Monday, April 06, 2009

Vampire Knights – review

Directed by: Dan Peterson

Release Date: 1987

Contains spoilers

There are some films that should fade into obscurity and yet the VHS will surface and we are faced with the eighties in ‘B’ minor. This one even has a cheesy 80s Vampire Knight theme song. It is a comedy, though not a great one, and it is a vampire movie, again not a great one.

It begins with a classic, however, as we see Nosferatu on TV. The trouble, of course, with Nosferatu being public domain is that any vampire movie can add scenes from it (though, as Murnau stole the story of Dracula to make the film makes it almost a fitting irony). Many a vampire movie does, whether they are worthy or not.

Anyway the film is being watched by Ken (Ken Abraham), a bit of a nut who makes his own horror props and has an attitude written into dialogue more fitting for a 12 year old. Sir Peterson (Pierre Turson) appears on screen, he is the host of Vampire Knights and is selling membership of the knights at $29.95, for which you get a medallion, a membership and a crossbow. He neither knows the name of the film nor the year it was made. Later he tells the audience that God spoke to him and they should join the Vampire Knights or God will take him away – we could only hope.

Ken shares his house with Bobbie (Billy Frank) and Tom (Thomas Kingsley). They are going to a party – Ken doesn’t want to go – but Bobbie wants to wear the Vampire Knights medallion and promises to join if Ken will lend it to him. En route to the party they pick up a hitchhiker, who loves the moon and speaks of monsters. She becomes a fanged monster (presumably meant to be a werewolf), they scream, she falls out the back of the van and they continue on their way as though nothing happened. Ken, meanwhile, is playing Vampire Knight pretend radioing Sir Peterson (told you it was written as though he was 12).

They get to the party and are looking to score with some girls. There are some gags flying around, such as the guy saying that he has been asked to make a film but has refused to add a nudey scene as it has no place in horror, that then opens to a gratuitous nudey scene. Three bats fly towards the party and become three ‘babes’.

Now let us stop for a moment and talk bats. Now often we have crap bat syndrome, but in this case it is something worse. The scene is animated and the same animation of the moon is used a couple of times (included with the werewolf girl). What we have is crap moon syndrome as the clouds pass behind the moon! Hmmm… well, be that as it may, the girls spot the Vampire Knights pendant and make a beeline for Bobby, suggesting they go back to his place and they know the way somehow.

As they leave we see that vampires have a new ability. A party-goer pats the bottom of Ellissa (Mary Logan), one of the three, and finds that his hand is on fire. This leads him to stumble out of the party in full blaze – an event that seems to pass un-remarked upon by the other guests. This is the first (and I hope the only) time that I have come across the vampire ability of combusting posterior. Also, just in case we were in any doubt that they were vampires we get some fang and the ripping of the heart from the chest of party host Suede (Lee Martin).

Anyway, they get to the house and Ken agrees to meet them (after being promised that Tom will join vampire knights as Ken thinks girls are horrible – again a 12 year old attitude). The other two vampires are called Zane (Ann Michaels) and Tasar (Robin Rochelle). We note that they react strongly to the cross – indeed later we see Ellissa flinch each time Ken says cross my heart.

Long story short. Ken and Ellissa get on like a house on fire, eventually. He finally meets a girl he can relate to and she is very much like him. She is also a vampiric virgin and there is a ‘funny’ scene where she is instructed in the ways of giving neck – a none too subtle reference to oral sex that, in case you missed that reference, ends with the question “Do you swallow?” The others pair off and the vampires are trying to assess what sort of danger the Vampire Knights are. They don’t realise that it is a marketing gimmick and that only one person (in total) has bought membership. That one, of course, takes his membership seriously.

Vampires can be stopped by stake (or crossbow) but remove the stake/bolt and they come back to life. Sunlight has a more permanent effect. Ken wears a neck brace to prevent bites – ineffective as it is easily ripped off – and has a Sir Peterson vampire attack alarm that actually seems to work.

Not a good film, poorly performed and directed, unfunny gags and bad effects (such as the moon). Fangs get in the way of enunciation, though some of the staking effects look okay. All in all this is a poor effort. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Everlost said...

I think that is the first film I have come across with crap moon to accompany the crap bat.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

How'd the song go... I see a bad.... I mean... crap... moon rising...