With all the terrible vampire movies that show up on DVD and Netflix year after year, don’t you wish Hollywood would try to make movies out of some good vampire novels? You know, the ones with good plots and interesting characters? Well, for what it’s worth, here’s my list of 5 novels I’d love to see adapted to the big (or little) screen:
THEY THIRST by Robert McCammon – This fantastic novel features a vampire who literally takes over the city of Los Angeles! A dedicated cop starts out hunting a vicious serial killer and winds up fighting his way through a city where the undead are rampaging through the streets. Imagine 30 Days of Night or I Am Legend with vampires that actually have personality! This could be a horror/action fan’s dream movie and nowadays it probably wouldn’t even be that expensive to make!
THE VAMPIRE LESTAT by Anne Rice – This one is probably on the list of every vampire fan out there. Discounting the abomination that was The Queen of the Damned, this is a story that has never been put to film and would be wonderful. Just imagine the sweeping historical epic of this novel translated to the screen. In my opinion, this book was Rice’s masterpiece: a novel that combined rich historical detail with intense character building and a scale that really did justice to the idea of vampire immortality. Casting would be critical, of course, but there are so many great potential actors out there who are probably fans of this novel and so many wonderful characters within this novel. I really don’t understand why this hasn’t happened yet, since it seems like a no-brainer.
DHAMPIR by Barb and J.C. Hendee – The first in the Noble Dead series could likewise make a fabulous first installment in a movie series or even a stand-alone film. The story of a Dhampir who doesn’t know where she came from, a renegade elf who won’t speak about his past, and a large and oddly-intelligent wolf-dog who con villagers out of gold by “slaying” vampires has all the elements. The characters are strong, the fantasy world is familiar but still unique, and the plot hits all the right notes for an action-fantasy in the vein of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters without being campy.
ANNO-DRACULA by Kim Newman – An alternate universe where Dracula’s plan to move into London proved a rousing success and vampires are now all the rage in Victorian England has such terrific potential, it’s another instance where I can’t imagine why Hollywood hasn’t done it yet. Sure, the novel itself is complex and features dozens of clever literary references to characters from the age, but none of that is critical to the plot. The central plot is an investigation into Jack the Ripper who seems to prey on vampire prostitutes and you can’t ask for a juicier prospect than that, especially when old friends like Dr. Seward and Lord Arthur Holmwood are among the participants in the investigation. In truth, this would really benefit from the mini-series treatment, but if it were announced as a movie, I’d still be there opening night.
ANCIENT BLOOD by Brian Patrick McKinley – Seriously, my book would make an awesome movie! Okay, fine, here’s the actual fifth choice…
THE VAMPYRE by John Polidori – This would be a tough one, but it could be really worth the attempt. The original story is rather depressing as we watch the narrator watching impotently as he watches the vampire Lord Ruthven quietly make his way through his family and social peers. Still, played properly, this could provide nail-biting suspense. Think of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train as an example of how to do this story well. Play up the narrator’s sense of honor and personal integrity and keep the period setting, which makes it unthinkable for him to break his sworn oath regardless of the extreme circumstances. Also, who will believe such a wild tale? Play Ruthven for the clever sadist that he is, toying with the narrator and giving him opportunities to stop him all while knowing that he can’t. Whether the story plays out to its tragic ending is a decision for the director, though it might not be unreasonable to allow a more triumphant ending in which the narrator saves his sister and kills Ruthven. Either way, in the hands of a good director, this could be a nice creepy tale full of suspense and atmosphere.
What do you think? What vampire classics would you love to see on film?