Sure, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 broke box office records, having the fifth best opening weekend of all time. But Breaking Dawn still doesn't break our hearts the way some other vampire tales do.
Here are 10 vampire stories that are more romantic than Breaking Dawn.
The Hunger screencap via Ooh1a1a on Livejournal.
1. The Hunger
What it's about: When Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) finds her longtime consort John (David Bowie) rapidly aging, she finds a new companion, the beautiful Sarah (Susan Sarandon). But Sarah begins to have doubts about the vampiric lifestyle.
Why it's romantic: Like many vampire relationships, the courtship between Sarah and Miriam is doomed from the start, but beautiful and dazzling while it lasts..
2. Dracula (1979)
What it's about: Based on a Broadway adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, this film stars Frank Langella as Dracula and Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing. Langella's Dracula is as much a victim of his condition as he is a predator, and he falls in love with Lucy Seward, even marrying her and taking her to Transylvania to be his bride.
Why it's romantic: Instead of a terrifying Dracula who exults in his condition, Langella gives us a sympathetic, tragic vampire, who suffers and cares about his victims. The idea of Dracula as love story is picked up in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula.
3. Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls
What it's about: Steve and Ghost are both members of the band Lost Souls, based out of Missing Mile, North Carolina. And they share a deep friendship, which turns into becoming lovers in a follow-up short story.
Why it's romantic: The relationship between Steve and Ghost is dripping with sexual tension and unfulfilled longing. Image by Anna Shelkova.
What it's about: San-hyeon is a Catholic priest who volunteers to test an experimental vaccine for the deadly Emmanuel Virus — but it turns him into a vampire, and he starts lusting after Tae-ju, the beautiful wife of his childhood friend, who longs to escape from her stifling family life. Soon, she's dragging him further down a dark path.
Why it's romantic: Thirst is a queasy, horrifying story, yet the love story between San-hyeon and Tae-ju never loses sight of these characters' complexity, and the desperate need that they both feel. The relationship between these two characters is a big reason why Thirst gets under your skin.
5. Interview with the Vampire (Book)
What it's about: Louis is fascinated by the beautiful, angelic Lestat — until Lestat turns Louis into a vampire, and Louis has to come to terms with an eternity of feeding off blood. Louis and Lestat are inseparable companions, until Louis eventually escapes and finds a new companion, Armand.
Why it's romantic: The bond between Louis and Lestat is complex and often ugly — but also quite beautiful. Lestat teaches Louis to take life, but also to realize that existence is meaningless without a reverence for life.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series)
What it's about: Buffy Summers is the Slayer, the one girl with the power to kill vampires — but she also spends most of her time romantically entangled with two reformed vampires, Angel and Spike.
Why it's romantic: Buffy's slow courtship with Angel is intense and tinged with longing — and then they finally get together, and the absolute worst thing happens as a result. Afterwards, Buffy and Angel suffer the torment of knowing they can never really be together. And then there's the even more poisoned, doomed relationship with Spike, afterwards.
7. Let The Right One In
What it's about: Oskar is a young boy living in a drab snowy town, being bullied by his classmates — until he meets his neighbor Eli, who appears to be a delicate young girl. Eli and Oskar develop a special connection, even after Oskar realizes that Eli is something completely different.
Why it's romantic: In some ways, this is just a beautiful coming-of-age story and a childhood romance in which Eli teaches Oskar to stand up for himself and two lonely people come together — but it's also a creepy, disturbing story in which you are left with the dread that Oskar is going to be trapped in the same companion relationship to Eli that Eli's previous caretaker, Håkan, had.
What it's about: The original lesbian vampire story, this 1871 novel by J. Sheridan Le Fanu follows the beautiful Carmilla Karnstein, who preys on a young girl, Laura, but also falls in love with her. This novel was made into several movies, including Roger Vadim's Blood and Roses and the Hammer Horror film The Vampire Lovers.
Why it's romantic: Carmilla and Laura are constantly embracing and kissing each other in the novel, and Laura talks about Carmilla "gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardor of a lover." Carmilla feels guilty for sucking the life force out of Laura, but also professes love and adoration for her. Like many vampire romances, their love is doomed and unhealthy, but also glorious.
9. The Vampire Diaries (TV series)
What it's about: Sorry, but I have to stick up for the amazing Vampire Diaries TV show, in which the resourceful but sensitive Elena is torn between two brothers, Stefan and Damon. Like the Buffy TV series, there's tons of twists and turns, including which brother is the "good" brother at any given time, but the main constant is a terrible longing and the endless series of obstacles thrown in the way of Elena's happiness.
Why it's romantic: Stefan taking Elena to the top of the rollercoaster, Stefan walking Elena up a waterfall... this show has oozed romance on many occasions. But most of all, Stefan's recent battle to hold on to his love for Elena after the more powerful vampire Klaus ordered him to kill her was sweet and tragic.
10. Near Dark
What it's about: Kathryn Bigelow's first big movie stars Adrian Pasdar as a young farmboy who gets turned into a vampire by a hot girl named Mae (Jenny Wright), then he has to learn to get along with her awful thrill-killing vampire family. Bigelow borrows most of the supporting cast from Aliens.
Why it's romantic: The relationship between Pasdar and Wright is a love-at-first-sight thing, which turns into a heroic quest to save Wright from herself and from her horrible family. It's the rare vampire story in which there really is salvation, and love can genuinely be noble rather than self-destructive.
Additional reporting by Natalie Baaklini. Thanks also to Annalee and Meredith.