girlfriend. With the help of a fake vampire slayer from TV, portrayed wonderfully by the late, great Roddie McDowell and his crazy best friend, Evil Ed, who is played by Stephen Geoffreys, (and one of the highlights of the movie), he aims to take it down.
On the surface, Jerry seems like your typically suave, gentleman vampire, but he’s really a horrific monster, who just wants Charlie to mind his own business. Jerry makes the list because he creates some seriously ugly vampires, who look more like land-sharks than people, but are not mindless. They can think, act and even pretend to be their normal selves, but once they vamp-out, are utterly determined to eat you. Jerry is very close to the classic style vampire, only prettier. He can entice with his eyes or voice and turn into a giant bat like creature.
I should not have to keep reminding you to ignore the sequels. You know the rules.
Near Dark (1987):
I gave a full review for this movie some months ago. The vampires in this movie look human, don’t have fangs, are immune to bullets, but that doesn’t mean they can’t kick some ass. The vampirism in this movie is depicted as an affliction that can be cured. They’re not the mindless eating machines of the other films, which somehow makes them worse, because they are in full possession of their faculties, are not nice, aren’t interested in nice and probably can’t even spell nice. They’re barely nice to each other, let alone their food.
Salem’s Lot (1979):
I saw this movie, for the first time, when I was about ten years old and Barlowe the Vampire King, scared the shit out of me. Of course, at that age, I didn’t know that he was based on the Max Schreck role, from Nosferatu. The movie is full of images that never left me and are still effective today.
The vampires in Salem’s Lot are the full on supernatural kind. Crucifixes repel them, holy water glows in their presence, they can turn into fog, fly, and there’s lots of hissing, as these are the more animalistic vampires. The vampires created by Barlowe are also the classic sirens. They’re intelligent, fast, vicious and highly intelligent. They have the ability to enchant and entice their prey through sight and voice.
Barlowe, himself, never says a word for the entire movie, and still manages to be one of the most menacing vampires in movie history, with his pasty skin, siphon like teeth and clawed hands. He’s a total bad ass, with whom you will not feel any urges to swap spit under the moonlight, unless he tells you that’s what you want.
There is actually a sequel to this movie. Surprise, surprise! Need I remind you, that the most entertainment to be gotten from it, is the happiness of knowing that you watched something else, instead.
Unfortunately, most of these films are not available on Netflix, although they can be streamed through other sources and all are available on DVD.