By Catherine Karp

Save up your movie money.  Cinematic bloodsuckers--and shapeshifters--are lurching into theaters in droves.  Whether you like your creatures of the night sparkly, horrifying, comedic, or furry, you'll have no trouble finding a film to suit your paranormal tastes.  Here's a peek at some of the major trends in upcoming vampire and werewolf movies. These films will be found in entertainment centers everywhere.


Unless you never visit multiplexes or glimpse the covers of supermarket tabloids, you probably already know THE TWILIGHT SAGA is the most hotly anticipated vampire novel series hitting the big screen.  NEW MOON will debut in theaters this November, and ECLIPSE is coming June 2010.  Other literary adaptations in the works--from the script stage to postproduction--include CIRQUE DU FREAK (now titled THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT), CARMILLA, THE HISTORIAN, DRACULA, DEAR DRACULA, PRIEST, and the U.S. remake of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.  In addition, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES will be hitting the small screen on the CW this fall.


The worlds of vampires and werewolves will collide in the aforementioned TWILIGHT SAGA and CIRQUE DU FREAK adaptations, as well as in a future animated film called HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (which also throws in the Mummy).  Vamps and werewolves are also currently showing up together in HBO's TRUE BLOOD and the BBC's BEING HUMAN.  But furry shapeshifters will get their chance to shine without their vampire cousins in Universal Picture's upcoming THE WOLF MAN,
starring Benicio del Toro, as well as in the rumored remakes of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS.  Other werewolf tales in the works include JACK AND DIANE, FIRST HOWL, THE GHOULY BOYS, and BENIGHTED.  Furthermore, the film rights for Martin Millar's young adult fantasy novel LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL have been optioned.


Speaking of vampires cavorting with werewolves, a big-screen adaptation of 1960s horror soap opera DARK SHADOWS is scheduled to go in the works soon, with Tim Burton purportedly directing and Johnny Depp starring as vampire Barnabas Collins.
The 1974 Hammer vampire film THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES may also receive a remake via Spitfire Pictures.  In the sequel department, get ready for BUBBA NOSFERATU: CURSE OF THE SHE VAMPIRES, LOST BOYS 3, and TWILIGHT WATCH (the third installment of the NIGHT WATCH series).


Dafoe earned an Academy Award nomination for portraying silent film actor Max Schreck as a bloodsucker in SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE in 2000, and he continues his growing vampire film tradition by appearing in both THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT and the upcoming sci-fi thriller DAYBREAKERS.
If you need an actor who can radiate bloodthirsty creepiness and give an award-worthy performance at the same time, Dafoe's definitely your guy.


If you're looking for vampire humor, your best bet will probably be to head to the indies.  In the works are tales of the undead's escapades with rock 'n roll (SUCK), Shakespearian theater (ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD), and truckers (DEAD SUCKS).  And the romantic vampire comedy angle will be approached in England's HELLO DARKNESS, currently in development.


In need of vampires that leave a messy trail of blood?  Again, the indies may be the answer.  Filmgoers with stronger stomachs can check out offerings such as VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL, THE VAMPIRES OF BLOODY ISLAND, and THE REVENANT.  If you prefer a little Victoriana with your horror films, Mary Lambert's HIGH MIDNIGHT promises, "In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste."


Following in the award-winning footsteps of Sweden's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, South Korea's THIRST made a strong impact on the Cannes Film Festival and garnered the 2009 Jury Prize.  Granted, the category of prestigious foreign films (plural) isn't truly a trend in upcoming vampire releases--but here's hoping that more will be on their way to help earn a little respect for flicks with fangs.

For an even more extensive list of upcoming vampire movies, including links to IMDB sites and trailers, head over to my blog, Suburban Vampire--

Be sure to join Vampire Fest's mailing list at http://vampirefilmfestival.com to learn about movies appearing in the Vampire Film Series and Festival this fall in New Orleans.  Better yet, come on down to the festival and enjoy sneak peeks at undead entertainment in person.

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