Vampires will always be popular in some medium or another. Sure, their mega-success comes and goes, but they never disappear. Stories about them go back as far as there are stories. But if there’s one medium in which they have always been most popular, it is fiction. Dracula didn’t create the vampire novel, but it cemented its importance. Things have only snowballed from there, from I am Legend to Interview With the Vampire, all the way down to Twilight. From horror literature to fantasy and teen and YA fiction. Vampires will always be there, immersed in all of it. Given that, it’s natural that so many of these popular fiction stories are adapted to film. Sometimes they have better luck than others. But things have changed. Studios aren’t looking for a movie, they’re looking for a franchise. They are looking for just one vampire movie. They’re looking for a series of vampire sequels.
If only they would realize how much potential remains untapped in some of the best adaptations. Believe it or not, most of your favorite vampire movies and novels had sequels—in some form or another—that many people are still unaware of. In other cases, there are beloved literary vampire sequels that for whatever reason just can’t make it to the screen.
30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow
The third graphic novel in the series, Return to Barrow stays true to its word and returns to the original concept presented by the first tome. In fact, it’s structured more like a ghost story than a straightforward vampire tale. But that’s part of what makes it interesting. For those who thought the second film—which was simply an adaptation of the second book—strayed too far from the first, this could be sold on that concept alone.
Not the book series of the same name, I’m actually referring to Whitley Strieber’s little-known follow-up to The Hunger. Tony Scott did an amazing job with the film adaptation of that book, which starred Susan Sarandon, Catharine Denevaux and David Bowie. He’s sadly not around to get a potential sequel off the ground, but that doesn’t mean this book (as well as its own sequel, Lilith’s Dream) isn’t worth exploring on the screen.
A collection of stories from the author of Let the Right One In, the title story is actually a sequel to that book. It gives a brief glimpse into the lives of Oskar and Eli after they leave together at the end of the novel. Not right after, though. It’s set almost thirty years later and introduces a new couple as well. It’s a very ambitious story and even with its short length, you could easily draw an entire film’s worth from the events.
Collected in Night Shift, “One of the Road” is a sequel to Salem’s Lot one of the best and scariest books King ever wrote. That book depicted the destruction of a small Maine town at the hands of a vampire named Barlow. In this short story, Salem’s Lot has become a town where people simply don’t go. They hear things, whether they believe them or not, it’s enough for all the locals to stay away. But a man from out of state who does not know the stories gets stuck in the deserted town in the middle of a snowstorm—only to discover that it might not be as abandoned as he thought. While there was a 1987 sequel to the Salem’s Lot miniseries, it did not follow King’s literary sequel. As such, it would be nice to see a follow up that was actually adapted from King’s sequel source material.
There appears to be some traction on finally bringing this one to the screen, but it’s come close quite a few times over the years. The failure of Queen of the Damned lingered. It was a mess and made it extremely difficult to go back and adapt the rest of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Body Thief was one of the best though, a different enough book from the rest that it could serve as a reboot and introduce new audiences to one of the most successful vampire series of all time.
Originally a chapter of Stoker’s Dracula manunscript that was cut for length, “Dracula’s Guest” was repurposed and later published as an individual short story that seems to indicate that the Count survived the events of the book. Harker is replaced with an unnamed narrator and while it does feel like an early chapter, it stands on its own all the same. It’s actually somewhat more of a werewolf story, but would make for an interesting adaptation all the same. Aside from the DTV Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest, which did not adapt the story, it has never been adapted into a feature film.