In the world of horror monsters, the vampire sill reigns supreme. Whether they’re sexy, scary, or silly, we’ve always got time for a little blood-sucking goodness. And maybe you’d like to make time for something a little new in the genre – in which case, I’ve got you covered. Jump into some of these brilliant and under-watched vampire classics, and prepare to clip in the fake fangs and get your cape on for some blood-sucking fun.
Now, I know plenty of people don’t have time for Jean Rollins and his back catalogue of classic sapphic softcore vampire cinema, but he’s a director I came back to recently with a little more horror and general movie knowledge under my belt – and damn, I liked what I saw. In particular, his best-known work, Fascination, is a bizarre little fever-dream of a movie – following a thief on the run from his own crew who stumbles across two mysterious women willing to take him in, it has echoes of Edgar Allen Poe just as much as it does Deep Throat. Slow, lingering, and memorable, it’s a quintessential piece of French erotic horror that evades self-parody and finds something more interesting, instead.
2. The Transfiguration
If you’re looking for a traditional take on the vampire story, The Transfiguration isn’t it. Written and directed by Michael O’Shea, it’s a dark and unsettling story, following the troubled teenage Milo as he lives out his vampire fantasies – or, perhaps not. It’s a thoughtful movie, spiked through with striking imagery and horrible violence, and one that has stuck with me for years after I first saw it. Distinctly modern and highly disturbing, The Transfiguration is impossible to forget, and manages to use the Twilight franchise as a throughline without toppling the whole story. If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is.
3. The Hamiltons
Now, you all know that I’m a huge found footage fan, so throw some vampires into the mix, and you’ve got something pretty damn compelling. The Hamiltons follows the youngest member of a newly-ensconced suburban family trying to navigate life after the loss of their parents – but, as time goes on, it becomes clear that there is far more for the family’s recent move than just a new start. It’s a smart idea with a slow build of dread and a crisp execution, with some great performances from lesser-known actors to boot. If you thought weird, vaguely incestuous vampire families topped out at Drusilla, Darla, Angel, and Spike, you’ve got another thing coming.
By Louise MacGregor
(header image via Rue Morgue)