A Twist To Die For: Seven Unconventional Vampire Movies

In honor of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN's anniversary, let's sink our fangs into vampire horror with a twist.

By Dolores Quintana · @doloresquintana · January 19, 2024, 6:00 PM PST
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)
Image Credit: IMDB

When the Quentin Tarantino-penned and Robert Rodriguez-directed film From Dusk Till Dawn was released in 1996, it threw its audience a curveball. Up until a certain point, the movie was a bit of a hardboiled crime film where a couple of violent felons on the run kidnap a former priest's family. Then, they go to a bar in Mexico. From Dusk Till Dawn was foul-mouthed, disturbing with a sense of dark-humored satire. After one of cinema history's sexiest dance sequences, all hell breaks loose, and the criminals and the man of God must work together to defeat the real evil. We love a horror movie with a good plot twist! To honor that mind-blowing shocker, here are seven vampire films that pull the rug out from under the audience part of the way through.

The Addiction (1995)

THE ADDICTION (1995)

Image Credit: IMDB

Abel Ferrara's nontraditional vampire film The Addiction is about a doctoral candidate, Kathleen Conklin, who was trying to finish her dissertation when the nihilistic vamp Casanova attacked her on the street. There's a double twist of the screw when it turns out that the film is still about philosophy and fate. Seriously, it still has vampires quoting philosophy. However, it does turn gruesome during Kathleen's dissertation party when the party turns into an orgy of death. The film stars Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco, Paul Calderón, Fredro Starr, Kathryn Erbe, and Michael Imperioli.

Martin (1977)

MARTIN (1977)

Image Credit: IMDB

George Romero's Martin shocks from the start as the very strange young man, Martin, starts out committing crimes because he thinks he is a vampire. He doesn't have fangs and has to wear plastic costume fangs. He draws blood from his victim with a syringe, but he can't stop what he's doing. You feel sympathy for him even though his deeds are horrible. The biggest shocker comes at the end and is never to be forgotten. It stars John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest, Tom Savini, and George Romero. Read more: Fangoria #37: Gremlins; Rick Baker; Martin.

Stake Land (2010)

Stake Land (2010)

Image Credit: IMDB

Jim Mickle's saga of a vampire takeover of the United States is a vampire film that features animalistic vamps with violent gore. There's nothing human or nice about these vampires; they are nearly indestructible. The disturbing twist in the movie isn't the vampires; it is the human fundamentalist militia that is so focused on winning and taking over that they will airdrop vamps into human survivor camps, believing that the plague of vampires is "God's will." Stake Land stars Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Michael Cerveris, Sean Nelson, Kelly McGillis, and Danielle Harris. Read more: Review: Stake Land.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

BLOOD RED SKY (2021)

A loving mother wants only to fly to New York for a medical treatment has to protect her son after the plane is hijacked by criminals. Nadja seems like an everyday mom, but the terrorists are in for a surprise when she rises from the dead to foil their plans. Read more: Stakes on a Plane: Creating the Vamptastic Thriller BLOOD RED SKY with Producer Benjamin Munz and Special FX Legend Mark Coulier.

Blade (1998)

BLADE (1998)

Image Credit: IMDB

It might not seem so now, but the surprise in Blade, that Blade himself is a Daywalker, or a half vampire who has to control his thirst to continue his crusade to kill vampires, was a big one. Stephen Norrington created his own kind of vampire tale. The other surprise is that vamps actually control the world, even though they keep their numbers and existence secret from most humans. Blade does whatever he has to continue in his quest, including taking the watches of familiars that he captures. As he says, "How do you think that we fund this organization, huh? We're not exactly the March of Dimes." Like From Dusk Till Dawn, Blade also has a great sense of humor.

Blade II (2002)

BLADE II (2002)

Image Credit: IMDB

With auteur director Guillermo del Toro at the helm, the sequel to Blade would, of course, continue to surprise. After the head of the vampire families contacts Blade and asks him to help him eradicate a new and terrifying vampire with a special team, Blade reluctantly says yes. It turns out that the new breed of bloodsuckers is feral with an insatiable lust for blood. The twist is exactly who the leader and patient zero of the Reaper strain. But that's not the only surprise in store in this riveting and comedic horror film.

30 Days of Night (2007)

30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007)

Image Credit: IMDB

David Slade's 30 Days of Night did not get the critical approval that it deserved upon its release but has been getting a critical reassessment of late. The film starts out as a typical small town that just happens to be above the Arctic Circle, and therefore, its citizens must endure 30 days without sunlight. What they don't know is that their town, Barrow, Alaska, has been targeted by a pitiless group of blood drinkers who revel in causing terror and death. The second twist is just exactly how far one resident of the town will go to save the survivors.

Read more: Q&A: Makeup Master Greg Nicotero Talks From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.