For many fans of extreme music, the life of the vampire–coming alive at night, wearing all black, fighting an endless thirst–is par for the course, and the shadowy imagery of vampire movies have long had an arch appeal to metal fans. Unfortunately, in both heavy music and movies, a bunch of sparkly fancy-pants jerk-offs ruined the vampire, filing down its fangs and turning it into a weepy metaphor for lovesick angst rather than a horrific phantom of the night.
That’s why it’s so awesome that Sweden’s Laser Dracul are finally taking the vampire back. The trio’s brand of brolic horror-doom still channels the nocturnal power of old-school vampires portrayed by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, just through a biker lens. Though their riffs are crunchy and their breakdowns are massive, these guys still imbue every song with the atmosphere of a cobwebby crypt where the coffins are slowly opening. Theirs is a killer pressence in the metal scene for all of us who love our bloodsuckers scary, and without all the ruffles and ennui.
With Laser Dracul’s new album Hagridden due out September 25th, we asked the band to list for us the 10 vampire movies that keep their bat-winged dreams alive. Here’s what they came up with…
NOSFERATU (Dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
It goes without saying that this one belongs firmly at the top of any list. It was ground-breaking in its day, with the sinister theme and special effects. It’s the lack of sound and colour that brings the sense of gloom and doom and Count Orlok just looks like a semi-rigid penis, which is kinda cool, I guess. It’s certainly a classic.
THE RETURN OF DRACULA (Dir. Paul Landres, 1958)
Filmmakers knew how to work with and build suspense in those days. Today old films may seem slow, silly and dull but you have to see things in the right context. And the score for this one is pretty full on, even when seemingly not really called for. I love the smoke machine inside the coffin in this one too. I mean, wouldn’t that be something for one’s own funeral?
THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (Dir. Alan Gibson, 1973)
The Hammer films are absolutely essential! While Christopher Lee does his thing, I think the greatest thrill is the cold hard stare of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. He was a remarkable actor. Then there’s the scenery, the gothic backdrops, the rubbery bats, the score, the nuance in colour. Hammer made quite a few cool Dracula pictures, starring Lee and Cushing. I suggest you go watch them all!
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1993)
Yeah, so everybody probably knows about this one and has seen it multiple times but it’s worth repeated viewings for Gary Oldman alone. He does a great interpretation of Dracula.
SALEM’S LOT (Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1979)
There are a few vampire films that aren’t strictly about Dracula, but are so good, I can’t not mention them. Salem’s Lot must have been my first encounter with a vampire film. I saw it the first time when I was little and was scared shitless, yet deeply intrigued and awed. It’s a great film, and a must-see. “Look at meeeee…”
THERESA & ALLISON (Dir. Jeremiah Kipp, 2019)
I saw this just a few weekends ago and really liked it a lot. It’s an interesting take on a woman who struggles to come to terms with her new “identity”. Let’s just say it doesn’t go that well for her.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
This one is by Jim Jarmusch and it’s a dark, suggestive story about an ancient estranged vampire couple – suitably named Adam and Eve – that live in different parts of the world and find their way back to each other.
KISS OF THE DAMNED (Dir. Xan Cassavetes, 2012)
A solitary vampire woman meets man. Sweet violins are heard. A younger, troublemaking vampire sister appears on the scene. There is much kerfuffle.
NEAR DARK (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)
More of a road movie. A guy gets bitten, is unwillingly taken by a pack of mad vampires in the back of a van… carnage. What more could you want?
I BOUGHT A VAMPIRE MOTORCYCLE (Dir. Dirk Campbell, 1990)
Insane and hilarious story about a motorcycle which, by ways of rituals and murder comes alive and craves blood. It needs to be seen!
Laser Dracul’s Hagridden comes out September 25th via Majestic Mountain Records, and is available for preorder both in the U.S. and everywhere else in the world.
Words by Chris Krovatin and Laser Dracul