There are a lot of genres in horror that have been done to death, and one of those genres is vampirism. There are so many vampire movies, that it’s hard to throw a rock in the horror section of any (if they are still open) video store and not hit a vampire movie. It’s hard to say which of the many films are the best, especially since there are so many good ones out there, but alas, I thought about the granddaddy of them all, Dracula. I wanted to compile a list, and here goes a list that will spark a few arguments here and there. Here are my picks for the top 5 Dracula films of all time.
5. Nosferatu – This film follows the original Bram Stoker novel quite closely. The silent film is a visual feast, and the sound is not bad either. This German expressionist film is still one of the best ever. The shadow, lighting, and overall themes were horrific for the time, but now, they seem very tame. This 1922 film should be an instant classic for anyone that hasn’t seen it this day.
4. Horror of Dracula – This 1958 film from Hammer really took over the genre for many. While the sequels are terrible, with the exception of Dracula 1972 A.D. this genre really took an interest turn. Hammer’s studio lent a good place to recreate the story into a new world. The sets are gothic and cool; the blood is rad, and all natural breasts? Oh yes, you got to give some love to this old school classic. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee unite to make Dracula and Van Helsing worth checking out for years to come. Hammer might not get as much love from everywhere, but I give it love whenever I can.
3. Blacula – This 1973 Blaxploitation film is one of my favorites. It showcases that Count Dracula is really an asshole, as the whole point of this film revolves around his decision. An African Prince asks Dracula to stop the slave trade, and instead of helping, the Count turns our Black Prince into a vampire and locks him up. Fast forward to the 1970’s and we see an all new world, and our Prince now he’s got to get his love back and feed on blood. While this is not strictly a Dracula film, it is worth noting as my #3 because of his direct involvement in the first plot point of this movie. Plus, I couldn’t resist adding a Blaxploitation film in here.
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Whether you loved it or hated it, this early 90’s film is a complete visual feast. The film might not have the best cast, but you still get some stellar performances, and you get to see a sort of “love” story unfold, where there might not have been one intended by Stoker. The colors are so vivid here, and the book really comes alive in a modern way, even if it takes full notes from the setting of the book. If you haven’t read the book, read it, then watch this film, they are somewhat close, if only by visualization of the images, which are lavishly presented for viewers to see.
1. Dracula – During the 1931 filming of the Universal classic, a Spanish Language version of the film was being made by George Melford, and it was better than the American version. Many people will disagree, but once you sit down and watch it, you’ll understand that this classic is quite good, even though it deviates from the source material a little bit. The difference here is noticeable with better lighting, more movement of the camera, and a richer cast in many ways. This version should be the one shown more often, but alas, Lugosi is a great vampire, so it’s hard to pick this one ahead of the other.