Monday, October 20, 2008

7 Greatest Fang-Bangin' Classics

I have always been partial to a good vampire movie. When I was a kid my grandparents owned a farm out in the middle of nowhere in South-Western Ontario. My cousins would always tell me and my little brother scary stories about werewolves living in the forest behind the farm, and zombies that stalked anyone lost within the corn fields. Now, I didn't particularly believe in either werewolves or zombies; that, and I wasn't exactly scared of them. To me, werewolves were easily taken care of with a rifle, and they would probably go for the easily accessible horses or cattle before they'd take care of me. As for zombies, well they always seemed to move so slowly, and I couldn't wrap my mind around dead tissue suddenly coming back to life for no reason. What I could believe in, was the existence of vampires. To me it made sense that way back when this evil dude renounced God, had a demon living inside of him that required the blood of humansto continue "living". I don't know why these particular creatures managed to work their way into my imagination to apoint where I was terrified of being alone after the sun went down, but they did. I thought it logical that for a vampire the country would be the best place to grab a snack.People out for a drive in the middle of nowhere getting picked off, bodies easily hid among the acres and acres of farmland. Plus, if there was a serious lack of human activity, they could rely on their being a sheep, cow or horse around. Needless to say, I developed a sort of a fascination with vampires and have been a fan of movies/books featuring vamps ever since. As such, and because it is Halloween, I thought I'd compile a list of my favourite vampire movies should anyone care.

(Note: Because I am indecisive, this list is in no particular order.)

The earliest movie on this list, and probably one of the best. Not only is it a horror classic, but also a classic of the Silent era. Max Schreck as Count Orlok is beyond frightening. The physical appearance being more bat-like than more recent, and romanticized versions of the infamous Count. What I remember most are his fingernails, long and sharp, and just creepy as all hell. It's a really fun flick whose visuals stay with you. Though, if you're in for a fun and fast vampire flick to watch with a bunch of friends over some pizza and beer, it might not be the film for you.

Despite the thinly veiled homoeroticism and general melodrama, this is (in my estimation) the most visually sumptuous vampire movie I have ever seen. Every actor, every place, every prop, every costume in this movie is beautiful. Kirsten Dunst does a fantastic job that she's fought to live up to ever since, and both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have fun with their roles. I wish that we'd seen River Phoenix rather than Christian Slater as the interviewer, but what can you do? Also interesting to see an early Thandie Newton as one of Brad Pitt's slaves. I'd recommend it if only for the visuals and epicness.

I love this movie. I love it so much. To me, it's a classic. It's so much fun to watch. It's up there with any of the John Hughes movies as being one of the best teen movies of its (or any) decade. All of the leads give just enough to the performance without taking themselves too seriously. That's what's great about this whole movie, it never takes itself too seriously. Plus, the final showdown against the vamps is hilarious, exciting and awesome. "Death by stereo!"

Near Dark is another personal favourite of mine. To be honest, I'll watch just about anything with Bill Paxton in it. What's not to like about a gang of way too cool vampires driving around the southern states messing things up. Another 80's vampire flick that's a lot of fun to watch. I also didn't realize that this movie introduced me to Adrian Pasdar, and that's why he looked so familiar when I started watching Heroes!

Along with Interview with the Vampire, this is one of the more beautiful movies on this list. The animation is simply astounding. It's pretty straightforward in the hero has to go save girl from evil baddie storyline, but when it looks this good, who cares? Nah, there's enough action and funny to keep the movie going. Definitely a great movie, but maybe not for everyone (especially the monster/anime factor)

This movie should be higher on the list, but I can't help but feel as though they could have made a better movie out of the source material. I love the original novel, and so am unsure how I feel about the overly romantic and melodramatic feel of this one. It was a little too 'B' movie for me. I mean, to be fair this is all just a matter of how I would have directed it had I a smidgen of Coppola's talent or ability, but I think I had imagined a much different atmosphere and style. That being said, despite my issues with the choice, they did an amazing job with what they chose. The actors were all just right (except of course Keanu Reeves who ruined just about every scene he was in, I couldn't take it), especially Gary Oldman who I'm already an avid fanboy of; his Dracula was creepy, powerful, sexy, intelligent, fierce. Great work.

This movie is pure fun. It doesn't pretend to be anything else. It's a nice little action horror that provides a nice little escape from reality for 90 min. It's not exceptional in any particular aspect, but bundled together is a fun little vamp flick that I wouldn't mind watching again but isn't on my "Must See Again" list.

Some Honourable Mentions:

I really want Shadow of the Vampire on that list in order to kick one of the lesser films off, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. Also, I need to see The Hunger, because Bowie, Deneuve and Sarandon vamp love sandwich is a little too much for me to handle. I hated Queen of the Damned, I'm not really looking forward to Twilight, but I am enjoying HBO's True Blood. Ya, it's a little silly, but the great thing about HBO is that there is a good amount of sex and violence to make up for any silliness or lag in plot. Also, Ball does a good job of keeping his characters super-flawed, which makes for interesting television.
Also, Parker Posey is fierce as f*** in Blade: Trinity.

Thoughts? Comments?

- Popcorn

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Parker Posey.