Remember when vampires didn’t look like models for Abercrombie & Fitch? When they didn’t sparkle? I sure do. The following is a list of bloodsucker flicks you can feel good about letting into your home.
15. FRIGHT NIGHT
Fright Night actually had some really good scares, thanks in part to the visual effects handled by Richard Edlund (Ghostbusters, Alien 3) and the casting of “Married with Children’s” Amanda Bearse as the flick’s love interest. Directed by Tom Holland, Fright Night’s plot centers around Charley Brewster, a hardcore horror fan, who is convinced that his new neighbors are vampires. The flick was a huge horror hit in 1985 and is set to be remade by DreamWorks Studios with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” producer-writer Marti Noxon attached to write.
14. LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM
Ok, so it has Huge Grant. But, director Ken Russell’s 1988 adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel also has soap star honey Catherine Oxenberg (”Dynasty”), wooden dildos, nun rape, virgin sacrifice, and sultry Amanda Donohoe (Starship Troopers 3, “L.A. Law”) as vampire priestess Lady Sylvia Marsh.
The story revolves around an ancient worm demon that must be appeased with human sacrifice. Lady Sylvia is the beast’s keeper. Huge Grant is the lovable but awkward Englishman who wins Lady Sylvia over with a series of clumsy romantic advances. Just kidding! I hope Hollywood remakes this disgusting little gem soon. It would rank higher if it didn’t look and feel so old and cheesy.
13. EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE
This slice of vampire erotica is what I imagine the writings of a tween-aged Stephenie Meyer and/or Anne Rice would have been like. Director Anne Goursaud (Poison Ivy 2) presents the tale of a lovelorn vampire determined to take a 17-year-old girl’s virginity in three days (must have been a bet among frat vamps). The creepy old pedophile vampire comes to the girl every night through a series of wet dreams.
I won’t lie to you. The movie is mind-numbingly dull. But, the film does have one saving grace in its star Alyssa Milano who shows off her … um … Milanos (and more) throughout the film. Milano has performed in the buff in a handful of movies, including the Lolita-themed thriller Poison Ivy 2 and 2008’s Pathology, but Embrace of the Vampire is the Citizen Kane of her nude movie roles.
1985 was a great year for vampire flicks and none was more titillating than the sci-fi/vampire mash up Lifeforce. Directed by Tobe Hooper, the man behind such classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, and carrying a budget of $25 million, Lifeforce was expected to be a blockbuster hit.
The film only grossed $11 million and garnered mostly negative reviews … except from the 13-year-old boys crafty enough to sneak into a showing to see star Mathilda May completely nude (full-frontal) throughout the movie’s duration. Lifeforce is the story of nude intergalactic vampires out to suck the life force from humans, turning them into sex-starved zombies. Someone get Platinum Dunes on the phone. This movie deserves to be remade with Megan Fox in the May role.
Fangs and fun-bags abound in this 1986 gem from director Richard Wenk (Wishcraft). The story’s premise is actually pretty relatable (anyone?): three college kids set out to find the sleaziest stripper they can for their frat party. Their search leads them to a dive titty bar on the outskirts of town where the strippers are more than willing to suck off the patrons.
The very handsome Grace Jones (she’s a man, baby!) is the club’s feature performer and head vampire. A catch-me-if-you-can game of pussy and mouse ensues as the guys try to stay alive till morning. Vamp holds up pretty good for an ’80s flick, thanks in part to its humor, gratuitous nudity, and a cute Dedee Pfeiffer (yes, Michelle’s sister).
10. THE LOST BOYS
The vampires may have looked like members of Dokken circa 1985, but lead bloodsucker David (Keifer Sutherland) would sooner headbutt you in a drunken rage than plant a wet one on your kisser. Director Joel Schumacher skips goth romance and vampiric existential drama in this classic ’80s horror-comedy to conjure up hard-partying vampires with a taste for mayhem. I mean where else are you going to see a vampire’s initiation done over Chinese takeout and drinks?
Corey Feldman reprised his role as Edgar Frog in the 2008 straight-to-DVD sequel Lost Boys: The Tribe and will do so again for 2010’s Lost Boys: The Thirst.
Blood lust takes on a whole new meaning in Korean director Park Chan-wook’s (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengance) perverse morality tale Thirst. Actor Song Kang-ho (The Host) plays a kindhearted priest determined to help stop a deadly virus in his community by participating in a medical program designed to find a vaccine. Things go terribly wrong and he dies. But, he doesn’t stay dead. The blood transfusion used in the experiment has brought him back to life as a vampire with an insatiable thirst for plasma and pussy, namely that of his brother’s wife Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin). Tae-ju manipulates the priest’s desires and convinces him to murder her husband, his brother.
Thirst is a love story drenched in violence, shame, and sickness. When you think it can’t get any more depraved … it does.
8. VAN HELSING
Critics and a lot of horror fans have an unnatural hate for Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Deep Rising) take on Bram Stoker’s vampire hunter Van Helsing. Sure, the story is convoluted, but it’s fun to see many of Universal’s classic monsters brought together in one flick.
What’s most impressive about Van Helsing is its female cast, namely corset-wearing, ass-kicking stunner Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Whiteout) and Dracula’s brides, played by Italian actress Silvia Colloca (Lesbian Vampire Killers), model/actress Josie Maran (The Gravedancers), and Spanish actress Elena Anaya (Fragiles). With that much eye candy, I can’t understand how any guy can be sour over this movie. Oh, and it has Wolverine Huge Jackman in it. he’s still cool right?
7. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
This critically acclaimed 2008 Swedish vampire flick follows the budding relationship between a 12-year-old misfit boy named Oskar and his vampire girlfriend Eli. Directed by Tomas Alfredson, the film veers away from traditional scares to focus on its demented coming-of-age story. Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg during winter, the snowy and eerily still backdrop provides a striking contrast to the movie’s swift and bloody kills. The film does lag in spots (so shoot me for saying so) and makes me look forward to Overture Films’ upcoming American remake Let Me In. That said, the story is compelling and I’m sure little Eli could drink Edward Cullen’s milkshake blood any day of the week.
6. BLADE TRILOGY
Always bet on Blackula Wesley Snipes (Gallowwalker, Demolition Man). That’s what New Line Cinema did for 1998’s horror-actioner Blade. Based on Marvel Comics’ sword-wielding, vampire killer, the films are bloody, violent fun that have only gotten better with each installment. Part one established Blade as a human/vampire halfbreed and followed him as he attempted to shut down the Shadow Council. The opening “blood rave” scene is an inspired bit of mayhem worthy of replay.
Blade II upped the action and visual effects in 2002 courtesy of director Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy). The final chapter in the series Blade: Trinity introduced the character Abigail Whistler, played by sexy ass-kicker Jessica Biel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist).
5. TRUE BLOOD
Ok, so this isn’t a movie. But, it’s not TV either. It’s HBO. In addition, the production on this Alan Ball (”Six Feet Under”) adaptation of novelist Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries often trumps many of the genre’s cinematic offerings. Regrettably, I had dismissed “True Blood” as another girl-falls-for-vampire goth soap. I was thrilled to discover that it’s a stylish serial chockful of dark humor, violence, and frivolous nudity, including Anna Paquin (Interview with a Vampire) boobage.
The series revolves around Paquin’s Sookie Stackhouse character, a telepathic waitress involved with a 173-year-old vampire, and the ongoing assimilation of the vampire species into society, made possible through the discovery of synthetic blood.
4. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT
I would love to see Twilight’s Jacob Black and his dog pound try some shit with the vampires in director David Slade’s (Hard Candy) bloody Alaska-set, terror tale 30 Days of Night. These bloodsuckers are an ugly and extremely ravenous bunch with rows of razor sharp incisors in their mouths. They drool, spit, and shriek to the point of making the hair on your nut-sac stand. Their kills are messy, quick and gory. These are not the type of vampires you invite into your room to listen to Death Cab for Cutie.
A sequel–30 Days of Night: Dark Days–is on the way. Meanwhile, Slade has been tapped to direct Eclipse, the third installment in the Twilight franchise (so watch out Jacob!).
3. NEAR DARK
Violent, shit-talking, hillbilly vampires own the night in director Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 cult classic Near Dark. The film’s nomadic band of vamps is played by genre god Lance Henriksen (“Millennium,” Pumpkinhead), tough broad Jenette Goldstein (Autopsy, Aliens), creepy punk kid Joshua John Miller (River’s Edge, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch), seductive pixie Jenny Wright (The Lawnmower Man, I, Madman), and the amazing Bill Paxton (Frailty, Aliens) at his most balls-out, sneering, wild-eyed psycho best. The truth is, as portrayed by these actors, this group of degenerates would be scary even if they weren’t vampires.
In 2002, Anchor Bay released a special 2-disc digitally remastered version of the film on DVD. It includes a variety of bonus material, including a not-to-be-missed 47 minute featurette with director and cast.
2. UNDERWORLD TRILOGY
Screen Gems Underworld series launched in 2003 and quickly made a star of Kate Beckinsale (Vacancy, Haunted). The slender, yet curvy, Brit has been raising the stiffs in our pants ever since, but never as much as when she dons her form-fitting black latex suit to play Underworld’s sultry vampire and werewolf-neutering antihero Selene.
The films’ mythology revolves around an ongoing feud between werewolfs (called Lycans here) and vampires. Selene is compromised in this battle when she falls for a man named Michael who turns out to be a Lycan/vampire halfbreed. Despite its intricate story, the series remains heavy on action and effects.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the third installment in the series, served as a prequel and introduced yet another British babe: Rhona Mitra (Doomsday, Skinwalkers).
1. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
Robert Rodriguez’ s (Planet Terror, Sin City) pulpy vamp-actioner From Dusk Till Dawn stirs up the horror, crime, and road trip niches into a soup of sleaze and splatter. The film is as much fun today as it was during its release in 1996. Written for the screen by Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof), Dawn follows hard-boiled criminals Seth and Richie Gecko as they motor-home invade the Fuller family to get to Mexico. Once south of the border, the group makes the unfortunate decision to patronize the Titty Twister establishment, a feeding hole for ancient Aztecan vampire strippers.
Despite its quotable dialogue, over-the-top violence, and creature-feature goodness, From Dusk Till Dawn will always be remembered for showcasing Salma Hayek’s slamming body as vampire queen–and club feature–Santanico Pandemonium.
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