From Bela Lugosi's courtly, cornball, heavily accented count to the angst-ridden teen leeches of the Twilight series, vampires have been an essential part of film history. Our fascination with them, experts suggest, has something to do with our fear of death and yearning for immortality at any price -- or maybe it's just cool to imagine an eternity of partying all night and sleeping all day.

Some version of the vampire myth has existed in nearly every culture; the first recorded account came from Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Since there was no explanation for disease or natural disasters, vampires were blamed. They were depicted as foul, bloated, and barely semi-human. It wasn't until John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that they began their transformation into the charismatic and nicely dressed entities that we know and love today.

Yet it was Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that became the basis for all modern vampire fiction -- and the hundreds of films that followed. Here's a list of some of our favorites:

Nosferatu(1922) A silent German Expressionist adaptation of Bram Stoker's book that was made without obtaining the film rights, thus "vampire" became "nosferatu" and "Count Dracula" became "Count Orlock." Starring Max Schreck, who is really creepy and invades everyone's personal space.

Dracula (1931) Based on a successful Broadway play, this talkie version stars Bela Lugosi, who not only earned a mere $3500.00, but also became hopelessly typecast as Dracula. His odd accent ("I never!") became the template for how future actors would portray the character.

The Lost Boys (1987) A fun mix of horror and humor featuring an unknown Kiefer Sutherland as the leader of a teenage vampire gang. When brothers Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) and his brother Sam (Corey Haim) move to town with their divorced mother, they face peer pressure from the gang to make bad choices.

Blade (1998) Wesley Snipes stars as Blade, a human/vampire hybrid in a gory, action-packed adaptation of a 1973 Marvel Comics character. Born to a vampire-infected woman, Blade inherits many vampire traits, but is impervious to garlic and sunlight. Blade goes on to fight rogue vampires, and even visits a vampire library for research purposes.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) Based on Anne Rice's 1976 novel and starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater and 12-year-old Kirsten Dunst. Vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Pitt) tells the story of his life with fellow vampire Lestat (Cruise) to present day reporter Daniel Molloy (Slater). Anne Rice was vocally critical of the casting, particularly Tom Cruise as Lestat. After seeing the movie, she was so impressed with his performance that she wrote him a letter of apology.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Winner of 3 Academy Awards, Ford Coppola's version closely follows the novel and stars Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Sadie Frost, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves, whose performance was widely considered to be as stiff as a wooden stake. Extravagant costumes, eerie special effects and eroticism make for an elegant film suitable for adults.

Let the Right One In (2009) Adapted by Swedish writer John Ajvide, who wrote the 2004 novel of the same name. Forlorn, lonely and bullied, 12-year-old Oskar lives in a Stockholm suburb with his mother and occasionally visits his father. Eli, a rather pale girl his own age moves into the apartment next door and they become friends. Oskar discovers her true nature after they have a "blood bond" and Eli reacts oddly.

Near Dark (1987) Years before Kathryn Bigelow won her Best Director award for The Hurt Locker, she directed this low-budget, stylish flick that has a Western theme and lots of action. The cast (Adrian Pasdar, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein) will keep you glued to the screen as you watch a redneck family try to survive their fate as bloodsucking creatures of the night.

Thirst (2009) When Korean Catholic priest Sang Hyun (Song Kang-Ho) volunteers as a guinea pig to eradicate a deadly virus, he contracts the disease and consequently receives a vampire-tainted blood transfusion. Director Park Chan-Wook skillfully weaves the tale of the priest's transformation as he tries to balance his thirst for blood with his morals. Great performance by well-known Korean actor Song Kang-Ho. Just for grown-ups, given the explicit sex scenes and violence.

Please contact Reference Services, located on Level 3 of the Central Library, for all of your information needs:
• Phone:  720-865-1363; TTY: 720-865-1480
Email Reference
Ask Colorado (24/7 virtual chat reference)
By Appointment

Written by Lisa on October 29, 2012


Anonymous on October 29, 2012


I vant to read deez books!

Anonymous on October 30, 2012


Great blog with good info.

Leave a comment