Few things in life are as thrilling as stumbling onto a movie that is more than what you’d expect.
I see a lot of “Great Horror Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen” and the chances are very good I’ve seen all but maybe one or two, and for those, I skip them by choice. I know my limits, and extreme violence or over-the-top gore lies just on the other side.
I make lots of lists of movies I come across on those lists, and over time I forget why they caught my attention, which is great. It means when I do finally get around to watching them, it’s a surprise for my brainmeats.
Thanks to properties like The Walking Dead, zombies have overtaken vampires as the biggest, scariest badasses on the block. Instead of being sulky crybabies, vampires did what they’ve always done – they went underground, they collected themselves, and they evolved from sparkly emo-ridden pretty boys into the sultry predators hiding among us.
Listed below are five vampire movies you may have missed, because they were passing themselves off as high-society and arthouse. You can stream each of them (except Livide) at your own peril.
This movie was persistent on my Netflix homepage. The cover looks like the movie is a Merchant Ivory society film, and the description makes it sound like sisters on the run from the law or abusive men – and that isn’t far from the truth at all. This is a stylish film with absolutely gorgeous imagery. Two sisters are on the run from abusive men and the law, because they aren’t supposed to be, exist. This movie shifts with ease between the past and the present, as the younger of the two sisters tells their story to the already doomed or dying as either confession or bragging, it’s hard to say.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
When this hit the film festivals, it was initially dismissed as an Iranian feminist treatise on grrl power, wallowing on arty violence to get its point across – but those people had obviously never seen it. Part romance, part spaghetti western, a lonely vampire metes out final justice only to the deserving while roaming the streets of a town gone to seed. She’s not looking for love but a connection – to anyone – and she’s certainly not interested in taking the first thing that comes along.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2015)
Real talk: I would take one for the team for a shot at Tilda Swinton. She’s played an Angel (Constantine), the Madonna (The Garden), and an immortal man (and woman)(Orlando). And her ethereal beauty and striking talent make any role she seizes an opportunity for awe. Here she plays a vampire reunited by her lover in Detroit, that magical mosaic of elegance and decay – much like themselves. The end for them is near as they contemplate their existence, what it means to be alive, and the sustaining force that binds them.
The Stranger (2015)
Eli Roth threw money at this film so you know it’s a brutal watch. Drifters and small town violence go hand in hand when a man arrives searching for his long-missing wife. He’s not looking for trouble but gets it in spades and every effort by a teen to help the stranger is met with violence and ignorance.
I found this in my pile of movies and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why or how it got there. It’s a French-language film – and the French do love their imagery and expository landscapes – so expect long stretches of silence punctuated by unsettling jabs that turn your blood icy cold. Lucy is a home nursing aide tending to a wealthy recluse in a coma. Her boyfriend decides the fabled treasure hidden in the woman’s house is their ticket out of their drab existence of fishing and bodily waste. He has no idea how right he is. Livide is available only on Region 2 DVD.