Surprised? 80s vampire movies aren’t an obvious choice of entertainment during the holidays but hey, who wouldn’t want a palate cleanser for all the Home Alone rewatches you’ve done so far?
While ’80s films can feel a little tacky sometimes, that’s just part of the fun since the silly plots and obviously fake effects are part of what gives them their characteristic charm. Aside from these fun films, there are a number of vampire genre classics on this list since the ’80s were an influential time for horror movies.
1. Vampire’s Kiss (1989)
This sarcastic Nicolas Cage meme has been on the internet for ages but did you know it comes from the 80s vampire movie Vampire’s Kiss? The movie is a black comedy that follows Peter Loew, a literary agent, and part-time narcissist, as his lifestyle and treatment of others isolate him and send his mental health spiraling. Looking for comfort, he sleeps with Rachel who, unbeknownst to him, is a vampire. Or is she?
Loew’s erratic behavior implies that Rachel might not even be real. While he acts in line with traditional vampire transformations, we see that he has to buy a pair of corny vampire fans since he doesn’t grow them right off the bat.
2. Near Dark (1987)
What is it with 80s vampire movies having guys get attacked by female vampires? Honestly curious but hey, we’re not complaining. Near Dark‘s vampire awakening begins the same way it does in Vampire’s Kiss. Caleb Colton gets bitten by a young woman who, surprise surprise, turns him into a vampire. He quickly discovers that the sun now burns him and that he has no choice but to kill in order to survive. Unlike in most vampire movies, Caleb doesn’t become disconnected from his human ties in the film and fights against his new nature (and vampire friends) to stick to his beliefs and family.
3. Fright Night (1985)
Fright Night easily has one of the best horror movie posters of all time. If you saw it in theatres back in the ’80s, you were likely pulled in by its illustrated poster that featured a vampire monster in the clouds ominously hovering behind a house.
Directed by Tom Holland, the film follows horror fan Charley Brewster who discovers that his next-door neighbor is actually a vampire. Charley decides it’s his mission to stop her from killing more people so he tries to get a hold of Peter Vincent, a former “vampire hunter”, without really acknowledging that his T.V. vampire killing stint was just a show.
The Christmas lesson here is learning how to mind your own business.
4. Lifeforce (1985)
Lifeforce is one 80s vampire movie you won’t always hear mentioned when people talk about vampire films. This underrated film mixes the horror of the classic vampire character with the fresh horrors of sci-fi space aliens. Think Alien meets Dracula. In the film, a space shuttle crew discovers a spaceship inside of Halley’s Comet where they discover two men and a woman surrounded by bats or at least, what appear to be bats.
Instead of blood, these space vampires drain the literal life force of humans they encounter, preying on guards and staff as they escape to the earth. Cool premise right? But the film was deemed a box office flop when it came out.
5. The Hunger (1983)
Few 80s vampire movies can claim to be as sexy as The Hunger, an erotic horror movie that stars David Bowie who is in a love triangle with his vampire lover and a human doctor while being a vampire himself. Bowie and his original vampire lover met back in 18th-century France when he was just a cellist a little too happy about having a potential fan. These days, they hunt down prey together and pretend to be classical music teachers by day.
There’s just one problem. Unlike his lover, Bowie’s character realizes he has eternal life, but not eternal youth. He’s still going to age and suffer for it because he can’t die. Desperate, he runs to a gerontologist who he hopes can help him learn the secrets of prolonged youth. Honestly, it’s a cool twist since it’s usually the human asking vampires how to maintain an eternal youth and lifespan.
6. Dracula’s Widow (1988)
A lot of horror movies flop before coming back later as a cult classic. Dracula’s Widow hasn’t quite done the same yet, but if you’re open to watching a movie about Dracula’s titular widow living her best life, flirting with humans, and slaughtering everyone who crosses her path, this is the holiday film for you.
The movie starts with a mysterious beauty appearing at The Blue Angel bar where she picks up men and lures them away to secluded places with her, only to drink their blood. In a modern twist on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the widow binds the male protagonist to her with a bite, forcing him to break up with his girlfriend Jenny Harker. Harker as in “Mina Harker”.
7. A Polish Vampire in Burbank (1985)
You’ll want to drop your expectations a little lower for this one because A Polish Vampire in Burbank is the horror house of 80s movie vampires but like, not in a good way. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad movie, but the visual effects can be a bit disappointing. If you give it some time though, you’ll realize it actually fits the movie since it’s a horror comedy.
Besides, it was filmed for $2,500. You really can’t expect too much from the visual effects.
Our shy vampire male lead is taken out for a fun night about town by his more promiscuous sister. In the process, he meets a beautiful spa instructor who was supposed to be his first victim and nothing more. Unfortunately, he becomes attached to her.
The best thing about this film? Its visual gags. You might start the film thinking it’s going to be meh until you see vampire fangs get stuck on a pearl necklace. Absolute hilarity.
In this winter vacation, I will watch all of them
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