In every generation, vampire fans are born. From the original folklore that existed to explain illnesses like consumption to literature such as the 1819 short story The Vampyre, vamps have been at the forefront of our morbid fascination for centuries.
The trend has continued into modern times with a neverending supply of vampire movies and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Interview with the Vampire.
The seduction and compulsion of vampires is just too hard to resist — so we don’t. Even vampire content that borders on the cliché and cringe becomes guilty pleasures we secretly devour. So, between classics like Nosferatu and comedies like What We Do in the Shadows, here are some of the best streamable vampire shows and movies to quench every flavor of vampiric bloodlust.
The Vampire Diaries universe
A lot of people throw The Vampire Diaries in the same crypt as its early aughts competitors, but the world-building and epic nature of the series set it apart. Sure, TVD has the whole love triangle thing going for it, but franchise showrunner Julie Plec presents it in a way that’s unique and exciting rather than the typical played-out nature of that particular trope.
Nina Dobrev stars as multiple characters (doppelgängers) in the original series — from the modern lead Elena Gilbert, the centuries-old vampire Katherine Pierce, and even the OG star-crossed immortal lover Amara. Meanwhile, Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) and Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore) fight to keep Elena alive (while respectively wooing her in the process). Of course, Elena is no damsel. She saves herself just as much, if not more, than the Salvatore brothers.
The series was so successful during its 8-season run that it garnered two spinoffs. The New Orleans-based show, The Originals, centers around the Mikaelsons, the original vampire family. Meanwhile, Legacies features a new generation of paranormal teens attending a supernatural boarding school. Because what could go wrong there?
Interview With the Vampire (movie and TV)
A vampire walks into a blood bank and asks for a job. No, it’s not that kind of interview. Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire novel is one of the most well-known and celebrated modern vampire books. It took almost two decades to turn the novel into a 1994 movie, but we couldn’t possibly think of a more iconic cast than Tom Cruise (Lestat), Brad Pitt (Louis), and Kirsten Dunst (Claudia).
While Louis regales a reporter with tales of his adventures with Lestat and their pseudo, never-aging vampire daughter Claudia, it’s clear that more than a few plotlines haven’t exactly aged well. Yet the book and movie remain vital components of the vampire genre.
The story got a modern update in 2022 with AMC’s Interview With the Vampire TV show, which features a more diverse cast and updated plotlines. The new cast includes names like Sam Reid (Lestat), Jacob Anderson (Louis), and Bailey Bass (Claudia). Unfortunately, the series was canceled after one season.
What We Do in the Shadows (TV and movie)
Have you ever watched The Office and said, “Hmm, cool story, but what if they were vampires?” If so, What We Do in the Shadows is the show and movie for you. Taika Waititi (Viago) and Jemaine Clement (Vladislav) starred in, co-wrote, and co-directed the 2014 What We Do in the Shadows film. Let’s face it: The only thing the mockumentary genre was missing up to this point was vampires, and the documentary-style comedy hit the nail on the head (or coffin, if you will).
Rather than repeating the OG characters, the 2019 series by the same name features a new ensemble of vampires living in a dilapidated Staten Island mansion instead of Wellington, New Zealand. Clement serves as the showrunner and producer while Waititi produces the show along with their directing and writing credits.
The ensemble cast includes Kayvan Novak (Nandor), Matt Berry (Laszlo), Natasia Demetriou (Nadja), Harvey Guillén (Guillermo), and Mark Proksch (Colin Robinson - AKA Vampire Toby Flenderson). The five-season show is still going strong, which is partly due to its ability to reinvent itself and largely due to the bonkers plotlines and the leads’ comedic timing and chaotic chemistry.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV and movie)
"Passion rules us all, and we obey." Angel’s words still ring true as the fandom’s passion for Buffy the Vampire Slayer hasn’t dwindled since the show’s 1997 debut. But before we talk about the seven-season TV series, we have to give a nod to Kristy Swanson’s 1992 movie by the same name. Sure, it’s beyond campy, but it’s nice to have a fun counterpart to dark vampire franchises. Once you finish the series finale of the Buffy TV show, you can hop on over to the movie to watch a staked vampire uncomfortably groan for three minutes until he bites the dust — literally.
Speaking of the TV show, Joss Whedon created the Sarah Michelle Gellar-led series as somewhat of a do-over for his movie. However, it’s more of a sequel than a remake (despite the new cast). Rounding out Buffy’s Scooby gang is Alyson Hannigan as Buffy’s best friend Willow, Nicholas Brendon as third wheel Xander, and Anthony Stewart Head as Buffy’s personal Yoda named Giles (AKA her Watcher).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a vampire series without some kind of love triangle. David Boreanaz (Angel) and James Marsters (Spike) are here to fill that void while Buffy fights the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness — in heels no less.
Vampire Academy (TV and movie)
Mark Waters’ Vampire Academy movie was fairly roasted for its campy nature, but Zoey Deutch (Rose Hathaway) and Lucy Fry (Lissa Dragomir) put a fun spin on Richelle Mead’s book series by the same name. Fans often forget that the first Vampire Academy book is fairly lighthearted, and the movie has its own goofy charm while sticking closely to the plot of the book.
In 2022, fans received a darker iteration of Mead’s universe with the Vampire Academy Peacock series. Unfortunately, the show only lasted one season, but Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre gave fans a diverse cast while honing in on the darkness and class issues featured in later books.
Sisi Stringer (Rose) and Daniela Nieves (Lissa) lead the series that focuses on the friendship between Lissa, a Moroi royal with rare spirit magic, and Rose, a Dhampir tasked with guarding Lissa’s life against the evil Strigoi. Naturally, they also have to navigate school — and teen drama can sometimes be even more brutal than fangs.
Dracula and Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Anyone who doesn’t know the name Dracula has obviously been sleeping in a coffin for a few centuries. Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula novel has spawned the most vampire adaptations of all time and reigns at the forefront of classic and modern-day vampire pop culture alike. Between Dracula and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and recent films like Renfield and The Invitation, Dracula’s influence on pop culture isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Though there are dozens of options to choose from, Bela Lugosi’s 1931 black-and-white film Dracula and 1992’s Gary Oldman-led Bram Stoker’s Dracula continue to be two of the most iconic renditions of Dracula in pop culture history. When it comes to the 1992 flick, you can’t get much better than a cast with names like Winona Ryder (Mina), Anthony Hopkins (Van Helsing), and Keanu Reeves (Jonathan Harker). But there’s perhaps no name more synonymous with Dracula than Bela Lugosi himself.
Nosferatu is basically Dracula’s grandpa. Okay, so technically the 1922 black-and-white film Nosferatu is actually a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But the haggard vampire isn’t exactly breaking any hearts (eating them, maybe). However, it’s a nice change of pace to see a monstrous depiction of a vampire instead of the seductive vamps we’ve come to know, love, and loathe throughout pop culture.
The abrupt stop-and-go filming style of the silent film adds a traditional spooky layer to the movie that we don’t really see anymore. And though it’s Dracula-inspired, Nosferatu almost feels like it jumped straight off the page of an eerie Edgar Allan Poe short story. Max Schreck plays Count Orlok in the F.W. Murnau-directed film written by Henrik Galeen.
Watch on Tubi
Whether you were Team Edward or Team Jacob, there was no denying the popularity of this movie, which blended teen angst with vampires and werewolves, and launched the careers of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Based on a series of young adult novels, the Twilight saga ultimately spanned five movies. It charts the biting romance of vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and human Bella Swan (Stewart), from their meet-cute — almost getting hit by a van — to their bloody finale. And, if you like this flick, then you should definitely check out the best movies like Twilight.
Stream on Prime Video.
While we're waiting for the Blade reboot to bring him into the MCU, you can still enjoy this classic from the 90s starring Wesley Snipes as the titular antihero, a "daywalking" half vampire, half-human who spends his nights killing vampires. There's a lot of great hacking and slashing as Blade separates his enemies from their heads, and uncovers a secret plot to start a war between vampires and humans. Really, the plot is somewhat incidental to just watching Snipes do his thing in darkened alleys and subterranean lairs. Blade was successful enough to spawn two sequels, but by the third, most of the blood had been sucked out of the franchise.
Stream on Max