Monday, October 22, 2007

Camera Obscura - A Monday Vampire Roundup

Halloween approaches and since vampires ruled the movie box office this weekend, why not start your Monday with vampires?

The vampire movie "30 Days of Night" opened this weekend and claimed the top spot in box office dollars. Based on a comic book, the story is about an Alaskan town which is about to endure a month without daylight. Something which happens in Alaska, so why, I wonder, did vampires never settle there long ago? Maybe it's the cold.

Josh Hartnett is your hero in the movie, but the real star is the leader of the vampire pack, Danny Huston. As for the Washington Post writes:

And while Hartnett and Melissa George (as his estranged wife) make functionally appealing characters, the real star of "30 Days" is Danny Huston. As the animalistic leader of the pack, he's as disturbing as he is compelling, a feral creature with all senses at full capacity. If there's an action figure, I'm ordering one."

Newscoma also watched the movie and has a review too:

f you dig horror movies, go see it for Huston’s performance and the way the movie is shot when the monsters are on the screen."

I like vampire movies, meaning they do not scare me. I enjoy them. A movie which scares me is something like "Steel Magnolias". The thought of having to watch that movie makes me shiver with revulsion.

And this leads to a question for all of you -- what is your favorite vampire movie? Who has done the best job onscreen of being a vamp? A quick search for 'vampire' at IMDB reveals thousands of movies to pick from.

Here are some of my choices.
Dracula (1931) -- Tod Browning's movie remains the vampire icon of movies. Bela Lugosi's face, voice and costume are still known around the world. He even inspired a character for Sesame Street and a box of cereal. The movie, stilted somewhat by today's standard, still has fantastic scenes.

Horror of Dracula (1958) -- British mega-star Christopher Lee made a fantastic Count Dracula, though he surely tired of the role and the work offered by Hammer Films. But this first one is still a great movie, and Lee knows how to scare you.

Blade and Blade 2 (1998, 2002) -- Wesley Snipes is both vamp and vamp hunter, and these first two movies are mighty fine. The opening "blood rave" party in the first movie is a jaw-dropping nightmare of vampires in a club scene. The third Blade movie is a joke. The first two, however, are fine fun.

Fearless Vampire Killers; or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck (1967) -- Director Roman Polanski's horror-comedy is a must-see. Gorgeous location shooting, packed with excellent characters both funny and scary, the movie is moody and dark and funny all at once. Polanski also plays part of a bumbling vampire hunter team, and Ferdy Mayne is like the sleaziest Goth of all time.

Now just for laughs in recent years, it is hard to top the very awful Wes Craven movie "Dracula 3000". It's on a spaceship and you get to see such performers as Coolio and Tiny Lister as vampires. That makes for some cringe-inducing comedy.

And since I am a massive fan of the TV show "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", I must mention just how much fun it is to watch Spike and Dru as vampire villains. They really shine in Season Two.

What are your choices?


  1. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Does "Love at First Bite" count? How about "Lost Boys" or "Fright Night"? I don't like scary movies. Life is scary enough.

  2. while i know many who like Love At First Bite, it just didn't appeal to me. maybe it was Arte Johnson's fault. i do like Dracula: Dead and Loving It from Mel Brooks, but only for a few very funny scenes.

    and sorry, but i really didn't like Lost Boys either. i blame the director. some nice music, though.

    "Fright Night" rocks, and i even liked the sequel for that one too. i have read recently a remake of the first movie is in the works.

  3. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I have to agree with your picks Joe.
    But I would have to add "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Near Dark", any of the Hammer vampire flicks, "Underworld", come to think of it I would probably watch anything with a vampire in it.

    Happy Halloween!!!!

  4. How do I love thee (meaning Joe Powell) let me count the ways.
    I loved Danny Huston.
    The rest, well, feh.
    I did like the visuals though.

    Near Dark, man, loved that movie.

  5. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Some good pics, Joe. Just seeing "Fearless Vampire Killers" written there made me giggle. But yeah, if it's got a vampire, i'll probably give it a whirl.

  6. Anonymous7:54 AM

    did you enjoy "forever knight" ?

  7. Cosmo - nope. not even a teeny bit.

    and i liked Dusk til Dawn, even thought it took some time for the vamps to arrive, they arrived with much gusto.

    and i liked Underworld, but that was only because Kate Beckinsale looked good in leather!

    Near Dark was pretty good. Vamps in a Winnebago are always fun.

  8. I think Blade 2 was the joke. 3 was much better. Besides, Ryan Reynolds can make any movie except Smokin' Aces better.

  9. J.R. -

    well Reynolds and Posey did make the Blade 3 way more fun, I admit. Still, I like the action and intensity of Del Toro's Blade 2 over the action of 3.

  10. Anonymous7:02 AM

    "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter" is one of my faves. Not to be taken too seriously, though.

    It was just a fun bad movie.

  11. Joe, the real problem in Blade 2 was the lack of consistency in how the new mutant vamps moved and fought, and how difficult they were to stop.