Jamie Foxx decapitating heads with a TV screen, Snoop Dogg wielding a machine gun while wearing a cowboy hat, Dave Franco pissing himself. Netflix’s new comedy vampire flick, Day Shift, has it all, eh? Following this unlikely trio as they hunt bloodsucking pests and harvest their teeth for cash (fangs are a hot commodity in this version of reality), it’s the kind of film that you can put on to give your brain a bit of a break. Two hours of daft violence and silly gags, basically.
But Day Shift is also the latest addition to a cinematic genre that’s tricky to get right: the vampire comedy film. When you think about it, the whole concept of vampires is ripe for satire – garlic is one of their weaknesses, for God’s sake. Yet only a handful of movies have been able to successfully breathe comedic life into the undead. Thirsty for more (genuinely good) vampire laughs after watching Day Shift? Sink your teeth into these.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
The film that put Taika Waititi on the map, this New Zealand mockumentary about a group of vampire flatmates reveals that being undead isn’t quite as sexy as Stephenie Meyer might have had you believe. In fact, it’s pretty boring – these lot argue about doing the dishes and dread seeing their exes, just like us mere mortals. The original pack have all been knocking around for, like, ever, having been turned into vamps centuries or even millennia ago. So, when an escapee snack gets bitten, they have some adjusting to do. It’s silly, smart and will have you laughing from start to finish. Classic Waititi.
Vampires vs the Bronx (2020)
Starring In The Heights’ Gregory Diaz IV, The Get Down’s Gerald Jones III and the star of Colin Kaepernick’s bio series, Jaden Michael, this underrated Netflix film doubles up as a clever commentary on gentrification. Here’s the deal: a big bucks real estate group is buying properties from all the local businesses in a Bronx neighbourhood. Suddenly, suspiciously, white people start appearing all over the shop and, pretty soon, a group of local kids figure out that this isn’t your average regeneration project. Vampires are invading, and quite literally sucking the life out of the area. Time to stock up on crucifixes.
The Lost Boys (1987)
A cult classic, this slickly styled film is set in a beach town Santa Clarita, California, where there’s a big missing person problem – wonder what that’s all about. Having recently moved to the area, teenager Sam initially shrugs off rumours of a vampire infestation, until he meets two plucky vampire hunters and notices that his older brother, Michael, has started sleeping all day. Turns out that Michael has got in with the wrong crowd, lured in by a crush and the vampires’ rock ‘n’ roll haircuts. Who can blame him? With a The Lost Boys remake now in the works (of course), make sure you do your homework and watch this one first.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Before Sarah Michelle Gellar burst onto our screens in 1997, Buffy Summers made her cinematic debut as a privileged valley girl who’d rather get her nails done than hunt creatures of the night – understandable, to be honest. Played by Kristy Swanson, she’s nevertheless thrust into the world of vampire slaying when she finds out she is the Chosen One and inexplicably becomes highly-skilled in combat. Good job, because a vampire king has got his sights set on her classmates. We’re not going to lie, the TV series is much better than the film, but the original is peak ‘90s teen flick and wins points for having the idea first.
Fright Night (1985)
Widely regarded as one of the best vampire films ever, regardless of its comedic element, the premise of this beloved horror from Tom Holland (the director, not Spider-Man) is pretty simple. 17-year-old Charley realises that his new neighbour is a vampire, thanks to his not-so-subtle habits, such as leaving dead bodies around in bin bags and doing creepy shit in front of windows. But despite the fact that his undeadness is really bloody obvious, no one believes poor old Charley. Typical. The police are no help, so instead, he turns to ex-actor Peter Vincent. Why? Vincent used to star in vampire hunting films, so obviously has tonnes of definitely factual knowledge. Fright Night was also given the remake treatment back in 2011, with a mega cast of Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette and Dave Franco. It was alright, but obviously, the original is better.