Vampire love stories that surpass "Twilight"
Writer: Ng Suzhen
It's goodbye to Edward and Bella in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2". A blessing to some, a curse to others.
As "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" hits cinema screens, many movie fans would either be exasperated by the hype or already hopelessly pining for Edward (and some say Jacob) in the last instalment for the franchise. While (mostly) teenage girls all over the world celebrate what would be expected to be a happy ending for the love between Edward and Bella, those who have been fans of vampire lore and forbidden love would be chagrined that better movies in their opinion have been sidelined by the teenage obsession called "Twilight".
Francis Ford Coppola's take on the most famous vampire of all time is probably also the most humanised version of the dreaded blood sucker. The Count (Gary Oldman) is portrayed as a love-lorn vampire completely focused on scheming to have Mina Harker (Winona Ryder) as his bride, believing that she is the reincarnation of his true love – Elisabeth. The reign of terror he spreads is very much considered a side effect of his efforts. However, this version of Dracula strays a little from the traditional vampire lore with this immortal being of the night being able to walk in daylight as well as see his reflection in the mirror.
"Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles" (1994)
With Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise headlining this movie, there really isn't much else that needs convincing audiences to give "Interview with the Vampire" a go. One of its highlights is 12-year-old Kirsten Dunst as the child vampire Claudia who famously shared a kiss with Brad Pitt's vampire Louis. Both are turned by the older and experienced Lestat (Tom Cruise), who wanted them with him as a family but finds that they have a grudge against him for turning them immortal. What follows is a rollercoaster ride across time as they cross each other's path throughout the centuries.
"Moon Child" (2003)
Expect nicely choreographed cinematography and slow story telling in this Japanese fare of five friends where one of them happens to be a vampire. Interwoven with gang fights, the story focuses on friendship rather than the appearance of vampires. A girl, of course, is thrown into the fray. When it is discovered that Kei (Hyde) is a vampire, his friend Sho (Gackt) requests that he save Yi-Che (Zeny Kwok), who is diagnosed with brain cancer. While not really a true-blue vampire flick, the movie is filled with a pretty looking cast that includes singer Wang Leehom.
This is one of the rare vampire movies that has all the elements properly weaved into a long-standing history between vampire and werewolf (known as Lycans in the movies). Every instalment of the franchise reveals to the audience more of what transpired in the past, fitting in perfectly with the present story that is playing. With exception of the third story, which focuses on the forbidden love between werewolf and vampire, the rest of the series revolves around Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire known as a Death Dealer who hunts down Lycans, believed to have slaughtered her family. It is until the revelation that the murderer is closer to home than expected that Selene rebels, bringing along with her the human, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), whom she falls for along the way.
"30 Days of Night" (2007)
For 30 continuous days a year, the town of Barrow, Alaska does not see the sun. Taking advantage of its plight, vampires decide to row in on a boat and make a feast out of its inhabitants. Based on a comic book, the movie stars Josh Harnett as town sheriff Eben Oleson who tries his best to protect the townsfolk in those 30 days as well as making sure his soon-to-be ex-wife stays away from harm. While it's not your typical forbidden love fare, at least the vampires in the movie pack a punch as they mercilessly feed on their hunted game.
"Let the Right One In" (2008)
When a mysterious man moves in next door with what looks like his 12-year-old daughter, Eli (Lina Leandersson), the young Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) slowly becomes intrigued especially when informed by Eli that the both cannot be friends. When the body count in town gets higher, Oskar realises that Eli is a vampire but the revelation only proves to strengthen their bond. This Swedish production has earned critical acclaim as a beautiful love story despite the premise and has since undergone a Hollywood remake starring Chloe Moretz.
Known originally as "Bat" in Korean, the story tells of a Catholic priest who turns into a vampire thanks to the modern miracles of medicine. In order to find a cure for the Emmanuel Virus, Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) takes part in a failed experiment for the vaccine which unknown to his parishioners, turns him into a vampire. Sang-hyun is not only endowed with vampiristic abilities but also succumbs to his desires which include the craving for blood as well as falling in love with the wife of his friend. The illicit love affair spirals out of control when Sang-hyun is requested to murder his friend for the woman he loves, an act that he refrains from despite being a vampire.
Cinema Online, 23 November 2012