Vamp (1986)

poster About A group of fraternity pledges take a trip to the other side of the tracks in hopes of coercing an erotic dancer to perform at their big party.  Turns out the strip club they choose is actually a vampire den.  What a boner crusher 😦

Review

This movie has been floating around Netflix for a while.  I’d always avoided it because of the androgynous Ronald McDonald in the poster art, but then someone told me it was actually pretty good so I watched it.  And hey, it was actually pretty good! DeDee Pheiffer plays an ingenuous cocktail waitress with a secret: where does she know one of our leading men from, and why doesn’t he remember her?  (Spoiler: they met at a party last summer).  The film also stars Gedde Watanabe, that guy the studio calls in any time they need an actor to stereotype Asians.

gedde It’s cool – he just wants to party

The movie starts off with some weird fraternity ritual, where some pledges are being led up to a belltower to be hung from a noose, or to be led to believe they’d be hung from one.  I was never in a fraternity so I don’t know how this stuff really works.  Anyways, two of the pledges declare the whole process really stupid, which it is, and say the only reason they want to join their frat is because it’s supposed to be the tits.  In lieu of participating in their fantasy ritual, they tell the frat masters that they’ll supply them with booze for their big party tonight AND throw in a stripper, because, yeah – these guys know all the right people in all the right places.  Oh, the things boys do to get into their frat.

Already I’m having trouble with whats going on: 1. What kind of frat plans to throw a party without booze in the first place? 2. Why do the elder fratsmen need these pledges to supply them with the booze? 3. Why do these ultra too-cool-for-school freshman want to join a frat that neither plans a party with booze nor has the means to acquire it themselves?

frat Cons: major dorks.  Pros: frequent cloak-wearing opportunties 

In any case, a deal is struck and our cocky fresh fish are granted preferred access to this sacred institution provided they come through with the booze and boobs.  But wait – these guys have access to liquor and strippers but it is apparently beyond their reach to know anyone with a car.  I don’t suppose this is the kind of errand you can ask your parents to drive you on.  It’s ok though, because the rich kid on campus with no friends is willing to let them use his Cadillac so long as they agree to be his friend for the week! Man, these guys pull some serious weight.

usa True American badasses

In the days before GPS or google maps, people just started driving and hoped they’d eventually run into what they were looking for.  After casually crashing into a semi truck and then running afoul of the local gang of albino miscreants, the fellahs finally find a strip club haven.  After a few so-so warm-up acts, the surly troupe of barflies is mesmerized by Katrina, the aforementioned stripper with scary Ronald McDonald for a head and an Australian aborigine cave painting for a body.  One of our frosh studs goes back to smooth talk her into doing a little private show for the brothers back on campus, but she’s more interested in swallowing his throat.

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Right after she’s through giving this zebra chair the ride of its life

The vampires in this movie are pretty badass. Like the undead from Fright Night, their whole faces go into beast mode when its time to devour, instead of the boring and subtle lengthening of the incisors.  Sooner or later the act is over and the vampires decide to stop playing nice and turn their out of town admirers into a midnight snack.  At least they got to see boobs before they die. fangs

Overall: 7

Vamp bills itself as a horror-comedy, and while there are no laugh out loud moments (not that I was expecting any), it’s light and funny enough to be really enjoyable without losing it’s spooky edge or becoming too stupid.  Sure, you’ve got the same script inconsistencies that seem to plague every low-budget horror movie, but they aren’t integral to the plot.  By the time this story gets rolling it stays on the rails.gif2
flaming vampire skull approved

The Lost Boys (1987)

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About:

Brothers Michael and Sam have just moved to Santa Carla to live with their grandpa.  Sure, the girls are hot and the beach jams are tasty, but something seems a little off.  For one thing, Michael begins to stay out all night with his new biker gang friends, then sleeps all day.  Sam’s new buddies at the comic store seem convinced that his brother has fallen in with a group of vampires, and set out to prevent his full transformation to a blood sucking creature of the night.

Review:

What can one say about The Lost Boys that hasn’t already been said?  It showcases two of the worst things to ever come out of the 80’s in Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, is chalked full of some of the most horrendous dialogue ever written, and, the coup de grace, this oiled up rock n’ roll sax guy:

So this movie sucks, right? NO! In fact all these things that would normally sink a movie combine together in a way that actually makes it really good!  I guess it is so dumb and cheesy that it transcends any normal expectations you would have and right away you realize you’re watching something a little different.  Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to pick on all the goofy things that stick out in this movie.  For instance, what’s up with Corey Haim?

haimster
Aside from the erupting sex appeal, of course

Not really sure what’s going on with this guy.  He has an interesting wardrobe choice, even for an 80’s teenager.  He splits his time between pestering his taxidermist grandpa, cuddling with his pet husky, and flexing his brain muscles at the local comic shop.  In the clip above of the beach concert, his brother Michael is clearly into the hot gypsy chick, while Sam can’t take his eyes of the sexy sax man.  Ok, so maybe he’s just really into those kicking jams.  Can’t argue with that.  But what about that scene where he’s looking for a place to stash gandpa’s taxidermy owl and there’s a poster of an ab-bearing Rob Lowe closet door?

lowe
In your dreams, Haimster

And last but not least, what the hell is up with the scene where this teenaged kid taking a bubble bath and singing into a brush?

It is unfortunate how many Gen-Y girls must have discovered their sexuality to this scene

The special features are a must see…sort of.  The special edition DVD release has an additional disc which is entirely special features, and contains a section titled, I shit you not, “Haimster and Feldog.”  It features the two Coreys – Feldman in his gothic, smug, completely delusional “I’m a Hollywood star” attitude we’re all too familiar with, and a pudgy, frosty-tipped Haim – basically chronicling their bromance and the artistic gift to the world their collaboration inspired.  In fact, the entire special features disc is pretty much just commentary from Haimster and Feldog, presumably because everyone else involved in the movie can still find work.  The only other people on there are director Joel Schumacher, who is practically wetting himself over his idea for a sequel titled The Lost Girls, and the guy who played Max wondering aloud how his character could be written into it, despite dying in the first one.

I gotta say, I really have a lot of disdain for modern Feldman.  Yes, he was a lot of fun as a child actor in the 1980s.  And sure, he’s still relevant in a ‘laughing at you, not with you’ sort of way.  But as an adult this chowderhead just refuses to exit the limelight, instead continuing to try and milk the success of his childhood self, even though that shriveled teet dried up a long time ago.  And the fact that Feldog blocked me on Twitter and told his followers to do the same after one harmless quip at his expense has absolutely nothing to do with my disdain for him.

So lets talk about these vampires.  It seems like in every vampire movie these undead drinkers of blood are always beautiful, noble, and just all around cool kids who you want to become.  But in The Lost Boys, Kiefer Sutherland and his bros are a bunch of dirty, unruly biker punks who spend their nights terrorizing the boardwalk.  “Sleep all day, party all night, never grow old.”  It’s a cool little twist on the typical vampire archetype.  And Kiefer really brings it in Lost Boys.  Watching the movie, he is clearly leaps and bounds above the next best actor in terms of ability and general bad-assery.  I also loved seeing Alex Winter of Bill and Ted fame in this.  The guy has played like two characters in his short acting career and they are both classics.

winter
Excellent! (air guitar riff)

The last thing I want to mention about this film is that, given the title, this is obviously a Peter Pan reference, where the lost boys in Neverland never grow old and are looking for a mother.  And yes, that comes into play in the movie, but only at the very end, and only for a a short moment. It’s during the climax of the movie and the reference comes out of left field and you’re like “oh yea, that makes sense,” but then the movie is over before you really had a chance to reflect on it.  The deleted scenes reveal this subplot in depth, where the main vampire Max attempt to turn Sam and Michael’s mother into a maternal figure for the vampire gang.  It is kind of goofy, and the scenes are terrible and were mercifully cut for that reason.  But it seems like this theme should have been explored a little more in the final cut, if for no other reason than to further justify the use of such a bitchin’ title.

Overall: 8

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This movie is as hot as, um…a burning vampire skull (that’s pretty hot, but not, like, the hottest possible)

The Lost Boys will always have a special place in my heart for giving me one of my favorite movie quotes of all time in, “Maggots, Michael; you’re eating maggots, how do they taste?”

It’s a great horror-comedy that is both fun and really refreshing in its simplicity.  You will laugh at the absurdity of some of the dialogue, but also enjoy the fast pace and general likability of the movie as a whole.  Chances are you’ve seen The Lost Boys.  If you haven’t, do yourself a solid and see it now.  If you have, treat yourself and watch it again!

 

Fright Night (1985)

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About:

Charlie Brewster has reason to believe that his mysterious new neighbor is actually a murderous vampire.  After his worst fears are confirmed he sets out to slay the monster before it kills him and everyone he loves.

Review:

I first saw this a few years ago and thought, “Wow, what a fun horror movie.  This is truly a classic.”  A couple of years later I saw the remake and thought it was also good, but nowhere near as great as the irreplaceable original I saw first.  Then last night I watched the original again for the purpose of writing this review, and, well, I just didn’t know what to believe anymore.  It was ok – I liked it.  But it wasn’t the same movie I remember being better than the remake.  As blasphemous as it sounds, it was actually much worse.

First of all, the leading lady in the remake is played by the adorable albeit unfortunately named Imogen Poots, whereas her character in the original is played by some chick who looked like Blanche from Golden Girls.

snoods
Not even close

And yea, I get it – a lot of people didn’t like the remake because everyone’s least favorite actor Colin Farrell got to star in it.  Now I don’t know what he ever did to deserve this shit storm of malice people seem to have for him, but remember that man was the balls in Minority Report, so lets all cut him a little slack.

I had to watch the remake again to confirm that I liked it better.  I knew they had it at the public library here because that’s where I got it five years ago when it first came out.  Sure enough they still had like 10 copies sitting there, but because I had racked up such an intimidating amount of overdue fees on Twilight books over the years I was not allowed to rent it until I paid that tab back down to 0. This now makes three libraries where my hefty fines prevent me from taking anything out.

After a couple of unsuccessful stops at RedBoxes, I decided that the purpose of this blog isn’t to compare original films to their remakes anyways, or at least not until I can get my hands on the newer Fright Night.

Back to the original: I loved the special effects in this.  There were three vampire deaths, which doesn’t seem like much, until you consider that the way each died was more fantastic and horrifying that the last.  I don’t know who decided CGI looked better, but nothing compares to the creative SFX that go into animating a vampire turning into skeleton soup.

Charlie Brewster is the main character in this movie, but we don’t know anything about him other than he lives next door to a vampire and goes out with a girl who looks like his mom.  What’s his story?  How do I know I don’t want this guy getting gobbled up by a vampire?  His little buddy Evil Ed, on the other hand, is quite the character, and I can’t quite determine if his shrill portrayal is tantamount to idiocy or brilliance.

When he realizes he is living next to a vampire Charlie enlists the help of TV star Peter Vincent the Vampire Killer, host of the show Fright Night, who luckily happens to live in town.  At this point Vincent is on his ass and out of a job, but he cleans up nicely and puts together with a cubic briefcase crammed with vampire killing accoutrements to help Charlie do the deed.

vincent
Unfortunately he left it in the car

The main vampire is Jerry Dandridge, which is perhaps the least intimidating Vampire name ever thought up.  Don’t let the name fool you though – this guy is one smooth operator.  Guy has a killer hair cut and an equally cool duster jacket to match.  All told, he’s not too far off from Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt on the vampire coolness scale.  Although it is a little concerning that he lives with a hetero life mate/man-servant.

bros
Bro-ing out hard

Jerry is pissed at Charlie because he keeps hassling him for being a vampire, and their feuding evolves when Jerry realizes that Charlie’s girlfriend Amy looks just like his old vampire girlfriend.  Thankfully this never goes beyond that to the Maury Povich level, but it does kind of teeter on the brink when Amy gets bitten and turns into evil Steven Tyler.

amy2
Eh…still not doing anything for me

Overall: 6

Campfire_2
a reliable flame, good for marshmallows and telling ghost stories, but nothing that gonna singe your eyebrows off

So I’ve been thinking that ranking these movies solely on a 1-10 scale is pretty boring.  In going with the theme of this blog, (in which Camp is a double entendre for both the style of these movies and also the setting for a great deal of them – get it??) I’ve decided to accompany the traditional numeric ranking with a strength of campfire – or at least something camp-related.

I was a little disappointed in Fright Night, to be honest, because I remembered it being so much better.  Don’t get me wrong – it was the cheesy kind of horror movie I like, the kind that doesn’t take itself to seriously but also has a plot that is easy to follow and isn’t confounded by glaring holes.  It did seem to drag at times, though; the movie is an hour and a half and Charlie first voices his fears over his neighbor in the very first scene.  I don’t know why it took another 90 minutes for him to gather his buddies up for the final showdown.  Maybe when I finally see the remake again it will be so much worse than I remember that it’ll make the original a lot better.