Just in time for Halloween, NBC is premiering Dracula, its new historical drama starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers of The Tudors as the vampire count who likes the taste of blood, long walks in the darkness and the ladies.
Between Twilight and True Blood some might say there has been vampire overload in popular culture this past decade. But since Dracula was first created by Irish novelist Bram Stoker more than 100 years ago, vampires have never gone out of style. No matter how many zombie hordes or shirtless werewolves top the TV ratings, the vampire remains Western culture's ultimate monster.
And surely no mummy or fairy has inspired as many musical tributes as the vampire. Metal, punk and goth have the led the way in terms of songs about vamps but every genre from country to disco has taken a stab (sorry!) at it.
Of the hundreds of vampire songs out there, the best have either been written for the movies, or made an appearance in them. Here then, in time for your Halloween party playlist, 15 memorable vampire songs from the movies. Some are frightful, some are frightfully bad, but all are bloody good fun.
Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi made Dracula famous onscreen in Universal Studio's 1931 black and white horror classic. This ode is a classic in and of itself. A nine-minute expressionist howl of a song with screeching guitars, slow, ominous bass and Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy droning "oh, Be-la, Be-la's undead, undead, undead...." No wonder they used it for the goth club scene in the opening of the 1983 vampire movie <em>The Hunger.</em>
In 1974, Ringo Starr produced and starred in a vampire comedy called <em>Son of Dracula</em>, alongside American singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, who also did the soundtrack. The theme song may sound upbeat and happy but for bloodsuckers, its lyrics are a total bummer: "here come the daylight / it's making me sad."
Did this song kill the J. Geils band? All I know is that after playing together since the 1960s, the group disbanded in 1985 shortly after the release of this '80s horror flick, featuring their silly new wave theme song, which featured an overabundance of not-so-frightening handclaps.
People are strange...when you've just moved into Santa Carla, California, murder capital of the world. 1980s teen vampire classic the <em>Lost Boys</em> was the perfect match for this cover of the Doors classic by happy goths Echo and the Bunnymen.
As heard in the opening credits to the 1996 grindhouse flick <em>Dusk 'til Dawn</em>, this sleezy blues rock number by The Blasters is a modern-day murder ballad about a drive-by. Unlike zombies, vampires are good with guns.
Vampire films aren't all horror. The 1979 comedy <em>Love at First Bite</em> featured a hilarious ballroom dance sequence between Susan Saint James and George Hamilton -- whose orange tan is the scariest part of the movie.
File under: WTF? In <em>Only Lovers Left Alive</em>, the new vampire movie by Jim Jarmusch, night creatures Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) watch a clip of this oddball disco track. The act is from Germany, if that explains anything.
Concrete Blonde singer Johnette Napolitano was inspired by Anne Rice's <em>Vampire Chronicles</em> books to write their album <em>Bloodletting</em>. The title track captures the hot, sumptuous vibe of a vamp on the prowl in a New Orleans night. It wasn't used for the film adaptation of <em>Interview with the Vampire</em> but it did show up in the Canadian indie flick <em>Blood and Donuts</em>.
The <em>Twilight </em>saga tapped most of today's hot young acts for its various soundtracks. Like the movies themselves, most were sappy, swoony tales of teen love. But this track from Florence, from <em>Eclipse</em>, is most delectably dark, complete with eerie black and white video.
Theme song to Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 <em>Dracula</em> film, this haunting ballad by the Eurythmics singer is heavy on sweeping synths and melodrama, as befitting a lament for a romance that requires crossing oceans of time.
Lesser known than the "Monster Mash," this novelty song was still a top 10 hit for TV's horror host Zacherle. More silly than spooky, with puns a plenty.
This bopping 1950s novelty song about a rather strange woman who hangs out in graveyards with Dracula is named for the ghoulishly glamorous TV horror hostess Vampira, a precursor to Elvira. Not to be confused with...
New Jersey horror punk pioneers took a speedier, rawer approach for their tribute to Vampira, shouting out the actress' two-inch nails, micro waist, and prominent eyebrows, plus her bit part in Ed Wood's <em>Plan Nine from Outer Space</em>.
A 2000-year-old bloodsucker shows no remorse for bleeding his victims dry in this slow creep of a song from the Southern rockers.
Pretty much every song by Finnish "love metal" band Him would probably be on a modern vampire's iPod but this one, from the album <em>Dark Light</em>, is particularly swoon-y. You just know it's been the first dance song at <em>Twilight</em>-loving headbanger weddings.
Liisa Ladouceur is the author of How to Kill a Vampire: Fangs in Folklore, Film and Fiction. She previously penned (in bloody ink, no doubt) Encyclopedia Gothica. Click here to buy. Also available via Chapters and Amazon.
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