A strange ‘Vamp or Not?’ this one as, in the first sentence I will say that this film by Richard Griffin is not vamp, if anything it is sci-fi zombie. The reason for writing this post is that I noticed this film was on Zone Horror and, when I looked into it, I was struck by the astounding similarities with the vampire movie Side FX.
So let us list them:
There is one big difference, however, Side FX is a good, independent movie whilst Raving Maniacs is, to be honest, a bit of a mess and falls into cliché too often – the gratuitous shower scene near the beginning was absolutely unnecessary and was just there for some titillation, for example.
In Side FX the drug had a history and a source. It was a middle ages recipe rediscovered, producing sexual intensity in the user that, in some users, advanced into a need to drink blood. In Raving Maniacs the drug is luminous green and does produce a sexual effect on all who take it (leading to an incest scene amongst others) but then it effects the users by turning them, essentially, into flesh eating zombies.
The drug itself is said to have “fallen from the sky” and multiplies within the users as the pills are really eggs. The user survivors then harvest said eggs.
Why they do this, what the eggs will become and other such pertinent questions are not answered. The drug is known to be the hottest thing on the streets, yet no other incidents are known of. In Side FX the drug was being used almost as a date rape drug and we saw the effect, though the incidents were isolated until everyone at a party took it. In short the plot doesn’t add up.
The characters and actors do not help. We have a plethora of clichéd characters and the acting never rises above amateur. There is an attempt to build a back story history between Tuesday and her ex-boyfriend Dorfner (Patrick Cohen), with a mention of a baby and a hint of an abortion but it is too little too late. Now, the acting in Side FX wasn’t much better but it was elevated by a powerhouse performance by Phillips. Morettini seems nice enough but her performance just doesn’t reach those levels.
There is a strange woman who appears through the film and, at the very end, Dorfner speaks to her. She’s acted so strangely that I thought, via her, we might get some answers to the plot. Alas she simply asked if the rave had ended and then danced with Dorfner as she sang “Daisy, Daisy”. It was a surreal ending – I’ll give you that much.
As I said at the beginning, not vamp, but the base similarities with Side FX were astounding. In honesty, however, you are better off with Side FX – and not only because it is a vampire film.
The imdb page is here.