Guest Author - Amber Grey
Vampires are all the rage in the contemporary media thanks to successful television shows like HBO's "True Blood" and the "Twilight" movie franchise. But Hollywood has had a fascination with these immortal bloodsuckers since the beginning of film-making. This is our list of Top 5 Classic Vampire films we recommend for you to watch this Halloween:
1. "Nosferatu" (1922) Directed by the brilliant German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampyric Count Orlok. This film is almost 90 years old, but it still remains #1 amongst many lists devoted to the vampire film genre, and of course, it is #1 on our list. Done in the beautiful German Expressionist fashion, "Nosferatu" contains the creepy and iconic shadowplay along the wall as Count Orlok ascends the staircase. Here's a piece of movie trivia, while Murnau was inspired by Bram Stoker's tale, he could not afford the rights. As a result, various character names and locations were changed. However, they weren't changed enough. Stoker's widow wanted every copy of "Nosferatu" destroyed but fortunately not every copy was destroyed and we are still able to view it today.
2. "Dracula" (1931) Directed by Tod Browning, starring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners and Dwight Frye. Unlike Murnau, Universal Studios legally bought the rights to Stoker's novel to make this legendary adaptation of his story. Bela Lugosi is in his iconic role as "Dracula" when he arrives in England to seduce and take the young Mina as his immortal bride. This film spurred a number of sequels as well as being a part of the classic "monster movie" franchise we all know today.
3. "Black Sunday" (1960) Directed by Mario Bava. Starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson and Arturo Dominici. This film tells of a witch named "Asa Vajda" who is burned at the stake along with her lover by her own brother. Asa vows revenge and puts a curse on her brother's descendants. Two centuries later, she is reanimated and is ready to seek vengeance. No one has witnessed a wrath quite like Asa's. This is a film that will stay with you for a long time after you watch it.
4. "Dracula" (1979) Directed by John Badham. Starring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, and Jan Francis. In this film, the roles of Lucy and Mina are swapped with Mina being the first to succumb to Dracula's neck-biting habit, while Lucy is overcome with guilt for the loss of her friend. Another twist to the story is that Mina was Van Helsing's daughter and Lucy contacts him to figure out Mina's mysterious death. Van Helsing sets out to find Dracula in order to avenge his daughter's death. We feel this belongs on our list because it is an interesting take on Stoker's novel and Langella's portrayal of Dracula is both seductive and eery, just the way Dracula should be.
5. "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1995) Starring Leslie Nielsen, Mel Brooks, Amy Yasbeck, Stephen Weber, and Peter MacNicol. While it's not considered one of Mel Brooks' best parody film, it will still make you laugh out loud with the way it makes fun of some of the best Dracula films including the gorey-insanity of the Hammer Films, "Nosferatu" and the Lugosi's "Dracula." Watch out for Mel Brooks' wife, actress Anne Bancroft, who makes an hilarious cameo as a Transylvanian gypsy who tries to give a cross to "Renfield" (played by MacNicol) before he leaves for Dracula's castle.