Emmy nominated What we do in the shadows is currently on the air with its fourth season, while Syfy’s Reginald the Vampire finds Jacob Balaton playing the titular character next month. The hype behind these two titles themselves proves the commercialization of the vampire comedy subgenre.
For decades, the tradition of bloodsucking night walkers has inspired several horror films and shows. But with the existing parodies of vampire stories, it has also become common to laugh at their misadventures. In some cases, the humor can be less slapstick and more toned down, as can be seen in Jim Jarmusch. Only lovers will stay alive.
ten Vampire’s Kiss (1988) – 6.0
vampire kiss, aka “that movie Nicolas Cage ate a cockroach in,” is fun to watch without any context. Cage’s Vampire is also quite different from the others due to the psychological angle. His character is convinced he’s a vampire after a sexual partner bites him, but when he shows no signs of transforming, he ends up donning fake fangs and acting like the vampire he was meant to be.
The charismatic actor’s over-the-top theatrics and his exploration of human (or vampire in this case) isolation make this a cult classic vampire comedy and one of Nic Cage’s most underrated films.
9 Shadow of the Vampire (2000) – 6.9
FW Murnau’s Nosferatus forever revolutionized on-screen portrayals of vampires and is considered one of the most influential vampire films. The shadow of the vampire tries to fictionalize the realization of this classic with the particularity that the actor playing the vampire is in fact one! John Malkovich’s Murnau strikes an unlikely deal with Willem Defoe’s Max Shreck, a vampire who is presumed to be an intense method actor by the rest of the team.
The twisted comedy perfectly blurs the line between reality and fiction while serving as an homage to the film it attempts to parody. Meanwhile, Defoe effortlessly bites into the flesh of his role, particularly brilliant in moments when his vampiric hunger kicks in.
8 Hotel Transylvania (2012) – 7.0
Adam Sandler puts on his strongest Transylvanian accent to play Count Drac, a legendary vampire who clashes with his daughter when she decides to marry a human. While also managing the titular hotel, Drac eventually shows his softer side and becomes one of the best dads in animated movies.
The film also features other classic creatures such as a mummy, werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, and the invisible man. With the titular Hotel Transylvania being a gothic castle, there are plenty of gags and satirical jabs at the over-the-top tropes of the vampire genre.
seven Dread Night (1985) – 7.0
When a teenager discovers his seemingly perfect neighbor is actually a murderous vampire, he enlists the help of a washed-up movie star. This team leads to a bizarrely hilarious (yet slightly scary at times) adventure scary night an 80s classic worth visiting.
While Chris Sarandon plays a delightfully evil vampire villain, Roddy McDowall’s appearance as old-timer actor Peter Vincent is also commendable. The latter plays the host of a horror TV show, evoking the nostalgic clichés and tropes of the classic horror era. His portrayal seems to bear traces of legendary horror villain actors like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee.
6 Only Lovers Stay Alive (2013) – 7.2
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play the main characters, lonely vampires who have a deep appreciation for human culture, music, and art. However, as the years pass and their chances of survival look grim with zombies contaminating human blood, they simply live in existentialist terror.
Writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s deadpan humor and a diverse soundtrack featuring niche electronic and rock numbers are added to the mix. All in all, this isn’t your average vampire comedy. Only lovers will stay alive is more artistic and philosophical in its exploration of the vampire experience.
5 The Lost Boys (1987) – 7.2
A time portal from the 80s, the lost boys overcame familiar Transylvanian stereotypes to create sleeker, easier to understand vampires. Kiefer Sutherland and his co-stars portray a new brand of bike-riding, leather-jacketed vampires, who can look like cool high schoolers in one scene and reckless ghouls in the next.
As a ragtag group of teenagers are determined to expose this gang of vampires and fight them any way they can, a Goonies-how the adventure is set in motion. One of Joel Schumacher’s best films, the lost boys is funny, stylish, violent, and a well-deserved break from old vampire horror movies.
4 What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – 7.6
The Taika Waititi comedy introduced vampires to the mockumentary genre. Dealing with the daily lives of three vampires, the film unfolds randomly and oddly funny. From adjusting with humans to battling werewolves, vampires are shown to have their own share of laughable problems.
Ultimately, these day-to-day issues only humanize their character, making viewers sympathize with the vampires at some point. Waititi introduces himself as one of the vampires joined by Jemaine Clement and Jonathan Brugh, all of whom share a commendable bromance.
3 The Munsters (1964-1966) – 7.8
American suburban life is satirized in goth fashion as The Munsters offers a glimpse into the home life of a family of perfectly imperfect monsters. There’s the monster Frankenstein Herman, who runs the family with his vampire wife Lily. As the family faces one chaotic situation after another, Herman and Lily also ensure that the young members learn valuable life lessons. It’s the kind of vintage sitcom worth rediscovering for a family watch.
Lily isn’t the only vampire as her father appears as a grandfather, an elderly and overly dramatic Count Dracula who longs for his former glory. Al Lewis puts on a compelling performance while longing for Transylvania, unwittingly capturing the evolution of vampires in pop culture. What were once considered terrifying nocturnal creatures are now characters used for comic relief.
2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) – 8.3
What initially got mixed reactions as a movie eventually became a cult favorite TV show, like buffy the vampire slayer premiered in 1997. As the title suggests, the series is about a vampire hunter tasked with battling the forces of darkness while balancing her life as an ordinary high school girl. Joining her is a “scooby gang” of human and supernatural friends.
At first glance, the series falls mostly into the action drama and teen drama categories, but it has enough sequels for comic relief that makes it one of the best vampire comedies out there. In fact, one of Buffy’s best episodes, “Once More, with Feeling,” plays out like a musical.
1 What We Do in the Shadows (2019-) – 8.6
Based on the movie of the same name, What we do in the shadows carries the same satirical tone as its original. The difference is that the human “Familiar” (helper) of the vampires plays a larger role in the narrative with his perpetual quest to become a vampire, which leads to brilliant situational humor.
The Emmy-nominated show also features a council of vampires whose roles and lore poke fun more at archaic vampires. What also makes it a must-have watch for vampire fans is the lineup of cameos that includes actors like Evan Rachel Wood (true blood), Tilda Swinton (Only lovers will stay alive), and even Wesley Snipes (Blade).
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