Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer of Slash: Boogeyman II (aka Revenge of the Boogeyman)

Two summers ago when I reviewed The Boogeyman, I failed to mention who wrote and directed it. Perhaps I was so in awe of the film’s wackiness that it just totally slipped my mind, but don't you worry, dear reader, I won’t forget to mention the name of this brilliant auteur this time around. For, you see, Ulli Lommel is the man responsible for not one, not two, but three versions of The Boogeyman! Yes, there is Boogeyman II (more commonly referred to as Revenge of the Boogeyman), a film which ended up on the Video Nasties list right alongside the original for the sole reason of using about 40% of the footage from the first film. But there is also another version of Revenge of the Boogeyman that Lommel released in the early 2000s: Revenge of the Boogeyman: Redux. Think on this for a moment...


...It takes a special kind of person to make a Revenge of the Boogeyman: Redux, so let’s talk about this person. Ulli Lommel is kind of an interesting story. He was an AD for Rainer Fassbeinder, worked with Warhol, and then went to America and made the first Boogeyman, which was at least wacky and weird that it went down easily enough as an off-the-wall horror entry. He seemed to be paving the way for at least a semi-interesting career in the horror genre. But then he either got lazy or just wanted to be someone that worked a bunch because his career doesn’t mirror at all someone that worked with such unique and eccentric creators, nor does his career after The Boogeyman even suggest a filmmaker that was capable of making that movie. He’s somewhat of a known thing — a lesser Uwe Boll, if you will — on Netflix; he’s known for making awful modern horror movies that center around serial killers like Richard Ramirez and the BTK Killer, and almost all of his films come with reviews that bear the warning: “Beware: this is a Ulli Lommel film!”

Much like the later-released and favorite amongst horror fans (for all the wrong reasons), Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Revenge of the Boogeyman is essentially a rehashing of the first film, using a lot of the footage from the first film to pad out its already short 79 minute runtime. That premise: the shard of glass from the broken mirror (the cause of all the havoc in the original Hallo...oh, sorry, The Boogeyman) returns...this time to Hollywood! Lommel pops up as the director of a horror film whose wife keeps nagging him to make commercial films because his experimental, arthouse films just aren’t bringin’ home the bacon. So he sets off to make a horror movie (which according to this film, making a movie in Hollywood amounts to nothing more than a pool party).

The movie crew in Hollywood is now being stalked by the shard of glass as they try to make a film about the events of the first Boogeyman movie. So there’s lots of exposition about how making horror movies affects people, and there’s all kinds of attempts made to make Revenge of the Boogeyman some kind heady, postmodern horror picture (points for pre-dating more popular self-reflexive horror films like In the Mouth of Madness and New Nightmare...I guess). There’s also just tons of scenes of these wannabe Hollywood-ites sitting by the pool pontificating about random shit like the leaves changing in Autumn or the types of things that are only interesting to people who live in LA (my favorite being two aspiring actors talking about the roles they're up for, and the male actor mentions that he’s being considered for a role in the a film that’s a combination of Smokey and the Bandit and Star Wars, which sounds a million times more interesting than anything going on in this movie). But it doesn't take long for the viewer to figure out what’s really going on here: padding. And lot’s of it. I think after the first Boogeyman, Lommel genuinely was frustrated that he couldn't make weird, experimental films like his mentors, but his attempts here at horror are just beyond lazy.

Most of the film is lit so shoddily that it’s almost impossible to make out what’s happening on screen —  not that it matters though since most of the film is just rehashed footage from the first film. But I will say this for the sequel: they chose the best parts of the original film to showcase once again. The original Boogeyman was such an odd mix of supernatural horror, mean-spirited slasher, and wacky dead teenager slasher movie— and it seemed to gleefully content to allow all of these scenes to bounce from one to another, coming off as nothing more than bizarre non sequitur after bizarre non sequitur.

Unfortunately, we're subjected to the horribly cruel violence-to-children opening from the original (a scene I really disliked, and the primary reason the film ended up on the radar of the DPP), but thankfully we get the original film's cheesier scenes: the death-by-medicine-cabinet scene pops up again, and, best of all, we once again get the brilliant hot dog cooking scene! The latter which, as I mentioned in my initial review, seems so out of place with the rest of the film because it introduces four teenagers that do all of the things they're supposed to do as teenagers in a slasher movie — but nothing about The Boogeyman suggests that it’s going to be that kind of slasher movie. But there it is, a type of mini-Bay of Blood smack in the middle of a random supernatural horror movie that begins with an opening setpiece that is nothing more than an extremely cruel ripoff of the opening of Halloween.

So there ya go. And if it seems like I'm reviewing the first film all over again when I'm supposed to be talking about the sequel...well, it's because most of the sequel is the first film. All of the best scenes of the first film inserted into the second, so there's really no reason to see the original, I guess. Once the sequel’s story truly kicks off, there are about 20  minutes of the film left, and the setpieces are just as asinine as they were in the first film: shaving cream, electric toothbrushes, corkscrews, and ice tongs all become instruments of death in Revenge of the Boogeyman. And it’s all made more horrible because of how awful and lazy it all comes across as — a cop out, for sure, by Lommel who is certainly trying to pass it off as some kind of heady, meta take on making movies (horror movies in particular) by having his characters talking about how stupid it all is, and that horror movies are only good for “making money.” Ugh.

But it doesn’t stop there. 20 years later, Lommel and his handheld camera returned to re-edit Revenge of the Boogeyman as a kind of director-gone-insane version of the film. So instead of a story surrounding the making of a horror movie, Lommel essentially takes key bits of dialogue and plot and attaches them to himself, claiming that he went mad making that movie (which was about the making of the first movie), and that all of the deaths from the second film (shown in fast forward all Benny Hill like...I’m not joking) were the cause of him going mad. Or maybe he was the one doing the killing. I honestly couldn't keep it straight. What I do remember is that we’re supposed to believe that Lommel, in 2002 (still wearing a horribly dated purple ‘90s Starter brand cap), is being interviewed by the police (the set is just him at a desk in what his probably his house) about some murders that have happened. So we get re-edited footage of the first film again. Only this time it’s about 80% of the first film, 10% of the second film (which maybe is less because it's all in fast forward), and the final 10% is of Lommel sitting in front of the camera being “interrogated.”

Basically, Lommel lifts some elements of the story from the second film as he talks about how he and his wife were in bed one evening, and she told him he needed to start making money due to the fact that his arthouse films weren’t making the kind of money she needed to live on.  He was hesitant to do this, but he agreed with his wife that they did need some money coming in. That’s pretty much all I get out of the Redux version: his wife drove him to make the movie which in turn caused him to murder a bunch of people. So is money bad? Are we to blame his wife? The movie industry? Violence in horror films? Nothing is made clear, and that's what is so hilariously awful about the Redux version (if you're insane and curious like I am, this version of the film is, I believe, available on Youtube).

Of course, in the hands of a legitimate filmmaker, this kind of material could turn into an interesting horror movie (again, I’ll invoke the titles In the Mouth of Madness and New Nightmare), but Lommel isn’t interested in any of that. In fact, Paramount wanted to make the sequel with Lommel, giving him a bigger budget to work with (the first film was profitable as it had the fortune of coming out the same year as Friday the 13th), but Lommel declined, stating that he didn't want to work for a major studio. Because, you know, artistic integrity and all. In fact, he underlines, bolds, and puts into italics this point about not wanting to work with a studio budget with a moment of dialogue in Revenge of the Boogeyman that sticks out like a sore thumb; it goes something like this: one of the characters rips into Brian De Palma’s Blow Out because De Palma spent 17 million on making the movie, but audiences hated it, to which Lommel's character responds, “You could make 17 movies for that price!” I don't know what ultimate point he's trying to make, but it made me laugh; I felt compelled to share with all of you one example of the things that are inside the mind of Ulli Lommel.

Nothing about this man’s subsequent career suggests that he’s capable of making anything other than a quick buck on recycled footage. Both The Boogeyman and Revenge of the Boogeyman are decent pizza and beer movies if you’re with the right group of people, but be warned: stay away from the Redux version. It’s so bad it makes the editing of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 look like inspired filmmaking.  There is an interview on the Hysteria Lives site where Lommel talks about how anyone can use footage from his Boogeyman films as long as they pay, and that the payment could be as little as a dollar depending on his financial situation. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that statement. Oh, he also mentions that as he gets older he wants to leave a legacy and aspires to make great, memorable films that are not safe or mediocre or part of the status quo, citing the likes of Buñuel and Pasolini as examples of filmmakers that were making “subversive” and “rebellious” films late into their careers. And that he hopes to be making those kinds of films well into his 90s. Okay, I think I’ll laugh now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

John Frankenheimer: The Young Savages


Note: Some of Frankenheimer’s films are pretty hard to come by, one of those being his debut film, The Young Strangerso I had to start this retrospective with his second film. There’s about a handful of films I couldn’t get a hold of; I will try my best to fill in the blanks as I go.

After a less than thrilling experience shooting his feature film The Young Stranger, John Frankenheimer returned to television (where he got his start) for four years (a practice he would continue throughout his career — proudly showing that he was always a man of television that could bring cinematic ambitions to the small screen) before returning to theatrical filmmaking with his second feature, The Young Savages. Frankenheimer didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for The Young Savages, and it shows in certain scenes, particularly the final 30 minutes of the film where the ambitions of he and his star, Burt Lancaster, pretty much derail the film. But the way he imbues just his second feature with so many stylistic flourishes (a definite sign of things to come for him and his DP Lionel Lindon) keeps one intrigued enough despite the film’s well-intentioned but ultimately flawed narrative.

The story of The Young Savages is really no different than the countless other “juvie” films released around the ‘50s and early ‘60s. In New York’s Spanish Harlem, a 15-year-old blind boy is stabbed to death by three Italian thugs. The street toughs are eventually arrested, and the politically ambitious DA, Dan Cole (Edward Andrews), pushes hard for the death penalty. However, the crime isn’t as cut-and-dry as Cole thinks it is, and his assistant, Hank Bell (Lancaster), who himself was a product of the slums before changing his name from Bellini to Bell while pursuing his career, tries to convince his boss that further investigation in the matter is needed.

Throughout Bell’s investigation we come to find that the onus he has put on himself to uncover the truth is a little more complicated than just hitting the streets and asking questions. Bell’s former fiancée, Mary (Shelley Winters), is the mother of one of the three thugs accused of the murder. In addition, Bell’s wife, Karin (Dina Merrill), takes on the voice of the liberal who is anti-capital punishment. So there are many voices of influence swirling around Bell as he investigates the murder and struggles to uncover the truth and do the right thing. What he ends up finding out is that the boy was actually the head of a Puerto Rican gang (using his guise as a blind kid to hide drugs and weapons since I guess cops would never suspect a blind kid of being mixed up in a gang), and that he was the pimp for his 13-year-old sister.

When Bell uncovers this truth, he is beaten down, stomped to a bloody pulp, by some thugs in the subway. This is the catalyst for Bell to embrace the Bellini within him and see that these kids didn’t murder by choice—it was a product of the environment they’re from. He also begins to feel a strong urge to protect his fellow Italians from the “menacing” Puerto Ricans (who proceed to harass Bell’s wife) even if it means self-sabotage for his political career. Feeling compelled to tank the case in order to stay true to his convictions, Bell argues for the trio of murderers by film’s end.

Surely this kind of material was a bit shocking at the time with its use of a 15-year-old blind kid pimping out his sister and acting as the head of a gang (nothing at all shocking to us now as it would probably pass these days as an episode of “Law and Order”), but I don’t think that the film’s ambitions as a socially conscience message picture mix well with the film’s trappings rooted in exploitation “juvie” pictures, especially since the latter is just so much more interesting than the former. I will say this about the film’s ambitions as a message picture though: The idea of leaving behind who you truly are to get ahead (The whole internal dilemma surrounding Bell/Bellini) and the portrayal of the Italian thugs as a product of a twisted society (in one scene, one of the thug’s tells Bell that his father was a drunk, his mother takes in boarders and then goes out with them, and that he isn’t even sure his sister is his sister) causing them to be the way they are, is a commendable one.

So, kudos go to Frankenheimer for broaching such important sociological issues as race and geography and poverty, but the execution doesn’t match the well-intentioned effort, for what truly stands out in the film — and the only real reason to still see it today — are those aesthetic flourishes that seem rooted in exploitation — the very thing that keeps the film’s narrative from truly resonating. It’s a dilemma, fir sure, but man does Frankenheimer make the film look way more interesting than your run-of-the-mill “juvie” exploitation film. Which shouldn’t come as a shock since the director would meld exploitation with loftier, aesthetic ambitions frequently throughout his career; but here, with The Young Savages, it is interesting to see those ambitions at their gestation.

The opening credits sequence which leads to the stabbing that acts as the catalyst for the film’s story is a doozy. It’s the highlight of the movie with its close-ups of "juvie" iconography (boots, rolled up jeans, et al) found in films of the late '50s, handheld work, stylized shots (I like the shot of the chaos of the opening stabbing reflected in the lens of sunglasses, another bit of "juvie" iconography), on-location shooting, deep focus (a favorite of Frankenheimer’s), and Dutch angles. In other words, if The Young Savages tells us anything, it’s that the opening credits portend everything that Frankenheimer would refine over his career. Credit most definitely also goes to Frankenheimer’s DP, Lionel Lindon, who collaborated with Frankenheimer on some of his most visually memorable films like The Manchurian Candidate and Grand Prix. The Young Savages is an impressive looking film for something that traditionally comes off as B-grade level.

More about imagery in the opening: I like what Frankenheimer is doing by opening the film with an innocent enough shot of a child buying an ice cream: simplistic and relatable. Who hasn’t, as a child, reveled in the small joy of an ice cream cone on a hot summer day? The image seems simplistic enough, but in reality — as the film’s procedural uncovers more and more about the truth of those opening moments — as we think back on this image we realize that this is the blind boy’s sister, who we’ve also come to realize as the film progresses is being pimped out by her 15-year-old brother. Now the image takes on a whole new meaning, and once again Frankenheimer has taken a simple bit of iconography from countless other films of this ilk, and twisted it just-so to make it much more disturbingly ironic image than first suggested.

The acting is good but not great. I’ve never been the biggest Burt Lancaster fan, but he’s fine and all here; however, as previously stated, the convictions of the actor and the director to make this a message-heavy film really bogs things down in the second half, especially with the stomping scene and the revelation that he’s still “one of them.” Lancaster was somewhat known for thinking that films should really say something (speaking to the widest audience possible) but also be of high quality (speaking to cinephiles). It’s a nice idea and all, but the execution of the narrative, especially the courtroom scene (which takes up about 20 minutes of the film), is all askew and comes off as rather hokey. It's something that, according to Stephen B. Armstrong in his book on Frankenheimer, Pictures About Extremes, states was a problem with some of their collaborations, especially their subsequent picture, The Birdman of Alcatraz. Shelley Winters and Telly Savalas (10 years before he played Theo Kojak) also star and are quite good in their small roles.

Despite the narrative failings of the film, it must be said that early in his career, Frankenheimer was interested in doing something different by making movies about the marginalized as characters to focus on and center the action around. And not for simplistic reasons of exploiting those character types, either. I’m sure we’ll return to this idea throughout this retrospective, for it is one of the traits (along with his visual style) that defines much of Frankenheimer’s work. The following year was a busy one for Frankenheimer, who would have three (!) films released, two of which were, arguably, his most popular and famous films of the ‘60s: The Manchurian Candidate and The Birdman of Alcatraz. But we’ll first look at the less popular of the three, All Fall Down, starring Warren Beatty and Eva Maire Saint and adapted for the screen by William Inge.

Carpenter Ranked


As I'm working on the finishing touches for my first Frankenheimer post, I thought it would be nice to get some content on the blog today. So I offer this little list (something I've wanted to do for other director's in this series but have just completely spaced on doing) of what I think are the best Carpenter films. I know we all love lists! So have it. Make fun of me, list your own rankings, or be boring and agree with me. Anyway, I'm hoping my first Frankenheimer post will be up sometime tonight or, at the very latest, tomorrow morning. Thanks to all of those that have been following along!

1. Halloween
2. The Thing
3. Big Trouble in Little China
4. Assault on Precinct 13
5. Prince of Darkness
6. Ghosts of Mars
7. They Live
8. The Fog
9. Dark Star
10. Escape from New York
11. Vampires
12. Body Bags
13. In the Mouth of Madness
14. Escape from LA
15. Masters of Horror
16. The Ward
17. Christine
18. Starman
19. Village of the Damned
20. Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Saturday, July 27, 2013

John Carpenter: The Ward

Warning: this review will read like that of a man who is at the end of a retrospective and feels like there isn’t really anything more to say. I apologize for the lack of reviewing that’s going on in this review and for the lack of enthusiasm surrounding this piece. But, hey, some of that is the film’s fault.

When The Ward was released in 2011, many fans of the genre — and of Carpenter especially — must have been thanking the heavens that the master of horror was returning to theatrical filmmaking in order to rescue the horror genre. Alas, this is not the case. This feels like the John Carpenter of Christine more than the John Carpenter of Prince of Darkness, and that's a shame, too, because that means we get the detached Carpenter rather than the Carpenter that truly loves the horror genre. In fact, The Ward felt an awful lot like his work for Masters of Horror: professionally made, easy to get through, but on the whole uninteresting and disappointingly average for Carpenter.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer of Slash: Satan’s Little Helper

Fans of the slasher film will recognize the name Jeff Lieberman. Director of the fun and goofy Squirm (notable for being featured on MST3K, which Lieberman was none too pleased with) and the really great (and not goofy) Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn (the best of the backwoods slashers), Lieberman disappeared from the horror genre, claiming that the right project never came up. After Just Before Dawn in 1981, he made only one film (Remote Control in 1988) before finally returning to filmmaking and to the horror genre with 2004’s oddball black comedy slasher Satan’s Little Helper. No, this direct to DVD release is not nearly as cheap looking or awful as its horribly executed cover art would have you believe (just look at that poster. Awful.). I’m tempted to say that the film is even good. But then I would have to ignore the horribly conventional final 20 minutes of the film and the fact that Lieberman's pretty interesting idea loses steam rather quickly. A shame, too, since the first 1/3 of the film is evidence that Lieberman still has a knack for taking banal slasher premises and fashioning them into something much more interesting.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

John Carpenter: Masters of Horror – "Cigarette Burns"/"Pro-Life"


I realize that I’m in the minority when it comes to thinking that Carpenter had nothing to be ashamed of with Vampires and Ghosts of Mars. Sure, those films have flaws (the former more than the latter), but I liked that he was trying for something different. I made the argument in my last post that Carpenter made Ghosts of Mars as a deadpan comedy. Even if the film’s detractors agree to this notion, their argument is that the film — no matter how deliberately bad it is — is still a failure. Okay, but at least Carpenter was trying for something unusual. Carpenter took criticism to certain films very personally (The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China, come to mind), and his response was to always return to the bosom of the horror genre. So it’s no surprise that after the critical and commercial panning of Ghosts, Carpenter’s next project after a four year sabbatical (a return to theatrical work was still five years away) would be for the Showtime horror series Masters of Horror. And even though Carpenter's entries are arguably the best found in the two season the show ran, they're still pretty average Carpenter and really the furthest thing, aesthetically, from what he was doing with Vampires and Ghosts. Many would consider this a good thing; I find it disheartening, making for a pretty ho-hum viewing experience.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Quick blog note

Some of you have probably noticed a lack of content on the blog the last few weeks. Between vacation, home improvement projects, and other miscellaneous life stuff, I just haven't had the time to sit down at the computer and write stuff. I was actually shocked this last weekend when late Sunday night, I realized that I hadn't opened my laptop all weekend. Kind of a depressing commentary on how attached I can be to my computer, no? Anywho, I should be back to normal next week. I'll try to get those last two Carpenter posts up before the end of the week. Thanks for your patience. Now I'm going to get back to watching Ah-nold blowin' shit up in The Last Stand.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog Announcement: Director Retrospective #4 - The Films of John Frankenheimer

As I wind down Director Retrospective #3, I was thinking of who I wanted to select for the fourth director in this ongoing blog series. I knew I wanted to look back a little in American film, but I couldn't find the right filmmaker that piqued my interest enough to grab all of their movies and dive right in. I was thinking about Sidney Lumet, but that would be a huge undertaking (damn some of those look so interesting, though, so I may still do a truncated retrospective for Lumet down the road), so I thought I would go with someone that shared a lot of similarities with Lumet (and worked under his supervision on the TV movie "You are There"): John Frankenheimer. This is still going to be a big undertaking (not nearly as big as Lumet's nearly 50(!) films), but I'm really looking forward to getting away from writing about horror for now (as much as I love it, it can be a bit of a drag to only watch and write about it) and focusing on Frankenherimer's extremely intriguing oeuvre.

Frankenheimer was one of the pioneers of the live television era, often taking his live shoots outside of the studio, refusing to be confined to the spaces and sets that were normal for a 90 minute live drama. As Frankenheimer ventured into film, his style became even more varied, aping the likes of Orson Welles (Frankenheimer loved deep focus, at least in the films I've seen) and citing Billy Wilder, William Wyler, and Carol Reed (among others) as major influences.* There are some major gaps I have in the earliest and latest parts of his career. I don't remember anything about Reindeer Games (his final theatrical film), for example, but have been told that the Director's Cut changes the tone of the film considerably. I also haven't seen Frankenheimer favorites like The Train, Seconds, or The French Connection II. So I look forward to correcting those blindspots.

I've had a tendency to jump back and forth between straight-ahead filmmakers like John Carpenter and Sydney Pollack, and the more visually oriented like Ken Russell and (at times) Oliver Stone. From what I've experienced with Frankenheimer, I think he kind of falls right in the middle. Not getting as crazy as Russell or Stone but not keeping himself out of the way entirely like Pollack did. I'm looking forward to this one.

Now, the problem with choosing a filmmaker like Frankenheimer is that some of his movies are extremely hard to find. Netflix has a pathetic selection to choose from, and Amazon only fairs a little better. There may be some I have to skip unless someone out there can supply me with a copy of the movie. Some of these titles include: The Young Stranger (1957), The Extraordinary Seamen (1969) (I've heard this is quite the trainwreck, and I would love to get my hands on a copy), Impossible Object (1973), 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974), The Challenge (1982), and The Fourth War (1990).

Anyway, look for the first entry, The Young Savages, July 29.

*Credit to Stephen Bowie's entry on Frankenheimer found at Senses of Cinema for some of the biographical information used here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer of Slash: Night Warning (aka Butcher, Baker. Nightmare Maker)


Also known under the much more intriguing title Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker William Asher’s Night Warning is a frustrating experience, for there is a good — even buried-treasure-kind-of-great — movie in there somewhere. However, the filmmaker’s compete lack of interest in genre aesthetics results in some horrifyingly dull sequences and bizarre choices that stick out like a sore thumb (the primary one being a squirm-inducing homophobic character). Night Warning boasts a few interesting setpieces, a helluva lead performance, and remains an incredibly flawed but intriguing enough curio that, if you’re a Video Nasties completist like myself, you should still check out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

John Carpenter: Ghosts of Mars

Well, we’re finally to the one film that everyone last year (when I announced I was doing a Carpenter retrospective) seemed to peg as the one review they were the most interested in. Yup, we’re finally to Ghosts of Mars. I've been hinting at it throughout this retrospective, but I suppose I should just get the superlatives out of the way: I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s a brilliant genre film, it’s a brilliant midnight movie, it’s a brilliant satire, and it’s one of the (intentionally) funniest movies Carpenter has ever made.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer of Slash: Capsule Reviews


Every year I do this Summer of Slash series, I watch more than I end up writing about. This is mostly because I only want to write about the slasher films that I either enjoy enough to write more than two paragraphs on or lend themselves to be written about. And let’s be honest, taking the entire slasher subgenre into consideration, there aren’t too many that fit that criteria. A lot of the movies I watch for this summer series lend themselves better to the capsule format than the essay, so I figured rather than just scraping the notes I had written for these films, I would just present to you a very rough paragraph or two for each film in capsule format. It’s safe to say that the bulk of the movies that get capsule reviews fall into that “for slasher fans only” category. Enjoy.

Monday, July 1, 2013

John Carpenter: Vampires

“You ever seen a vampire? No... Well first of all, they're not romantic. Its not like they're a bunch of fuckin' fags hoppin' around in rented formal wear and seducing everybody in sight with cheesy Euro-trash accents, all right? Forget whatever you've seen in the movies: they don't turn into bats, crosses don't work. Garlic? You wanna try garlic? You could stand there with garlic around your neck and one of these buggers will bend you fucking over and take a walk up your strada-chocolata WHILE he's suckin' the blood outta your neck, all right? And they don't sleep in coffins lined in taffeta. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin' heart. Sunlight turns 'em into crispy critters. Got it?”

Prior to sitting down and watching Vampires last week, I for the life of me couldn’t remember the plot —all I could remember was that this was “the one with all of the dissolves in it.” Granted, it’s also the one with the really great performance from James Woods. But there wasn’t much that I remembered about the film, but damn if I didn’t have a lot of fun watching it again for this retrospective.Vampires has a down and dirty (I just love the way that the un-PC and self-aware dialogue at the head of this post gleefully flows from James Woods’ mouth) , B-movie kind of charm. I fully understand that not all of the elements work (especially the much maligned dissolves), but I don’t care, I really love Vampires, warts and all.