Ah the days before cable really took over the horror racket. These were the days when movies of the week were the norm and network TV was king. Back before sharks were flying around in tornado’s or growing tentacles you could rely on around Halloween networks like ABC, CBS, or even that upstart Fox to produce something to chill your blood…and usually drink it.
Here are Seven Made for TV Vampire Movies that you may have forgotten you saw as a kid or may have never even heard of.
Shown on ABC in 1982, “I, Desire” starred a man who was more well-known for werewolf movies, David Naughton. Naughton was the hero of the film which follows a blood sucking hooker who is vamping around the city. Its trashy 80’s awesomeness and you can actually watch it in all its glory on YouTube. Brad Dourif, AKA Chucky, also co-stars along with some really LOUD saxophone playing.
Rick Springfield was still a rock god in the 80’s. In 1989 Batman had taken to the big screen, so as the tag line said “A different kind of Batman” was needed. Enter Nick Knight, a vampire cop who slept in his caddy’s trunk long before Angel did it in the Buffyverse. Nick Knight was filled will classic 80’s pop and was a great movie for CBS who would a few years later resurrect it as a series on its “Crimetime After Primetime” line up. The only returning actor would be John Kapelos who played Nick’s partner Schanke. The movie was released on DVD a few years ago via Image Entertainment.
Here’s a clip
The simply titled ABC film starred Richard Lynch as a blonde haired vampire named Anton Voytek roused from slumber by construction. When his treasures are taken from him after its discovered they are stolen he vows revenge on the couple he finds responsible. Vampire was a great, sexy flick that was possibly going to be a series. The film co-starred The Exorcists Jason Miller and E.G. Marshall. It’s never officially been released on DVD but you can find clips on YouTube to wet your appetite.
The Midnight Hour
The Midnight Hour was a favorite of kids my age when it was shown on ABC back in 1985. It had fun music but was scary and definitely took after Thriller. Teenagers in a small town accidentally raise the dead, including a powerful vampire witch, zombies, and just all sorts of ghostly things. What follows is a mixture of pop music, dancing, Levar Burton with fangs, and the dad from 8 Is Enough becoming the creepiest dentist you’ve ever seen. Wolfman Jack is there of course as is Peter DeLuise and Shari Belafonte. Kevin McCarthy of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is also in the film which was in fact released on DVD but is now out of print. You can watch the whole film on YouTube and it is still a blast.
Daughter of Darkness
Daughter of Darkness was shown on CBS back in 1990 and has quite the horror pedigree for such a bizarre vampire film. It was directed by Stuart Gordon and starred Anthony Perkins as a vampire who fathers a half breed child with a human woman. Mia Sara plays his daughter who goes to Romania looking for clues to who she is. There she finds the truth and vampires who have neck piercing tongues…which is actually in some of the mythology. Jack Coleman from NBC’s Heroes is also in the movie as a romantic love interest. The film was released on DVD but is now out of print. But you can actually watch the entire film on YouTube.
Not to be confused with the vampire TV series of the same name, Blood Ties was a one shot movie of the week (which could have been a series) shown on Fox in 1991. The film follows a very mafiaesque family of Carpathian American’s who are vampires. The sorts of characters in the series seem to be heavily influenced by the Vampire The Masquerade game popular at the time. Funnily enough Fox would release a series based on that game called “Kindred The Embraced” five years later and it would co-star Patrick Bauchau who starred in this film. Blood Ties is out of print on DVD but you can watch the whole film on YouTube!
This one’s cheating a bit but I had to mention it since it’s a Lifetime Movie of The Week and stars the Partridge Family’s Susan Dey as a man killing vampire. Dey’s vampire was left alone after her lover and maker decided to off himself in the sun. She falls in love with the cop who’s investigating her murders and well…it’s a Lifetime movie about a vampire. What did you think would happen? The cop is played by the always awesome Stephen McHattie who wound up playing a vampire himself in The Strain recently. Deadly Love was released in 1995 and isn’t readily available on DVD. You can watch a bites worth of it on YouTube for a taste.