25 Best Dracula Movies Ranked

Summary

  • The best Dracula movies capture the charisma, sex appeal, and Machiavellian stereotype of the iconic vampire, entertaining and frightening fans of the genre.
  • Dracula continues to be a fascinating and captivating movie villain, with new adaptations finding inventive ways to scare audiences by tapping into centuries of superstition and culture.
  • While opinions may vary, certain Dracula movies like “Love at First Bite” and “Dracula: Untold” bring unique perspectives to the bloodsucking fiend, showcasing different interpretations of the character and his origin story.

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Originally published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula would go on to become one of the most important horror novels ever conceived, introducing arguably one of the most prolific villains of all time, and he then moved on to the best Dracula movies for over a century. However, Dracula truly hit his stride via the medium of cinema, and the debate over which interpretation did the greatest justice to the Lord of all Vampires will likely go on forever. Despite over a century passing since the novel was first published, Dracula will continue as one of the most enduring monsters of all time — and the contenders for best Dracula movie exemplify why.

The best Dracula movies have a strong mixture of charisma, potent sex appeal, and a timeless Machiavellian stereotype that continues to entertain — and frighten — fans of vampire flicks related, or unrelated to Stoker’s Dracula book. Dracula continues to get the silver screen treatment over 100 years after Bram Stoker immortalized the character in his 1897 novel, and for good reason. As far as movie villains go, he’s one of the most fascinating, frightening, and charismatic of the bunch. The best Dracula movies find new and inventive ways of bringing him to the forefront, tapping in on centuries of superstition and historical culture in order to scare audiences.

25 Love At First Bite (1979)

Renfield and Dracula in Love At First Bite

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For anyone looking for a comedy version of Dracula, look no further than Love at First Bite. The movie sees the regime of Romania evict Count Dracula from his ancestral home. Dracula and Renfield leave his home and go in search of the reincarnated Mina Harker, who turns out to be a fashion model in New York City. However, when her current boyfriend is the grandson of Van Helsing, they become enemies but nothing Van Helsing does seems to work as Dracula seems to have all the luck on his side. With George Hamilton and Susan Saint James in the lead roles, the movie remains a funny comedy, and it even earned Hamilton a Golden Globe nomination.

24 Son Of Dracula (1943)

Lon Chaney Jr in Son of Dracula

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Released in the days of some of the best Dracula movies, Son of Dracula is the third of the original Universal Monsters Dracula franchise. While the title is similar to the second movie, Dracula’s Daughter, this movie is not about Dracula’s son – it is about Dracula himself, who has been living under the name Count Alucard (which is Dracula backward). He is invited to the United States by a woman named Katherine, and soon he turns her into a vampire and marries her, but her longtime boyfriend learns the truth and seeks to save her life. The movie had Lon Chaney Jr. take on the Dracula role after previously playing The Wolf Man

23 Dracula: Untold (2014)

Vlad standing over an army of dead bodies in Dracula Untold (2014)

While purists discount Dracula: Untold as one of the best Dracula movies, the truth is that it brings an interesting outlook to the bloodsucking fiend. For years, Dracula was displayed as a semi-tragic figure, a man who wanted to regain his youth and find his lost love, but through despicable means. In this movie, the legend went one step further and made Dracula a hero before his turn to evil. Told as an origin story, Luke Evans stars as Dracula in 1462, a ruler who is forced to become a vampire to save his people – but then sees them turn on him when they realize what he has done. This was supposed to be part of a new franchise, but bad reviews doomed it.

22 Dracula 2000 (2000)

Dracula looking at something in Dracula 2000.

In 2000, Patrick Lussier set his sights on Dracula, and he brought the vampire to the modern day. What resulted was a movie that wasn’t received well by Dracula fans, but it was one that brought a really interesting twist to his origin story. This twist was that Dracula is Judas from the Bible, forced to live forever after betraying Jesus Christ. This explains his weakness for crosses and silver (Judas was paid in silver for his betrayal). The movie also has a young Gerard Butler as Dracula, but Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing was a standout.

21 Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Dracula in Dracula AD 1972

Dracula A.D. 1972 brought back Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as Dracula and Van Helsing, respectively, for another addition to the Hammer series. However, this movie took a very different approach as it took the action to the modern day, which at the time was 1972. The movie opens in 1872 when Lawrence Van Helsing kills Dracula and dies himself. However, 100 years later, Dracula rises and starts to kill again. Cushing here plays Lorrimer Van Helsing, making the character a descendent of the Van Helsing line, while keeping a familiar face in the role. The seventh in the series, this wasn’t one of the best Dracula movies, but it did bring something new with the time jump.

20 Brides of Dracula (1960)

The Brides of Dracula walking through cobwebs.

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In 1960, Hammer Films released a sequel to its rebooted Horror of Dracula, which brought the best Dracula movies back after two decades on the shelf. Instead of bringing back Dracula in the first sequel, Hammer chose to make this movie about the vampire brides of Dracula. With that said, Peter Cushing did return as Van Helsing, as he set out to stop the vampires sired by a Baroness in Transylvania. The entire idea was to have acolytes of Dracula rather than bringing the big baddie back for every movie, but his absence really kept this from reaching the same level as other Hammer Films releases.

19 Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Dracula's Daughter from 1936.

After the major success of Frankenstein, Universal Horror released Bride of Frankenstein, which ended up as a better movie than the original. The company tried a similar tactic with Dracula’s Daughter, but this wasn’t nearly as successful as the Frankenstein sequel. In this movie, Countess Marya Zaleska is Dracula’s daughter, and she hopes that his death will free her from his influence. However, as expected from a horror movie, she did not find her freedom and began to slowly change and follow in her father’s footsteps. The movie received favorable reviews and has been reappraised in later years.

18 House of Frankenstein (1944)

Boris Karloff removes the stake from Dracula's heart in House of Frankenstein

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While the movie has Frankenstein’s name in the title, this is one of the best Dracula movies as well. Released in 1944, this was the first time that Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man ever appeared in the same movie together. The movie opens with the evil Gustav Niemann escaping from prison and then reviving the recovered corpse of Dracula to use him to gain revenge against his enemies. The cast here was unique. Boris Karloff, the original Frankenstein, played Niemann, while Glenn Strange continued to play the Monster. As for Dracula, John Carradine took on the role, and only Lon Chaney Jr. returned to his original role as Wolf Man.

17 Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970)

An older Dracula in Jess Franco’s Count Dracula

This version of Count Dracula was a unique release, as it was from Spanish horror director Jess Franco in the middle of Hammer Horror releasing their franchise. Franco’s version of Dracula was easily the most loyal to Bram Stoker’s novel, retelling the story without many of the changes made to previous movie versions of the vampire. Dracula here starts off as an older man who starts to regain his youth as he kills and feeds on his victims. Interestingly, even though this was not part of the Hammer slate of movies, Christopher Lee played Dracula for Franco as well, delivering a different take on a character he had previously mastered.

16 Count Dracula (1977)

Louis Jourdan as Count Dracula staring at a cross-shaped light.

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A BBC adaptation, this version of Dracula follows the book quite closely. In fact, other than Dracula not being portrayed as an old man, the entire arrival of John Harker at Dracula’s castle is verbatim to the novel, which was a rare display of strict adherence to the source material. First shown on British television in its full 155-minute glory, it was eventually split up into a miniseries for repeat broadcasts. French actor Louis Jourdan, known for his dashing and charming parts, played Dracula in one of the best Dracula movies, with a subtle, yet ominous glare that sells the character well in this often-overlooked BBC adaptation.

15 Dracula (1979)

Frank Langella in Dracula

This Universal remake starred Frank Langella as a dashing Count and continued the theme of him looking for love, as opposed to simply being an evil bloodsucker. Langella also played the part on Broadway, and accepted the movie role provided there was no depiction of fangs dripping blood. Speaking on the character, Langella said “I don’t play him as a hair-raising ghoul. He is a nobleman; an elegant man with a very difficult problem, a man with a unique and distinct social problem. He has to have blood to live, and he is immortal.” As such, his performance was one of the most “human” in any of the best Dracula movies.

14 Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Dracula in Hotel Transylvania 4.

This animated family comedy is one of the few of the best Dracula movies to throw out the horror elements in favor of family-friendly fun. The story centers around Dracula opening up a vacation hotel that caters to the world’s most infamous monsters, and their loved ones. When he invites them to celebrate the 118th birthday of his beloved daughter Mavis, they are interrupted by the chance arrival of the young human Jonathan, who develops a fondness for Mavis, and vice versa. Dracula is forced to deal with his own prejudice against humans as the two get close. The movie picked up three Hotel Transylvania sequels and a TV series.

13 Renfield (2023)

Nicolas Cage baring his teeth as Dracula in Renfield

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It might seem strange, but Nicolas Cage delivered a fantastic performance as Dracula in the 2023 release Renfield. Part of the mastery of the role is the fact that Cage studied classic Dracula movies and reenacted many of the moments from those in this modern-day story. Renfield has been alive for decades, serving as Dracula’s loyal servant. He also has superpowers he gains by eating bugs which helps him successfully complete the tasks Dracula needs from him. However, when Renfield wants to break free, Dracula finds a new servant and sets his sights on Renfield and those he loves. The movie is not a comedy, but its kitsch made it an entertaining watch for Dracula fans.

12 The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

Javier Botet as Dracula in The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter adapts one single chapter in Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, and what resulted is one of the best Dracula movies when it comes to terror and horrifying moments. The movie takes place on the ship that brought Dracula from Transylvania to England and shows why that ship arrived with the crew decimated. Directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter), the movie kept a claustrophobic atmosphere and delivered a very scary tale about people trapped aboard a ship they cannot escape from the ultimate predator. The movie received mixed reviews but remains a great movie for those looking for vampire horror.

11 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Dracula hypnotizes Lou in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

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In the 1930s, there wasn’t anything bigger in horror movies than the Universal Monsters, led by Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf-Man. However, by the end of the 1940s, horror was going out of style thanks to the real horrors of World War II and comedies picked up, led by Abbott and Costello. In 1948, the two worlds collided in one of the best horror-comedy mashups ever made. Abbott and Costello played it for laughs while Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., and Glenn Strange played it for scares. One of the best Dracula movies, it was added to the Library of Congress in 2001.

10 The Monster Squad (1987)

The monsters in Monster Squad.

This classic 1980s horror/comedy combo was forgotten by many in the years after its release but has more recently strengthened its reputation as an ’80s cult classic. It tells the story of Dracula, who comes to a small town in order to find a powerful amulet that can give him control over the entire world. He’s aided by the most popular movie monsters including Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. A 12-year-old boy and his friends are the only ones standing between them and total victory. In typical 80s fashion, it’s both creepy, atmospheric, and loaded with fun.

9 Horror Of Dracula (1958)

Christopher Lee bares his fangs as Count Dracula

Christopher Lee created perhaps the most iconic Dracula ever caught on film, scaring multiple generations of horror fans as the titular villain. Hammer deserves a lot of credit for crafting one of the most authentic and genuinely scary vampire films of the time period, and even by today’s standards, it’s a work of art.

The movie also handled its secondary characters well, particularly Van Helsing, played by Peter Cushing. In the U.S., the title was changed to Horror of Dracula in order to differentiate itself from the original Bela Lugosi classic. Lee would go on to portray the character a total of nine times, along with other monsters in Hammer’s vault.

8 Dracula (2020)

Claes Bang as Dracula in the Netflix TV show

This three-part Netflix feature-length Dracula story is perfect for fans of Dracula movies, and Claes Bang’s depiction of the character is one of the most refreshing in recent memory. He blends a terrifying monster with an authentic gentleman, creating a charismatic and foreboding villain in equal measure. In contrast to many modern vampire films which prioritize gore or special effects, this version of Dracula harkens back to a more classical method of storytelling, and that’s good news for traditionalists and purists.

7 Dracula: Prince Of Darkness (1966)

Christopher Lee as Count Dracula in 1966

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Christopher Lee reprised the iconic role he started in 1958 with Hammer’s Dracula franchise and continued the saga of the evil Count. This time, Dracula is revived from the blood of a vacationing Englishman and brought back to full strength, so he can wage his campaign of darkness. The movie is notable for the final scene showing Dracula battling it out on the ice before he goes under. Naturally, not even a watery grave can keep the good Count down for long, and Lee would find himself filling Dracula’s shoes several more times, before moving onto greener pastures outside of Hammer studios.

6 Shadow Of The Vampire (2000)

Max Shrek holding an amulet in Shadow of the Vampire

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This mockumentary vampire flick focused on the making of the classic silent film Nosferatu, and centered around a “what-if” scenario between the movie’s director, and its main star Max Schreck. In order to create the ultimate vampire flick, director F.W. Murnau seeks out and casts a real-life vampire in the role, for the sake of authenticity. Things start going wrong when Schreck’s ability to feed freely causes people to suddenly go missing. It’s a black comedy mixed with horror elements that goes a long way toward creating a more haunting mystery around the original movie. Plus, it’s a clever gateway film to the classic 1922 silent film.

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