Even in 2018, Filmgoers Are in the Thrall of Vampires

vampire movies in 2018

Why are people so obsessed with vampires? The mythical creatures have been gracing our screens since the dawn of cinema, with 1922’s Nosferatu setting a gold standard. Much like vampires themselves, their film depictions don’t seem to have an expiration.

When you think of vampires, you probably think of horror, but the beauty of these immortal beings is they can be placed within any genre. They started out as horror characters, and while there will always be a scary aspect to them (their number one trait is drinking blood, after all), writers have been pushing the vampire boundary for some time.

Romance, comedy, young adult, action, cartoons, drama, and even the occasional art house indie, vampires are ripe for new and creative content. Since the vampire formula is so easily bendable, it’s a subject that doesn’t seem to run out of steam.

I recently took a Twitter poll and asked what people’s favorite vampire movies were, and was astounded that every single person had a different answer. If you’re an ‘80s baby or a fan of teen classics, The Lost Boys is for you. If you’re a straight-up film buff, it’s going to be Let The Right One In or A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

The comedian’s answer is always What We Do In The Shadows. The cult fans go in for Fright Night (both the original and the remake), and if you follow specific director/writer’s filmography, your favs are probably Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow) or From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez). All of the above are worth watching, but as a general vampire fan and lover of gay erotic undertones, Interview with the Vampire takes the cake for me.

But let’s take a closer look.

twilight re-release

Vampire Romance

Vampires haven’t really gone anywhere, but 2018 marks ten years since an important resurgence in the genre. 2008 brought us the first Twilight film and the first season of True Blood. Of course, Twilight and True Blood focused less on the horror aspect of vampire lore and more on the romance. Many people criticized the former for bending the “rules”, but why shouldn’t vampires sparkle? This extremely odd choice for a vampire trait should be embraced for its ridiculousness and not ridiculed for altering something that was never even real.

When contemplating the question of what makes the living dead so appealing, there’s no doubt that people are enticed by the concept of living forever without aging or consequence. While some people do have blood fetishes, a vampire’s diet is mostly inconsequential when it comes to what makes them appealing. First and foremost, they’re sexy. They’re almost always portrayed as being beautiful and enthralling. Most vampire shows and movies, no matter the genre, have an erotic flavor to them.

Many people seem very drawn the the human-vampire relationship. When the fourth Twilight book was released, bookstores had midnight release parties that featured polls asking patrons if they thought Bella would be turned into a vampire.

People are suckers (pun-intended, sorry) for that everlasting love and they were not disappointed by Breaking Dawn’s outcome (in the romantic sense, but the lack of a real confrontation/battle was universally disappointing). The idea that someone would choose to “die” in order to be with the person they love forever would be horribly creepy in any other circumstance, but it seems to resonate here, despite the additional appetite for blood.

In any regular love story, even the most successful romantic outcome will inevitably end in death (can you imagine if Peter Kavinsky was immortal?). Which brings us to the more tragic vampire/human romance: when the human half is unable or unwilling to become a vampire, for example, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy being turned isn’t a viable option: 1. It’s her sworn duty to kill vampires. 2. In that universe, vampires don’t have souls, which isn’t appealing to a superhero. People still root for Buffy and Angel or Buffy and Spike, though. You’ll find very few fans out there rooting for Riley, Buffy’s only human steady.

While a lot of the newer vampire stories focus on love, many older classics focused their energy on sex. The Hunger, starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon is one of the sexiest movies ever made, vampire or no. The tantalizing Tony Scott film focuses on the love triangle between a doctor and two vampires and it is STEAMY.

Of all the classic horror creatures, vampires have always had a sexual edge to them, which is an odd choice history has made, but one we’re happy to embrace.

Vampire Comedy

Vampires have been seen in comedies for quite some time, becoming mainstream in 1979 with the release of Stan Dragoti’s Love at First Bite. The most recent, and absolute best example is What We Do In The Shadows. In fact, this movie was such a hit, the co-writers/directors, Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Legion) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) are rebooting the film as a television show, set to premiere on FX.

Other examples of the comedy crossovers are Vampire in Brooklyn and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. These movies vary, as well, which is impressive when you think about how they’re all working with the same basic principle. What We Do In The Shadows is a faux documentary, whereas Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a spoof on Dracula (obviously) and Vampire In Brooklyn is an Eddie Murphy staple.

Let The Right One In

Arthouse Vampires

One of the greatest vampire movies of the last decade is Only Lovers Left Alive, a Jim Jarmusch film starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (can you imagine better vampire casting than those two?). This is a slow-moving, visually stunning, and unique look at a couple who has been together for generations and must deal with the depressing state of the world and its destruction by the “zombies” (humans).

Let The Right One, the Swedish horror from 2008, is the best example of a vampire movie that balances big scares with big drama. It even had a fairly decent American remake in Let Me In. While unique for being one of the few sexless vampire movies, it’s still romantic, but in a very different way from the vampire norm.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which is described as a “Persian-language American vampire western” was a unique addition to the genre in 2014. It’s slow, methodical, and beautifully acted by Sheila Vand. If you didn’t leave that movie wanting to be a skateboarding vampire, you’re a lost cause.

what we do in the shadows tv series

Upcoming Vampires

Get ready to embrace the vampire world, because you’re about to be bombarded with new content. In addition to the Vampire Chronicles and What We Do in the Shadows gracing our small screens, new movies are coming out of the woodwork.

The upcoming film BIT by Brad Michael Elmore is described as the story of “a teenage transgender girl who moves to LA and falls in with a gang of intersectional feminist vampires”. Honestly, that’s the most compelling synopsis to a film that I’ve heard in a long time.

If vampire stories aren’t for you, don’t expect to escape them any time soon. However, try to keep an open mind. If you’re not into sparkles and teen romance or blood and gore, there are still plenty of in-between viewing options when it comes to the wide world of bloodsucking immortals.

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