by BRIAN ACCARD
With hundreds of films made about vampires, it’s obvious that some are going to fly under the radar. While these films may not have enjoyed mainstream acclaim or box office success, they have left their mark on the genre, tantalizing those with an appetite for the unusual and offering fresh perspectives on ancient mythos.
Just in time for Halloween and the need for something new to watch. From forgotten classics of the past to contemporary hidden treasures, here are 12 obscure vampire movies you’ve probably never heard of but definitely need to check out.
Indie horror maverick Larry Fessenden wrote, directed, and starred in his 1997 vampire horror film Habit, in which he plays Sam, a self-destructive alcoholic who meets the beautiful but mysterious Anna at a Halloween party. The two are immediately drawn to each other and embark on an all-consuming romance. But Sam starts to suffer from a strange illness and soon begins to suspect Anna is actually a vampire, and he’s been turned.
Like Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction, it’s pretty obvious just by the title alone that Fessenden’s Habit is more or less an allegory for alcoholism and the self-destructive lifestyle of addicts. It’s grim, dark, and gritty, with a heavy atmosphere that’s hard to shake.
Jim Mickle’s indie post-apocalyptic vampire film Stake Land has gone underseen and underappreciated since its quiet release in 2010. Set in a dystopian world overrun by vampires following a viral outbreak, the film centers around a young boy named Martin who, after his family is killed by vampires, joins forces with a seasoned vampire hunter named Mister. Together, they embark on a perilous journey through the desolate American landscape, searching for a rumored safe haven known as “New Eden.”
Despite its obvious low budget, Mickle mines the most out of his limited resources via strong characterization and powerful performances from his two leads, Connor Paolo and Nick Damici. The direction is assured, and Mickle’s ability to maintain a brooding atmosphere – thanks in no small part to Jeff Grace’s fantastic score and Ryan Samul’s crisp cinematography – really helps Stake Land stand apart from other low-budget post-apocalyptic monster movies (of which there are many). It’s a unique take on the vampire mythos, with more in common with The Walking Dead than Dracula, and is well worth checking out.