Columbia/1998/108m/ANA 2.35, PS 1.33
| Can you take Vampires seriously?
Do the rhythms, pacing, script and acting add up to a horror movie or a send-up of horror
movies? Listening to the John Carpenter audio commentary on the DVD, its clear that
the writer/director considers Vampires an action/horror movie. So, while I watched
it more as a comedy, a la Big Trouble in Little China, it appears I completely
missed the creators intent. Either way, Vampires was a let down. As a comedy,
it simply isnt funny enough. As an action movie it is quite silly. And for a horror
movie, the tone is horror deaf.
Jack Crow leads a team of vampire slayers against the spiritual ancestors of Dracula and company. The team seeks out "nests" of vampires around the country. Financed by a branch of the Catholic Church, the slayers are provided with a hokey array of weapons for their fight against the powers of darkness. A pick-up truck and a van provide uncomfortable battle transportation. The rules of vampire engagement clearly state that where theres a nest, theres a master, or a stronger vampire that rules the nest. One might presume that the worker vampires even bring the master blood, but that may bee(sic) a stretch. God knows how these slayers have any idea where the nests are hidden. One supposes that reports of death by vampirical circumstance fill out the vampire map of the stars, a tour of typical vampire abodes laden with cobwebs and boarded up windows.
In the opening
sequence, Crows crew archly stalks and cleans out a nest of vampires in an abandoned
southwest farmhouse. In creaky fashion accompanied by "clever" comments, the
slayers do battle successfully. But a master fails to show up. This should give everyone a
clue for what comes next, but only the audience seems prepared. During a motel celebration
as carousing slayers play with local prostitutes, master vampire Valek appears out of the
night. Valek is a master of unprecedented power. He destroys all the members of the slayer
team except for Crow and his loyal fellow slayer Montoya. How they manage to survive the
confrontation with Valek is beyond me, but the film later supplies a reasonable
explanation. After all, whats a great vampire without a great pursuer. After the
motel massacre, Crow and Montoya flee Valek taking along one of the prostitutes who has
been infected with a bite from Valek during a seduction scene of questionable taste. Crow
then meets with the Catholic Cardinal in charge of operation vampire to determine to plan
a strategy. Crow is saddled with a new, enthusiastic priest who tags along to make sure
the Churches needs are protected. Vampires struggles on its route to final
confrontation and the final scenes might have been lifted directed from the imagination of
a Jodorowsky (cult classic El Topo) or even Luis Bunuel.