TROPICAL VAMPIRE (2015)
Directed by Marcelo Santiago
Portuguese language with English subtitles
Vampire Vlak is sick of his stale life under the rule of Limboman and the Limbo Corporation for whom he and his partner Michele deal vampire powder, an addictive drug that gives users a taste of immortality. After ripping out his canine tooth through which Limbo Corporation track him with, Vlak goes rogue but ends up disorientated and falls into the hands of Asia 666’s femme fatale Wang Su. Meanwhile, Michele roams the streets of Brazil looking for a new partner and finds Eastern European vampire Draco who might just be the perfect replacement for the estranged Vlak.
As though taken from a graphic novel, Brazilian horror TROPICAL VAMPIRE stages each scene as it would appear in a comic be it with a character using a cardboard cutout of a gun instead of the real thing or characters acting in front of a static background. This unusual approach gives the film a certain style that we’ve rarely seen before but that works rather well. These aren’t the only odd inclusions. Masks seem to be a big attraction for the minor characters in the movie, most of who like to cop off with one another. People having sex in the park are wearing outrageous masks bearing wide grins and open mouths of delight whilst doing the business with random strangers but that’s not all. The local news station features a masked presenter and interviewees… well, all except for the police chief who dons his aviator sunglasses with authority. The main presenter of the show seems to get agitated whenever any of her guests get passionate with their point of view and in retaliation she gradually removes her clothes to reveal a basque which sometimes distracts the male members of her panel but not enough for them to stop their train of thought.
Narrating the entire story as well as starring in the movie is the film’s co-writer Fausto Fawcett as ancient vampire Vlak. His struggle with authority, a life that has him under the thumb of another, leaves Vlak with no choice but to unplug himself from Limbo and seek out a new life of his own but it would appear his body isn’t ready for the sudden change. In his weakened state, it’s hard to work out who’s taking advantage of him and who’s looking out for his best interests. When you’re a vampire and have been living through the ages, it’s common to have upset a few people along the way.
The storyline of TROPICAL VAMPIRE isn’t the most coherent and, for the best part of the film, I hadn’t much of a clue what was going on. Besides its highly sexualised content, there’s very little to keep the viewer interested and the dialogue, as subtitled in English, is no easier to fathom either. By the time the film climaxes, the story appears to be a very simple one but journey to get there seems daft and odd purely for the sake of it. I much prefer a film to make sense (as much as possible anyhow) and have great characters that you can invest in but I’m afraid TROPICAL VAMPIRE has neither.
TROPICAL VAMPIRE is a little too ‘out there’ for my taste with its penchant style over substance.