Friday, April 09, 2010

The Wicked – review

Director: Colin Eggleston

First released: 1987

Contains spoilers

This is, without a doubt, an odd one. Sometimes called the wicked its other title, Outback Vampires, indicates where this film hails from and it is more than a little strange.

It begins with two brothers, Nick (Richard Morgan) and Bronco (Brett Climo) driving through the bush, Nick playing the guitar. They are headed to the rodeo. They see a girl walking, Lucy (Angela Kennedy), and barrack her about the Yankee she had got a ride with earlier – clearly they have met before the film began and we assume offered her a ride that she turned down.

Angela Kennedy as Lucy
She walks off road and into the bush and so Nick goes after her and nearly gets a knife in the face for his efforts – she is a knife thrower by trade (it runs in the family, her father threw knives at her mother, she caught them and threw them at her father. When asked the name of the act, she replies, ‘What act?’). She relents and they continue their journey when something springs out of the road and wrecks the car (it appeared to be a car caltrop of some sort).

At a house some men are burying human bones in a pit. One of them throws something at a crow which dives down and its beak pierces his neck (there is a vampire turning into crow idea in this). The travellers are headed their way and so he is sent (with finger in wound) to warn the town mayor, Humphrey (Lucky Grills). The travellers are sent to Humphrey. The fact that no-one seems to spot the bones, and later Bronco mentions them and the locals claim they are cattle bones, is all part of the oddness.

the house
Humphrey tells them that there is no mechanic in town but not to worry for Sir Alfred Terminus (John Doyle) has a car and radio’s the manor house (with a bicycle powered radio). Lucy is suspicious but the car arrives, driven by Frau Etzel (Maggie Blinco). Much as in typical Dracula adaptations (not that this is a Dracula adaptation) when they are dropped off the transportaion then seems to vanish. They enter the house.

John Doyle as Sir AlfredOnce in they meet most of the family; son George (David Gibson), matriarch Agatha (Maggie Blinco, again and, as we do not see Etzel at any other point in the film, one assumes the characters were one and the same) and father Sir Alfred. We do not, at that point, meet daughter Samantha (Antonia Murphy) – whom even Sir Alfred believes is a little touched. They are offered dinner and one might wonder why these vampires (for the family are vampires) do not just attack. The answer is demonstrated by Sir Alfred, via a lobster, when he suggests causing fear by dangling it close to but not in the boiling water sweetens the meat. He is making them tastier by toying with his guests.

lambs to the slaughterThis leads to much weirdness, especially as the travellers are quickly separated. It seems Agatha is after Nick, George wants Lucy and the Lovecraft referencing Samantha picks Bronco. Sir Alfred sits above them all, pulling the strings as it were. The film follows a pattern of weird encounters in the house, escape, capture, return and fight back.

flashing fangsLore wise these vampires are wary of the sun, though it doesn’t kill them (it does make them look like Hell however). We discover at one point that they can only be killed by being pierced with the bones of their victims. Whilst such an attack will kill a vampire this isn’t entirely true as a wooden stake generally does the trick. Garlic, despite the mayor wearing a necklace of bulbs, does not seem to be effective.

giant Sir AlfredFire may work – we certainly see it used, but not conclusively. Beheading does not work as the head was able to continue talking afterwards. Dynamite seemed to fail (though the car it was used on was fairly intact as well). A cross held out to Sir Alfred has no effect, he was always an atheist. Sir Alfred is able to fire beams from his eyes (to make Samantha swoon it seems) and to turn into a giant version of himself. He can also fly.

dead vampire
It is the weirdness of this that keeps you watching but also makes it not the greatest of films. I actually rather enjoyed John Doyle’s performance as Sir Alfred but, all in all, this was not a great film. It was too odd for its own good and lost cohesiveness because of that. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


No comments: