During the Halloween season, I don't really like to watch scary horror films. I opt for the milder fun stuff like Tim Burton flicks and Hocus Pocus. Movies like Paranormal Activity, the Saw series or Texas Chainsaw Massacre don't really appeal to me. I don't like being scared out of my mind because I have a very active imagination. It's something I never grew out of, so it's hard for me to watch something nightmarish and then just turn it off in my mind. I'll think about it over and over until I convince myself that it's somehow real and I won't sleep (like after that time I watched Poltergeist). It's bad.
And zombie movies? No way. I can't do zombie movies. There's something about a re-animated corpse that scares me to my core. The one exception to this rule is the show The Walking Dead on AMC, because I'm a believer in great Sunday night television, but I usually change the channel to football for a few minutes when the zombie hordes come chompin'.
So since most horror flicks are out for me, the ones I like to watch around Halloween are the vampire movies. I love me some vampires. For some reason, they don't scare me (except those zombie-vampires in 30 Days of Night … they were gross). I think that essentially, vampires are one of the only horror-related supernatural beings that can be both scary and sexy. There's no way in hell a zombie is sexy, or Jason, or the Hellraiser guy, or Freddie Krueger.
In Eric Nuzum's awesome and hilarious book, The Dead Travel Fast, in which he explores the origin and the evolution of the vampire myth, he theorizes that the monsters a society creates represents its underlying fears. In the Victorian age when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, people were afraid of sex. And nothing represents sex and the fears around it like a vampire. Godzilla was representative of the fear around nuclear meltdown. And I'd argue that our current obsession with zombie movies/TV shows has to do with our fear of messing with our environment so much that Mother Nature might just decide to send us back to the stone age with a zombiem plague. See if that will teach us a lesson.
Oops! Sorry about that oil spill. What ozone layer? I thought global warming was made up by dirty tree-hugging liberals … oh, shit! Zombies are eating our brains!
Here are my top 10 favorite vampire movies of all time. Happy Halloween y'all!
10. Fright Night (Original Recipe… I haven't seen the new Colin Farrell version yet)
Prince Humperdink is the vampire next-door. And Chris Sarandon recently revealed that he eats fruit in the movie because he's part fruit bat. Whoa.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pee Wee Herman is an evil sarcastic vampire. That alone makes it awesome.
8. The Hunger
David Bowie + Vampire = Annie's perfect movie combo. The only way it could get better was if Colin Firth was in a vampire movie.
7. From Dusk Til Dawn
I love Robert Rodriguez movies. This one is particularly awesome because just when you think the movie is about one thing (serial killer brothers on the run), it ends up being about something totally different (everyone banding together to survive the night against some crazy vampires). It's an awesome camp-fest.
I loved the "vampires vs. werewolves" myth in this movie. And I also loved Michael Sheen as Lucian. I was definitely Team Werewolf for this movie.
5. Let the Right One In
Creeptastic, but in a good way. And there's a powerful lesson here… don't bully pale swedish boys, because you never know if his best friend is a freaky child-vampire. She will cut you.
4. The Lost Boys
Classic 80s movie. With vampires. The best of both worlds.
3. Interview with the Vampire
This is what started it all. I read Anne Rice's book and went to see the movie when I was young, and I've been hooked on the genre ever since.
2. Near Dark
By far Bill Paxton's best performance. And they never even say the word "vampire" during the entire movie. Such a great flick. Kathryn Bigelow should have won best director for this movie too (along with The Hurt Locker), but The Lost Boys came out the same weekend and overshadowed this superior vampire film.
1. Bram Stoker's Dracula
This movie is great for so many reasons. It has a great cast and is beautifully shot. I mean, Tom Waits plays Renfield! And on one hand you have some amazing acting going on (Gary Oldman being creepy as hell in one scene and then breathtakingly alluring in another) and on the other hand some of the worst acting I've ever seen (Keanu Reeves in just about every scene he's in). So it has all these awesome moments. Scary moments, sexy moments … and hilarious moments, thanks to Keanu. Bless him.
Such a great English accent.
• Dracula 2000, only because Gerard Butler plays Dracula and plays him well, but other than that it's a pretty bad movie.
• Van Helsing, because of the beautiful art direction, gorgeous costumes, and because Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale are fun … but wow, what a stupid reveal at the end.
• Shadow of the Vampire, because it has some of my favorite actors in it and was a great movie, but it really creeped me out.
And yes, I know I've left out Twilight… but I think Lestat and Louis say it best: