(Diversions, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing.)

The screen grab you’re looking at above is from the neo-classic 1987 vampire/western film Near Dark. And yes, that is indeed Bill Paxton, in all his pre Big Love glory, portraying Severin—a crazed, nihilistic vampire cleaning up the western United States one victim at a time. Badass! Character-wise, the actor never topped this, or maybe that of the role of Chet. Near Dark is just one of the Happy Hollows ten favorite vampire movies. Sorry Twilight. Great list, and I was impressed to see the inclusion of Lifeforce, a film that could have been so much more (needs a remake badly). The Happy Hollows debut, Spells drops today via Autumn Tone. More on that soon.


Many people might think of the Happy Hollows as a cuddly wuddly band that lives in a gingerbread house with lots of Rainbow Bright dolls on the walls.  While that may be true, we also have a dark side.  One of our dark secrets is that, along with most of the world, we really love vampire movies.  So here is an annotated list of our top ten blood sucking thrillers!

1. Let the Right One In :: Not only the best vampire movie ever, but one of the more original and interesting films we’ve seen in several years.  This Swedish movie is the coming of age story of an awkward preteen boy who is befriended by a young girl that turns out to be a centuries old vampire.  The pacing of the film is quite slow and the plot focuses heavily on character development rather than on action or gore. The cinematography is very original and stresses the sparse, minimal, and almost surreal nature of the Swedish landscape. The film takes place during the winter and will literally make you feel cold as you watch it. The finale of the film features one of the most unforgettable scenes you will ever see in a swimming pool. A must see!

2. Vampire Hunter D :: A Japanese anime film that tells the tale of D, a loner who wanders a post-nuclear world fighting vampires.  The movie has elements of the Western, sci-fi, and fantasy genres and is a pretty amazing flick given that it was made in 1985. It was one of the first anime movies ever released outside of Japan.

3. The Lost Boys :: Corey Haim and Corey Feldman at their collective “peak” fighting the evil Kieffer Sutherland and his band of vampires in Santa Cruz, CA.  It is also the only other well known film that features “Bill” from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

4. Shadow of the Vampire :: John Malkovich and Willem Defoe star in this hilarious film that “retells” the tale of how the original Nosferatu was made.

5. From Dusk Till Dawn :: Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s take on the vampire genre. The film is perhaps most “revolutionary” for having two distinct and seemingly unrelated sections.  The first half is a classic Tarantino crime movie while the second half is filled with campy vampire gore in Tijuana.

6. Dark Shadows :: This is technically not a “movie” but needs to be included in any list of vampire media. It was a late 60s and early 70s “soap opera” that revolved around the vampire Barnabas Collins. The series was both campy and innovative. Tim Burton is a big fan as well!

7. Salem’s Lot :: Stephen King is a horrible writer but great story teller.  This movie is based on his book and tells the story of a writer who movies back to his small New England town only to see most of its inhabitants turned into vampires by two mysterious strangers.  This was actually a TV miniseries which is now available as a movie.

8. Near Dark :: A “western” vampire movie from the late 1980s. Bill Paxton co-stars in this cult classic that tells the story of a man who is turned into a vampire by an apparent “drifter” and then joins the group of vampires who roam the Oklahoma highways.

9. Fright Night :: A funny and sometimes clever 80s flick that offers up some genuine scary moments. It also features Vincent Price and the dude from Herman’s Head.

10. Lifeforce :: This film was directed by Tobe Hooper who also directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist.  The plot is somewhat convoluted but revolves around a group of space vampires who are accidentally brought back to earth and begin terrorizing the planet.  The premise is actually pretty good although the execution is somewhat lacking.  Also features Patrick Stewart of Star Trek the Next Generation.

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12 Responses to “Diversions :: The Happy Hollows Take On Vampire Flicks”

  1. This whole Vampire fad has produced one nice side-effect: Near Dark getting some much-deserved praise way after the fact.

  2. This is a brilliant list. But I have to say – Fright Night AFTER Lost Boys? That’s bold. Bold. You also put Shadow of a Vampire on the list though, so I guess that’s cool.

  3. Great list. And if you are talking about the original “Salem’s Lot” mini series from the 70s… I’d like to point out that Tobe Hooper also directed that. I don’t recall Vincent Price in “Fright Night,” but do remember Roddy McDowall was in the film. Another great film worth mentioning was “Vampire’s Kiss” – a dark comedy with Nicholas Cage.

  4. fantastic list. i can’t argue with a thing on it. and thanks for actually giving Shadow its much-deserved props.

  5. No Christopher Lee?
    Hollows…you disappoint me 😉

  6. salem’s lot and fright night are superb according to me bcos i liked only them


  7. no Twilight??? kidding. Lost Boys and Let The Right One In are great. Also, HBO’s True Blood might be one of the best takes on the vampire myth ever. Extremely original and the New Orleans setting is perfect.

    also, a great recent vampire novel is the Historian. just listened to it on tape as I was driving cross-country. very heavily researched and based loosely on lots of facts.

  8. We did make an error with respect to Fright Night. No Vincent Price! I don’t know why I thought that. I think that the vampire fighter might be “based” in Vincent Price.

    Just started watching True Blood recently but haven’t made up my mind yet.

    Matt, what are these “facts” about vampires that you speak of???? 😉

  9. Pah, no mention of Bela Lugosi! 1931. Dracula.

  10. I’d like to throw in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu, either the German or English language versions. Amazing!

  11. Terrific list, Roddy McDowell is named “Peter Vincent” in Fright Night. Which alludes to both Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, both vampire hunters in those great Hammer films of the 1960s.

    Sorry to be so nerdy. I think the last date I went on was to see “Fright Night”.

  12. Great list. I have read about and have seen clips from ‘Let the Right One In’, but have yet to see the whole thing, which I’m gunning to do soon, esp. with it being the top of the most here. Also agree with Stephan that the 1931 Dracula deserves a nod somewhere, even as a footnote.

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