Nosferatu

Nosferatu

by Jennifer Lynch

The vampire film genre, starting with Nosferatu, began as a horror category with very specific rules for what vampires can and can’t do. No sunlight, stakes, or American citizenship. But as time has worn on, the genre has grown to encompass all types of movies from comedy to romance to thriller and everything in between, and vampires can come in forms Dracula himself wouldn’t recognize. Some of these films have gracefully and believably expanded the genre for fans while others have turned the category into a cinematic joke. Here are 9 vampire movies that effectively ruined the genre.

  1. Twilight series

    This is an obvious choice for movies that ruined the genre for people who normally love it. Of course, for many teenage girls (and even some middle-age women), Twilight‘s sparkling vampires are the only ones who matter. Not only do these non-traditional immortals prance around in the daylight, they have supernatural strength, drink animal blood rather than that of humans (normally), and spend their free time playing family games of baseball. The author of the Twilight books even admits that she didn’t really consider normal vampires when creating her own. Besides the fact that the Cullens, Twilight‘s clan of vampires, don’t fit in with the normal undead, the movie itself is full of bad special effects and teenage angst, and its popularity stakes the death of vampires as we knew them.

  2. Vampire in Brooklyn

    The vampire in this movie is played by Eddie Murphy. If that doesn’t convince you that this is an awful film, you should know that Murphy also plays an alcoholic preacher and dons white face to portray an Italian mobster. These alter egos are explained away by a kind of vampire voodoo Murphy’s (main) character uses to take over their bodies. Murphy falls in love with a half-vampire lady cop who is supposed to give the film some sex appeal. The movie’s tagline promotes it as “a comic tale of horror and seduction,” but really just shows how director Wes Craven was spreading himself too thin between genres. Falling in a weird gray area between comedy and horror flick, Vampire in Brooklyn is neither funny, sexy, nor scary and reminds us how overdone vampire movies are.

  3. Dracula 3000

    Take the classic Dracula story, add Coolio, and set it in space, and you’ll have Dracula 3000. In general, when a rapper stars in a film and a classic genre is transported to the final frontier, you know the result is going to be disappointing. But the disaster of Dracula 3000 is even more spectacular than expected. Everything in this movie is terrible, including the writing, acting, and the plot in general. And while the script borrows from the original Dracula using several character names and noting that the vampires hail from the planet Transylvania, the alien vampires don’t do justice to the traditional bloodsuckers or the loyal fans of the genre.

  4. Once Bitten

    Once Bitten is probably not Jim Carrey’s worst movie, but it definitely ranks among the worst vampire movies. Since it’s supposed to be a comedy, it accomplishes the purpose the director was going for, but it takes the role of vampire from creepy and mysterious to laughable. Carrey’s transformation from human to vampire is overacted, as you might expect, and the movie’s climactic scenes involve a dance-off in a high school gym and sex in a coffin. While you might smile occasionally during the film, the premise is slightly confusing, the timeline gets a bit muddled, and the genre here is more teen sex comedy than vampire flick.

  5. Underworld

    Some people seem to really like Underworld but that probably has more to do with Kate Beckinsale’s hot bod than with their love of vampires. And most people would admit that the visuals in the film (besides the eye candy of Beckinsale herself) are striking, but the plot and acting of the film cancel out the positives. The conflict takes place between vampires and a species of werewolves, though it didn’t divide audiences nearly as much as the Team Edward or Team Jacob debate of Twilight. Most serious vampire fans and critics hate this movie for its poor character development and unnecessarily complicated back story, but teenage dudes and action lovers will probably enjoy it.

  6. Love at First Bite

    Every time Love at First Bite is played, there’s a vampire somewhere rolling over in his grave. This film stars George Hamilton (pre-leathery tan) as Dracula who finds himself in New York City after being evicted from his Transylvania castle. Full of puns and slapstick, Love at First Bite is perfect for a goofy, girls’ sleepover but not for anyone with real respect for the vampire genre. As joke after joke are lobbed at the audience, you’ll probably chuckle but you won’t find anything new or noteworthy in the cast or plot. The most successful part of Love at First Bite is probably the fact that there hasn’t been a sequel made despite several attempts.

  7. Queen of the Damned

    Of all the stupid things to bring a vampire out of hibernation, rock music has got to be the most ridiculous. Your parents warned you it was evil, and this movie tries to prove it. A vampire is awakened by the sound of a rock band and becomes its lead singer. Other vampires get angry (or maybe jealous) about his newfound fame and try to kill him, but are thwarted by a vampire queen. This sounds like it could be a good plot for a comedy, but Queen of the Damned is a completely serious attempt at a vampire movie. The most interesting thing about this movie is that the queen vampire was Aaliyah’s last role before her death, a sad tribute to her life.

  8. BloodRayne

    BloodRayne simultaneously destroys the vampire movie genre and the video game film genre. Director Uwe Boll is mostly to blame since the movie actually has some decent actors, like Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, and Billy Zane. Though the film was shot in Romania, the legendary home of vampires, this fact doesn’t lend any authenticity to a movie full of tacky costumes, poorly choreographed fight scenes, and terrible writing. Boll tries to pack several different genres into the one film in order to find a fan base, but ends up alienating every potential audience. Critics, the public, and even some stars in the film let Boll know how much BloodRayne sucked.

  9. Near Dark

    Another film that stretches the vampire genre a little too far, Near Dark attempts to put bloodsuckers in a Western sort of biker movie. It received positive feedback from critics and has gained a cult following, but for real vampire fans, it’s not enough. The plot follows a teenage love story, much like that of the Twilight movies. In fact, a lot of this film seems like a darker version of Twilight, though Near Dark came 20 years earlier and at least has gun fights and explosions. The film glosses over a lot of traditional vampire legend, but if you’re interested in a horror Western more than a pure vampire movie, this could be the type of film for you.