Ass-Kicking Vampire Films

It’s no secret that I’m a big vampire enthusiast. I read a lot of the literature [no, not Twilight. Vampires don’t sparkle], and of course engage in vampire’s most popular medium since the 30’s, film. Now, there’s a lot out there that you may not know of, or heard bad things about. I’m going to focus on those, because I know the score, baby, and you know I know. So, let’s get to knowin’.

Ever since Tod Browning adapted Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula in the 30’s, the character of Count Dracula and the vampire itself has been one of pop-culture’s biggest icons. With over a 100 films that pertain to just Dracula alone it’s hard to figure out which are worth your time, and what need to be left the hell alone. Once Twilight plagued pop-culture we’ve had an even bigger wave of terrible films, up to and including the recent Fright Night remake. The only thing that’s come of the recent boom that’s incredible is True Blood. It’s a fantastic show with a great mythos to it.  So, other than that recommendation I’ll let you in on what’s worth your time.

First up, it may not be a film, but it’s goddamn great.

True Blood

I was apprehensive about True Blood. I didn’t want to watch it because I thought it was something cooked up because of Twilight. Little did I know it was based on a book series that had been written long before a Mormon started to write a bunch of nonsense.

Yeah, the backbone of the story is the romance between Sookie Stackhouse & Bill Compton, but that’s just fine, because it’s a great romance. It isn’t some typical crap that you find with any romance story, but instead they have whole new sets of challenges, since one is human, and the other vampire. Beyond that, there’s werewolves, shapeshifters, werepanthers, witches, and plenty of other things. We get a ton of awesome violence, fantastic writing, a slew of great characters that all get their own piece of the pie, and some of the best cliff hangers I’ve ever seen.

Any and all vampire stories have the vampires living in a secret world that ours is not at all privy to. However in True Blood, the vampires have come out of the coffin, so the whole World is aware to their existence. This creates an interesting dynamic, and a lot of avenues for stories. Forget ‘The Vampire Diaries’, the real deal is True Blood.

Lost Boys: The Tribe
July 29th, 2008

The Lost Boys is one of the most heralded films in both horror, and of the 80’s generation. It paid homage to the classic mythos while carving it in it’s own generation. So of course, when there’s a sequel 21 years later, with only one returning cast member, everybody is going to bitch. Hell, when it came out I didn’t want to see it, but my girlfriend asked me to bring it home from work, so I obliged.

It’s a great film. Micheal & Star had two kids, Chris & Nichole Emerson. When they die in a car accident, Chris & Nichole move to Luna Bay to live in a house that their aunt is providing. While at a party, Nichole becomes the object of affection of a vampire, the leader of the nest there that’s made up of surfers and extreme athletes. Chris discovers what’s going on via the help of Edgar Frog, who’s on a solo mission now. So, together they’re on a mission to free Nichole from the clutches Shane.

Now, is The Tribe as good as the first one? No. So long as you aren’t expecting that, then this movie won’t disappoint. That’s not to say you should expect crap, but when do sequels really ever surpass the original? Especially 21 years later. But if you want a no-frills vampire tale, with tons of blood, bodies exploding, decapitations, boobies, and smoking hot Autumn Reeser, then you’re gonna enjoy this movie, because it’s damn good.

Fright Night Part 2
May 19th, 1989

I’m pretty sure I haven’t made an entry where I didn’t trumpet the awesomeness that is Fright Night. It’s one of my Top 3 films of all time,  and something I feel people should have to see at least once. It’s incredible.

Now, a lot of sequels don’t live up to the original. This isn’t one of those cases.

In Fright Night 2, Charlie is so scarred by what happened that through years of psycho-therapy and his own denial he’s convinced himself that the events of the first film didn’t happen. His brain created a defense system that made him think Jerry was a vampire. He’s avoided Peter because he doesn’t want to drag up old memories, but his therapist thinks it’s time.

Well, he can deny what happened all he wants, because Jerry’s sister, Regina, is in town and she wants some sweet revenge.

Fright Night 2 has an awesome, well thought out and organic plot. There’s more villains, a bigger battle, Charlie being turned to the darkside, and some boobies. So it’s something that’s absolutely worth your time.

Of course, unless you’re a massive Fright Night fan such as myself, you’ll probably have to just watch it on youtube, or download it. The DVD is out of print and runs about $100. Which is funny, because the DVD has a horrible transfer, and no bonus footage. I bought the VHS off of eBay, and it’s just dandy. Also, if you happen to subscribe to HBO or Cinemax, they air it from time to time, in HD no less. So I have that saved on my DVR, and it’s incredible.

A great film that unfortunately got a 2nd rate treatment from the studios and wasn’t pushed to the moon like it should have been. Well, it’s time for it to get it’s dues.

Van Helsing
May 7th, 2004

I’m the first to admit, when I saw this in theaters, I really didn’t like it. I thought the fact that Frankenstein spoke like Fraiser was stupid, Dracula was over-acted, and the fact a bad-ass warrior chick who’s born from generations of warriors dies from a simple tackle was pretty lame. But then the most I saw it on TV over the years, I realized that I was just nit-picking, and that this movie is pretty damn great.

The beginning is fantastic. I really can’t speak more highly about it. It pays total homage to the original Universal features by starting in black and white for the first 10 minutes. We get the mob of villagers, Dracula, Frankenstein, castles, fire, all that one would hope for.

The rest of the film is sort of an Indiana Jones style adventure. Van Helsing has all sorts of awesome tools that he uses to battle Mr. Hyde, Dracula’s brides, werewolves, hordes of vampires, and a many splendid thing.

My only major complaint is the over-use of CGI effects. I hate CGI werewolves. Oh well. The rest of the movie has fantastic atmosphere and style, and is damn well worth your time. Plus, the super awesome Benny from The Mummy plays Igor, and that’s gangster.


~ by Caliber Winfield on September 7, 2011.

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