Monday, December 7, 2015

B.W.'s Top Twenty Favorite Vampire Movies : Twenty to Eleven

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Another Top Twenty list from your old pal Dubya, what a dynamic present for me during the holiday season, you've gotta be thinking to yourselves...Yeah. Anyway, it's the fiendish fanged folk that we'll be looking at this time around, and as you'll notice I've chosen my current favorite twenty films that deal with the subject. As you might have expected, Twilight (2008) did not make the list, and the same can be said for Lost Boys (1987), Coppola's Dracula (1992), Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), and Fright Night (1985), none of which were really my bag, maaaann. Nonetheless, I've plucked examples from every cinematic era, from Universal to Hammer, representing American studios on to their European counterparts. It wasn't as easy compiling this list as I always seem to make it look (ha!), trust me, there were a few omissions that often occupy a deserved spot here, depending on my mood. Perhaps these are some films that might have earned a spot on some of your own favorites lists, which I expect to hear about, post-haste. We'll start the countdown with...

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John Carpenter's Vampires (1998)  Probably the last Carpenter full-length film I enjoyed, to date. Glancing over his imdb page confirms it.

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Vampire Circus (1974) Have you seen that screencap? The defense rests.

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The Vampire Lovers (1970) A nifty Hammer Films riff on Carmilla, the famous gothic novella by Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu, and the first installment of that studio's Karnstein trilogy, starring the likes of Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, and Madeline Smith.

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Vampyres (1974) Director Jose Ramon Larraz mixes ample doses of sex, sapphic and otherwise,  and violence with trance-like visuals here, and the brutal, bloody beauty of both Marianne Morris and Annulka is in full display throughout.

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Twins of Evil (1971) Peter Cushing tries in vain to protect his twin nieces, as portrayed by Playboy's Collinson Twins (yum), from Count Karnstein (the third in Hammer's trilogy of the same name). One is innocent and chaste, the other one's quite taken with the idea of biting chaps on the neck and living forever, and not entirely opposed to getting her loverly bristols out, as pictured above.

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Kiss of the Vampire (1962) Hammer Studios represent so many of my favorite movies since childhood, that the film that occupies number fifteen on the list should come as no surprise. Between the lavish gothic sets, the rich palette of colors, an atmospheric score by James Bernard, and that unusual ripper of a climax, this Don Sharp entry stands as an early vampiric masterpiece for the company.

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Vampyr (1932) Danish director Carl Theodor Dryer provides us with the fourteenth movie, a dreamily shot, disorienting, often irrational masterpiece of early horror cinema.

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Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) Nevermind Zohra Lampert's exasperating turn as the titularly unhinged Jessica, this moodily eerie and atmospheric, often dreamlike, low budget psychological thriller from the early seventies has always been among my favorites.

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Salem's Lot (1979)  Lance Kerwin says "Pabisciutti Hill" and does magic tricks. Reggie Nalder hisses like a bucket full of gila monsters. James Mason dares you to match your faith against... the master's. Tobe Hooper at the helm of a television miniseries adaption of Stephen King's best-seller.

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Terrore nello spazio aka/ Planet of the Vampires (1965) Bava's undeniably important, evocative horror/sci-fi hybrid is both claustrophobic and foggily ominous; brilliantly lit with splashy colors, stylishly framed, with effectively understated performances by the cast.

Honorable Mentions: Ganja and Hess (1973), La notte dei diavoli AKA/ The Night of the Devils (1972), La novia ensangrentada AKA/ The Blood Spattered Bride (1972), The Hunger (1983), Shadow of the Vampire (2000)


Anonymous said...

Dreyer is Danish, not german. :-)

beedubelhue said...

Oof-ah, good eye!


mottikod said...

Interview With the Vampire does not rank anywhere near anything on your list, not my top 20 for that matter, but actually kind of dug that one. Most if not all of the ones i like you turned me onto, appreciate that. just some great films in general.

beedubelhue said...

Thanks, man!


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