From Director Jeffrey Alan Miller and writer David C. Hayes (the same writer and producer associated with HORROR VAULT 3) comes the bra-popping, blood sacrifice of 2010’s VAMPEGEDDON. Somewhere between Bram Stoker’s DRACULA and the glitter blinding TWILIGHT, the mental image of what a vampire looks like has become blurred and forgotten like those Magic Eye posters from the Mall.
Things start off with an interesting twist as we take a stroll through the newly settled territory of Arizona in the Wild West. A vampire lord by the name of Giovani has escaped to America with a few of his blood hungry cronies, but Britain’s premiere suck-slayer, Longshank, is hot on his cloak tails. After slaying his minions, Longshank is thrown into the final death throes with Giovani, which ultimately results in the demise of them both. With an underscore of electric rock music and some believable sets & costuming, I was hoping to see more six gun slingin’ but time marches on.
Fast forward a century or two and we meet some of the oldest community college kids this side of a Death Row correspondence class. Think the Goth Kids from SOUTH PARK all grown up and you have a pretty accurate depiction of our protagonists, but them being 30 years old makes them come off more as a meeting of Hot Topic managers. Stuck in a dead end town with yokels that don’t understand their fascination with corsets in summer heat, these amigos are all looking for an escape through the black arts. They spend most of their time trying to perfect their “ceremony”, which translates to them getting drunk and trying to summon a vampire with “two parts Anne Rice, one part Lovecraft”. It’s the classic SNL Goth Kids skit played straight, with every character invoking a caricature of who they want to be.
Melissa is the catalyst of her group, a young lesbian that seeks to escape her dead-end town, her abusive homestead, and her hum-drum existence. She truly hopes that contacting a vampire will change that. Apparently no one’s given here the number to U-Haul. Between the 3 gals and 2 dudes, only one of them seems to be employed, slaving away at a local fast food chicken fry while the others toil about changing in and out of halter tops and discussing who to bed next. David C. Hayes even pops in with a cameo playing Mr. Rizzowski, an off-beat junk dealer that sells our misguided “youth” Melissa her own version of the Necronomicon. Inside is a map that leads the eyeliner wearing Scooby-Do gang to the spot where Giovani was vanquished and gives them the appropriate incantation to summon him back into our world. Thing is Longshank’s energy is linked to Giovani’sand his spirit comes to inhabit the one character that actually has a job. Our chicken slinging heroine starts kicking ass, staking vampires left and right, while offering an explanation to what the hell is going on. Of course he/she struggles with thier British accent all in between scissor kicking undead henchmen in platform combat boots to save Melissa. With Giovani’s return, he plans to take Melissa as his bride. Now here’s where things get sticky with Karo syrup because when a vampire takes a bride, a blood sacrifice must be made that opens a portal that would allow every slain vampire to return to from the grave.
The problems with this film are rampant, but they don’t come from a lack of effort. It isn’t the gratuitous nudity or outlandish plot points, those are mainly the only reason to watch this film. What’s the most troublesome is the lack of a real hero and a worthy adversary. When Longshank comes back to possess one of the girls, you’re not entirely whose side should claim victory. The action is laughable, at times so much so that the only other reason to watch this film is to make fun of it. This feature firmly cements itself as BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as made by late night Cinemax. You’re almost left wondering what the purpose of the other friends are outside of plot points or victims. This little indie flick definitely aims to scrap with anyone that says it can’t stand its ground, no matter how true that statement may be.
One element I did enjoy is probably the most unforgivable to fans of modern cinema vampires. I actually enjoyed the revisit to face-painted, Nosferatu style vampires. Prancing around in black capes with Press-On fingernails and blood splattered Oxford white shirts, this is as if Ed Wood’s ghost directed this film via Ouija board. It’s truly something that most horror fans would pass on, but I can only imagine the amount of fun that was had by all involved creating this public access style tale. It’s blood and boobs, and lots of both, drawing fast food style comparisons to early Hammer Horror films with their sexuality and equally cheap effects. There’s also an odd sense of female empowerment that’s reached at the finale between our damsel in distress and our heorine that I wish would have played out more to make this movie stand out. The special effects with this aren’t that spectacular, with about the 60 minute mark serving as a cue to add some crap CGI. Personally I would’ve invested in more gory kills or even a proper fight choreographer, but what these filmmakers deliver is worthy of a keg fueled wrap party alongside the Hollywood sign.
A trailer for METAL MAN graces the DVD, which peaked my interest when I realized that Reggie Bannister of PHANTASM fame isn’t in IRON MAN. A Behind the Scenes featurette doesn’t offer much in the way of cast interviews or discussions with the filmmakers, but it does lend a vibe like you’re there with the actors freezing in the middle of night in over-sized fishnet stockings.
The sound quality and ADR done with the dialogue makes the entire film play out as if it where a foreign film that was dubbed over. You’re almost drawn into hunting for any other ambient sound like birds or street traffic to escape from some of incessant whining that is meant to serve as dialogue. The soundtrack almost makes some scenes play out like an unintentional music video, which Miller should have properly embraced to fill the voids left from the script. The look and feel of the film is strong enough, with solid cinematography delivered by D.P. Neal Trout. Much of the film takes place at night, and I applaud the limited resources that were used to keep this flick from being engulfed in pitch black.
VAMPEGEDDON almost serves as truth in advertising, honestly take a moment and say the title out loud. Rank it right up there with MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS or any other dollar bin horror flicks. It’s grown-ups playing dress up and sometimes you just gotta let them have their fun. You’ll watch it as easily as you’ll forget it and all the reasons to watch it would be quickly edited out if it was aired any other place that your home theater. Just double check the case, odds are your kid brother is probably in some dank basement with his 11 year old buddies pressing “play” on a remote control right now. He deserves a stern talking to from an educated horror fan, but go easy, at least it’s not TWILIGHT.