Powered by Blogger.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Review: Vampires

Director: John Carpenter

Screenplay: Don Jakoby

Year: 1998

John Carpenter’s name has become a synonym for horror cinema since he impressed the world with his successful “Halloween” in 1978. The contribution of this director to the modern cinema is legendary, with movies like  “Escape from New York”, “Assault on Precinct 13”, “The Fog”, and “They Live” under his belt. With this list of successful films, it is natural that some other movies of his that didn’t enjoy this level of acclaim can go under the radar, as is the case with “Vampires”.

Jack Crow follows and hunts vampires along with a group of hunters, endorsed by the Catholic Church. The hunters’ group finds a house in New Mexico infested with vampires, which they raid and clear, but can’t find the leader vampire. Soon they discover that the leader is much more powerful than what they imagined and will not only follow them in retaliation but also has other plans with Crow.

During the raid with which the movie starts, we meet Jack Crow (James Wood, “Videodrome”) and his friend Anthony Montoya (Daniel Baldwin, “Cold Case”), along the rest of the hunters, who don’t matter much because we say goodbye to them fast. This scene establishes the rules that define the vampires and how the hunters make the most out of their weaknesses against them. It is also established the level of violence that will be held to the rest of the movie.

After the successful raid, the group of hunters go to a motel to spend the night and celebrate with alcohol and prostitutes. However, the leader of the recently killed vampires interrupts their celebration in the most savage and bloody way possible, literally shredding to pieces anyone he can put his hands on and leaving gallons of blood as his signature. It is in this scene where the violence and the practical effects used to make it feel realistic and uncomfortable stand out.

This violent event is what puts in motion the plot of the movie, in which Crow decides to look for the vampire and understand why it behaves so differently from the rest. The plot of “Vampires” feeds on the dozens of classic vampire movies and highlights the characteristics that have made these creatures one of the most popular in the horror genre, such as their superhuman strength, unrelenting violence, an appetite for blood, and a religious and sexual tone. In this case, Carpenter bets for making a fun movie focusing on the violence and special effects and doesn’t look to innovate toom much in the vampires’ mythos, offering a predictable story and outcome.

One of “Vampires” negative aspects is how over-the-top everything is. The acting (especially that of James Wood), the gore, and the vampire makeup are so exaggerated and absurd that in parts, it verges on comedy, and this doesn’t seem to have been the intention. The toxic masculinity also stands out, represented on unjustified violence and derogatory comments towards women, constant phallic remarks and jokes, and the inevitable female objectification.

“Vampires”, without being one of the best vampire movies, is undoubtedly one of the most fun. Its problems are impossible to ignore, but it overcomes it with gallons of blood and dismembered body parts. Carpenter leans towards a predictable and straightforward story where his goal is to key up the characteristics that make vampires terrifying without skimping on blood and practical effects to achieve it.

No comments:

Post a Comment