Vampires have been a part of our culture for centuries, having been passed down through generations via folklore. Now that we have the Internet, we know they’re fictional, but many vampire movies are based on real people or the work of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
If you’re thirsty for more, check out one of the 20 best vampire movies ever made.
20. The Twilight Saga (2008-2012)
Just to get it out of the way now, Twlight forever changed popular culture, no matter how much you don’t like it. Fifty shades of fan fiction aside, the high school-based battle between vampires and vampires who sparkle in the sun changed the genre forever, while making stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner forever famous celebrities.
19. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Francis Ford Coppola recruited the hottest stars of the early 90s to make the best Dracula movie ever made. Gary Oldman plays the titular Count, and he’s joined by Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing. It’s a visual tale that jump-started a renewed interest in the genre.
18. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)
John C. Reilly, Josh Hutcherson, and Ken Watanabe lead this underrated take on vampires, featuring a creepy circus and a look that’s simultaneously Barnum and Gothic. A teenager steals a spider from one of the troupe members whom he recognizes as a vampire. He wants to become one so bad, until it becomes like a fraternity initiation.
17. Fright Night (1985/2011)
What do you do when you discover your next door neighbor is a vampire? That’s the question posed by this 1985 horror classic and its 1988 sequel, 1989 Bollywood remake, and 2011 Hollywood remake (with a 2013 sequel). This franchise follows horror fane Charley Brewster who recruits the former movie vampire from his favorite show to kill his neighbor vampire.
16. Vampires (1998)
John Carpenter’s 1998 neo-western action horror is based on the novel Vampire$ and focuses on a group of mercenaries who hunt vampires for money. They’re sponsored by the Vatican but resemble a Rob Liefeld drawing from the era.
15. The Lost Boys (1987)
A mother and her sons (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) move to a small coastal California town only to have them fall in with a gang of vampires, led by a young Kiefer Sutherland. It’s a cult classic film that no 80s baby will let you bypass on a vampire movie list.
14. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
Another 80’s classic, Vampire’s Kiss stars Nicolas Cage as a money-hungry New York yuppie whose quest is driving him literally insane. Even his therapist is worried, especially after turned into a vampire by a bite from his sexy one-night stand (Jennifer Beals). The thing is – he’s actually not.
13. Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996)
Tales from the Crypt is an underrated classic horror show that spawned a handful of cult classic movies. Bordello of Blood teams wisecracking Dennis Miller with Erika Eleniak to find her lost brother Corey Feldman. Unfortunately, he’s been turned into a zombie at the morgue, courtesy of Angie Everhart.
12. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
This acclaimed film cemented Anne Rice’s vampire fiction in popular culture on the backs of Tom Cruise (Lestat) and Brad Pitt (Louis). The story follows Louis’s transformation into a vampire at the turn of the 18th century at the hands of Lestat, as told by Louis to a reporter in modern-day San Francisco.
11. Tie: Rockula (1990)/Queen of the Damned (2002)
Queen of the Damned tried to fit both remaining books in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicle series into one movie. It ends up mostly focusing on Lestat’s career as a gothic vampire rock musician, not much different than Dean Cameron’s classic Rockula. A friendly vampire is 400 years old, still lives with his mom, and is cursed to continue falling in love with the same woman who continues to die on Halloween every 22 years.
10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
This comedy horror film was eventually turned into a fan-favorite TV series following a Valley girl high school cheerleader (Kristy Swanson) who discovers she’s destined to hunt vampires. It’s a bit campy but a great way to familiarize yourself with creator Joss Whedon’s much-darker series.
9. Blade Series (1998-2004)
Wesley Snipes stars in this oft-forgotten Marvel series about a half-mortal, half-vampire mutt who uses his supernatural powers to hunt his own kind. The series set off a whole new way of looking at the vampire genre.
8. Let the Right One In (2008)
This Swedish romance tells the story of a vampire child who befriends a human child in early 1980s Stockholm. It explores the darker side of humanity through the lens of vampires and a haunting Morrisey soundtrack.
7. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
By the time the reality show format hit the vampire genre in this New Zealand mockumentary, it seemed so obvious. Rhys Darby and Jonathan Brugh are among the actors this film turned into legends alongside Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, and it wasn’t long before they made a TV series.
6. Underworld Series (2003-2016)
Kate Beckinsale’s Selene is a vampire dealing with all the Romeo and Juliet problems of existing in a war between her race and the Lycans. Critically panned, the series became a cult classic with a massive, loyal following. Director Len Wiseman turned it into a 12-year marriage to his star.
5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
A mashup between real-life 16th President of the United States and vampires sounds stupid. It’s so stupid. Yet it grossed over $110 million on the backs of great visuals, a compelling script, and solid performances by Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Anthony Mackie.
4. Near Dark (1987)
This 1987 neo-western horror follows a young man in a small town who’s turned into a vampire by an attractive young woman (Jenny Wright). Soon he’s in an RV traveling the road with a group of vampires, including Bill Paxton and Lance Henrikson. It puts his entire family at risk and has more depth and character than the other 1987 vampire classic.
3. Daybreakers (2009)
A plague turns the world into vampires, and Ethan Hawke works for a blood-sucking corporation trying to stop Elvis (Willem Dafoe) from curing the human species. This is the most modern take on the vampire topic, showing a world where they live among humans like humans.
2. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made what starts as a crime movie and quickly turns into a fantastical movie about Aztec vampires killing truckers for money. George Clooney, Salma Hayek, and Danny Trejo star.
1. 30 Days of Night (2007)
Since vampires hate sun, the worst place to be is facing a month-long darkness in Alaska. This comic miniseries adaptation showed audiences what Josh Hartnett and Ben Foster were truly capable of as actors while spawning a cultural phenomenon. This is the ultimate vampire movie, amping the stakes like Sharknado did for Jaws.