The Official Rowland Family List of Good Vampire Movies

Truths that I will expand upon later:

1.) I'm sorry to disappear after my big Jerry McGuire mission statement/freak out, but I broke my hand. In half. One half is currently in the kitchen, the other half is in Delaware. Sucks. How did I break my hand? There's a story. There's always a story. This story, specifically, involves Ren Fest, alcohol, a whole lot of self-loathing, and tripping over my own boot. Will I tell you the story? I think I have to. But I'm not ready. I'm not emotionally there yet. I will be some day. That day is just not today.

2.) These painkillers are doing fuck-all and I keep being like, "Oh, well I'll just take one more!" And then I lose track of what number I'm on and remember that's how Heath Ledger died and completely freak myself out.

3.) Speaking of freaking myself out, I've been doing some research on the old Google and have fully convinced myself that I'm dying of a bleeding ulcer.

4.) I'm speaking at Hood College this afternoon and I don't have any clean pants. Just some food for thought.

5.) I am fascinated by this review of our book.

6.) My mom told me yesterday that I have the responsibility of a newt, which frankly is just adorable imagery. Fail on your part, madam. Fail.

7.) Happy Halloween! To get everyone in the Halloween mood, I thought I'd share with you today The Official Rowland Family List of Good Vampire Movies. My family enjoys five things in this world: food, alcohol, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Evie, and vampire movies. (Actually Becca doesn't enjoy Evie and Evie doesn't enjoy Becca and watching their genuinely icy interactions is never not entertaining, but I'm counting it anyway.) My dad in particular has strong emotions about vampire movies, so I sat down with him and my mom last week and we talked about vampires and what makes a Good Vampire Movie.

The first thing my dad wanted me to clarify in this post is that vampire movies exist on a spectrum that goes all the way from vampire-light movies like the Twilight series (quote my dad: "They just emo-ed vampires to death. [Looks wistfully off into the distance] They didn't even need a stake..."), to ultra-gory glorified zombie movies (30 Days of Night), to the very specific and very real sub-genre of lesbian vampire porn. Yes, these movies have vampires in them and sure, some of them might not even be that bad, but they're not Good Vampire Movies. So what makes a Good Vampire Movie? According to my dad, a Good Vampire Movie needs to have the following:

- Sexual tension
- Atmosphere
- Good-looking women
- Humor (Although, apparently it can't be "too funny" and nobody is quite sure where the "too funny" line is drawn. Love at First Bite is a genuine source of contention between my parents. My dad classifies it as "too funny" whereas my mom refers to it as, "Oh, you mean the funniest vampire movie ever made? With my best friend, George Hamilton?"...It's a gray area.)
- Style

The second thing my dad wanted me to clarify is that there are three basic vampire movies you need to see for your own vampire movie education, but, again, they're not necessarily Good Vampire Movies. They're building blocks on the way to Good Vampire Movies. They're the 100-level classes of Good Vampire Movies:

- Nosferatu, 1922. "It's a silent movie with Nazi undertones, so...that's kind of uncomfortable, but it's also one of the most creepy Dracula movies of all time."

- Vampyr, 1932. "It's a Danish movie and is ALL atmosphere. Very little plot, but, again, it helps you understand the atmosphere of vampire movies."

- Dracula, 1931. "This is the Dracula with Bela Lugosi and it introduces sex to vampire movies, but it's a little slow-moving. If you played it at Meg's Fall Fun Day, when you turned on the lights at the end, half of the audience would be gone and the other half would be asleep. But that's how you start. If you watch those three, you'll really get the Gestalt of vampire movies." (I later had to look that word up on Wikipedia. Kudos to my dad for going to film school and kudos to me for going to American University.)

So with that in mind, I present to you now The Official Rowland Family List of Good Vampire Movies (in no particular order):

- Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992. "Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Best backstory on Dracula. Very creepy. It's got style, it's got sex...very good movie."

- Lost Boys, 1987. "Best catchphrase: 'Sleep all day, party all night'"

- Andy Warhol's Dracula, 1974. My dad's only comment on this one was, "It was just...................so weird," and then he moved on. I though this was odd until I read the description—

Count Dracula knows that if he fails to drink a required amount of pure virgin's [pronounced "wirgin's"] blood, it's time to move into a permanent coffin. His assistant (Renfield?) suggests that the Count and he pick up his coffin and take a road trip to Italy, where families are known to be particularly religious, and therefore should be an excellent place to search for a virgin bride. They do, only to encounter a family with not one, but FOUR virgins, ready for marriage. The Count discovers one-by-one that the girls are not as pure as they say they are, meanwhile a handsome servant/Communist begins to observe strange behaviour from the girls who do spend the night with the Count. It's a race for Dracula to discover who's the real virgin, before he either dies from malnourishment or from the wooden stake of the Communist!

—and his reaction immediately made more sense.

- Let the Right One In, 2008/Let Me In, 2010. 3 out of 3 Rowlands agree: the American version is better. (AND I PROUDLY STAND UP NEXT TO YOU.)

- Suck, 2009. "A funny Canadian vampire movie. That says it all."

- Alucard, 1943. "It's Dracula backwards. Put it on the list for subtlety."

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992.

- Tales From the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood, 1996. "It's gory, but it's also an hour and a half of Dennis Miller making vampire quips, so—[shrugs, sips glass of scotch]"

- From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996. "The perfect vampire movie. It's got everything, plus the humans are scarier than the vampires. And it goes without saying it's also got Salma Hayek with a huge yellow snake between her legs."

- The Hunger, 1983. "Style. Ultra style. David Bowie as a vampire? Come on..."

- The Forsaken, 2001. "Pretty good. Takes place in the Southwest. It's the Tony Hillerman of vampire movies."

- Shadow of the Vampire, 2000.

- Vampire's Kiss, 1989. "You never quite figure out if he's actually a vampire or if he's just going psychotic. Really good movie. Nicholas Cage is great. Funny and unsettling—perfect. It's what a Good Vampire Movie should be.

- Innocent Blood, 1992. "This is the Animal House of vampire movies. Directed by John Landis. Very funny. The first five minutes of the film are worth the entire move if you're a guy." Why? "Full-frontal nudity." The entire 112 minutes are worth it if you're a Meg. "Why?" Don Rickles.

- Count Dracula, 1977 BBC miniseries with Louis Jourdan. When this was put on the table, my parents just went back and forth saying "INCREDIBLY SEXY", "VERY SEXY", "THAT'S A SEXY ONE" and I felt extremely uncomfortable.

- Dracula, 2004: "It's got a lot of style and some very good lines."

- Vampire Vixens from Venus, 2004: "Meh. It gets a point just for being so alliterate."

- Interview with the Vampire, 1994. "It's the battle between cool vampire Tom Cruise vs. emo vampire Brad Pitt. And child porn vampire Kirsten Dunst. A lot of style. Great cast. Very atmospheric. Very stylish. Perfect."

Plus, these just look intriguing:

Near Dark
Vampire Dentist
G-String Vampires
Ankle Biters (It's about a town taken over by a rare breed of dwarf vampire. I mean...)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ("For the history buff in you!")
Ghoul's Gone Wild
Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter
Muffy the Vampire Slayer

My dad doesn't interact much with 2b1b readers (you know, when he's not walking around our release party signing people's books...), but he genuinely wants to know what vampire movies you guys like. So, what vampire movies do you guys like? Write it down, slip it to me in homeroom, and I'll give it to my dad during English. LYLAS AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!1!


Anonymous said...

i'm not big into vampire movies, but what does your dad think of true blood?

Adventures in MetroLand said...

What about Once Bitten with Jim Carry for the funny category, and then Dracula 2000 for sexual tension.

Lauren said...

I second Once Bitten!

Francesca said...

I'm listening to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on tape (or mp3 I suppose...) right now! I'm super pumped on it! And Lost Boys (both Cory's, I mean come on, not to mention Bill S. Preston, Esquire) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Perfect 80s vampires, not too terrifying but not too sparkly.

Carla said...

DRACULA 2000!!!!

Everyone should watch it at 2am on TNT and wonder:
(1) why is Jonny Lee Miller British?
(2) wait, is that Gerard Butler?
(3) who buys these random infomercial products?!?!

It helps if you're really drunk....

BF said...

Not a movie but what about The Vampire Diaries!!!!! Pretty much the best show ever.

Anonymous said...

No Blade?

Anonymous said...

not vampire movies, but good funny monster movies... Transylvania 6-5000, and Saturday the 14th.

The Genius Savant said...

Wait, Evie and Becca don't get along? Did I miss the post somewhere back in the day where this was explained/discussed? If not, I demand one post haste!

Casey said...

I don't have a response re: vampire movies, but holy hell that book review really spiraled out of control toward the end. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion and not being able to look away or stop it. Yikes.

Laura said...

I agree with all of the Dracula 2000 shout outs! Mysterious, atmospheric and sexy. Though I too have only seen it at 2 am, so I apologize if it's only good if you're sleep deprived...

Anonymous said...

So is the upshot of your "Where do we go from here?" post "Chris is fired?" What happened to Chris?

Kate said...

Dracula 2000. Ceiling sex. Biblical allusion. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Fright Night 2011, it's worth a watch if you're into the genre but very teenager-y.

Emily said...

1. I'm always down for a little sexy in my vampire, or any, movies.

2. I am typing with one hand now to see how it feels. I would have taken more than a week off.

3. Chris? Not that we don't love you, but i'm confused. It's like when your dog 'disappears'for a bit never to be seen again. I'm just nervous.

4. I'm really excited for RENFEST updates.

5. Lists are how i do things and 5 just seems right.

Christibeane said...

If you love the Lost Boys you'll love my bf's Lost Boys inspired song. Then go on Facebook and 'like' Shirts and Skins. It's not shameless self-promotion if it's not mine, right?


Anonymous said...

oo what about Buffy the Vampire Slayer the show?? you gotta love some spike and angel.


That is THE strangest review I've ever read. Does he love you? Hate you? Wth? He goes from:

"If there was a graduate degree in comedy, Meghan & Chris would be the co-valedictorian PhD’s at the top of their class. Fast, sharp, hip, bright, outrageous, iconoclastic, brainy, and big funny."

"In a sense your book, THE MISANTHROPE’S GUIDE TO LIFE succeeds.

It has guided me to not like you."

?!?! It's boggling my mind.

Caitlin said...

Kudos for putting Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the list, but I think the tv show should take its place. It's the ultimate in vampire lore for me that is.

caitlin said...

My brother rented Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter once. Apparently he was renting the lowest rated movies on Netflix. We reference this every time he wants to make a "family decision."

Leah said...

1. Renfest stories are always painful and need some time to bring back to the light of day.

2. "It has guided me to not like you."

I loved this review. It was a total compliment, a slap in the face and proof that by reaching that particular conclusion, he got the point of the book. Well played!

M said...

LYLAS. Back at you! That rocked my world!

Kimmy said...

Um Hello?!?! What about Dracula Dead and Loving it!! Not only one of my fave vampire movies, but one of my fave movies. Period. Can't believe it's not on the list!

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