5 vampire movies with some real bite

Vampires and other movie monsters have always been a popular theme for screenwriters, but recently the vampire and werewolf craze has been reborn.

That rebirth is due in large part to the smashing success of the “Twilight” novels by Stephanie Meyer and the subsequent films. However, long before Robert Pattinson proved how truly sexy the undead could be, many other actors portrayed this favorite blood-sucking monster for the big screen.

These days, movies and television series featuring hot, bloodthirsty vamps, such as HBO’s “True Blood” or The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” are becoming the norm.

With so many worthy vampire movies to choose from, it was hard to narrow down the list, but we’ve managed to select the five best vampire movies ever. Read on at your own risk, because this list may contain spoilers.

First up, sexy vamps and werewolves, oh my …

No. 5: “Twilight” (2008)

OK, so we’ll admit that a huge factor in our love of the vampire movie “Twilight” has to do with the casting of the breathtakingly gorgeous Robert Pattinson in the male lead, as the self-loathing vampire Edward Cullen.

Of course, while we can’t get enough of Robert and his on- and off-screen love interest Kristen Stewart, there is also something to be said for the “Twilight” plotline, which is dripping with suspense and romance. Unlike most other vampire movies, there’s not a lot of blood and gore, but there’s still plenty of action.

Next up, the slayer before the cult TV series …

No. 4: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1992)

Five years before Sarah Michelle Gellar reprised the role for television, Kristi Swanson brought “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to life for the big screen.

A cheerleader who loves to shop, Buffy Summers is the antithesis of what you’d expect from a vampire slayer. However, with the help of her nerdy love interest (Luke Perry) and her vampire-slaying guru (Donald Sutherland), this flighty blonde learns that slaying vampires is her destiny.

This flick has everything that a great high school movie needs, including catty cheerleaders, nerds, jocks and a cheesy high school prom (that just happens to be crashed by a mob of hungry vamps).

It also has Rutger Hauer as the big bad guy, and anyone who’s seen “The Hitcher” knows how well he chews scenery. And did we mention his bloodthirsty henchman, played by none other than a shaggy-haired and goateed Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens?

If you loved the TV version (go on, you can admit it!), you’ll love this 1990s classic and top-five vampire flick.

Of course, if you really want some fun, mix vampires and George Clooney …

No. 3: “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

Now that we’ve gotten the cheesy high school favorites out of the way, move over for this gritty and violent vampire flick, written for the screen by and starring Quentin Tarantino.

Other big names who helped make “From Dusk Till Dawn” a hit include George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Cheech Marin and Juliette Lewis. And who could forget that steamy dance scene that helped make Salma Hayek a star?

The film follows the Gecko brothers, two fugitive bank robbers who escape into Mexico and end up at a biker bar/strip joint called The Titty Twister. Unfortunately for the brothers, Hayek’s character (along with the rest of the dancers and bar staff) turns out to be a vampire, whom the brothers must kill in order to escape.

So, to recap, we’ve got a talented cast, great writing, plenty of action, a strip club full of vampires and a half-naked Salma Hayek. What more could you ask for in a great vampire flick?

Well, how about a Super Soaker full of holy water? Best vamp-killer ever!

If only Van Helsing had had one in his arsenal when he took on our next vampire …

No. 2: “Dracula” (1931)

What many people consider to be the original vampire movie, “Dracula” is based on the classic novel by Bram Stoker and stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula and Edward Van Sloan as Professor Van Helsing.

The story takes place in Eastern Europe in 1897, where a love story evolves between Count Dracula and a visiting woman named Mina. This well-known story has everything that a great vampire movie requires, including drama, suspense, bloodshed and an incredible love story.

Although we love the drama of the original “Dracula,” the 1992 remake, which stars Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing and Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, is also well worth watching. This updated version took home three Oscars in 1993, including Best Makeup, Best Costume Design and Best Effects.

Yeah, the Dracula films had everything, except for Cruise and Pitt …

No. 1: “Interview with the Vampire” (1994)

Brad Pitt. Tom Cruise. Christian Slater. Kirsten Dunst. Antonio Banderas. Need we say more? This horror film takes No. 1 on our list, thanks to a great cast and an epic storyline, based off the novel by Anne Rice.

This 200-year-long story of curse, love and death is told through the eyes of Louis (Pitt), a self-loathing vampire who was created to serve as a companion to an older vampire named Lestat (Cruise).

Louis hates being a vampire and refuses to take human lives, but stays with Lestat out of love for a young orphan girl-turned vampire named Claudia (Dunst). The story, which is full of drama, is told to a modern-day reporter, played by Slater.

There’s no doubt that today’s sultry, sensitive vamps of “True Blood,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Twilight” owe a great debt to Rice and this movie.

While there are certainly plenty of vampire movies to choose from, if you haven’t seen them yet, we recommend you start with our top five, which includes a little something for everyone. If you’ve already seen these top flicks, don’t wait for Halloween to see them again.

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