Dir.: John Carpenter
Starring: James Woods, Sheryl Lee, Daniel Baldwin, Thomas Ian Griffith, Tim Guinee and Maximillian Schell
What would you get if you were subjected to a wild and crazy night between Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone and Hammer Films? You’d get John Carpenter’s loose adaptation of John Steakley’s novel ‘Vampire$‘, ‘Vampires’.
A critical flop (by this point, this was practically an expectation when it came to Carpenters’ films), it has nonetheless gathered a considerable following over time due to its brusqueness, crudeness and overall unapologetic puerile nature as well as an over-the-top, sneering, too-tight jeans wearing (seriously, those things look way too tight for you, old man) main performance from James Woods that would be right at home in a David O’Russell and Ike Turner sandwich. Riddled with plot holes, little to no emphasis on complex character motivations and a total disregard for political correctness, the film nonetheless is an intriguing mess of a movie that is championed by its shamelessness.
Despite being a hot bloody mess, I must sincerely praise Vampires for separating itself from the typical treatment of the vampire genre that to this day still hasn’t really been replicated, unless you count the underrated 30 Days of Night. In an era where Twilight seems to be the conventional go-to when it comes to cinematic fangers, its doubly refreshing to see Jack Crow verbally and physically brutalize vampires that are just as fierce and unpleasant as he. Now that I think about it, if Jack ever met Bella and Edward, he would violently stake Ed repeatedly through the head and then slap Bella around for associating with him… you know, just for good measure.
Here’s my Live Tweet of Vampires I did for SM.com’s 90s Horrorthon!