Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Director: Freddie Francis
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing
Storyline: After the castle being blessed Dracula comes back from the dead to seek revenge by possessing the priest’s niece as his lover.
Review (Spoils): Dracula (Christopher Lee) is back and his return is well memorable as he the blood touches his lips and red shot eyes awaken. Once again this Hammer Film has brought classic gothic like scenery and as well the bosomed beauties the films are known for. The film isn’t just a film on Dracula but also a struggle in faith and loyalty.
We have battles with priests and the vampire himself, the beauty of Veronica Carlson, classic Dracula from Christopher Lee, brighter then the sun red blood, nasty bit marks, drinking games, blood red eyes and the sassy barmaid Barbara Ewing. Christopher Lee blows the screen away yet again playing the role as the prince of darkness and this might be one of the better ones of the Dracula series from Hammer.
Rating: This is one of the best of the Dracula films and even from Hammer itself. We have the delights of the two young actresses and we have a fun tale of an innocent woman and not so innocent man. We have some interesting plots and conversations such as the dinner where the young states he is an atheist to the priest. This film is quite enjoyable and the time does fly when watching this film. Defiantly a nice sequel to The Horror of Dracula, well worth the drinks.
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Director: Ubaldo Ragona
Main Stars: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Christi Courtland
Storyline: A disease wipes humanity off of Earth into vampires and one man tries to survive alone.
Review (Spoils): A plague kills of most of the people on Earth and leaves their bodies as walking vampires. Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is alone as he sits and reflects on his past life, surviving on what is left on the planet and killing off the undead. While narrating to himself he tries to not lose his mind in his own thoughts and sorrow. Even the undead taunt him to join them in their unholy horde.
We have some good vampire slaying, lots of flashbacks of when he had a normal life, the long torment of looking for anyone else out there, some staking, misunderstandings and shootings. This tale falls under The Night of the Living Dead feel but this time vampires.
Rating: I found Vincent Price outstanding in this film. He talks his way through the film with how the plague is seen in his view and the torture and pain it has caused to himself and his family. It pulls on he has finally found what he has been looking for on companionship but then it spits it right back in his face the torment. A vampire film unlike the others in the past. One scene that I still laugh to myself is the”cut the cake mommy” scene. This film is a horror classic.
Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
Director: Alan Gibson
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Stephanie Beacham, Caroline Munro, Marsha Hunt
Storyline: It’s 1972 and someone has raised Count Dracula and he hunts down the bloodline of Van Helsing.
Review (Spoils): the final battle of 1872 with Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) and Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) has the vampire falling to his death from a piece of wooden wheel through the heart. During this battle the great Van Helsing also dies from his wounds. He gets buried and the some of the vampire ashes and ring are kept in secretive by his apprentice. In 1972 now the Count gets resurrected by a bloodline relative of the apprentice. The Count is raised and he starts to continue his hatred towards the Van Helsings.
What we have here is the sequel to Satanic Rites of Dracula and a nice Hammer Film located in the 70s. We have top notch acting yet again from Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, some sexy 70s babes (what’s a Hammer film without the ladies) and crazy 70s lingo. This film sure is not as great as the past one’s of the series but the Dracula series from Hammer is still going strong with this entry. The opening battle scene alone is a horror classic.
Rating: When it comes the Hammer films the Dracula series is by far the best of them. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are great yet again. This might be the weaker of them but trust me this does not make this a bad film. It’s worth to drink too and check out and “Tell us about the blood Johnny?”
Let Me In (2010)
Director: Matt Reeves
Main Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Sasha Barrese
Storyline: A young boy befriends a young girl vampire
Review (Spoils): Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee ) lives a poor life of being picked on because he is a little different. He dreams of the day when he confront his bullies and make them pay, well along comes adorable Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz). She appears only at night and is new to the neighbourhood and people do not know much about her. While this cute kid love affair is building the police are on a hunt for strange cult that drains blood from their victims, which is really Abby’s dad you is a ancient vampire and he needs to feed his daughter.
Remake time again, and this time it is not bad. We have lots of blood in this one and both leading character Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee hold it well together. Something about Chloe Grace Moretz makes you entranced to the film. She is cute and yet scary as hell when she is pissed off. This nightmare like fairytale shows the softer and harder side of being a child that just does not fit in and yet twisted with the shady vampire side of things. We have great acting, gloomy story and lots of red what is there not to like about this film.
Rating: I personally hate remakes so I did not have high hopes for this as I did enjoy the original Let the Right One In. But Chloe Grace Moretz stole my heart with her performance in this film and made this remake something that is gearing very close to the being as good as the original. If you have not seen this film go do it…its vampire fun with a side of dark childhood.
Director: Richard Blackburn
Main Stars: Lesley Taplin, Cheryl Smith, William Whitton
Storyline: A young girl returns home to see her sick father and it all turns into a vampiric ghoulish nightmare.
Review (Spoils): Young Lila (Cheryl Smith) heads to see her sick father after she receives a note to go to him. She gets chased down by ghouls and finally she passes out as pale skin vampires interrupt. She wakes up to a young woman named Lemora (Lesley Taplin) who explains to her and takes her in. She explains to her that her father is very sick and he is strapped down not to hurt himself and others. This leads to the storyline of ghouls and vampires and some lesbian in your window. In the end we have a chase, some more battles and the choice between Lemora and Lila’s father.
We have some blood, a real gothic feel, vampires, ghouls and some nightmare type sequences. The film was supposedly banned due to the anti-Catholic vibe the film brought but I did not feel that when watching the film. Sure there is some don’t wear a crucifix but what movie of vampires of demons does not. It could be the relationship between the two girls that lead it to be banned during this time of the 70s because it was very much out there.
Rating: The feel is dark, gloomy and does have a macabre gothic feel to it. Is this film a classic I’m not sure but it is worth checking out if you like dark really unknown but horror films of the 70s era.
Let the Right One in (2008)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Main Stars: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragner
Storyline: A young boy falls in love with a young female vampire
Review (Spoils): Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a young boy who gets picked on a lot. He dreams of the day that he makes everyone pay for his treatment. When comes across a strange and quiet little girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), they become close friends. She hates the daytime, not much for food, doesn’t get cold in the winter night and visits him at night. Through time they grow closer as they bond and Eli tell Oskar that he needs to stick up for himself or she can help. Though the bloody scenes of Eli’s caretaker slitting throats for the young girl to drink, bodies on flames and lots of beatings Oskar puts it together that Eli is a vampire.
This film does have its bloody parts but the true blessing of the film is the connection between the two innocent children. They know they are different but they make that bring them closure and lookout for each other.
Rating: This is a whole new take on vampires and it works. I hate vampire films that deal with the same topics over and over again so this was a great change. Sure there is a pile of red in it but the overall point of the film is the innocence of the two young ones.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Main Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Sadie Frost, Jonathan Harker
Storyline: A vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor’s fiancée and bring terror to the land.
Review (Spoils): More closely to the novel then the past Dracula films this one is more of a work of art then horror. A young man (Jonathan Harker) was captured by Dracula (Gary Oldman) as he wants his fiancée Mina (Winona Ryde). Dracula travels to Britain to keep his reign of terror going and then attacks Mina best friend Lucy (Sadie Frost) also.
This film is a piece of art really. The scenery alone is worth the watch and the story telling of the film is very well done. From the beginning of Vlad the Impaler to now Dracula, the film moves with ease. The acting is very well done and the presence of Dracula from Gary Oldman is spectacular as he presents himself as young seductive man and the aging, gross and hideous beast. Sure the movie plays like a gothic love story but the gore is there. We have wolves, blood, great special effects of changing of physical appearances, lots of biting and even the odd sexual scene. The film covers it all.
Rating: Not as great as the Dracula films of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee but it is up there. It is in a different type of vampire genre this is leaning more the romantic period. Francis Ford Coppola did create a masterpiece here and it should be viewed not by just horror fans but movie lovers in general.
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Director: Tod Browning
Main Stars: Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Carroll Borland
Storyline: A body has been found drained of all its blood and he has bite marks on the neck. Vampires are to be blamed.
Review (Spoils): Sir Karell Borotin is found dead drained of all blood. Vampires that are located near the village are too blamed for this. Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his very gothic and strange daughter Luna (Carroll Borland) are believed to be the murders. Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore) uses the beautiful daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan) of the victim as trap to lure the vampires out.
The storyline itself is not very thick but the gothic intensity of the film is. Tod Browning did it again with this film as it is very dark, gloomy and the sound effects are awesome for its time. Bela Lugosi steals the show with his presence this time as Count Mora. Carroll Borland plays the very dark and perfect goth girl Luna in which she has no lines her presence speaks for itself. Her eeriness and loneliness fills the screen with dread. The only real down fall of this film is Lionel Barrymore who I fell overacted the part.
Rating: Bela Lugosi brings himself to the screen again but this time as another leading vampire by the name of Count Mora. The gloom and darkness of the rare gem is enough to hold as a classic film. Not as great as Dracula but it still holds its own.
Near Dark (1987)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Joshua John Miller
Storyline: A young cowboy chases a young girl and falls in love. What he does not know is she is a vampire and travels with a family of them.
Review (spoils): Think Lost Boys and then mix it with some redneck and you have Near Dark. Does it work? I think so. We have young farmer Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) who thinks he is all that as he sees a young blond pixy cut girl named Mae (Jenny Wright). He does not know nor does he care as he tries to make out with her and but instead tries to drive her home before dawn. He does not make it in time and she bites him. He takes off confused and sick and the family picks him up to join their little coven. He has a hard time understanding and adapting to it plus his family is looking for him too. In the end he enjoys it but not before the youngest vampire Homer (Joshua John Miller) takes his sister (by chance) and wants to make her one too. This leads to a shootout, vampire deaths and some blood transfusions so we can have a happy ending.
The film gives us a van of vampires that tinfoil the windows or paint them out black, a dirty bar scene that involves throat slits (one with a spur off a cowboy boot), burning skin and fucking Lance Henriksen!
Rating: Minus the lame blood transfusion stuff to make the perfect happy ending this film is not bad and it’s a great staple vampire film. I recommend this to anyone who loves vampire films unless you’re a Twilight fan then just give up. (j/k)
30 Days of Night (2007)
Director: David Slade
Main Stars: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston
Storyline: An Alaskan town is held in darkness for a month and it becomes a haven for vampires.
Review (Spoils): A small isolated Alaskan town sits in darkness for a month while it is being haunted and attacked by a tribe of blood thirsty vampires. Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) and Deputy Billy Kitka try to narrow down what is really happening. We have lots of blood, decapitations, neck ripping, dead dogs and flying vampires. The survivors try to keep their sense and lives by hiding till the next sunrise which is 30 days. The vampire’s leader Marlow (Danny Huston) meets his match against the sheriff.
The film is different compared to other vampire’s films. We have vampires out in the cold, in the dark full time and nothing rocks better than blood on white snow. The storyline is very interesting and I’m amazed the concept of vampires up in the north where it is dark for longer periods of time has not been done till then.
Rating: Not the greatest vampire film but the idea works well and it is fresh and new. This film is worth for good beer drinking, so grab some friends and 30 pints (of beer not blood) and drink it up!