5. Eli – Let the Right One In/ Låt den rätte komma in (2004)
A young girl who falls in love with a bullied young boy seems like quite the wholesome tale until you realise it was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist and the girl in question is actually a vampire.
This Swedish film is filled with blood and murder, Eli (Lina Leandersson) presented as a vicious predator who hunts and kills people in gory, bloody ways. Although somewhat redeemable thanks to her love of Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), Eli represents a darker, more dangerous and violent vision of a vampire than many on this list.
She is also a great example of the vampire mythology, with all of the tropes of the character – drinking blood, avoiding sunlight, committing murder for food – being present; in this film, we even see the after effects of sunlight touching a vampire’s skin.
Despite being about children, Let the Right One In is one of the most gory films on this list, Eli’s character being key to uncovering the dark side of vampire lore.
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4. Louis de Pointe du Lac – Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Based on the novel written by Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire (1994) is an iconic vampire movie that plays host to two famous vampires, one being Louis de Pointe du Lac.
Played by Brad Pitt, Louis is a vampire tortured by his very existence, a character who is killed and made into a vampire when he is granted his wish to die but not in the way he had hoped.
Interview with the Vampire explores every avenue of the vampire mythology, including their speed, strength, blood thirst, how they sleep in coffins and how they avoid sunlight. Although not as bloodthirsty as his counterpart, Louis is murderous, slaughtering both humans and vampires alike.
With a melancholic air, and a beauty only Brad Pitt could personify, Louis de Pointe du Lac is one of cinema’s most instantly recognisable and fearsome vampires.
3. Count Orlok – Nosferatu (1922)
Perhaps the most influential vampiric film ever, Nosferatu (1922) introduced us to much of the iconography of great vampires in the decades that followed, the film’s central vampire Count Orlok taking cinema-goers by surprise with his elongated features and creepy demeanour.
Despite not being an official Dracula movie, Nosferatu is still one of the most authentic representations of vampire lore ever put to screen, with the character’s insatiable blood lust, vampiric mind control and desperate avoidance of sunlight revolutionising monsters on film and making for one of the most frightening vampires in cinema.
His long, thin body, slow gait, fangs, bat-like ears and dead-eyed stare can chill you through the screen, with one infamous scene of the Count creeping up the stairs being enough to send shivers down your spine. Even close to 100 years later, Nosferatu is instantly recognisable and remains one of the most popular vampires ever put to film.