From the earliest days of cinema, the vampire has held a place at the heart of horror. From romanticism to gore and comedy, our fascination with shadowy eternal beings who cannot resist a carotid artery has given rise to cinema’s greatest films. But, not all vampire movies are created equal, with some boldly taking us to new worlds. In these films, the vampire is given the freedom to expand, develop and evolve. The result of this creates new visions, fresh interpretations and rebirth. So join us as we explore three bold and brilliant vampire movies in our Bloodlust collection, featuring Let the Right One in (2008), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and Martin (1977).
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Romance, art, literature, and music sit at the heart of Jim Jarmusch’s divine 2013 journey into vampire folklore. Here we have a movie where the classic prerequisites of vampiric evil and abomination are duly thrown into the gutter as Jaramush replaces them with a lighthearted yet vivid exploration of eternal life and loneliness. In Jaramush’s world, the need for blood plays on the universal themes of drug addiction. Here the quick hit of each last drop only elevates the artistic endeavours and curiosity of our vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), their lives a whirlwind of reminiscence as they debate the very foundations of the universe and the human zombies who plague its development.
Jarmusch delicately unpicks and celebrates the romanticism of the vampire, joyously lampooning the soft glow of Twilight while celebrating the work of authors such as Anne Rice. His fascination with art, physics, and nature sits centre stage in a film that mixes romance, humour, addiction, and music into a seductive cocktail. The result is a unique trip through an intoxicating haze of magnetic sexuality, mortality and art.
Only Lovers Left Alive is available to stream or buy on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Let the Right One In (2008)
Based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In is as close to a slow-burn horror masterpiece as you can get as it explores the link between vampire mythology and the classic coming-of-age story. Alfredson’s delicately layered narrative of first love is laced with discussions on loneliness, anger and teenage anxiety, the vampire at the heart of the film is a 12-year-old girl (Eli). Eli’s life is forever caught in the first throws of adolescence until she meets young Oskar (also twelve) in Stockholm’s snowy suburbs. Oskar may not be trapped in his twelve-year-old body for all eternity like Eli, but he is a prisoner of local bullies, his life held in a bubble of fear and anxiety.
Let the Right One In offers us a complex story of two lost souls who find a powerful sense of belonging in each other’s presence; one is a bullied, scared and friendless human, and the other is an isolated and vulnerable young vampire. However, Let the Right One In excels in its eerie, poetic portrait of teenage friendship, love, and protection. Here, Eli and Oskars’ budding relationship is held within a false veil of security slowly torn away by reality. The resulting film strips back the deepest fears of early adolescence while beautifully exploring notions of power, place, and belonging.
Let the Right One In is available to stream or buy now on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Mention the name George A. Romero to most horror fans, and it is zombies that come to mind rather than vampires. However, in 1977 Romero brought us a unique, bold and distinctive vampire movie that has long since vanished, rarely making a public appearance. That movie was the stunning low-budget masterpiece, Martin.
From the outset, Romero dispenses with the classic horror template of the vampire film as 19-year-old Martin boards a train for Pennsylvania. Here Donald Rubinstein’s experimental jazz-inspired score emphasises his delicate looks, soft persona, and a deep sense of loneliness. However, this lost, lonely, and insecure boy is a vampire, but not in the classic sense; after all, he has a reflection, his teeth are not sharp, and the religious cross plays no significance in his wellbeing. For Martin, his need for nourishment comes through carefully selected victims, each drugged before feeding in an urgent and often fumbled final struggle. His guilt is coupled with a need to find intimacy in the arms of his victims. Martin is a serial killer and predator with his compulsion to kill rooted in sex and desire in all but name.
Martin’s vampire status is ambiguous, a blessing and a curse as he struggles to define his place in society. Romero’s complex, enthralling and fascinating character study is rooted in hand-held camera work, inner-city decline and documentary-like realism, making Martin a vampire film unlike any other.
Martin is currently unavailable to buy or stream in the United Kingdom.