Hungry for more after Byzantium? 5 alternative vampire flicks to get your teeth into
Neil Jordan’s alternative take on the mythology of vampires Byzantium was released on DVD late last month and is sure to find its way onto lots of ‘Best of 2013’ lists. Set in a washed-out British town and steeped in melancholy, the film ditched the glamorous portrayal of vampires, with Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan starring as a mother and daughter struggling to survive and deal with the prospect of eternal life.
And, if that sounds like it’s something you’d dig more than The Twilight Saga then here are 10 other vampire flicks with some real bite (sorry…) to them:
Interview with the Vampire
(1994, dir Neil Jordan)
This was Neil Jordan’s first venture with the glamorous undead as he directed this 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice’s gothic classic. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans in its decadent heyday, Tom Cruise plays legendary vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, who turns a young Brad Pitt and a teenage Kirsten Dunst into his companions. This is a luscious and lavish journey into the dark heart of vampirism and a thrill ride to watch.
Let The Right One In
(2008, dir Tomas Alfredson)
About as far away from the glitz and shimmer of Twilight and The Mortal Instruments as you can get, this story of a bullied 12-year old boy who strikes up and unlikely friendship with a vampire child. Set in 1980s Sweden, the film confronts the grizzly practicalities of eternal bloodlust with tenderness and beauty. An absolute essential.
The Last Man on Earth
(1964, dirs Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow)
Before I Am Legend, all the way back in 1964, you had The Last Man On Earth. Starring horror legend Vincent Price as Dr Robert Morgan, the story of the last human trying to survive in a world now only occupied by vampires has become a staple of horror, with the likes of George Romero citing it as a key influence on their work. It’s shonky, it’s creepy and it’s still a great watch.
(1993, dir Guillermo del Toro)
This 1993 Mexican drama marked the feature-length debut of Guillermo Del Toro and, 20 years on, still stands up as a chilling, quirky, vampire drama. Starring Federico Luppi and Ron Pearlman - who Del Tero would go on to make Hellboy and Pacific Rim with - the film follows an old antique dealer, Jesús Gris, who accidentally chances upon a device that offers up eternal life. A device that some people would kill to get their hands on…
(1995, dir Abel Ferrara)
This slipped out quietly in 1995, but has gone on to become a cult favourite on DVD. Directed by The Driller Killer maker Abel Ferrera, the film stars Lili Taylor as Kathleen, a philosophy student in downtown New York, who is attacked walking home and turned into a vampire. Shot in black and white and resolutely downbeat, the film turns the traditional idea of romping, adventure vampire movie on its head, instead showing how sobering the idea of immortality really could be.