Here’s a scary thought: We now live in a world where the first name that comes to mind when discussing vampires is Robert Pattinson, not, say, Bela Lugosi. It’s enough to make any self-respecting horror purist want to cold-cock someone with a Bram Stoker hardcover novel. But that’s what happens when popular culture unleashes a phenomenon as wide-spreading and age-defying as the Twilight craze, birthed by author Stephanie Meyer in a series of four critically bashed—and, most importantly for her wallet, adolescently cherished—books and their subsequent Hollywood movie adaptations.

Starring the aforementioned Pattinson as the world’s softest vampire, the Twilight franchise is, of course, little more than a teenage soap opera disguised as PG-13 genre fare, and the latest cinematic entry, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, amplifies the romantic quotients by having lifeless (in more ways than one) Edward Cullen marry his equally monotone love interest, the still-breathing Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), much to the chagrin of shirtless werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

Oh, yeah, the vampires in Twilight also sparkle, just in case you weren’t aware. Not exactly what Bram Stoker and other past vampire storytellers had in mind when they set out to establish one of the genre’s most captivating monster types. Box office forecasters are already pegging Breaking Dawn to a $150 million opening this weekend, further proof that validly scary vampires aren’t in vogue nowadays. And, no, the panty-dropping undead on HBO’s True Blood don’t help matters, though they’re much cooler than Eddie Cullen.

Lest everyone think that Breaking Dawn is the only bloodsucking show in town this weekend, we’re here to point out the 15 Most Underrated Vampire Movies, in hopes of reminding folks that, at their essence, fanged antagonists are supposed to induce equal amounts of fear and deadly attraction, not schoolgirl crushes and sparkly visual effects.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

Tags: vampires, horror, twilight, steve-niles, roman-polanski, robert-pattinson, werner-herzog, david-cronenberg, guillermo-del-toro
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