Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Introduction to Vampire Week

Halloween is a time for horror movies. It used to be a time for candy, but now that I’m too old for that, it has entirely given itself over to that most beloved and derided genre. In fact, the entire month of October is usually a good time to catch up on horror classics and morbid guilty pleasures. It is also a good time for horror lists. If you haven’t already checked it out, you can vote for your top 31 favorite horror movies over at Shoot the Projectionist. I’ve already submitted my picks, but sadly many of my favorites didn’t make it through the nomination round. However, personal favorites “Deep Red” and “Possession” [1981] did along with 181 other choices!

Like Ed over at Shoot the Projectionist, I wanted to present a list of horror movies, but I spent September wondering what my theme should be. My top 100 horror films seemed too easy and I’m saving that for a more interesting number. A top giallo list is both a bit too obvious for me and, frankly, I haven’t yet seen enough to give a really complete overview (I wish Giallo Fever would treat us). How about best serial killers? Not bad. Witches, werewolves, ghosts? All too sparse. I finally settled on vampires. So how about the top 35 vampire films?

I have to admit to loving vampire movies, even though they so often suck. Even the original “Dracula” (1931) isn’t objectively very good nor is Bram Stoker’s source novel a particularly impressive read. Many films over the years have been content simply to replay the same tired conventions and plotlines without really elevating or innovating the subgenre, although precious exceptions exist. I’m especially drawn to those ones that break the mold, although sometimes you need a trashy exercise in the basics: gothic architecture, Hungarian accents, artery-spouting violence and lesbian exploitation.

You can expect a pretty idiosyncratic list (as usual). I’ll be stretching the definition of “vampire movie” pretty far, and I expect at least a few objections. As for coverage, I can’t claim to have seen every vampire film – who can? Dracula, according to Guinness, is the most depicted fictional character in cinematic history, and he only accounts for a fraction of the vampire films out there.

I can claim to have seen more than 50 (drawing from a dozen+ countries), and that should provide a decent foundation. These last few weeks I’ve been filling in some of my gaps, but I won’t be able to get through even the “important” titles. At the end of the week, I’ll list some of the ones I haven’t seen to ward off indignant complaints. If you don’t see one of your favorites on my top 35 or my losing contenders lists, feel free to recommend it to me.

So for the next week they’ll be five vampire movies reviewed each day, starting with #35 and counting down to my all-time favorites on Halloween. Sharpen your fangs, dry-clean your cape and get ready to feast!


Mad Dog said...

Too old for CANDY?

Unknown said...

I have to agree with John here.

Also, can we give out only movie themed candy to trick-or treaters, and make them tell us their favorite scary movie?