From Sri Lanka to ancient Greece, the myth of the vampire has permeated virtually every society throughout history. The myth typically arose to explain sudden deaths caused by illnesses but attributed those tragedies to a horrific creature of the night. Over the years, vampires have gone on to symbolize the darker side of humanity and the immortal quest for everlasting life, which makes them perfect for the big screen.
As of this writing, vampire movies have sort of gone by the wayside. But that does not mean it cannot see a resurgence very soon. For all you filmmakers out there, we’re ranking the 30 best vampire movies of all time. Let them serve as inspiration for you to pursue that dark, grisly horror project you have in the dark confines of your mind.
BEST VAMPIRE FILMS
30. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
It doesn’t hold a candle to the eventual TV series, but there’s still plenty of fun to be found in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It hits most of the same beats as the series where Buffy just wants to graduate high school and not spend her free time killing vampires. The second half kind of falls apart, but Joss Whedon’s script is enough to elevate it to campy, self-aware entertainment.
VAMPIRE MOVIES LIST
29. Byzantium (2013)
Byzantium is a unique vampire story about a mother and daughter seeking refuge in a small Irish town. It’s one of the more stylish vampire films for sure. It’s only a shame the script doesn’t do the visuals justice. Still, if you don’t mind a few listless sequences, it’s bloody beautiful to look at.
GOOD VAMPIRE MOVIES
28. 30 Days of Night (2007)
30 Days of Night wins bonus points for setting the film in a small Alaskan town where sunlight won’t come for another month. It just makes sense for vampires to show up. The vampires are only bloodsucking monsters without any real substance and symbolism, and unfortunately, a lack of substance also plagues the human characters. There’s a lot of potential here, but it never comes together as well as you would like.
TOP VAMPIRE MOVIES
27. Blade (1998)
Before Spider-Man or X-Men, Marvel came to the big screen in a big way with Blade. You don’t watch Blade for the plot. You watch to see Wesley Snipes deliver badass one-liners will spilling excessive amounts of blood from the undead. It makes for an entertaining horror/action hybrid that has a clear goal in mind and meets it.
BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME
26. Fright Night (1985)
Most people watching Fright Night today probably won’t be scared by the dated makeup or find the corny 80s dialogue amusing. It may not rank among the all-time great 80s horror classics, but it’s a nice time capsule of what most horror films of the era were like back then.
POPULAR VAMPIRE MOVIES
25. Blacula (1972)
When you think of the blaxploitation era in the 1970s, Blacula is likely the first film to come to mind if nothing else for that title. The film still has its flaws, and yet it still manages to be better than it has any right to be. It tells the story of an African prince who succumbed to Dracula’s bite and in the centuries since was transported to modern-day Los Angeles. At its core are serious moral questions, but you still probably shouldn’t watch it with people who are overly PC.
GREAT VAMPIRE MOVIES
24. Bloodsucking Bastards (2015)
Bloodsucking Bastards is a criminally underseen vampire flick that is the perfect B-movie for people wanting another Whedon-esque fix. It brings vampires into the workplace for one part of Dracula and one part of Office Space. There are plenty of quips to make you laugh through the bloodshed, making it ideal for late-night viewing parties.
BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES LIST
22. Daybreakers (2009)
Daybreakers takes place in a world where vampires rule, and one scientist has the mission to find a cure to transform humanity back to normal. It’s a cool premise. The only problem is that the film is tonally inconsistent. It ponders on philosophy one second while moving onto guts and gore the next without adequately gelling the two sensibilities together cohesively. Still, as one of the few sci-fi vampire movies out there, it’s intriguing to say nothing else.
AMAZING VAMPIRE FILMS
21. Ganja & Hess (1973)
Nearly 50 years later, there’s still no vampire film quite like Ganja & Hess. The film tackles everything from addiction to dealing with the painful history of African Americans in the United States. The film still has themes relevant to this day, and for fans of Blacula, Ganja & Hess makes for a fascinating companion piece.
MOVIES WITH FAMOUS VAMPIRES
20. Near Dark (1987)
Near Dark helped revitalize the vampire genre in the 80s. After years of being relegated to sexploitation films, vampires came back as (still sexy) outsiders who live fast and die young. Director Kathryn Bigelow portrays the vampires as tragic figures, constantly on the run from daylight and the police. If there’s one way in which this film succeeds it’s in how you root for the vampires to make it out alive.
GOOD VAMPIRE MOVIES TO WATCH NEXT
19. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
Vampire’s Kiss is a combination of a vampire film and Wall Street. It masterfully takes on the overzealous financial mentality of the 1980s, but that’s not why anyone remembers it. It features arguably the most Nicolas Cage-y performance of all time, and it’s worth watching solely to see Cage giving his all.
LIST OF VAMPIRE FILMS FOR HORROR FILMMAKERS
18. Daughters of Darkness (1971)
The 70s brought about the grindhouse film with many movies embracing a more sexual quality. It proved to be a perfect fit for vampire films, and that leads us to Daughters of Darkness. The movie isn’t purely carnal as there are enough artistic flairs to prevent it from descending into straight-up smut. In fact, the film almost casts a spell over you, enthralling you every moment it plays.
TOP VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME
17. Thirst (2009)
Thirst is subversive in the best way. The film follows a priest who receives vampire blood after a transfusion and begins a physical relationship with a woman. It’s a psychological horror film where we see a supposedly good man continues to descend into his basest instincts. Meanwhile, the blood and violence never overshadows the fact that this is a brilliant satire of gender roles, making for one of the more thoughtful vampire films in recent years.
BRILLIANTLY FAMOUS VAMPIRE MOVIES
16. Martin (1977)
George Romero practically invented the modern zombie genre. And in 1977, he made his first vampire film with Martin. Just like with his zombie movies, Romero uses Martin to critique modern society, more specifically how men will give into their basest urges. The question of whether Martin is actually a vampire drives the plot, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Whether he’s a vampire or a psychopath, you better watch out for Martin.
POPULAR VAMPIRE MOVIES FROM THE 90S
Interview With the Vampire is one of the most atmospheric vampire movies ever made with director Neil Jordan enfusing every shot with mood. The gothic touches elevate the film, and while it’s more known today for its romance, it’s still effectively scary when it wants to be.
RANKING THE BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME
14. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn is exactly what you would expect with that description. Horror fans looking for a treat may be disappointed to learn that the vampires don’t show up until the second half of the film where the tone completely changes. From there, it gets just as violent as you would expect, and if you can get over the unevenness of the plot, it offers enjoyable B-movie fun.
GREAT VAMPIRE MOVIES FOR HORROR FANS
13. Blade II (2002)
Unpopular opinion time: Blade II is a far better film than the original. Helmed by none other than Guillermo del Toro, he brings his usual aesthetic to elevate the source material. Wesley Snipes still brings it until he checks out for good on Blade: Trinity. The sequel helped push the comic book movie in new, interesting directions and opened the door for other auteur directors to jump into the playground.
THE BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME, RANKED
12. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Shadow of the Vampire is one of the most original vampire films ever made. The plot follows the filming of the classic horror film Nosferatu with the exception that the actor who played the titular monster was an actual vampire. It manages to be funny and haunting at the same time, and for filmmakers, it’s a brilliant metaphor for Hollywood.
AMAZING VAMPIRE FILMS
11. Cronos (1994)
Cronos is Guillermo del Toro’s first feature-length film where he honed his vampire chops before taking on Blade II. It still ranks high among his filmography as it tells the story of an old man who gets a second lease on life when a magical device turns him into a vampire. Other people soon come for the object, and we soon see that immortality comes at a price. It’s a must-see for nothing else to see how far del Toro has come.
TOP 10 VAMPIRE MOVIES
10. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Francis Ford Coppola brought Bram Stoker’s original vision to the big screen in superb fashion. Coppola’s commitment to not relying on CGI is impressive, and it makes for unique shots you can’t help but marvel at to this day. Even when the film falls short, it’s still riveting to watch.
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9. Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)
Vampires never seemed so human before Only Lovers Left Alive. It’s a film that truly grapples with the concept of immortality and how ultimately, vampires would just get bored with the whole thing. The vampires here both love and hate humanity. You don’t watch this particular vampire flick for the blood. You watch it for the conversation, which crackles at every turn.
30 BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME
8. Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s
Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary is one of the boldest interpretations of the classic story put to film. Despite being released in 2003, the film is a black-and-white ballet performance without spoken dialogue. Director Guy Maddin incorporates a wide breadth of filmmaking techniques to make this a uniquely 21st-century film, and there is plenty for aspiring filmmakers to learn from.
MOST FAMOUS VAMPIRE EVER
7. The Addiction (1995)
The Addiction is one of those films you watch and then wonder why there aren’t more movies like it. After a philosophy student gets bitten, the film turns into a discussion of drug use, religion, and the AIDS epidemic. There is a lot of philosophy at play, but it never feels like a university lecture. It remains accessible, and you may just learn a thing or two.
LIST OF VAMPIRE MOVIES, RANKED
6. The Lost Boys (1987)
Joel Schumacher gets a bad rap for his Batman movies, but he’s still responsible for the best vampire movie of the 80s. It brings together humor, blood, and 80s punk rock in spectacular fashion. No wonder why this movie's poster can still be seen in college dorm rooms to this day.
TOP 5 BEST VAMPIRE MOVIES OF ALL TIME
5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is the first Iranian vampire western film ever made, and boy, did it set the bar high. The story follows several residents of a small town as they’re haunted by a woman who turns out to be a vampire. The score is electric, and the choice to film it in black-and-white is superb. It juggles heavy themes without missing a beat, raising the bar for what vampire movies can do in the future.
ENTERTAINING VAMPIRE FILMS
4. What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
There are a ton of zombie comedies out there. For whatever reason, vampires never really leaned toward straight-up parody, but that all changed with What We Do in the Shadows. What follows is a hilarious mockumentary that shows vampires trying to adjust to life in the 21st-century. Each bit lands perfectly, and hopefully, it leads to more vampire comedies in the future.
SCARY VAMPIRE FILMS
3. Nosferatu, the Vampyre (1979)
It isn’t easy remaking a classic, but Werner Herzog largely succeeded with his remake of Nosferatu in 1979. The film consists of a series of vignettes that don’t necessarily form a coherent plot. Instead, the objective is to imprint on the viewer a sense of horror and an understanding of how lonely eternity must feel. As a result, the film stands on its own with shots so hauntingly beautiful, they can still make audiences squirm to this day.
REMARKABLE VAMPIRE FILMS
2. Let the Right One In (2008)
Let the Right One In is the full package of vampire films. It’s a touching story of young love while still providing plenty of horror and gore for genre enthusiasts. In lesser hands, the film would’ve felt tonally inconsistent, and yet, it all comes together beautifully. It will warm your heart one second and terrify you the next. And above all else, it’s the rare vampire film anyone can connect to.
THE GREATEST VAMPIRE FILM EVER
1. Nosferatu (1922)
It’s easy to dismiss horror films of the past as corny or cliche, but Nosferatu transcends those labels. Nearly a century later, it’s just as frightening as it was when it was first released. Count Orlok is the embodiment of pure, unadulterated horror. Nosferatu isn’t just an important vampire film. It was critical for getting general audiences to view films as genuine art and not just some pretty pictures. The medium would look vastly different if Nosferatu never happened, and today, it’s a great representation of what can be accomplished through film.
10 Best Scary Movies
Hopefully, this list provides you with some good watching material for some time to come. However, if you still need your horror fix, then check out our list of 10 more frightening movies to watch in the dark. See how many of these films you can watch without closing your eyes in terror.