One of the more experimental iterations of vampirehood, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is Ana Lily Amirpour’s Persian-language coming-of-age vampire film with as much originality as its title would suggest. It always helps to incorporate some Western elements into your genre films, and this is a great example of that—even if it is largely a vampire film.
While F.W. Murnau might’ve created the vampire film as we know it, Tod Browning managed to bring Bram Stoker’s classic novel to life better than anyone else had at the time. Dracula is practically a household name, and Browning deserves at least a bit of credit.
A Swedish horror film of a different breed, Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In is a vampire romance that gives Twilight a run for its money. It’s creepy, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s breathtaking all in one.
The movie that started it all could never be omitted from this list. F.W. Murnau changed horror forever with his 1922 silent film, which still remains plenty unnerving nearly a century later.
James Jarmusch is back in the news with his recently-released zom-com The Dead Don’t Die, but it’s actually second only to his other creature feature: Only Lovers Left Alive. Starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two vampires cursed with eternal life, the movie examines just how horribly lonely it’d be to be a vampire.
David Bowie seems born to play otherworldly characters. He already played an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth and an unclassifiably strange FBI agent in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but The Hunger seems him taking on something completely different: the role of a dying vampire caught up in a love triangle.
A late 80s classic, The Lost Boys embodies the camaraderie of so many other hits from the decade while also adding a bit of supernatural to make things a bit more stand-out. Of course, it helps to have Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Haim at the front and Joel Schumacher behind the camera.
One of Park Chan-Wook’s bests, Thirst sees a priest saved by a blood infusion… only to be urned into a vampire as a result. Cursed with this newfound affliction and a love affair on top of everything else, Thirst is as thoroughly exceptional as any other Park Chan-Wook.
Arriving just one year after Murnau’s Nosferatu, Carl Theodor Dryer’s Vampyr is a silent film almost as unnerving as the vampire film that came the year before it. The camerawork and editing is stunning, as is the entire tone and feel of the film.
Before he was reinventing the Thor franchise with the hit sequel Thor: Ragnarok, Taiki Waititi was co-directing a vam-com called What We Do in the Shadows. Starring Jemaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh, Rhys Darby, and a few other New Zealanders, the film came as part of several 2010s vampire films to reinvigorate interest in the blood-sucking creatures.