Despite the recent vampire craze (led by the Twilight series of books and movies and the True Blood HBO show and series of books; both followed by dozens of cheap imitations), there hasn't been a really good vampire movie in over a decade. Here is my take of the best vampire flicks of all-time.
5: The Lost Boys (1987) - In late 80s Santa Carla, California, Kiefer Sutherland wasn't a federal agent, he was a vampire, and the #2 leader of a group of teen vampires. This film starred both Corey's, and Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Haim/Feldman; Bill from Bill & Ted). The Lost Boys is a little cheesy, but I'm a child of the 80s and was 11 when this came out, so I am bound by nostalgia to include it on the list.
4: Dracula (1931) - Bela Lugosi's classic is the defining film of the genre, and is the classic Dracula. The reason we have handsome, charming vampires in fiction today is because of Lugosi's portrayal 80 years ago. If you don't know much about vampires but have a picture in your head from years of Halloween commercialism, what you think of is probably derivative of Lugosi.
3: Shadow of the Vampire (2000) - Willem Dafoe plays Max Schreck, the actor who played Nosferatu (see #1 below). In this "behind the scenes" retelling of the Nosferatu story, Schreck is actually a vampire who causes all kinds of problems during the filming of the original Nosferatu. A cleverly done and perfectly acted chilling and surreal film.
2: Interview with the Vampire (1994) - Anne Rice reinvented the vampire mythos with this book in 1976. This movies stars two of the generation's greatest actors (Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, despite what you might think of them otherwise), as well as Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, and Kirsten Dunst. Interview with the Vampire traces 200 years in the life of a vampire--including struggles with morality, the search for other vampires, love and loss, and plenty of action. This is probably the most complete vampire film ever made.
1: Nosferatu (1922) - In 1921 when this was filmed, the studio couldn't get the rights to Bram Stoker's Dracula, so it tweaked the Dracula story and changed the names. Perhaps because it's a silent era film, Nosferatu has played only a minor role in the way we picture vampires. Regardless, Count Orlok--with his decrepit and almost rotten appearance--is straight-up scary, and this movie is horrifying in its relative minimalism. If you haven't seen this, you should--even if you're not a silent movie fan.
There are a lot of good and entertaining vampire movies out there that fell short of the list. Did you have any favorites that didn't make my cut?