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Great 1970s Vampire Movies to Sink Your Teeth Into

Hollywood took a dark turn in the 1970s, with horror movies making big strides in realism, quantity, and gore. But, no matter how many haunted houses or chainsaw massacres you rain down on audiences, there’s really nothing more classic when it comes to big-screen scary than good old nocturnal bloodsuckers. As these 1970s vampire movies prove, horror buffs will always love a good pain in the neck.

Vampire Circus

Released in 1972, this outrageous film was part of a resurgence of the vampire genre during the 1970s, complete with all the kitsch the decade had to offer. Mix the classic bloodsucker tale with some Carpathian royalty and a traveling circus, and — well — voila!

This Hammer Studios production is a great example of the 1970s trend for creating “serious” scary films. It’s also one of the few 1970s vampire movies without any campy humor (at least of the intentional variety) or special effects to distract from its focus on atmosphere and suspense.

The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires

Directed by Roy Ward Baker and Chang Cheh, this 1974 vampire movie is one of the first to introduce a kung fu theme. It also features Peter Cushing as the legendary (and creepy) Professor Van Helsing.

Nosferatu the Vampyre

Nosferatu the Vampyre is a 1979 remake of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, which was in turn an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.

Nosferatu was directed by Werner Herzog and stars Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker, Bruno Ganz as Jonathan Harker, and Roland Topor as Renfield. The film won international acclaim from audiences and critics alike; it is considered one of the greatest films ever made by many pundits.

Blacula

Directed by William Crain and starring William Marshall, the 1970s’ Blacula is a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It follows an African prince who becomes infected with vampirism after being bitten by his wife at her father’s funeral. The movie was considered groundbreaking in its portrayal of 1970s African American stereotypes.

Love at First Bite

In this 1979 cult classic vampire movie, Count Dracula (George Hamilton) moves to New York City and starts turning the townspeople into vampires. Hilarity ensues when he falls in love with a normal woman (Susan Saint James). This one combines themes of the decade, like disco and the 1970s sexual revolution, with the classic horror trope of blood-thirsty creatures.

Salem’s Lot

The 1970s also boasted a wave of literary adaptations, including this faithful small screen miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s 1975 novel (Jerusalem’s Lot). Adapted by Tobe Hooper and directed in his signature style, the story follows Ben Mears (played by David Soul), a writer who returns to Salem’s Lot – his hometown – after years away following an incident where two of his friends were brutally murdered. Once there, he discovers that the small Maine town is now home to a nest of vampires – including Kurt Barlow (James Mason), who may be responsible for Mear’s lost years and memories.

While some 1970s vampire movies are campy fun, this 1979 classic deals with more mature themes.

Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter

This little-seen movie (these days, at least) is a pseudo-sequel to Hammer’s “Dracula A.D. 1972.” It follows the story of Captain Kronos, who returns to Transylvania in order to slay Dracula after being bitten by one of his brides on board an airplane en route from London back home. He does not succeed.

The Vampire Lovers

In 1970, Hammer released this erotic take on the Dracula legend. It tells the story of a lesbian vampire who preys upon virginal girls in order to satiate her lust for blood and sex – though she soon falls in love with one such victim.

Scars of Dracula

One of a series of vampire movies starring the great Christopher Lee, Scars of Dracula is a 1970 depiction of the classic Bram Stoker story. The film follows Count Bloodsucker (Lee) as he comes to England and preys on the young daughter and fiancé of Victor Hargrave, who’s in league with Van Helsing.

(Like 1970s Vampire Movies? Then you might like our article on 70s Horror Movie, click here.)

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