Vampires have traditionally been used as elements of horror, particularly in the old-school horror genre after Nosferatu hit screens. But vampire movies have spun the concept many times, resulting in the likes of Edward Cullens and the famous daywalker Blade.
While traditional vampires are gloomy and dreary, a few clever urban-fantasy-themed twists can shift the vampire subject away from horror and more toward action, drama, romance, or even comedy.
While most vampire movies retain some semblance of the original concept—including aspects like bloodsucking, pale skin, and gentlemanly behavior—some have moved away and incorporated human-vampire hybridism, mutations, and even highly organized vampire societies.
Whatever preconceptions you have about what a “vampire movie” should be, there are others that’ll surprise you with their unique spins. Here’s our take on the best vampire movies to watch.
9. Daybreakers (2009)
Daybreakers features a futuristic society run by vampires—from corporations to small businesses—with humans hunted for consumption.
And because nearly all humans have been wiped out, the vampire society uses technology and science to make a blood substitute that can sustain their needs, without which they turn into mindless bat-like monsters.
But between a vampire scientist and a group of surviving humans, can they prove that there’s a cure for vampirism and move away from the need to feed on humans as a food source for society?
8. Dark Shadows (2012)
Vampires aren’t only for horror movies and action flicks—they can also be incorporated into fantasy-comedy films like Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. The film features Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter in a story that’s based on the gothic soap opera of the same name.
The plot centers on the cursed 18th-century vampire, Barnabas Collins (played by Johnny Depp), who wakes up in the 20th century and finds that everything is new to him.
With touches of humor, jokes, and gothic styles, the film didn’t meet critical expectations with it being a Burton film, but the story and the cast didn’t fail to entertain everyday audiences.
7. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Instead of the dark and brooding vampire theme that’s present in most of the titles listed here, Hotel Transylvania turned Count “Drac” Dracula into a new kind of character: an overprotective father who’s also a leader that gives shelter to co-monsters suffering from human persecution.
Aside from Count Dracula and the not-so creepy hotel, this animated comedy film by Columbia Pictures and Sony Animated Pictures features other well-known monsters from different works of fiction, including Griffin the Invisible Man, werewolves, mummies, and Frankenstein.
Kids and adults alike will surely love the story, comedy, and adventures of this monster-filled film. Hotel Transylvania also got two more movie installments, namely Hotel Transylvania 2 in 2015 and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation in 2018.
6. Twilight (2008)
Twilight was the first installment of the Twilight Saga movies based on the novels by Stephenie Meyers. It was directed by Catherine Hardwicke under Summit Media Entertainment. The story centers on Bella Swan and her encounter with Edward Cullens and other vampires.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon came out in 2009 as a sequel directed by Chris Weitz, which follows the story of the main characters from the first story but incorporates another element: werewolves.
The story goes on with a few more sequels, namely The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2010 (directed by David Slade) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in 2011 and 2012 (directed by Bill Condon and split into two movies, Part 1 and Part 2).
5. Blade (1998)
Blade is a movie based on the Marvel comics of the same name, featuring Wesley Snipes as the badass titular character Blade, a human-vampire hybrid that hunts the vampires that terrorize the human world.
It’s the first installment of the Blade franchise that revolves around the story of Blade and his crusade against the vampires, using his strengths as a vampire (without any of their weaknesses) and his weapons (solely crafted to be effective against vampires).
In the first movie, he must stop the unruly and vicious Deacon Frost from acquiring a power that would grant him the ability to conquer the human race. The sequel covers his battle against mutated vampires called “reapers,” who are more bloodthirsty and wilder than ordinary vampires.
Blade: Trinity, the last movie of the trilogy, explores an interesting plot that involves Dracula and a cure for vampirism. The trilogy is a solid story with action-packed scenes of guns, swords, and fangs.
4. Underworld (2003)
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If you’re into the femme fatale archetype, the Underworld movie series is right for you. It features a female vampire as one of the elite Death Dealers of vampire society. While the series is pretty good, we advise skipping Rise of the Lycans to not ruin the narrative flow.
Underworld centers on Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale), a female Death Dealer who’s both a connection to the past and a bridge to the future for all races. It features a war between vampires and werewolves (called Lycans), and later, humans as well.
The origins of vampires in Underworld is a twist from the usual vampire origin story, and it goes well with the film’s shift in genre from horror toward action, adventure, and thrills.
3. Dracula Untold (2014)
Dracula Untold is the story of a king who’d do anything for his kingdom, even going as far as trading his soul for tremendous power to annihilate an entire army.
The film shies away from the typical storyline of Dracula, coming up with a brand new origin story for the titular hero and giving new meaning to the powers of darkness and bloodlust.
In the movie, Vlad (played by Luke Evans) is a king who turned away from his wicked acts and now lives peacefully governing his subjects. As another kingdom starts demanding inhumane things, he senses that a war is coming—one that threatens him and his subjects.
It’s now up to him on how to effectively use his acquired power, even if there are risks with the power potentially consuming him.
2. Van Helsing (2004)
Van Helsing is a film about a monster hunter who tracks down monsters—including Dracula, vampires, and other evil beings—on behalf of the Holy Order. The film’s gothic style is wonderful, as is Hugh Jackman’s titular character (based on the Dutch hunter from Stoker’s Dracula novel).
The cast also includes Kate Beckinsale, who also starred in the Underworld films. Aside from CGI-loaded action-adventure scenes, you’ll like the dramatic touches inserted throughout the film.
1. Interview With a Vampire (1994)
The film Interview With the Vampire is based on Anne Rice’s horror novel of the same name—under the collection known as The Vampire Chronicles—which was composed of interesting works of the same genre.
As you might guess from the title, the film revolves around the story of a vampire, Louis (played by Brad Pitt), who’s interviewed in the modern era. The story is filled with the human-turned-vampire’s hardships, like fighting the temptation to consume human flesh and blood.
The film also features his unique relationships that tragically ended as they try to live in a society they don’t belong to, and how it affects his life in moving forward as he marches to the ends of his immortality.