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Creature Features: 8 Vampire Movies to Watch This Halloween
All sorts of things go bump in the night. Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, witches — creatures that haunt our nightmares and ignite our imaginations. Then, there are vampires. These denizens of the dark hold a special place in human history; our ancestors were genuinely afraid to travel when the sun was down, lest vampires bleed them dry. Entire communities feared bats and wolves, believing them to be bloodsuckers in disguise. Vampire hunting became a legitimate profession in 18th century Europe. We really can’t overstate how much these monsters have messed with our minds over the years.
Maybe that’s why vampires have experienced so much success on the big screen. Vampires have frightened and excited audiences for decades — changing with the times and reflecting some of our darkest desires. As much as we dread these creatures of the night, there’s a small part of us that’s utterly fascinated with them.
Spooky season is in full swing this year, and many of us will participate in the festivities at home. Looking for a way to liven up the night? Here are eight iconic vampire movies to watch this Halloween.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens in German) is a staple of the horror genre. This German Expressionist masterpiece was helmed by director F. W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck as the infamous Count Orlok.
Special effects and robust film sets weren’t exactly a thing in the early 20th century. Murnau instead relied on mind-bending camera angles, striking shadows and innovative set design to scare audiences. This film’s impact on the history of cinema can’t be exaggerated — many horror film franchises likely wouldn’t exist if Nosferatu hadn’t crept onto the scene and paved the way.
Nosferatu’s popularity spread across Europe like wildfire. It didn’t take long for American filmmakers to catch wind of F.W. Murnau’s success either. But here’s the thing: Nosferatu was essentially an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula — one that Murnau filmed without permission. Stoker’s wife successfully sued Murnau and Nosferatu was pulled from theaters. Enter Universal Pictures, which paid approximately $40,000 for the rights to adapt Dracula . Garrett Fort penned the script while Tod Browning took the director’s chair. Bela Lugosi was cast as the titular prince of darkness, and the rest is cinematic history.
Dracula is a genuinely terrifying landmark film. When many people think of Count Dracula, they think about Lugosi’s chilling performance. Universal’s adaptation takes plenty of inspiration from Nosferatu . However, Dracula is not a silent film; characters deliver their lines either with palpable dread or devilish delight. “Talkies” had only recently hit theaters in the early 1900s. Dracula helped legitimize sound films and reshape the movie industry.
Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)
Similar to sound films, Technicolor movies were also relative rarities in the early 20th century. Films were primarily shot on black and white stock, and filmgoers were accustomed to greyscale pictures. The opposite was true by the 1950s, which is when The Horror of Dracula hit the scene. Hammer Films spared no expense when it adapted Bram Stoker’s timeless tale; special effects and ornate gothic sets were specifically created for this film. The Horror of Dracula is also a much more visceral visual experience due to being shot in color.
We’d be remiss not to praise Christopher Lee’s performance as Count Dracula; he aimed to play the character as a “heroic, erotic and romantic” figure — one that was just as mystifying as he was terrifying. Lee’s good friend Peter Cushing starred as Doctor Van Helsing, further elevating the film. And The Horror of Dracula revealed something truly harrowing about vampires: they were dark reflections of human nature.
The United States’ counterculture movement gathered momentum in the 1960s and persisted well into the 1970s. People vocalized dissatisfaction with the government, civil rights initiatives swept the nation and artists used their platforms to critique the powers that be. The Blaxploitation films of the 1970s echoed these sentiments, challenging decades-old stereotypes that were (and still are) imposed on the Black community. Blacula is precisely what its name implies; an adaptation of Stoker’s tale made primarily for Black people by Black people.
The late William Marshall portrays Prince Mamuwalde, a Nigerian man who asked the original Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to intervene during the transatlantic slave trade. For his trouble, Prince Mamuwalde was transformed into Blacula, sealed in a coffin and transported to America. Indeed, Count Blacula is a tragic anti-villain; he was stripped of his identity, taken from his homeland and left to fend for himself in a hostile environment. Allegorical, innovative and genuinely frightening, Blacula is worth a watch — and post-screening analysis.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Drugs, sex, rock n’ roll and excess are hallmarks of the 1980s — hallmarks that naturally found their way into ’80s cinema. The Lost Boys epitomizes this trend; “It’s fun to be a vampire” is the film’s tagline, and that sentiment is more than reinforced throughout its runtime. Vampires are ageless, powerful, beautiful beings who live by their own rules and party like rockstars in The Lost Boys. That’s the scariest part about this film — how enticing vampirism can seem on the surface.
The Lost Boys can also be viewed as a metacommentary of the 1980s. Vampirism is an analogy for the excess and hedonism of the decade. Just like it seemed “fun to be a vampire,” it also seemed fun to be a hard-partying rockstar. Spellbinding performances by a committed cast, strong directing by Joel Schumacher and a compelling script helped The Lost Boys break new ground. Vampires weren’t just creepy anymore. They were also undeniably cool.
You can’t talk about cool vampire movies without giving Blade its due. The 1990s were an incredibly experimental time for the film industry; spec scripts were being produced by the dozens and comic book adaptations were becoming much more prevalent. Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade in 1973 for Marvel Comics. At last, in 1998, Wesley Snipes would bring the Daywalker to life on the big screen. Directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, Blade redefined what superhero movies and vampire films could be. Action, horror, pathos and even a bit of comedy are seamlessly woven into this film.
Though Blade was initially overlooked when it premiered, the film has since been recognized for setting several precedents. It’s one of the first Black superhero movies to achieve widespread critical and commercial success, grossing $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget. Blade also paved the way for many of the superhero films that have become commonplace today; it’s not a stretch to suggest that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, the Underworld franchise and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t exist if Blade hadn’t resonated with audiences. Lastly, this film proved that vampires could transcend genres; Blade is more of an action film than a horror flick, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hate it or love it, Twilight’s impact on cinema is undeniable. This adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s 2005 novel was an international phenomenon in its heyday. It focused solely on the romantic aspects of vampirism — living forever, being young forever and loving forever. If reading that sentence was painful for you, imagine how excruciating it was to write.
Personal feelings aside, Twilight is an iconic film in its own right. It spawned four sequels, launched numerous careers and kept vampires at the forefront of our collective imagination from 2008 to 2012. Even Burger King got in on the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debacle. Twilight ultimately proved that there was still a thriving, thirsting market for vampire films in the 21st century.
Blood Red Sky (2021)
We end with Blood Red Sky, a British-German Netflix film that’s equal parts graphic, terrifying and heart-wrenching. The film follows Nadja and her son Elias as they try to survive aboard a hijacked airplane. Discussing this film in detail without spoiling it is virtually impossible, but we can say this: Blood Red Sky focuses on the toll that vampirism would exact on a person’s family, community and mental state. Scenes unfold at an intentionally deliberate pace. Minor characters and extras are treated with a degree of respect that we don’t often see.
In many ways, Blood Red Sky is the culmination of the vampire films that precede it; there are genuine scares here, alongside meta-commentary, dazzling action scenes and genuine pathos. Blood Red Sky proves that vampire films can make viewers cry — not out of fear, but out of true remorse.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Johnny Blaze, tortured by the Ghost Rider's curse, gets a chance of redemption through protecting the Devil's son, whose father is pursuing him. Johnny Blaze, tortured by the Ghost Rider's curse, gets a chance of redemption through protecting the Devil's son, whose father is pursuing him. Johnny Blaze, tortured by the Ghost Rider's curse, gets a chance of redemption through protecting the Devil's son, whose father is pursuing him.
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- Nicolas Cage
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- 4 nominations
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Johnny Blaze : [to Vasil] You will tell me or I will eat your stinking soul!
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- February 17, 2012 (United States)
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Rotten Tomatoes® Score
One of the drawcards of having Disney+ at your fingertips...
Even the special effects are pitiable.
This strange amalgamation of Texas Ranger lore, NASCAR bravado, and the-Devil-and-Daniel-Webster trickery keeps the campy fun revving just enough that you can't completely hate it.
This movie is stupid in the best possible way. I cheered all the way through - my shrieks of glee echoing off the walls.
Don't worry your little head with the niceties of plot; they don't matter much.
Best lines? "Is this thing ever gonna end?" "Not even close." "I shore wish this thang coulda turned out different."
Ignore the cheesy dialogue, the cardboard cut-out villains and the atrociously OTT acting and just enjoy a good old-fashioned tale of heroes and villains the way the comic-books used to tell 'em.
It all seems so wearyingly old fashioned: teenage delinquents on motorbikes, creaky incarnations of Satan, a rock'n'roll take on dangerous cool.
Cage needs to produce something special next to make up for crimes against cinema.
- Genre : Thriller, Action
- Release Date : February 14, 2007
- Languages : English
- Captions : English
- Audio Format : 5.1
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2007, Action/Fantasy, 1h 50m
What to know
Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue. Read critic reviews
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Watch Ghost Rider with a subscription on Peacock, rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, or buy on Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV.
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Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now, he transforms into a fiery, avenging agent of justice at night wherever evil roams. As the only one who can walk in both worlds, Johnny is charged by Mephistopheles (Donal Logue) himself to destroy Blackheart (Wes Bentley), a demon that wants to overthrow Mephistopheles and create a worse hell than the one that currently exists.
Rating: PG-13 (Horror Violence|Disturbing Images)
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Original Language: English
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Producer: Avi Arad , Michael De Luca , Gary Foster , Steven Paul
Writer: Mark Steven Johnson
Release Date (Theaters): Feb 16, 2007 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Apr 16, 2012
Box Office (Gross USA): $115.8M
Runtime: 1h 50m
Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Production Co: Columbia Pictures, Crystal Sky, Marvel Enterprises
Sound Mix: Dolby SRD, DTS, SDDS
Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)
Cast & Crew
Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider
Motorcycle Gang Member
Broken Spoke Waitress
Mark Steven Johnson
Michael De Luca
David S. Goyer
E. Bennett Walsh
Kirk M. Petruccelli
News & Interviews for Ghost Rider
Marvel Movie Madness! Part 15: Ghost Rider
Box Office Guru Preview: Ancient Action Arrives Again
Box Office Guru Preview: Semi-Pro Set To Slam Dunk The Competition
Critic Reviews for Ghost Rider
Audience reviews for ghost rider.
Yes this is dumb and yes everyone involved knows it but I can't shake the feeling that the movie is just a little too smug about being self aware.
Please God make it stop. This has to be in the Top 5 of the worst comic book movies ever. Nicholas Cage is horrible, the script is terrible, and the action is just boring. Only good thing are the CGI effects for the Ghost Rider. Don't. Just don't watch this. Even if there is the threat of titty twisters... Still not worth it.
Choc full of wannabe Western-isms and expected cheese, Ghost Rider is a foray into not-a-whole-lot. Ghost Rider strikes me as the sort of comic that didn't need a whole lot of chopping to translate well to the big screen, unfortunately, director Mark Steven Johnson neglected all that, and went for a full on self-made, effects-drive flop. Don't get me wrong, I know I bitch about "effects-driven" a lot, but sometimes it works fine, it's just that Ghost Rider has absolutely no staying power, there's really nothing to it that would make me recommend it to a friend. I think another major problem is that it aims for 'quirk" and ends up with "cheese". Too dark and long to be considered a silly, fun, little guilty pleasure, but too self-concious and non-sensical to be realistic. What's supposed to be The Devil's Bounty Hunter, riding the world to bring the guilty to justice, ends up being more of a Mad Max wannabe riding a badass motorbike notching up his cliche-meter and pouring the CG-budget down the drain, while bringing as many motifs up as he can. Though much of the film was quite weak, watching the demons (trenchcoat wearin' mo-fo's above) getting taken out one by one, somewhat akin to, oh, as for example a comic book, was entertaining enough to hold my attention. And Wes Bentley (P2, Jonah Hex) as Blackheart was, at the very least a "cool" character to bring to the film. Not exactly a masterpiece, but its very few up points did keep me interested enough to hold out for the sequel, Spirit of Vengeance, which supposedly comes out on the 17th of February 2012, starring another favourite of mine, Cirian Hines. 38% -Gimly
This demonic Marvel adaptation is visually groundbreaking, no doubt, but is not an easy ride. Ghost Rider's exaggerated tone and dialogue and hell-driven sequences provides many speed bumps on this less-than-anticipated ride. 3/5
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What to Watch - In theaters & streaming
- Stan Lee/Producer
- David S. Goyer/Producer
- Michael De Luca/Producer
- Gary Foster/Producer
- Mark Steven Johnson/Writer
- Johnathon Blaze (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Carter Slade (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Roxanne Simpson (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Mack (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Zarathos (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Mephistopheles (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Blackheart (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Hidden (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Gressil (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Wallow (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Abigor (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Craig Simpson (Earth-121347)/Mentions
- Mona Simpson (Earth-121347)/Mentions
- 3 News (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Barton Blaze (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Stuart (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Jack Dolan (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Edwards (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- Humans (Homo sapiens)/Appearances
- United States of America/Appearances
- Texas (State)/Appearances
- San Venganza/Appearances
- Contract of San Venganza/Appearances
- Ghost Rider's Chain/Appearances
- Hellfire Shotgun/Appearances
- Hell Cycle/Appearances
- Banshee (Phantom Rider's Horse) (Earth-121347)/Appearances
- 2007, January
- Sony Pictures Entertainment
Ghost Rider (film)
- View history
- 1 Appearances
- 5.1 Alternate Posters
- 8.1 References
- Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider ⏵ (First appearance) (Possessed by Zarathos )
- Carter Slade/Ghost Rider/Caretaker ⏵ (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Roxanne Simpson ⏵ (First appearance)
- Mack (First appearance; dies)
- ⏴ Zarathos ⏵ (First appearance) (Unnamed) (Possesses Johnny Blaze )
- Mephistopheles ⏵ (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Blackheart ⏵ (First appearance) (Apparent death)
- Gressil (First appearance; dies)
- Wallow (First appearance; dies)
- Abigor (First appearance; dies)
- Craig Simpson (Referenced)
- Mona Simpson (Referenced)
- 3 News (First appearance)
- Barton Blaze (First appearance; dies)
- Stuart (First appearance)
- Captain Jack Dolan (First appearance)
- Officer Edwards (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- San Venganza (First appearance)
- Hell (Mentioned)
- Contract of San Venganza (First appearance)
- Ghost Rider's Chain (First appearance)
- Hellfire Shotgun (First appearance)
- Ghost Rider's Motorcycle (First appearance)
- Banshee (First appearance)
Long ago, the devil Mephistopheles ordered his agent on Earth, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve the Contract of San Venganza, an artifact he would use to bring Hell to Earth. Realizing what his master would do with the item, the Ghost Rider refused to hand it over to him and hid it.
Over a century later, Mephisto sought out teenager Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle daredevil following in his father Barton's footsteps. In exchange for his soul, Mephisto would cure Johnny's father of his cancer. While Mephisto does hold up his end of the bargain, he later has Barton Blaze killed in an accident while performing a stunt. Johnny, enraged that the demon would go back on their deal, meets Mephistopheles at a crossroads. The Devil tells Johnny that he now belongs to him, and orders him to leave his family, friends, and loved ones (including his girlfriend Roxanne).
Now an adult, Johnny is a very famous stuntman, worrying his team by pulling off increasingly dangerous stunts. Johnny knows he will never die despite the danger due to his contract with Mephisto. At an event on the anniversary of his father's death, Johnny reunites with Roxanne, now a reporter for the Channel 3 News, and organizes a date with her. Mephistopheles, however, shows up and turns Johnny into his new Ghost Rider. He then orders Johnny to stop his wayward son Blackheart from retrieving the Contract of San Venganza for himself, and in return Mephisto would give him back his soul. He rides to a train station where a cemetery used to be, transforms into the Ghost Rider, and faces Blackheart and his minions. Although Blackheart gets away, the Ghost Rider kills one of his minions, an earth-elemental named Gressil, in the fight. Afterwards, he rides through the city, saving a teenage girl from a mugger using his Penance Stare .
The next morning, Johnny wakes up in a cemetery, where the caretaker tells him the story of the Ghost Rider and the Contract of San Venganza. He then returns home, where Roxanne confronts him on standing her up. Johnny confesses to her that he was working for the Devil, but she doesn't believe him and storms out. He follows after her only to be arrested on suspicion for the crimes Blackheart committed the previous night. While in holding, a group of thugs attack Johnny, causing him to transform into the Ghost Rider. As he breaks out of jail, Blackheart realizes the Ghost Rider is looking for him again, and sends Abigor, a wind-elemental, to stop him. Johnny successfully evades the police, kills Abigor, and escapes to the cemetery, where the caretaker tells him about his predecessor, Carter Slade, and how he hid the Contract of San Venganza.
Johnny returns home again, only to find that Blackheart has killed his friend Mack and kidnapped Roxanne. He then hurries back to the cemetery, where the caretaker reveals the Contract of San Venganza, which was hidden in his shovel. He then gets on a horse and transforms into a Ghost Rider, revealing he is Carter Slade. The two Ghost Riders ride to the ghost town of San Venganza to stop Blackheart, but Carter Slade only makes it to the town's outskirts before giving Johnny his shotgun and riding off. Johnny rides into San Venganza, passing through a swamp where he fights the water-elemental Wallow. After a brief fight between the Ghost Rider and Blackheart, Blackheart gets his hands on the Contract, and absorbs the 1000 corrupt souls the item provides him. Now calling himself "Legion," Blackheart easily takes out Ghost Rider, almost killing him if not for Roxanne intervening with Slade's shotgun. She tosses the gun to Johnny, who infuses the weapon with his hellish power. He shoots Blackheart point black, causing the demon's form to separate into thousands of pieces. As he reconstitutes himself, Johnny uses his Penance State to burn the 1000 souls Blackheart absorbed from the Contract, finishing him. Mephistopheles returns to give Johnny back his soul, but he refuses, vowing to use his powers to stop Mephisto whenever he harms the innocent. Mephisto promises to make Johnny pay for this, and disappears with Blackheart's body. Johnny and Roxanne share one final kiss before he rides off into the sunset.
- Matt Long as Young Johnny Blaze
- Raquel Alessi as Young Roxanne Simpson
- Brett Cullen as Barton Blaze
- Wes Bentley as Blackheart
- Sam Elliott as Carter Slade/Ghost Rider/Caretaker
- Peter Fonda as Mephisto
- Donal Logue as Mack
- Laurence Breuls as Gressil
- Daniel Frederiksen as Wallow
- Mathew Wilkinson as Abigor
- Gibson Nolte as Stuart
- David Roberts as Captain Jack Dolan
- Arthur Angel as Officer Edwards
Rebel Wilson also makes a brief appearance as a teenager the Ghost Rider saves from a mugger.
- There are many reasons why Ghost Rider isn't getting another film for now, mostly because of how poorly this film and it's sequel were reviewed. 
Gallery [ ]
Alternate posters [ ].
- The film concludes with a rendition of the song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Australian band Spiderbait.
- 50 image(s) from Ghost Rider (film)
Links and References
- Ghost Rider on IMDB.com
- Ghost Rider on AllMovie.com
- Ghost Rider on Marvel Movies wiki
- Marvel Films
- Ghost Rider Movies hype at the SuperHeroHype!
- Ghost Rider at the Internet Movie Database
- [[w:c:marvelmovies:Ghost Rider (film)
- ↑ The real reason Marvel won't give Ghost Rider another movie Looper . Retrieved on 31 August 2017.
- 1 Zaniac (Earth-616)
- 2 Brad Wolfe (Earth-616)
- 3 Peter Parker (Earth-616)
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Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) was only a teenaged stunt biker when he sold his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda). Years later, Johnny is a world renowned daredevil by day, but at night, he becomes the Ghost Rider of Marvel Comics legend. The devil's bounty hunter, he is charged with finding evil souls on earth and bringing them to hell. But when a twist of fate brings Johnny's long-lost love (Eva Mendes) back into his life, Johnny realizes he just might have a second chance at happiness - if he can beat the devil and win back his soul. To do so he'll have to defeat Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the devil's nemesis and wayward son, whose plot to take over his father's realm will bring hell on earth--unless Ghost Rider can stop him.
© 2007 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and GH One LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Ghost Rider character ™ & © 2019 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2019 Sony Pictures Digital Productions Inc. All rights reserved