Vampires have always fascinated us with the sense of the macabre. From Nosferatu to Dracula, they’ve been portrayed in various ways over time. One of the latest trends is steampunk vampires. Do vampires even fit into the steampunk movie genre? Let’s have a look and see what the best steampunk vampire movies are out there.
Before we get into the best steampunk vampire movies, let’s have a look at what makes elements we can expect to see in a steampunk movie. We can then add vampires to this to find steampunk movies with vampires in them.
So What Makes a Steampunk Movie?
As discussed above, there are a number of elements that need to be seen in order to classify a movie as being steampunk.
If you want to know more on this, check out our ultimate guide as to what makes a movie steampunk.
Whether something fits into the steampunk movie genre or not is a topic.
It is always up for hot debate in the fan forums.
However, as steampunk, is an alternative reality and sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against. That being said, there is some faux pas some directors make that mean that a movie was clearly never intended to be steampunk.
Check out this article if you’re asking the question, what is steampunk anyway?
Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them.
As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie.
Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie
- The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’
- Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
- Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.
- Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century) or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting.
- The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused around the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer.
- Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, other times, a mechanical exoskeleton.
- Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.
- Time Travel – Time travel is not an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
- The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. As this is very relevant to this discussion, we will discuss this further below.
- Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.
There you have a list of the key elements to identify a steampunk movies, but are vampires a common element?
Vampires in Steampunk Movies [Right or Wrong?]
So vampires have made their way into most movie genres. We expect to see them in horror, but they have also broken into comedy and romance.
However, vampires are an interesting character, they can be used to offer subtext as to the state of society. They can be used to depict the depravity of human nature and the struggles that take place inside of all of us.
So, why not embrace vampires in steampunk movies? I see no real reason why vampires should not be seen in modern steampunk movies. The caveat on this is, that as a minimum, the time setting needs to be an alternative reality or neo-Victorian, and would ideally incorporate a number of the other steampunk elements.
Now we’ve established what to look out for in a steampunk movie, let’s look at our lineup of the best steampunk vampire movies.
List of the Best Steampunk Vampire Movies
Ok, so after establishing what a steampunk movie is made of and that we are happy for vampires to have crept into the genre, we started to draw up a list of steampunk movies with vampires.
To date, we have only come up with a couple of movies that cut across bother the vampire and steampunk genres.
The Vatican sends Van Helsing, and his ally, Carl, to Transylvania.
Their mission is to stop the powerful Count Dracula. Whilst in Transylvania they join forces with a Gypsy Princess called Anna Valerious, who is determined to end an ancient curse on her family by destroying Dracula.
Count Dracula is the vampire in this movie and is depicted as a villain.
Renowned, protected adventurer Allan Quatermain leads a team of extraordinary figures with legendary powers to battle a mad man known as “The Fantom” who is set on destroying Europe.
This “League” comprises inventor Captain Nemo, vampire Mina Harker, the Invisible Man, Rodney Skinner, the ageless immortal, Dorian Grey, the dangerous split personality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer.
Mina Harker, is a female vampire in this movie. She embraces the Victorian fashion in her dresses and petticoats. Although it is acknowledged that she has a chequered past, she is one of the goodies, using her skills for good, not evil.
Ok, so that’s all we could come up with. Surely there are more steampunk movies with vampires in them? This seems like a really short list, we must be missing something.
Please let us know what you think in the comments below. What are your favorite steampunk vampire movies?