Vampire and werewolf movies get a bad rap. Admittedly that is because most of them are more campy than frightening and often feature outdated concepts of creature mythology and bad special effects. Most skew heavily into the land of bad wolf morphing and black cloak wearing. As enduring as the idea of these classic creatures is, the execution rarely lives up to its potential. That being said, there are still a few classics out there that deserve to be seen a time or two and some new films that have taken the tired trope, dusted it off, and given it fresh new undead life.
Shudder’s library of eclectic and hard-to-come-by movies is perfect for finding these unusual diamonds in the rough. They have carefully built a reputation for finding these unexpected delights to fill every horror lover’s fantasy. Here are the 5 vampire and werewolf films on Shudder right now that are actually scary(or at least worth unsettling).
Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf. Morbid and singular in their small town, Brigitte and Ginger vow to live and die together, but when Ginger is attacked by a werewolf, she grows detached from her sister and embraces a vicious new lifestyle. Written by Karen Walton and directed by ORPHAN BLACK creator John Fawcett, GINGER SNAPS packs dark, affecting themes of family, feminism, and oncoming womanhood into a grisly creature feature. A favorite upon release, GINGER SNAPS only grows more ferocious with age, as it takes its rightful place as one of our great werewolf stories. Contains strong language, violence and gore.
Cast: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche
You can’t have a best of the werewolves movies and not include one of the single best full moon movies of all time. It spawned several good sequels and gave us a star in Katharine Isabelle. It’s a well-acted coming-of-age story masquerading as a pretty scary wolf movie. The effects are well done, especially for the era. It’s a cult classic that deserves a place on any best-of vampire and werewolves list.
Philosophy student Kathleen is dragged into an alleyway on her way home from class by Casanova and bitten on the neck. She quickly falls ill, but realizes this isn’t any ordinary disease when she develops an aversion to daylight and a thirst for human blood… From Abel Ferrara, an independent vampire essential.
Cast: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken
I’m down for anything with Christopher Walken, and The Addiction is another excellent vehicle for the Severance star. This film is disturbing in the same way that Requiem For a Dream is. It is haunting, bleak, and black hole dark. As a metaphor for vampirism, addiction is pretty spot on. It is scary for what it says about human nature and what makes even the best of us monsters. This is a must-see for every vampire film lover.
Struggling through a creative rut, hard-partying artist Dezzy Donahue can’t stop the bad streak. In an effort to combat her tough luck, Dezzy throws caution to the wind, indulges in heavy drugs, and rages her nights away. Gradually, though, the party starts to end, and in its place, Dezzy finds herself thirsting for blood and suffering from terrifying visions. A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE.
Cast: Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, Tru Collins, Rhys Wakefield, Graham Skipper
This film is dirty, grimy, and very unsettling. It is bombastic and assaultive from almost the first moment. There is gore to spare, and this take on vampires is not at all what you would expect. The ambiguous ending makes a good movie great, and you won’t forget even a single moment of the blood-soaked finale. Director Joe Begos’s violent movie definitely leaves an impression and deserves to be on everyone’s best vampire and werewolf movie list.
What started as a flirtatious encounter at a bar turns into a life-or-death struggle as Eve (Lucie Debay) becomes the unknowing target of a misogynistic plot against her. Forced to flee as two men pursue her through the forest, she’s pushed to her extremes while fighting to survive in the wilderness—but survival isn’t enough for Eve. She will have revenge. A SHUDDER ORIGINAL.
Cast: Lucie Debay, Arieh Worthalter, Ciaran O’Brien
This fantastic Grinderhouse-style movie is a brilliant grisly fairy tale come to life. It starts as an abduction turned revenge story and evolves into something even weirder and bloodier. It’s a feminist masterpiece that speaks to the vulnerability women feel. The film is stylistic and clever in its many twists and turns. It has a lot to say about rape culture but does it in a way that is both fresh and reverberating.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
The first Iranian Vampire Western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the surrealism of David Lynch.
Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marno, Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains
This black-in-white mash-up is an unexpected treasure. If for no other reason, this film should be viewed for the words Iranian vampire Western. Amirpour’s debut is bold and cheeky. The story gets lost in the dream-like art of the cinematography, but there is enough in the celluloid to make it mesmerizing and deeply disturbing. It is like a nightmare that sticks with you even though you can’t articulate what it was about or why it scares you so badly.
Special mentions go to Hellbender, which is not necessarily scary as it is tense. The beast in question is also more witchy or demonic than blood-sucking, but there are definitely elements of transformational and taboo consumption. Also, Brotherhood of the Wolf is a must-see for martial arts/horror hybrids lovers. It is a wild, bizarre ride that isn’t in any way scary but is so over the top, and the action sequence is so unabashedly bonkers that you can’t help but appreciate the charm of this underseen film.
Shudder always has great free trials available, including the current seven-day trial, which will give you enough time to realize just how expansive their ever-growing list of films is. In addition to this best vampire and werewolf movie list, you can find all our Shudder sub-genre film lists here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.