Starring: Chris Makepeace, Grace Jones, Dedee Pfeiffer, Robert Rusler
Directed By: Richard Wenk
Written By: Donald P.Borchers and Richard Wenk
“Its another old film in which you memory serves it better!”
Being a child in the eighties and a love for all things horror and Vampires meant there were only three films of that nature you loved and had to watch. The first two were all according which you loved the most but you can guantee that Lost Boys and Fright Night would be the ones occupying those spots. The third would be Vamp, a film that seems to have been lost in time, a horror that was well received all those years ago but then quickly forgotten. Its like the lost unloved pet of the genre, a film which you memory serves has a timeless blast, which you have fondness for but have not seen for years.
The fact is has taken all this time for the film to finally be released on DVD much to the thanks of Arrow whose determination to release horrors long forgotten along with cult classics brings much admiration for this horror fanatic, goes to show how much neglect Vamp has received in the last twenty five years since its first release. But now finally in my hands, does it still hold up to this day? Does Vamp manage to create that timeless quality that both Lost Boys and Fright Night some how have managed to find?…..well here comes the answer!!
Vamp starts in typical Vampire 80’s fashion. Two students who after making a promise to a group of college initiation party, venture into the city to hire a stripper to take back to their student rooms and they end up in a bar called the “The After Dark Club!” which is probably an early blue print for the Titty Twister in Dusk Till Dawn. On entering they soon spot the stripper they want to take back (Grace Jones) but when one goes backstage to negotiate the deal, she is revealed to be a blood sucking evil bitch and after one quick bite, its up to his friend to escape the bar and survive until daylight.
Before I criticise and its hard to because despite everything Vamp is still watchable fun, I want to look at the positives and that is the two leads who bounce of each other with electric that its hard not to like them. AJ (Rusler-Meatballs) and Keith (Makepeace-Elm Street 2) are typical men characters of this decade but they have charm and the likeable factor which makes the watch pleasant. Another joy is and I can not believe I am going to say this but Grace Jones just rocks as the Vamp, looking freaky before the make up, her silent performance and what is an extended cameo, is the best thing in Vamp, and you do wish that the film may have used her a bit more. Michelle’s little sister Dedee Pfeiffer, is cute as the waitress of the bar who not knowing that her employers are dead, gets sucked into the chaos when she spots Keith as an old school friend. Even the first bite, when Jones turns from stripper to killer is a great horror effect, the teeth going into the neck is one of the best the genre has to offer, so why do you feel there is a but coming?
Because somehow Vamp fails to have the same hook of the likes of Fright Night. Maybe its because the latter has never been away from the public eye but Vamp does somehow feel very dated, a cheap knock off to the likes of Lost Boys which of course is unfair because Vamp came out first! It does not help that the third person to join the Aj and Keith on their trip is Duncan (Gedee Watanabe-Sixteen Candles) who is one of the most annoying side character in horror history. Seriously, he may be a legend to some, but in this he just can not act, and it really sucked some of the energy from the film when he appeared on screen. Also there is an Albino Street Gang who enter the proceedings as some sort of sub-plot, it does not work and it just distracts from the fun!
Thanks to the dress fashion on show, there is no escaping the fact when this film was made and while I enjoyed it for what it is, and its great to see it on DVD, its just another old film in which you memory serves it better! What I hope is that those who have never seen it will find joy in discovering a hidden 80’s guilty pleasure but compared to the two films that I have mentioned in this review, Vamp like them is a whole lot of fun, but unlike them, is instantly forgotten!
OVERALL: Grace Jones makes a pretty good Vamp, and the leads are charming and fun, but something is missing, a bigger bite to go with the memory. Vamp is fun, but never reaches the heights you remember!
3 OUT OF 5