There have been countless vampire movies over the years. Some of them have been hits but many of them have been complete and utter misses. While the vampire may be one of the oldest and most famous horror characters, more often than not, the films just aren’t scary enough. If a filmmaker managed to create a vampire movie that was truly terrifying, it could be considered a remarkable feat.
Vampires have been around in cinema for over one hundred years and can be found in the earliest silent films. Nosferatu is often credited with really kick-starting the genre, and F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film is frequently looked back on by film students for its influence. Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been retold over and over again. In fact, by 2005, only Sherlock Holmes had been subject to more films than the blood-sucking villain.
Vampires have also endured in popular culture through the decades, with numerous other works of fiction and games about them. Nowadays, there are even online slotmachines like Immortal Romance, which are based on the blood-suckers. Dracula and vampires, in general, have often been portrayed as dark and brooding individuals, but many horror fans would agree that they rarely bring about times of sheer fright and terror.
It’s when filmmakers decide to break the conventions of the traditional vampire movie that things can sometimes become a bit more fear-inducing. 30 Days of Night, for instance, was one film which had a highly original concept. The creatures in David Slade’s picture were miles apart from the vampires that lived in grand old manor houses waiting to suck on the blood of innocent victims. The 2006 film instead used an eerie setting of its own – an Alaskan town going through a thirty-day long polar night. In the film, a team of vicious vampires led by Danny Huston attack the village, and there are some brutal and gory murders along the way.
Let the Right One In is often considered to be one of the stronger offerings in the vampire genre. The 2008 romantic horror film from Tomas Alfredson won several awards, including the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. Although there was no doubt that the Swedish picture was chilling and unsettling at times, was it really that scary? It was certainly quiet and restrained rather than bloody and violent – elements that appeal to a lot of vampire fans.
If you ask a horror lover to think of a vampire film that has truly scared them, made them jump out of their seat and left them unsettled for days, they would likely struggle to name one. The genre is in desperate need of a revolutionary filmmaker to come along with a unique and terrifying concept to really shake things up and change the game. If this doesn’t happen, the vampire is at risk of becoming a comedy character rather than one that really evokes fear in viewers.