For over 100 years, Vampires have been delivering thrills and chills to movie audiences all over the world. The undead bloodsuckers come to us as monsters, as victims, and sometimes even objects of desire. With so many ghoulish films to choose from, making a list of the greatest vampire movie moments ever filmed would be a fool’s errand.
Call us fools then because we did just that.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)-Amilyn’s Death
Most people are familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of the iconic TV series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular vamp vanquisher.
Before Buffy was a series, though, it was an early ’90s comedy starring Kirsty Swanson and Paul—Pee Wee Herman—Reubens. There aren’t a lot of standout moments, and frankly, the film pales in comparison to the far superior TV series.
Except for one scene. A scene so weird that it had to get a spot on the list, even if it is at the bottom of the list. We’re talking, of course, about the death scene of Paul Reubens’ #2 vampire baddie Amilyn.
Already angry about the loss of his arm earlier in the film, Amilyn is more than ready to destroy Slayer-come-lately Buffy Summers. Buffy, however, has other plans and slams a sharpened wooden ruler into his heart, instantly killing him….just kidding.
Amilyn getts staked and then proceeds to have the silliest, drawn-out death scene in vampire movie history. He “oohs” he “ahhhs” he stops to see if Buffy is watching and then moans some more.
This goes on so long that a post-credit scene shows Amilyn is still dying. Hell, he might still be at it to this day, dramatically writhing around the floor somewhere.
Paul Reubens gives us a death scene so ridiculous that it ends up being the highlight of an otherwise forgettable film.
The Lost Boys (1987)-All The Damn Vampires
The Lost Boys is an undisputed ’80s classic. It’s got everything a horror fan would want out of a vampire movie. Vampires, the two Coreys—Haim and Feldman—a killer soundtrack, and an end gag funny enough to guarantee it a spot on this list.
Sam (Corey Haim) and his older brother Michael (Jason Patric) move with their divorced mother (Dianne Wiest) to Santa Carla, California, home of the boy’s eccentric grandfather and also a gang of teen vampires.
When Sam suspects his brother of turning into a vampire, he enlists the help of the comic book-reading Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) and to help him hunt down the monsters responsible.
The whole adventure culminates with an action-packed vampire showdown, a showdown Sam and Michael’s grandfather (Barnard Hughes) crashes—literally—when he drives his truck through a wall into his own house, impaling the head bloodsucker in the process.
Grandpa—who, prior to crashing his truck, has had no onscreen contact with any vampires whatsoever—then walks nonchalantly past all of the carnage into the kitchen and gets a cold Coke out of the fridge. The kids and their mother ask Grandpa if he’s okay, and he responds with one of the best lines ever.
“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.”
Blade (1998) – The Blood Rave
The Blade franchise contains several iconic vampire movie moments, but none stands out more than the beginning scene of the very first movie.
For many fans, there are two words that come to mind when they think of the first Blade: blood rave. The movie begins with a man and a woman going out to a club.
Little does the man know, it’s a vampire nightclub complete with blood sprinklers that rain the crimson fluid down upon scores of undead ravers. That would be cool enough, but the scene gets even better.
The human man, now covered in blood, is scrambling to get away from all the hungry vampires. He crawls around on the floor until he gets to a pair of boots and stops.
The whole club freezes as the camera slowly pans up, revealing that the boots belong to the vampire hunter Blade (Wesley Snipes). Without moving or saying a word, Blade instantly becomes one of the biggest badasses in action movie history.
Viewers instantly understand: if just the sight of this guy is enough to make a club full of bloodlust-y vampires stop what they’re doing, then he must be one dangerous cat.
Nosferatu (1922) – Count Orlok Appears at Midnight
Many people may not know it, but the classic vampire movie Nosferatu is actually an unlicensed adaptation of Dracula. But where most versions of Dracula portray the Count as a handsome, well-dressed, charismatic nobleman Nosferatu‘s Count Orlok (Max Schreck) is instead presented as an inhuman monster. There’s no perfectly combed-back hair for Orlok, no fancy cape or ruffled shirt.
Instead, Orlok is a bald, pointy-eared creature of the night with long spindly fingers tipped with claw-like fingernails. Orlok’s fangs are right up front and prominent, making him look more like a rodent than a man. So frightening is Count Orlok’s appearance that just his shadow is enough to terrify viewers over one hundred years after the film’s debut.
Nowhere is Orlok more disturbing than in the scene in which he pays a visit to real estate agent Thomas Hutter’s (Gustav von Wangenheim) bedroom.
As the clock strikes midnight, the door opens, and the inhuman Count Orlock begins to creep slowly into the room, cutting such a grotesque figure that grown man Hutter has no choice but to lie in bed with the blanket over his head just contemplating his horrific fate.
Fright Night (1985) – The Final Showdown
Of the two ’80s vampire movies on the list Fright Night isn’t as well-known as The Lost Boys despite being just as much—if not more—fun to watch. Fright Night stars William Ragsdale as horror fan Charley who becomes convinced that his new next-door neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire.
Of course, Charley is right, and by the third act of the film, he’s ready to face Dandrige with the help of TV vampire hunter Peter Vincent (acting legend Roddy McDowall).
The resulting climax features some of the best horror makeup and prosthetics of the ’80s. Highlights like the giant bat that Dandrige transforms into will make most old-school fright fans long for the pre-CGI days of practical horror effects.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – The Titty Twister Transformation
Only the combined talents of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino could come up with a vampire movie as twisted as From Dusk Till Dawn. The bar/vampire hive, The Titty Twister, starts out as the perfect place for The Gecko Brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) to lie low after crossing the border into Mexico.
Unfortunately for the outlaw brothers and their three hostages (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu) when the sun goes down, all hell breaks loose.
In the blink of an eye, the bar’s employees, including the band, become vampires and start violently assaulting and feeding on the bar’s unsuspecting patrons.
A small band of survivors manages to destroy most of the vampires only to have to deal with round #2 when the patrons that were bit transform into vampires themselves and go on the attack. It’s a gory, over-the-top splat fest made all the more thrilling thanks to Rodriguez’s kinetic directing style.
Let the Right One In (2008) – The Pool Attack
Let the Right One In is one of the most interesting and unique takes on the bloodsucker genre. The 2008 Swedish vampire movie follows 12-year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) as he navigates a relationship with Eli (Lina Leanders), a vampire who was turned right around the same age.
Late in the film a group of bullies corner Oskar at the school pool and threaten to stab him in the eye unless he can hold his breath for three minutes.
The lead bully grabs Oskar by the hair and holds him underwater so that he can’t come up for air. The camera stays on Oskar as he sits underwater, trying to hold his breath, unaware of the carnage about to unfold above him.
Let the Right One In makes a bold choice not to show what happens when Elie arrives at the pool. Instead, it focuses on Oskar as a severed foot sinks slowly to the bottom of the pool, followed by the bully’s hand that was holding his head underwater. The result is truly chilling.
When a blood-spattered Eli lifts Oskar up out of the pool, you know some Mortal Kombat-style dismemberment just went down. Viewers do get one wide shot of the aftermath, and it is not pretty. It’s a scene that will stay with you long after the movie is over.