(Photo by Magnolia Pictures, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Classics, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

The 30 Essential Vampire Movies To Watch Right Now

Werewolves, mummies, and cobbled-together lab freaks have been around since the earliest decades of film, but no monster was perhaps more camera-ready than the vampire. Those counts and lords who love to mug and menace for the camera, mesmerize with their fancy capes, and whose pale skin glows in the luminous flicker of old film cameras. So no surprise that some of the best vampire movies back then are some of the best vampires now, like Dracula, Nosferatu, and Vampyr, even as they approach their centennial anniversaries. That’s the bar that’s been set for our guide to the essential and best vampire movies, and still we found plenty worthy to follow in their fang-steps.

Across legend, we know vampires for their allure and seductive properties. (Or at least, just their property — who wouldn’t be charmed by a 600-bedroom castle?) The sex appeal of the vampires has especially been played up in movies since the ’80s: As the sexy suburban neighbor (Fright Night), the upper-strata socialites (The Hunger), and a smoulderer’s row of hot guys (Interview with the Vampire) and leather jacket rebels (The Lost Boys).

Or if you just want some action, see From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Daybreakers, Underworld, and 30 Days of Night.

So, looking for something to watch on your next open-coffin-and-chill night? Then go to bat with our 30 Essential Vampire Movies!


Blacula (1972)

Adjusted Score: 50.513%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Advertised as the 100th production of American International studios, Blacula stars actor/singer William Marshall in the title role. An 18th... [More]


Daybreakers (2010)

Adjusted Score: 73.334%
Critics Consensus: Though it arrives during an unfortunate glut of vampire movies, Daybreakers offers enough dark sci-fi thrills -- and enough of a unique twist on the genre -- to satisfy filmgoers.
Synopsis: Fresh off the success of their inventive take on the zombie genre, Undead masterminds Michael and Peter Spierig direct Ethan... [More]


30 Days of Night (2007)

Adjusted Score: 56.102%
Critics Consensus: While 30 Days of Night offers a few thrills, it ultimately succumbs to erratic execution.
Synopsis: In Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States, the winter sun sets and does not rise for 30... [More]
Directed By: David Slade


The Hunger (1983)

Adjusted Score: 57.352%
Critics Consensus: Stylish yet hollow, The Hunger is a well-cast vampire thriller that mistakes erotic moments for a satisfying story.
Synopsis: The exquisitely beautiful Catherine Deneuve plays Miriam, a centuries-old vampire capable of bestowing the gift of immortality on her lovers... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott


Twilight (2008)

Adjusted Score: 57.489%
Critics Consensus: Having lost much of its bite transitioning to the big screen, Twilight will please its devoted fans, but do little for the uninitiated.
Synopsis: When Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) reluctantly moved to the perpetually overcast town of Forks, WA, and set out to carve... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

Adjusted Score: 86.695%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

Adjusted Score: 72.003%
Critics Consensus: This uneven but amiable 1967 vampire picture is part horror spoof, part central European epic, and 100 percent Roman Polanski, whose signature sensibility colors every frame.
Synopsis: A pair of bumbling vampire-hunters attempts to destroy an undead nobleman and his cronies and rescue a buxom maiden in... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski


Near Dark (1987)

Adjusted Score: 87.115%
Critics Consensus: Near Dark is at once a creepy vampire film, a thrilling western, and a poignant family tale, with humor and scares in abundance.
Synopsis: A roving band of contemporary vampires travel across the American West in search of the human blood they crave in... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow


Martin (1977)

Adjusted Score: 92.363%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's contribution to vampire lore contains the expected gore and social satire -- but it's also surprisingly thoughtful, and boasts a whopper of a final act.
Synopsis: One of horror filmmaker George Romero's many "small" 1970s films, Martin was fortunate enough to foster a cult following that... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero


Ganja & Hess (1973)

Adjusted Score: 89.031%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: What could have been a mere blaxploitation picture is elevated above the norm by two factors. The first is the... [More]
Directed By: Bill Gunn


Black Sunday (1960)

Adjusted Score: 87.947%
Critics Consensus: Mario Bava's official narrative debut is a witchy nightmare steeped in gothic splendor, shot in chiaroscuro black and white and punctuated with startling gore.
Synopsis: Generally considered to be the foremost example of Italian Gothic horror, this darkly atmospheric black-and-white chiller put director Mario Bava... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava


Cronos (1994)

Adjusted Score: 94.121%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: This surreal variant on the classic vampire tale is the directorial debut of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who garnered... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

Adjusted Score: 72.234%
Critics Consensus: Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: Long a favorite with Japanimation aficionados, Vampire Hunter D is based on the third of Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels about a... [More]
Directed By: Yoshiaki Kawajiri


Fright Night (1985)

Adjusted Score: 94.32%
Critics Consensus: Fright Night deftly combines thrills and humor in this ghostly tale about a man living next to a vampire.
Synopsis: Classic Vampire film about a teenager who learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, and no one will... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland


Blade (1998)

Adjusted Score: 61.667%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade's action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.
Synopsis: British director Stephen Norrington helmed this David S. Goyer adaptation of the Marvel Comics character created in 1973 by scripter... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Norrington


Underworld (2003)

Adjusted Score: 35.457%
Critics Consensus: Though stylish to look at, Underworld is tedious and derivative.
Synopsis: A young man who has pledged his life to helping others finds himself in a pitched battle between two gangs... [More]
Directed By: Len Wiseman

Adjusted Score: 64.356%
Critics Consensus: A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
Synopsis: In this action-horror flick from director Robert Rodriguez and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino stars with George Clooney as a pair... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Adjusted Score: 100.892%
Critics Consensus: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night blends conventional elements into something brilliantly original -- and serves as a striking calling card for writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour.
Synopsis: The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, Ana Lily Amirpour's debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful... [More]
Directed By: Ana Lily Amirpour


Bakjwi (Thirst) (2009)

Adjusted Score: 83.275%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Synopsis: Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, and Kim Ok-bin star in Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's frightener concerning a priest whose life takes... [More]
Directed By: Park Chan-wook

Adjusted Score: 94.057%
Critics Consensus: Worth watching for Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton's performances alone, Only Lovers Left Alive finds writer-director Jim Jarmusch adding a typically offbeat entry to the vampire genre.
Synopsis: Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities,... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

Adjusted Score: 79.094%
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Based on Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel, this film from Francis Ford Coppola and screenwriter James Victor Hart offers a... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

Adjusted Score: 95.263%
Critics Consensus: Trading gore for grandeur, Horror of Dracula marks an impressive turn for inveterate Christopher Lee as the titular vampire, and a typical Hammer mood that makes aristocracy quite sexy.
Synopsis: This Hammer Studios classic is far closer to the letter (and spirit) of the Bram Stoker novel than the Bela... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher


Dracula (1931)

Adjusted Score: 100.294%
Critics Consensus: Bela Lugosi's timeless portrayal of Dracula in this creepy and atmospheric 1931 film has set the standard for major vampiric roles since.
Synopsis: "I am....Drac-u-la. I bid you velcome." Thus does Bela Lugosi declare his presence in the 1931 screen version of Bram... [More]
Directed By: Tod Browning

Adjusted Score: 99.985%
Critics Consensus: Stunning visuals from Werner Herzog and an intense portrayal of the famed bloodsucker from Klaus Kinski make this remake of Nosferatu a horror classic in its own right.
Synopsis: For Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of F.W. Murnau's classic 1922 silent horror-fest Nosferatu, star Klaus Kinski adopts the same makeup... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

Adjusted Score: 102.931%
Critics Consensus: Full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr is as theoretically unsettling as it is conceptually disturbing.
Synopsis: Vampyr ranks in many circles as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's... [More]
Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer


The Lost Boys (1987)

Adjusted Score: 81.208%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: In this hit '80s hybrid of the horror movie and the teen flick, a single mom and her two sons... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

Adjusted Score: 66.121%
Critics Consensus: Despite lacking some of the book's subtler shadings, and suffering from some clumsy casting, Interview with a Vampire benefits from Neil Jordan's atmospheric direction and a surfeit of gothic thrills.
Synopsis: Anne Rice's best-selling romantic horror tale about the origins of a centuries-old vampire inspired this popular, atmospheric chiller. One of... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

Adjusted Score: 102.886%
Critics Consensus: Smarter, fresher, and funnier than a modern vampire movie has any right to be, What We Do in the Shadows is bloody good fun.
Synopsis: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS chronicles the adventures of four vampire roommates trying to get by in a modern... [More]

Adjusted Score: 105.164%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: A 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young girl whose appearance in town suspiciously coincides with a horrifying series of murders... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

Adjusted Score: 109.7%
Critics Consensus: One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter has arrived to close... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

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