Halloween is approaching, and my excitement for the season grows with each passing day. Decorations are up, candy is stocked, and the lights are dimmed.
During the Halloween season, one of my favorite activities is watching horror movies. My favorite horror movies usually involve vampires. I’m a sucker for vampires.
Horror movies in the 1990s took a weird turn. They went from the gritty, slasher movies of the 1980s to horror comedy in the 1990s. While there were horror comedies in the 1980s, the horror movies of the 1990s seemed to lean more towards the comedic side.
Thankfully the trend would change as the decade progressed. Wes Craven’s Scream is widely credited with reviving the horror genre in the 1990s. We won’t be debating that today.
Today we are look at Vampire movies from the 1990s. Scream is a pure slasher flick,with no vampires in sight. A few of the movies are horror comedies, but as we get closer to the top of the list, the comedy dies and we’re left with pure horror action.
Grab some garlic and a bottle of Holy Water as we look at the Top 10 Vampire Movies from the 1990s.
10. Dracula, Dead and Loving It (1995)
Mel Brooks’ 1995 film Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a parody of the classic 1931 film Dracula. The film stars Leslie Nielsen as Count Dracula, a centuries-old vampire who comes to England in search of fresh blood. Dracula soon finds himself out of his depth in the modern world, and he must rely on the help of his bumbling servant Renfield to survive.
While this isn’t a horror movie it’s a funny movie about Dracula and horror movies in general. Mel Brooks is the master at creating parody movies. Mel Brooks’ list of movies is long and distinguished. Dracula, Dead and Loving It doesn’t live up to some of Brooks past movies but it is a good addition.
There are lots of Brooks style gags and plenty of references to classic horror films for any horror movie fan. Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters II), Steven Weber (Wings) and Amy Yasbeck (Problem Child) round out the cast with Brooks played the vampire hunter Van Helsing.
9. Innocent Blood (1992)
Innocent Blood is a film by John Landis, the man who brought us great movies like Trading Places, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and many more. The movie stars Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita), as Maria, a vampire with a thirst for bad boys.
When she turns a local mob boss (Robert Loggia) into a vampire, she finds herself caught up in a war between the mob and the vampire community. Don Rickles plays a vampire lawyer and is funny as always.
Landis blends elements of horror, comedy, and gangster films to create an original and entertaining film. Unfortunately it mixed to many elements for viewers to truly appreciate the movie. It was a box office bomb and marks a downturn in Landis’ career. His next movies included Beverly Hills Cop III and Blues Brothers 2000.
Despite its flaws, Innocent Blood is a fun movie. If you are a fan of John Landis you will enjoy this one.
8. Bordello of Blood (1996)
Another entry in the comedy horror genre, officially titled Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood. It was the second attempt to launch the Tales from the Crypt movie franchise. The first movie Demon Knight (1995) was a mild success. Bordello of Blood killed any chance for a third movie. It was a box office bust.
Despite it’s lack of success I like this movie. It has a great cast, starring Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak, Angie Everhart, Corey Feldman, and Chris Sarandon.
Bordello of Blood follows Rafe Guttman (Miller), a private investigator who is hired to find Caleb (Feldman), a missing teenager. Rafe’s investigation leads him to Lilith (Everhart), a powerful vampire who runs a brothel called Bordello of Blood. Rafe and his client, Katherine Verdoux (Eleniak), must work together to rescue Caleb and defeat Lilith.
Everhart plays the seductive vampire Lilith perfectly. Miller is great as the sarcastic private investigator and Eleniak is good as the tough woman trying to save her brother.
Bordello of Blood fits in the comedy horror genre with campy, over-the-top humor and gore. While it’s a mainstream movie, it has a B-movie vibe.
7. Cronos (1992)
Cronos is Guillermo del Toro’s debut film. It wasn’t in any theater near me, or anyone really when it was released. It screened on less than 30 movie theaters in the United States when it was released. I rented this in the mid-2000’s and I’m glad I did.
Cronos follows an antique dealer, Jesús Gris, who stumbles upon an ancient scarab device that grants eternal life. However, the device also has a dark side: it requires Gris to drink blood regularly in order to survive. As Gris struggles to control his bloodlust, he is drawn into a dangerous conflict with Dieter de la Guardia, a wealthy businessman who is also obsessed with eternal life.
Cronos is a fantastic movie and a great debut film for del Toro. It showcases del Toro’s unique visual style and writing.
The movie might not appeal to everyone as it is filmed in Spanish and has English subtitles. There may be an English dubbed version floating around the internets if you look hard enough.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Buffy is a fun and campy comedy horror movie from the early 1990’s written by Joss Whedon.
The movie follows the adventures of high school cheerleader Buffy Summers, played by Kristy Swanson. Buffy is the Chosen One, a vampire slayer destined to defeat the powers of darkness.
Buffy is trained by her Watcher, Merrick Jamison-Smythe (Donald Sutherland), and she soon finds herself caught up in a battle against the vampire Lothos (Rutger Hauer), who is trying to open a portal to the Hell dimension.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fun and entertaining movie packed with over-the-top action, cheesy dialogue, and slapstick humor.
Luke Perry and Paul Reubens have great supporting roles. Reubens is best known for Pee-Wee Herman but his vampire character, Amilyn is fantastic.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer bombed at the box office but went on to become a cult classic. It’s a fun movie worth watching.
5. John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)
John Carpenter is the king of horror movies, he solidified the title in 1978 with the release of Halloween. He followed Halloween with The Fog, Halloween II, The Thing and Christine, all before 1983.
He slowed down a bit in the 90s, releasing only five films. Vampires is the fifth and final film he released in the 90s and his second most successful of the decade.
Vampires is neo-Western, action horror movie starring James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, and Sheryl Lee. The film follows Jack Crow (Woods), a vampire hunter who leads a team of mercenaries on a mission to destroy a nest of vampires in New Mexico.
One of the things that makes Vampires so enjoyable is its fast-paced action sequences. Carpenter stages the film’s shootouts and vampire brawls with flair and excitement.
In a surprising review (at least to me) Gene Siskel gave the movie four out of four stars, calling the film “a high-action homage to westerns and classic horror that actually has a unique story and masterful cinematography” He even went to so far as to say James Wood should be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.
4. Interview with a Vampire (1994)
I’ve never read a Anne Rice novel. I tried but could never get into them.
Interview with a Vampire is based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name and stars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater. With a cast like that it’s no wonder the movie was a box office hit. Has Tom Cruise ever had a bad movie?
Interview with a Vampire follows the life of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Pitt) a wealthy plantation owner in 1791 Louisiana. In modern times Louis is telling his life story to reporter Daniel Malloy (Slater).
Louis begins by telling him how he met the vampire Lestat (Crusie) one night while wondering the waterfront, drunk and mourning the lose of his wife and child.Lestat offered to turn him into a vampire and Louis accepted in his grief.
The rest of the movie recounts the life of Louis and Lestat into the present day.
Cruise is mesmerizing as Lestat, a charismatic and psychotic vampire. Pitt does a great job as Louis trying to quench his thirst for blood while struggling to maintain his humanity.
Dunst is excellent as Claudia, a young girl destined to never grow up and resentful of her circumstance. Slater is good as the reporter who listens to Louis’ entire story and completely misses the point when he asks Louis to make him his vampire companion.
Interview with a Vampire is a fantastic vampire movie. Check it out this Halloween season.
3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
There was a ton of hype and PR around Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Directed by five time Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola and starring Best Actor Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was bound for success. Rounding out the cast is Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves.
The movie is an adaptaion of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula. It is a good adaptation, Coppola does add a romantic backstory for Dracula to humanize him and give the audience a glimpse into his madness.
Visually Bram Stoker’s Dracula is amazing. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus created stunning images that draw you in, enhanced by the stirring musical score. The special effects, especially the vampire transformation are superb.
Oldman is mesmerizing as Count Dracula, how he was overlooked for an Oscar is shameful. Ryder is excellent as Mina Harker, Dracula’s love interest. Reeves does a decent job as Jonathan Harker and Hopkins is outstanding as Van Helsing.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a masterpiece in gothic horror. It is a must watch for all horror fans and movie fans in general.
2. Blade (1998)
Remember when they made good movies based on comics? Blade was the first movie made by Marvel Studios and it was excellent.
Blade is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The film stars Wesley Snipes as Blade, a Daywalker, half-human, half-vampire who hunts down and kills vampires. Blade is joined in his quest by his allies, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and Karen Blade (N’Bushe Wright).
Snipes is the perfect actor to play Blade. He brings his action star prowess and martial arts expertise to the character. Kristofferson is excellent as the experienced mentor Whistler.
If you want to see a well made comic book movie watch Blade. It has what modern comic book movies are missing; character depth, great action and a coherent plot. If you’re a fan of the MCU check out Blade and see how it all began.
1. From Dusk Til Dawn (1996)
Robert Rodriguez has a wide range of movies. He makes hard R-rated movies like Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn. And he also makes great family movies like the Spy Kids franchise. We’ll save Spy Kids for another day. Today we are looking at the best Vampire movie of the 90s… From Dusk Til Dawn.
Directed by Rodriguez and written Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Til Dawn stars George Clooney and Tarantino as the Gecko brothers. The brothers are career criminals and after robbing a liquor store take a minister, Jacob Fuller and his children hostage to get across the Mexico border.
Fuller is played by Harvey Keitel, his daughter Kate is played by Juliette Lewis. His son is an almost an after thought.
Once in Mexico the Gecko brothers stop at the Titty Twister, a strip club in the middle of nowhere to meet their contact. The supporting cast in the strip club is excellent too, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Fred Williamsonk, John Saxon, Tom Savini and Salma Hayek as the lead stripper and head vampire.
Everything seems normal until a bar fight breaks out and the strippers reveal themselves as vampires. Then all hell breaks loose.
Originally Universal Pictures considered From Dusk Til Dawn as the follow-up to Demon Knight, making it the second entry in the Tales from the Crypt trilogy. Instead they choose Bordello of Blood, killing any hope of a trilogy.
From Dusk Til Dawn is a great movie. The screenplay is well-written, with Tarantino’s characteristic dialogue. The action sequences are thrilling, the special effects are great and the cast is superb.
Be sure to put this movie on your Halloween watch list. You won’t regret it.
That completes my list of the Top 10 Vampire movies from the 1990s. What would you change? Did I leave off your favorite?