So we’ve talked about horror/suspense movies, and we’ve talked about killer zombie movies, so the next move would be vampire movies for a perfect Halloween night, right? Not fuzzy relationship movies, I’m talking about fang-bearing blood suckers with supernatural abilities that you do NOT want to be on the wrong side of, day or night.
Vampires have been a staple in cinematography since silent films, and there have been over 170 versions of Dracula alone: good, bad, and in-between, and expressing your preference can be cause for serious debate and bruised friendships.
I’ve listed below some of my favorites as well as ones that have gone over well with the tweens and teens that I’ve worked with over the years. Vampire movies always make for excellent programs- there are tons of crafts that go well with the theme, and you can pair them with Halloween, Valentines (un-Valentines), full moons, paranormal, heroes/villains (like next year’s CSRP), and a lot of other themes. Like ghost and the Paranormal Activity series, there always seems to be a new vampire movie coming out every so often.
- know that not all movies will be appropriate for all teens, libraries, or communities.
- it may seem *cough* overkill *cough*, but please check your umbrella movie license before showing a movie within your library. There’s no reason to get fined or fired over 90 minutes. If you don’t have an umbrella movie license, please use a movie that is considered to be in the public domain. The original 1922 Nosferatu, credited with being the genesis of vampire movies, is a public domain movie.
Blade: You can argue whether comic book adaptations are a good or a bad thing before a certain time in special effect history, but you have to give it to Wesley Snipes and the crew of Blade, they made this whole trilogy work. A half-mortal, half vampire becomes the protector of the mortal realm while destroying the vampires trying to take out the humans. Add in the fact that Blade is one of the few POC superheroes to make it to the big screen, and he’s a huge favorite in the libraries I’ve worked in. Rated R for strong, pervasive vampire violence and gore, language, and brief sexuality.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: While Buffy the movie is getting a bit dated (totally is abso replaced by totes) it’s still a really fun vampire movie, and an insight into how cliques were, are, and still will be in schools everywhere. If you really want to have fun with your tweens and teens, make up a trivia card ahead of time and have them try and pick out actors from the movie that have major roles in cinema today: Donald Sutherland, Hillary Swank, Paul Reubens, and David Arquette are just a few. Alternatively, quiz them on the 1990’s slang and have them match up with today’s vocabulary. Rated PG-13 for comic vampire violence and drug references.
Salem’s Lot: Based on the Stephen King book (of course), this movie creeped me out to no end when I was younger, and the Master is the archtype of “evil vampire” that I have in my head forevermore. A novelist returns to his small hometown to find that things have changed- due to the peculiar antiques dealer who had come to town. This is one of those movies that you can just sit in a dark room and savor; it was remade for a TV movie in 2004 starring Rob Lowe, but I couldn’t bear to watch it. Rated PG for adult situations and violence.
Underworld: Selene, a vampire warrior dedicated to eradicating the world of the Lycan race (read: werewolves), learns that everything she knows is wrong when she protects a human against both the Lycans and the Vampires. I went into this movie a bit skeptically, and then fell into admiration with Kate Beckinsale. There are currently four movies in the series: Underworld and Underworld: Evolution are direct sequels; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel to the two. Underworld: Awakening was filmed after Rise of the Lycans but picks up the story after Evolution. Currently, they are filming the fifth in the series, entitled Underworld: Next Generation, with Kate Beckinsale as Selene and Theo James (Divergent) reprising his role from Underworld: Awakening. Rated R for strong violence/gore and some language.
The Lost Boys: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” How can you talk about vampire films and not talk about The Lost Boys? Huge hair, giant jackets, music forever, and the Frog brothers? Completely iconic. When a single mom and her two sons move to a new town, the mom begins dating the local video store owner- while the oldest son falls in with the local vampire clan and the younger son tries rescue them all. Rated R for adult language, situations, and violence.
Horror of Dracula: The start of the reign of Christopher Lee as Dracula, Horror of Dracula is one of those iconic films that you just can’t get out of your mind. If you haven’t seen it, go find a copy, get your favorite snack, turn off the lights, and watch it from start to finish. Unrated.
Dark Shadows: I know, you’re going say, she’s lost her brain, but having watched the soap opera reruns on TV, I like the Dark Shadows movie. I get where they were going, and while they needed a lot more exposition on where a lot of the secondary characters came from (no, yelling in the middle of the fight scene that a werewolf bit the daughter doesn’t work, sorry), Depp, Graham and Pfiffer did really well with what they had. Grab a library copy sometime and fast forward to all of Depp’s scenes- can you see if he ever blinks as a vampire? I can’t ever catch him. Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking.
FAMILY FRIENDLY BONUS
Hotel Transylvania: I didn’t see this one in the theaters. I watched it when we got it for the library, but I was really caught by how cute it was, and how funny things were. I liked Adam Sandler when he was on SNL, but I think the last movie I actually thought he was funny in was The Wedding Singer, so I was surprised when I enjoyed this one. The humor and creepiness is just right for families and perfect for Halloween evenings. Rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images.
Have I missed some of your favorites? Share them in the comments!