After we set eyes on the gorgeous, retro-styled poster for Xan Cassavetes’ Kiss of the Damned, which opens in theaters this weekend, our undying affection for the vampire genre was reawakened. It also helped that Kino Lorber recently released several vampy Blu-rays from erotic horror maestro Jean Rollin. Although the vampire mythos remains an immortal box office draw, the stylization of the legend — from the eerie, monochrome silhouettes of Nosferatu to the soft-focus Euro sleaze of the seventies — has consistently undergone aesthetic resurrections. We wanted to examine other visually sumptuous tales in vampire cinema, so we’ve selected ten of the most striking films for vampire lovers. What are your favorites?
The stark, expressionist beauty of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu has haunted audiences since Max Schreck’s creature first appeared on screen in 1922, creeping along a staircase. The masterful lighting and atmospheric artistry of the filmmaker’s compositions draws audiences into the deep recesses of the creature’s shadowy world, forcing us to contend with our own worst fears. In short: Murnau does more with a single shadow than many filmmakers can accomplish with two hours of footage.