Best Vampire Movies: Top 5 Fang-tastic Films Most Recommended By Experts

The vampire is one of the most ancient monster archetypes in storytelling. A wretched cursed creature that must hide from the sun and subsist on the blood of others, the vampire’s mythos have gone through countless changes and updates along with the fears of humanity. Our list of the top five best vampire movies includes some blood-curdling films that could be a new Halloween favorite for some readers.

Tales of the restless dead and hungry spirits are as old as storytelling itself. The oldest vampire stories paint them as horrid beasts that only resemble humans at a glance but reveal their horror on further investigation. Pale skin, sharp fangs, and casting neither a shadow nor a reflection are all tell-tale hints that a vampire is afoot. In ancient cultures, the vampire is symbolic of bloody horror and fear of the dark. They consume the blood, breath, flesh, or even the life force of others to sustain themselves in a perpetual state of false life. As history and civilization progressed, so too did the legend of the vampire. With the advancement of civilization, the fireside stories of monstrous blood suckers evolved to mimic the fears of society.

Vampires in cinema are depicted in many forms from hideous monstrosities to lithe and sensual runway models with superpowers. In the 1922 silent film starring Max Schreck, “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror,” the hideous Count Orlok skulked in the shadows. In 1931, Bela Lugosi starred as the iconic Universal Pictures version of Count Dracula and introduced viewers to the most enduring image of the infamous Count with his tuxedo, cape, and thick faux-Transylvanian accent. Lugosi’s Dracula would remain popular through the 1950s. In 1966, “Billy the Kid Versus Dracula” was one of the earliest examples of the vampire western, a departure from the gothic and Victorian settings of previous films.

Vampires in the media gradually became portrayed as excessively beautiful and desirable beings with amazing superhuman abilities, rather than cursed monsters. This gradual turn in portrayal is exemplified in the 2008 mega-hit “Twilight” series, in which teenage romance meets immortal supervillains, and also werewolves.

Vampires are a worldwide film phenomenon that has been present since the inception of motion pictures. We needed our sources to consider the extensive history of vampires in film so that we could rank the greatest of all time. From numerous honorable mentions like “Fright Night” to “Let the Right One In” it is hard to narrow down the best vampire movies to a single list. Let us know your favorite flicks in the comments below!

Bats in sky photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash
Bats in the sky (Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash)

The List: Best Vampire Films, According to Experts


1. “The Lost Boys” (1987)

“The Lost Boys” is perhaps the most iconic American vampire film of all time. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, this film doesn’t shy away from portraying vampires as monstrous abominations. BuzzFeed raves about this apex ‘80s flick, “There have been countless great vampire films… but there’s simply no vampire movie that feels as synonymous with the word and the subgenre as ‘The Lost Boys,’ with Kiefer Sutherland’s roguish ‘David’ possibly exhibiting the most identifiable vampire visage outside of the aforementioned Max Schreck and Bela Lugosi.”

“The Lost Boys” (1987)
“The Lost Boys” (1987)

The Mary Sue praises, “I can’t imagine not including ‘The Lost Boys’ on a list like this. It’s a top-notch queer vampire film that still captivates people decades later. The aesthetic perfectly captures California in the ’80s and the freedom in being rebellious and a vampire. What’s not [to] love about the queer-coded characters, the practical effects for the vampires, and the… fantastic soundtrack?”

Empire enthusiastically exclaims, “35 years old and a cultural touchstone for the generations that have grown up with it: what else could top Empire’s vampire list but ‘The Lost Boys?’ Joel Schumacher’s best film is a multi-genre piece that transcends all of its potential limitations. It’s a teen movie but doesn’t skimp on violence and viscera. It’s a horror film, but it’s genuinely funny. It’s a comedy, but it’s properly scary… ‘The Lost Boys’ has never needed to be reclaimed as a neglected classic, because it never went away. It’s always been the coolest. And it always will be.”

2. “Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror” (1922)

This early-cinema classic is a silent movie that stars an instantly recognizable vampire. The iconic Count Orlok is iconic for his bald head, pointed ears, and hideous fangs. Empire says, “Denied the rights to Bram Stoker’s novel, F.W. Murnau turned Dracula into Count Orlok. Played by theatre actor Max Schreck (which seems to have been his real name, even though it means ‘fright’ in German) in astonishing make-up, the character conveys an almost indescribable malevolence.”

“Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror” (1922)
“Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror” (1922)

Indie Wire describes, “The godfather of vampire cinema, F. W. Murnau’s ‘Nosferatu’ began as an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel ‘Dracula’ and ended as one of the most influential horror movies ever made. Max Schreck gives one of the genre’s great silent performances as Count Orlok, a vampire in Transylvania whose blossoming feelings for a real estate agent’s wife have terrifying and tragic consequences.”

“German Expressionism eschewed objective reality in favor of heightened, distorted images to convey powerful emotions. Murnau‘s unauthorized adaptation of Stoker‘s ‘Dracula’ is one of the key films of this movement, and one of the most influential horror pictures ever. ‘Nosferatu’ probably won’t make most modern audiences jump, but its grotesque beauty will haunt your dreams. That’s a hell of an accomplishment for a picture that’s nearly one hundred years old,” elaborates Parade.

3. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)

Dracula is easily the most famous vampire of all time, and although this film is not a faithful adaptation of the source material, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is a classic film starring Gary Oldman and perennial fan-favorite Keanu Reeves. AV Club comments, “Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel—led by Gary Oldman as a gloriously lavish version of the title character—is three decades old now, and remains a luscious, sinfully decadent maelstrom of imagination.”

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)

IGN adds, “Francis Ford Coppola adapts ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ with supreme decadence as a gothic horror creature feature that’s also a sumptuous blockbuster experience… Gary Oldman’s bellowing command over his adversaries as Count Dracula and Anthony Hopkins’ hilariously blunt take on Van Helsing are triumphant performances — not to forget whatever accent Keanu Reeves attempts for Jonathan Harker or Tom Waits losing his mind as Renfield.”

Esquire details, “You could call this Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula,’ but that title would be too unwieldy. And while the famed Godfather director’s adaptation of the seminal vampire novel does teeter off the edge into vampire mania, it’s still a lush, faithful, and star-studded version of the classic horror tale with Gary Oldman delivering a tour-de-force performance as the blood-sucking villain.”

4. “From Dusk till Dawn” (1996)

“From Dusk till Dawn” is pulp fiction at its best. Trashy characters, unforgiving monsters, and over-the-top gore are combined with a hip ‘90s western aesthetic in this classic. Esquire explains, “Robert Rodriguez directed this cult classic starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (who wrote the script) as the bank-robbing Gecko brothers who cross the border into Mexico with hostages in tow. But when they arrive at… a strip club in the middle of the desert, their hope for refuge is lost when the bar’s patrons and employees are revealed to be vampires led by a ferocious queen, Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek).”

“From Dusk till Dawn” (1996)
“From Dusk till Dawn” (1996)

“To see this Quentin Tarantino-penned, Robert Rodriguez-directed picture knowing nothing of its twist would be one of the great treats cinema has to offer. Unfortunately, many of us [that have not seen the movie] know… What begins as a standard crime thriller turns into a full-on vampire bloodfest midway through,” offers Entertainment Weekly.

Movie Web states, “From Dusk till Dawn has all the suspense of a great thriller, with vampires thrown in for good measure… With Tarantino in the mix, before even watching the movie you know it’s going to be an absolute banger. It fared well upon release and has become a well-earned cult classic with subsequent media adaptations.”

5. “Thirst” (2009)

This terrifying film from Park Chan-Wook captures the essential terror of the vampire archetype. Rather than sampling from eastern mythology, this is a story about a western-style Catholic vampire set in South Korea. IGN claims, “Park Chan-Wook’s take on vampires, taboos, romance, and shame is a knockout. Characters all thirst for something, which Chan-Wook explores through conventional and alternative vampire experiences. A Catholic priest turns vampire, and a disenchanted wife seeks forbidden everlasting romance in her own grasp of change — what happens next is artfully unhinged as chaos welcomes kidnappings, killings, and contemplations of eternal imprisonment.”

Thirst 2009
“Thirst” (2009)

BuzzFeed reviews, “South Korean filmmaking maverick Park Chan-Wook offers a uniquely whimsical (and, ultimately, heartbreaking) perspective on the vampire mythos in this underrated yet undeniable horror story.”

AV Club relates, “‘Thirst,’ Park Chan-Wook’s take on a vampire movie is, like all of his films, a stunning, unpredictable blend of angst, violence, sex, and unforgettable visual depth. Following a priest (Song Kang-Ho) whose descent into vampirism makes him question everything about life, faith, and desire, it’s got the sudden brutality of ‘Oldboy,’ the taboo heat of ‘Stoker,’ and the kinetic energy of ‘The Handmaiden,’ plus vampires. What more could you want?”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. My favorite vampire movie wasn’t. It was a sitcom in the late sixties. Dark Shadows! I used to run home from school too watch Dark Shadows and the evil doings of Barnabus Collins.
    The vampire, Barnabas was looking for a mate. Victoria? I forget. Victoria Collins? I forget. I’ll let It rattle around in my brain. One was Victoria. A female doctor trying to cure him of vampirism. Hmm…. face I remember…

  2. Lost Boys number one? Really? Nosferatu rightfully deserves that spot, and for you not to include Let The Right One In anywhere in this top five list makes me questions of depth of the writers’ knowledge.

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