BY IRENE KARRAS
With the release of Vampire Academy, yet another film about the dark ones enters the pantheon. There are several really great films about vampires dating from the 1920s, but I’ve narrowed down a list of five especially cool cult classics from the 80s and 90s that are flashy and fun, and inspire a loyal following.
5) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Less angsty and more comedic than its TV namesake, this 1992 film stars Kristy Swanson as the valley-girl-turned-slayer and Donald Sutherland as her Giles. Luke Perry, David Arquette and Pee Wee Herman round out the cast for less Scooby Gang and more Burnout Bunch. Funny and smart, you can see how Joss Whedon was inspired to create his darker TV version.
4) From Dusk Till Dawn
First, Tarantino wrote it and stars in it. Second, Robert Rodriguez directs. Third, Salma Hayek, Juilette Lewis, Harvey Kietl and George Clooney also star. So what if this 1996 story is a bit of a mess starting out as a criminals-on-the-lam adventure and ending in a weird Vampire horror bloodfest? You’re watching it because it’s slick, weird and stylish in a run-down-Mexican-border-bar kind of way. Even better after a couple of tequila shots.
3) The Lost Boys
A who’s-who-80s-whatever-happened-to?-cast including Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the two Coreys and Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Dianne Weist and the sublime Edward Hermann play the grown-ups. This film is a dark, sexy and funny metaphor for partying too hard, a modern (for 1987) take on Peter Pan. And the soundtrack is fantastic, featuring INXS, Roger Daltrey, Lou Gramm, and Echo and the Bunnymen (all lead singers who kind of look like vampires!).
2) The Hunger
This 1983 film stars Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in a gothy, feminist, philosophical take on the nature of addiction and the pressure to remain eternally young dressed up in fabulous outfits and hair. Watching it now, 30 years later, and knowing how fantastic the three leads continue to look makes you wonder if this is actually fiction. Also, Bauhaus performs their classic goth rock anthem “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in a brilliant opening scene that almost makes up for the cop-out ending.
1) Interview With the Vampire
Anne Rice is to 40-somethings what Stephanie Meyers was to teens a few years back, and this 1994 film adaptation of her first book in the Lestat series was every 90s-girl’s wet dream featuring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and Antonio Banderas. Kristen Dunst also stars as a child vampire in a sad and creepy little role that earned her a Golden Globe nom at 12. Fun fact: River Phoenix was supposed to play Christian Slater’s role but died four weeks before production was to begin so Slater took the part and donated his entire salary to Phoenix’s favourite charities. The ending is perfect featuring a Guns N’ Roses cover of “Sympathy for the Devil”.
Irene Karras is a Calgary-based communications consultant and freelance writer with a fondness for 1950s Greek melodramas, 1980s coming of age movies, weird Canadian films, and, by necessity, PG movies. She blogs at misplacedmysassy.wordpress.com and tweets @irene_karras.