Even though vampires are immortal, there are many things out there that can hurt and even kill them. Depending on the mythology a vampire’s creator has ascribed to, items including garlic, silver, a stake to the heart, crosses, holy water, and sacred ground can all injure a vampire.
One thing that almost always proves deadly to vampires is the sun (unless you’re really powerful like Dracula or glittery like Edward Cullen) and fire. Nothing cleanses like fire, so whether it’s bursting into flames due to sunlight or setting them directly on fire, burning is almost always guaranteed to kill vampires. So, let’s take a look at some of the coolest vampire burns from horror to see which creature of the night has the best burn scene.
10. Near Dark (1987)
Kathryn Bigelow’s (Point Break, 1991) vampire western, Near Dark, follows what happens after Caleb is bitten by a beautiful vampire called Mae and ends up turning into a vampire himself.
As dawn breaks after their slightly raunchy encounter, Caleb finds himself having to walk home when his truck dies. The transformation is almost instantaneous, and Caleb is left smoking and charred the minute the sun is fully up. Luckily for him, Mae’s vampire family swings by in their RV to pull him inside, saving him from the sun consuming him entirely.
9. True Blood (2008)
True Blood features several supernatural creatures, but it mainly focuses on what happens after vampires go public and try to live alongside humans. When vampire Bill moves to the town of Bon Temps, he quickly falls for local barmaid and psychic Sookie. After Bill feeds Sookie his blood to heal her, it means Bill is always able to sense when Sookie is in danger. When serial killer, Rene, attacks Sookie during the daytime, her distress is enough to wake Bill and send him wandering out into the sunlight to save her.
Rather than instantly bursting into the flames, the vampires in True Blood burn slowly, meaning Bill is nothing more than a crispy mess by the time he reaches Sookie and collapses. Luckily for Bill, Sookie and Sam are smart enough to bury Bill in a nearby grave, giving him time to heal himself in the dark.
8. Sleepwalkers (1992)
Perhaps not vampires in the traditional sense, Sleepwalkers is about mother and son, Mary and Charles, a team of shapeshifting energy vampires who both look like, and are hated by, cats. They rock into the town of Travis, where son Charles sets his sights on Tanya as their next victim. However, his attack on Tanya goes wrong, and Charles and his mother are quickly outed as something murderous and monstrous.
In the final showdown, Charles ends up dead, and as Mary makes a last attempt to drain Tanya’s lifeforce, all those local cats that have been gathering on the front lawn spring into action. They attack Mary in her werecat form, and because their bites and scratches literally burn her, she ends up bursting into flames in the driveway.
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7. John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)
The second vampire Western on this list is John Carpenter’s Vampires, where a group of vampire hunters sponsored by the Vatican travels around America, attacking vampire nests wherever they find them.
The vampires usually take over an abandoned building so they can hold up during the daylight, and this is when the vampire hunters attack. While the team is all very skilled vampire hunters, their favored method of killing vampires is to harpoon them and then use their truck to drag the vamps out into the sunlight. The opening scene, as the vampire hunters attack a house, sees a female vampire desperately clawing to save herself as she’s pulled towards the sunlight before she instantly bursts into flames.
6. 30 Days of Night (2007)
Usually, in vampire movies, our main characters are only in danger when the sun goes down, but in 30 Days of Night, the sun has just gone down for a whole month when a clan of particularly violent vampires arrive in town and start killing everyone in sight.
Town sheriff, Eben, and his estranged wife, Stella, try their best to survive the 30 days of darkness and keep as many town residents alive as possible. As the month draws to a close, Eben decides to turn himself into a vampire, so he’s strong enough to defeat the vamp leader. While he’s ultimately successful, it means Eben is stuck as a vampire. He and Stella sit together for one last time, recognizing Eben’s ultimate sacrifice, as the sun finally rises in the distance, turning him to ash.
5. Let the Right One In (2008)
Let the Right On In is the tale of a young, bullied boy called Oskar who makes friends with Eli, a young vampire who has moved into his building. Eli is usually supplied with blood by her familiar Håkan, but one night Eli is left to fend for herself and ends up feeding on Virginia as she makes her way home.
Eli is interrupted before she can fully drain Virginia, meaning she begins to transform into a vampire herself. After burning her hand one morning when the sunlight hits it, teamed with her new-found desire for blood, Virginia soon works out what is happening to her. Waking up in the hospital the next day, Virginia asks the nurse to open the blinds, knowing it will kill her. The scene is brief, but it’s very shocking seeing Virginia suddenly burst into flames and engulf her hospital room.
4. The Lost Boys (1987)
There is a lot of vampire death in the final fight in The Lost Boys, but Dwayne’s ‘death by stereo’ is perhaps the most spectacular. After being part-turned into a vampire, Michael wants to wipe out a gang of local vampires in the hope of curing both himself and his love interest, Star, of their fangy fate. After killing one of the vampires in their lair, the rest attack Michael’s house in the hope of killing him first.
When Dwanye attacks Michael’s little brother, Sam, he shoots Dwanye with an arrow, driving him backward into the family’s stereo. The stereo starts to spark and burn, eventually setting Dwanye on fire and causing him to explode.
3. Fright Night (1985)
When Charlie accuses him new neighbor, Jerry, of being a vampire, no one believes him. But eventually, it becomes clear the Charlie is telling the truth, and he teams up with TV vampire hunter Peter Vincent to help him defeat Jerry and save his girlfriend, Amy.
Jerry’s smugness at being able to defeat two feeble humans gets the better of him when he doesn’t realize how close it is to dawn, and has to dash his coffin. In his slightly more monstrous form, Jerry battles Peter in the basement, as Peter and Charlie begin to smash windows, covering the basement in sunlight. Eventually, Jerry has nowhere left to run, and explodes in a green fireball, before melting into a bat-like skeleton and disappearing.
2. From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
From Dusk till Dawn is a wild ride from start to finish. What starts as the story of criminals on the run ends up as a fight against an army of the undead at a lock-in from Hell. Once it’s revealed that the staff of the Titty Twister bar are a group of vampires, Seth and Kate quickly end up as the last people standing as dawn gets closer, and their bullets run low.
Surrounded on every side by very hungry vampires, the two survivors use their remaining bullets to shoot holes in the wall and let the sunlight stream in. When Seth’s criminal contacts show up looking for him, they shoot through the door from the outside, allowing Seth and Kate to escape. The sun floods the bar and bounces off the disco ball, causing every vampire left alive to explode, engulfing the bar in a giant fireball.
1. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
In truth, Interview with the Vampire has more than one amazing burn scene. There’s Claudia and Madeleine’s heartbreaking death scene as they are left out in the sun, or even Louis’ revenge on Théâtre des Vampires, as he engulfs their coffins in flames as they sleep. However, my favorite burn scene involves Lestat, and while he survives the flaming encounter, it gives us one of the scariest scenes in the movie.
Angry at Lestat for his part in turning her into a vampire, and always treating her like a child, Claudia slits his throat and convinces Louis to help her throw the body into the swamp. However, they probably should have done a better job of checking Lestat was dead because one night, they come home to find his rotting form playing their piano. Kept alive by sheer malice and the blood of swamp creatures, Lestat is back for revenge. When Louis sees that he means to kill Claudia, Louis sets Lestat on fire. Lestat crawls up the walls and creeps across the ceiling as he is consumed by the flames, burning the building with him.
What’s your favorite vampire burn scene in Horror? Did you find it on this list? Let us know how we did over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, or in the Fiend Club Facebook Group!