Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rockabilly Vampire – review


Directed by: Lee Bennett Sobel

Release date: 2001

Contains spoilers

There was a chance that this might have been a cult classic, with rockabilly tunes, a vampire that looks like Elvis and a cast of weird and wacky characters. It is an unfortunate fact that the line between cult classic and pile of rubbish is thin indeed.

Eddie feeds on dealerThe film begins with the vampire, Eddie Vincent (Paul Stevenson), being hassled by a drug dealer but there is only one thing the reluctant vampire needs and, with the words “forgive me for what I am about to receive”, he takes what his body craves from the dealer. We can note it is daylight and one of the strange things about this vampire is that not only can he go out in sunlight but he cannot sleep – ever.

Margaret Lancaster as IrisIris (Margaret Lancaster) works in a thrift shop with Emma (Wendy Walker). Emma is piercing obsessed, Iris is 50s obsessed and, more than that, obsessed with Elvis. As the film progresses it transpires that her father was stationed with Elvis in Germany and regaled her with tales of their exploits. It was these stories that stopped her hating her father when he walked out on his family. Iris has written a book that tries to prove that Elvis is not dead but it is being rejected by all the publishers she has approached.

She had been on a date with Lorenzo (Jeremy Klavens) but won’t see him again as he preferred the Beatles to Elvis. Lorenzo, or as he prefers to be called Beatle Boy, appears through the film wearing a Beatles’ wig and talking in a fake Liverpool accent – determined to win Iris back. He is one of the weird and wacky characters, who could have been surreally funny but wasn’t.

Dennis Davies as BennyIris is also three months behind on her rent leading to salacious propositions from Benny (Dennis Davies), her landlord’s son, and the landlord himself (Philip Carroll). However she meets Eddie and is struck by his 50s style – he was turned into a vampire in the 50s and still dresses and speaks as though he were there – and, of course, they fall in love.

Wrecks and his crewThe course of true love doesn’t run smooth as Eddie is being stalked by the one who turned him, his brother Wrecks (Stephen Blackeheart), and his crew of rockabilly vampires. If Eddie is bitten a second time by Wrecks he will be under his power. When Wrecks kills the landlord, Benny becomes a self styled vampire hunter.

David Van Leesten as JujuAll Eddie wants is to become human again and it seemed as though his visit to Juju the Voodoo Guru (David Van Leesten) might propel that plotline forward, but it was a damp squib to be honest, adding nothing to the film (except another really poor performance with bad comic timing). That is the biggest problem with the film - it goes nowhere, really slowly. To be honest I felt like two hours had passed at one point, checked the running time and we were only one hour in.

obligatory blood pukeI should mention, I guess, the lamest blood bank robbery on celluloid as it leads to Eddie drinking the stolen blood and then a blood puking scene as it was bad blood. What was wrong with the blood we do not know and, honestly, by that point I couldn’t have cared.

staked victimThe vampires daywalk, are turned with one bite (so the victims are staked), are cross phobic and have reflections. They have a scent detectable by their own kind, so Eddie wears a mystical pendant to hide from Wrecks, and one is killed by being strangled with a garlic garland. It transpires that Wrecks and his buddies were turned in a cave in Mexico.

Iris and EddieThe idea of the 50s obsessed girl falling for the vampire from the 50s wasn’t too bad and there was a surprising amount of character development for those two. However the acting was never much above the level of abysmal and the jokes fell flat as they were universally badly timed. This was not helped by the poor sound recording that made you strain at some of the dialogue.

The film quality was poor and the lighting so basic that the nicest thing I can say about it is that it was mediocre. To be honest, I have little left to say about this – boring, badly shot and acted; 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

You can say that again. And I was in it.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I feel a little guilty - I really do want to see the best in all vampire films, but I can't do anything but stick to what I said - it is a shame because, as I said at the head of the review, the concept had the potential for making a cult classic.