Top 10 Ways To destroy A Vampire (According To The Movies)

Top 10 Ways To destroy A Vampire (According To The Movies)

Sure, you can just drive a stake through a vampire’s heart…but the movies have proven that there are far more creative ways. What better way to celebrate Halloween month than to list ten memorable movie methods (with a nod to Sarkoffagus for his help):

1. Trap the vampire in the shadow of a windmill, so it forms a cross on the ground. (Brides of Dracula)

2. Toss the vampire into a bathtub filled with holy water and garlic. (The Lost Boys)

3. Using kung fu, punch the vampire in the heart. (The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires)

4. Shoot the vampire in the heart with a spear gun. (The Last Man on Earth)

5. While the vampire is standing on a frozen lake, use a rifle and shoot the ice so it cracks and the vampire falls into the water. This one is tricky because vampires aren’t particularly fond of winter sports like ice skating. (Dracula: Prince of Darkness)

6. Knock the vampire off a cliff onto a big cross protruding from the ground. Another tricky one ’cause the vampire must land precisely so that the cross impales him. (Dracula Has Risen from the Grave)

7. Shoot the vampire with a crossbow and drag him into the sunlight. (John Carpenter’s Vampires)

8. Lure the vampire onto a roof during a thunderstorm, and maneuver him so he’s adjacent to a tall metal object so he can be struck by lightning. Visually interesting, to be sure, but one of the most difficult to accomplish. Not recommended. (Scars of Dracula)

9. Call on the powers of evil to defeat evil by sending a big swarm of bats to circle the vampire’s castle. (The Kiss of the Vampire)

10. If you’re sure it’s near dawn, you can hop on a sturdy long table, run down it, jump on the drapes, and rip them down. The sunlight will disintegrate the vampire. If he tries to crawl out of the sunlight, use some candle sticks to form a cross and keep him from moving into the safety of shadows. (Horror of Dracula)

Honorable mentions:

– Defeat the vampire in a swordfight (Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter), though this is very similar to stabbing him with a stake.

– Trap the vampire in the thorns of a Hawthorne tree. Actually, this won’t kill the vampire, but it will keep him from going anywhere. You can then dispose of him using the traditional stake or just let sunlight finish the job. (The Satanic Rites of Dracula)

Who are your favorite cinematic bloodsuckers? Let us know in the comments!

Rick29 is a film reference book author and a regular contributor at the Classic Film & TV Café ( ,on Facebook:, and Twitter He’s a big fan of MovieFanFare, too, of course!

  • Cynthia LaRochelle

    Frank Langella gets hooked and run up the mast of the ship he was sailing away on, fried in the sun he forgot his SPF 30.

  • Jack West

    Shoot the walls and the door open, let the sunshine in! From Dusk till Dawn.

  • Anonymous.

    Since I had the misfortune to have dated one or two nasty women when I was in college, I think I experienced the “Kiss Of The Vampire” numerous times! But when it comes to vampire MOVIES, Von Helsing got it right when he also let the Sun shine in during “The Horror Of Dracula!”

  • Grace

    I remember all the ways Richard Benjamin tried to get rid of Dracula in “Love at First Bite”! 🙂

  • ed

    burn his coffen just before day break so he’s left in the sunrise; son of dracula

  • William Sommerwerck

    It isn’t just /how/ — it’s also the final result.

    The original “Fright Night” had, hands down, the most-spectacular vampire destruction I have ever seen. It alone was worth the price of admission. Nothing else comes remotely close.

  • Michael J.

    I remember the TV show with Darren MacGavin, Kochack: The Night Stalker, when he killed a vampire by getting into a fight and then retreating to the top of a hill that had a huge white cross and he lit the cross to set it on fire; then he used the ole wooden stake.

  • jake

    Here’s the most fool-proof one, hands down: leave it up to the script writers to come up with some new (allegedly ages-old) way of killing him! lol!

    Sunlight sort of started with “Nosferatu;” originally (per Stoker) it just trapped him in whatever (weakened) state he was in at the time. Running water? I LOVE “Prince of Darkness,” but you really have to go into a vampire movie with an open mind and looking in advance for foreshadowings of tonight’s neat way to dispose of the critter to accept that when it comes!

    Y’know, another excellent post would be how many novel ways there are of bringing a vampire BACK! (Wish I had the wherewithall to be allowed on here to do it myself!)

  • snoopy

    Fall in love with him and have his baby. (The Twilight Saga)

  • jake

    Hell, snoopy, just fall in love with him and let the chips fall where they may. (Name me a modern-day “romantic vampire” story where that’s not what happened…Buffy doesn’t count, since they used Angel as a spin-off!)

    I’ve been barfing at this complete romantic redoing of the vampire ever since Anne Rice first popularized it. Vampires are supposed to be MONSTERS! From Stoker’s Victorian viewpoint, they were supposed to be UGLY creatures which solely attracted you because of some kind of LUST…nothing romantic about them.

    I’ve only seen it done satisfactorily (to me, of course) twice now: in Buffy, and “Forever Knight” (and even then just because of how well the rest of the show, with the flashbacks and whatnot, was done).

    Of course, there’s something to be said for how many women found Lugosi and/or Chris Lee attractive. That no doubt added up to the Rice scenario.

  • Susan Johnston

    Of course some vampires are attractive to women! DUH! The Victorians were a trifle conflicted on matters of sexuality in general and no one discussed sexuality at all in women. That element of seduction is what really spooked the Victorians and chased them raging and screaming back to their drawing rooms, fine linen and their lives of duplicity in the face of these stories that Stoker found and turned into a true classic. I completely agree with Cynthia LaRochelle regarding Frank Langella’s exit via the hook on the ship; and I also believe that Langella is the most gorgeous and seductive of the film vampires. Even his hands during that film have a life and a sexy allure of their own. I also agree that both Lugosi and Lee are attractive men along with John Carpenter’s main vampire (wow senior moment…I cannot remember the name of the actor, but he is rather a hunk, I think). Edward of the Twilight films is certainly the “prettiest vampire” and I really do enjoy Pattinson’s performance and looks even if some would find him a little too pretty. Vampires are great!! Happy Halloween!

  • Kenneth Morgan

    “Star Trek: TOS” provided two very simple, very direct methods: shoot it with a phaser set on kill (“The Man Trap”, with the salt vampire) and blast it and much of the planet it’s on to atoms with an anti-matter bomb (“Obsession”, with the vampire cloud).

    The “Buck Rogers” TV show with Gil Gerard offered another sci-fi idea: fiddle with the navi-computer on the vampire’s starship, so that it comes out of hyperspace right next to a sun (“Space Vampire”).

  • Kenneth Morgan

    Okay, my suggestions aren’t from the movies, but I thought they were worth mentioning.

    Two more from the Hammer movies:
    -Get it into a deconsecrated church, then read a prayer of consecration, resulting in the church being Holy ground and the vampire being overwhelmed by the forces of Good and disintegrating (“Taste the Blood of Dracula”).
    -Use sunlight to force the vampire into a bathtub, then turn on the shower, trapping it under running water until the sunlight finishes it off (“Dracula A.D. 1970”).

  • JH West

    There is a Christopher Lee Dracula movie where his horse drawn hearse overturns and he lands on the wooden spokes of the wagon wheel that impale him. It is memorable–except for the name of the film!

  • Blair Kramer.

    I love the old Hammer Dracula films starring Chris Lee. I never missed one as they were released to theaters. In fact, I own every one that is currently available on DVD. They all have great atmosphere and style. And even though fang face was always destroyed at the end of every film, you knew he would be revived in the inevitable sequel. And of course, that’s precisely what happened. Logic wasn’t part of the Hammer horror histrionics! But that was fine with me. Who cares about logic when you have Chris Lee as Count Dracula?!

  • roger lynn


  • eveanneddy

    In what scene….. in what movie …. did you

    SCREAM!!!!! the loudest

    My vote: Jason – coming out of the pond. AN old movie that never fails to scare

  • version

    Fearless Vampires killers tried a cannon didn’t they; they also had same-sex Vampires sedubtion scene; also leget a vampire to bite a bible – though it didnt; kill him; and they had the best ending and most plausible – the vampires survive the attacks and conquest.

    • Stephen

      In FVK Prof. Abronsius used a cannon to blow down a door in order to escape, but not to kill a vampire.  And it wasn’t a Bible, but a small book of instructions for lovers to woo their sweetheart.  The Viscount, Herbert von Krolock, is trying to seduce Albert, the Professor’s assistant, and Albert stuffs the book between his teeth.

    • IceStormer

      My favorite (non-Sharon Tate) scene, is where Alfred is being attacked by (IIRC) Sarah’s father, Shagal, who’d become a vampire. Alfred whips out a cross and flourishes it at Shagal, who says in his wonderful Yiddish accent, “Oy, have YOU got the wrong Vampire!”

  • Rick

    Several questions:

    Is cold iron better than wood to stake them thru the heart?

    Is it really the belief of the cross bearer that turns a vampire, or the cross itself?

    If it is the belief in the cross why does wild roses, garlic, and mirrors work?

    Why do the girls of England turn the vampire younger and not the girls of Transylvania?

    Just some food for thought.

    • Stephen

      1. Depends on what legend or culture you’re dealing with. In some cultures you needed iron stakes/spikes, in other’s you used wood (and in some a specific kind of wood).  In some cultures you didn’t need a stake/spike at all.
      2. It’s the belief in the cross.  Otherwise a vampire would be intimidated by such things as phone poles and street signs that were cross-shaped.
      3.  Mirrors don’t really intimidate vampires except that they can reveal to hunters who is or isn’t a vampire.  Garlic probably works due to its odor, and wild roses were considered to be holy because they were the thorns used to make the crucifixion crown for Christ.  These things don’t require faith to work any more than one must have faith in a bullet to die from being shot.
      4. Huh?  I don’t know what you’re asking.  Please rephrase?

  • James

    @JH West: The film you describe is the opening of DRACULA A.D. 1972.

  • Ken

    I still like the CURSE OF THE UNDEAD where the vampire (who is a a gunslinger) in the old west was brought down by a preacher who melts down his crucifix and makes a bullet!! Pretty clever for a B movie!!

  • Stephen

    I think the movie was “Billy the Kid VS Dracula,” but that may be wrong — the gunslinger cut a cross into the point of a bullet and shot the vampire with it. 

    For some really wild ways to do the deed in question go to comic books instead.  I recall a story wherein a human (very Sherlock Holmes-ish man) hypnotized a vampire and convinced her that she wasn’t really undead but was merely mentally ill and inspired her to walk out into the sunshine (whereupon she immolated). 

    Another story dealt with a white man who became a vampire in Africa and was terrorizing the natives.  A trail of blood dripping from his lips caught the attention of marauding Army Ants.  They followed the trail to his coffin and stripped his body to the skeleton, which is eventually recovered by an archeologist who pieced the story together.  The bones are still warm and moist, even after years of being denuded, because the vampire has no heart to stake — he’s still “alive” but only in immovable, sentient bones. 

    Another story had a man in love with a female vampire and he tricked her into walking into a cell that he’d lined with wirey ‘webs’ of silver and small silver spheres (imagine a spider’s web made of silver) that she couldn’t bear to touch and couldn’t pass.  He kept her prisoner until his death; after that there was no one to feed her and she starved in the cell.

    I even remember a Batman comic wherein Bruce Wayne and Alfred stumble across an old house where they find a closed, locked coffin with a solar-powered sunlamp focused on it.  They damage the light and when night falls the coffin opens to disgorge a very hungry vampire who has been imprisoned there for many years.  Batman tries to kill the vampire with a bow and arrow but the vampire (a former surgeon, if I remember correctly) had surgically transplanted his heart into a safe location to ensure he could not be destroyed.  Batman deduced that the heart was in a grandfather clock and he shoots the clock with an arrow, killing the vampire.

  • Marty

    What about Jonny Alucard in Dracula AD 1972 Killed in a shower with the sky light opened. Poor Peter Cushing.

  • Kiri

    My favourite method of killing a vampire. A la Terry Pratchett in Wytches Abroad (a book) – Vampire is a beaten into submission with a salami, turns into a bat and then the cat eats him. There is no movie in the world that can beat that one for me.

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  • Alexander Constantopoulos

    Any film with Christopher Lee as Dracula. I especially like the one with the Playboy twins. Too bad they lost their heads.

  • awaywrdsn

    Even though I liked it the funniest one for me was Warhols Dracula when his arms were cut off and he was still trying to bite him but still to me his Dracula seemed the most tortured more than the others and then I started feeling sorry for him at the end of the movie.

  • Bruce Reber

    I’ve always believed (from the movies, anyway) the two best ways to kill a vampire are: 1-A wooden (preferably oak) stake driven into the heart 2-A bullet made from a melted-down silver crucifix.