Vampires and cinema go hand-in-hand. As long as we’ve had movies, we’ve basically had vampires on screen. Thanks to Bram Stoker and his novel Dracula, we’ve seen myriad adaptations, changes, updates, side stories, and more about bloodsuckers. In recent years, vampires have taken more time up on the silver screen than on the big screen. It all started with Nosferatu and continues to this day with movies like Day Shift, What We Do In The Shadows, Let The Right One In, and plenty of others. However, just because we’ve had over 100 years of vampire movies, doesn’t mean that all of them can make the pantheon of Fright-A-Thon with a Top 5. These five movies are the absolute best of the best among the subgenre all about the undead.

If you’d like to see more about movie vampires, you can check out our previous list of the best movie vampires from Fright-A-Thon!

5. Fright Night (1987)

Tom Holland’s Fright Night is not only one of the best vampire films, but it’s also one of the best horror movies, period. The story features Charley Brewster finding out his neighbor is a murderous vampire. After an encounter with the vampire, Jerry Dandrige, Charley goes to Peter Vincent, a horror host, and actor, for help. Their battle and the surrounding story adds some needed mythology to vampires, including expanding upon how vampires have a familiar, how they sleep, and how to defeat them.

Jerry Dandrige is the epitome of cool. Chris Sarandon‘s performance as Jerry isn’t quite Dracula, but it exudes energy not seen in many horror movies out there.

Add in the relationship between Peter and Charley, and you’ve got all the makings of a great vampire/horror movie.

4. What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

What happens when you deconstruct almost everything about vampires that we know and make it hilarious? You get What We Do In The Shadows. The mockumentary style has plenty of horror elements still, but the laughs definitely overtake the horror. Taika Waititi, Jermaine Clement, and Co. even get some other movie monsters in on the fun. Like Scream before it, this deconstructs the vampire subgenre and builds it out for modern audiences.

The TV show on FX is even better and gives us more vampire comedy.

3. Nosferatu (1922)

This started off as an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, and almost ended up being lost to time. Luckily for us, the F.W. Murnau adaptation featuring Max Schreck wasn’t completely destroyed and we got the film. The film set up horror films for decades to come. The German Expressionist stylings are just as dreamy and horrific as ever. Check out the excellent Criterion Collection release to get the best possible picture quality.

It was the first to show that vampires die from being in direct sunlight, a trope that’s continued to this day.

It’s not scary, it’s haunting.

2. Near Dark (1987)

This one takes a special place on the list because it combines two famous genres throughout film history: westerns and horror. Kathryn Bigelow gives us one of the most visually striking films of the 1980’s with Near Dark. It features a good portion of the cast from Aliens, and conspiracy theories about the budget of both films aside, the vampire action on display deserves to be seen by more audiences.

Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen are two of the best vampires ever in this one. Too bad we haven’t had a decent Blu-ray release in a long time, but you can check this one out on streaming.

1. Dracula (1932)

Back to where it all began, sort of. Universal struck gold with their “talkie” version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. The Universal Horror movie kicked off a wave of popularity for the genre that continues to this day. Anytime you see someone playing Dracula on-screen, it comes from this or Nosferatu. There are not many films out there that can say that they influence movies to this day, Dracula is one of them.

It’s only 75 minutes long, so it’s a breezy watch, but those 75 minutes are packed with greatness. If you haven’t, Universal put out an excellent 4K release that gives the film a new life with the most beautiful possible picture quality.

For more on Horror, make sure to check out Fright-A-Thon, the 61-day Halloween content marathon!

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