Vampires are actually my least favorite movie monster. This doesn't mean I dislike all vampire stories. I don't. I'm simply super picky about them. In any case, here are my recommendations. The first is a mother/daughter story that spans centuries, Byzantium.
I like how Clara can never escape her experience (and thus, opinion) of men. The damage they did to her is inescapable because she cannot heal. I like how her biases warp her choices in acquiring a living and how Eleanore struggles against those choices. In some ways, it's a metaphor for women and their history with patriarchy. Anyway, I love that it centers on the relationship between mother and daughter. The rest is just shit they do to survive.
My next recommendation is, admittedly, an odd one. It's Only Lovers Left Alive.
I'm a Tilda Swinton fan. Face it, she's the David Bowie of actresses. When this film came out, I took my sister to see it. As the sea of names washed up on the screen indicating the end, I said, "Wow. That was cool." At the exact same time, my sister asked, "What the fuck was that?" LOL. The film is, admittedly, style over substance. (How very vampiric, if you ask me.) It's an interplay of atmosphere and music. It's a music video with pretensions of plot. It's moody and fun and oh so cool. I adore that Eve and Adam have a solid relationship even though they live on opposite sides of the planet. Also? John Hurt's Christopher Marlowe is price of admission. Do yourself a favor, pair it up with The Hunger.
The next film is very different. It's a remake that steals the elements of the original and mixes them into something miles better than I ever thought possible. The first was campy. ridiculous, and...sexist. The remake is downright scary.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a story centered on the white male protagonist, Charlie, and his progression into manhood. However, the women in the remake are empowered and have agency. Amy isn't slut-shamed, and Jerry (the vampire) is a walking, talking sexual harassment/assault creep. He's exactly the guy that acts one way around men and quite another around women. He's genuinely frightening. Also, David Tennant is a hoot. Seriously, see this one if you haven't. You won't be sorry. Just ditch all memory of the previous version when you do.
And now...Let the Right One In. You knew that'd be on this list, of course. I'm going with the Scandinavian original. It's just better. Eli (in this version) is androgynous. Eli is supposed to be. I hated that the American version screwed that up.
The next recommendation is a double feature. It needs to be because so much nuance will be lost if you're not familiar with the first film. The double feature is Nosferatu (the silent film) and Shadow of the Vampire.
You really won't appreciate the attention to detail until you see them back to back. It's just brilliant. Murneau's choices--everything for his art--echoes Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Truman Capote. (Another great film I'll bring up later.)
Other recommendations (expect some cheese--also some of these have sexism and bigotry issues): What We Do In The Shadows, Interview With A Vampire, The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Near Dark, Blade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Last Man On Earth (my favorite Vincent Price film), The Fearless Vampire Killers, and 'Salem's Lot. I won't list them because they're not all that great but I do like a lot of Hammer Horror vampire films. They're so very cheesy.
I'll make one last recommendation: Innocent Blood.
The opening (and ending) lines are what completely sold me on this one. The movie starts with: "I was sad, I was starved. It was time to treat myself. Then I thought - "What about...[flips newspaper to an article about Italian mobsters] Italian?!"" It's totally underrated.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.