Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vampegeddon – review

Director: Jeffrey Alan Miller

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

What is in a name? Well the name of this film is fairly pretty damn silly but never let it be said that a silly name would make me pre-judge a film. Actually, I did. I fairly much decided that Vampegeddon was going to be Z grade rubbish.

Imagine, therefore, my surprise when I rather liked it. I found it a nicely put together low budget film. Yes it has issues and it is on a budget but it tried to reach beyond all that and, whilst it doesn’t totally succeed I was left feeling rather good about the film.

a slay in the Old West
The film starts off in the old West and nearly killed me off right from the get go. It describes how Bram Stoker released Dracula in 1890 and its popularity swept across Europe. If you are going to do this, get the damn date right, please, it was published in 1897. Also, its popularity was less sweeping and more… limited. That aside, the European vampires decamped to the New World and Giovanni (Shane Dean, the Death Factory: Bloodletting) escaped there with the English vampire hunter Longshank (Patrick Vaillancourt) on his tail.

Staking Giovanni
Longshank goes out into the desert and is lured by a woman to a campsite. She is about to belt him round the head but he prevents this and finds, around the campfire, three vampires buried in shallow graves covered by trapdoors (for want of a better descriptor). He quickly despatches them by (cross shaped) stake and fire. He then despatches Igor (Rick Dyer, Blood Moon Rising), Giovanni’s main servant. He searches for Giovanni, who bates him – informing him that he has used European mysticism to ensure that Longshank cannot win. Eventually they end up in a deadly embrace, Giovanni flying high into the sky with Longshank so that should the hunter stake him he will fall to the earth. Longshank martyrs himself, staking Giovanni and dashing his brains out on the rocks below.

vampire ritual
Modern day and we are hanging out with the vampire crowd. There is Ted (Josh Bingenheimer, also the Death Factory: Bloodletting), Kent (Jimmy Flowers), Ted’s girlfriend Mona (Sugar), Liz (Jacqueline Smith) and Mel (Katherine Von Forelle). They like to go out into the desert and perform vampire rituals that Mel has created. She truly believes and wants to find the key to summon the undead so that she can escape from her dysfunctional family and their dead-end town. A couple of jerks take the Mickey and sneak out to scare them.

Now that's what I call a garage sale
After the latest version has failed Mel is walking to college when she is verbally accosted by a Mr Rizzowski (David C Hayes; who, as well as being in both the Death Factory: Bloodletting and Blood Moon Rising, was in Vampire Slayers and wrote this) for not checking out his garage sale. He has a book she might be interested in, Kindred and Blood, but she must agree to take it of her own free will. He gives it her and, when she leaves, four naked vampire chicks appear around him, biting him to his obvious pleasure.

Mel has erotic dreams
The group decide to do the ritual again, using the book – but Liz is less than sure (and becomes more upset with the group when Ted comes on to her behind Mona’s back). In the meantime Mel starts having erotic daydreams about Giovanni – it is clear that he is reaching out to her from beyond and guiding her towards his resurrection. The ritual will take place up near the subtly named Massacre Lane – urban legend suggests a man went mad and killed his family there – the location of Giovanni’s demise.

symbolic of her possession
The ritual works – to a degree. Mel and Mona are possessed by vampiric spirits (and we see this symbolically as them in baby dolls writhing with Giovanni and his vamp chicks whilst, in our world, they kiss passionately). When their attention turns to Liz she breaks free of the vampire's psychic hold and runs – to end up becoming possessed by the spirit of Longshank. Liz/Longshank rescues the boys from the vamped out girls and subsequently breaks their possessions; but Giovanni and several of his brood are reawakened and he has chosen Mel to be his bride.

creating the bride will bring back all slayed vampires
What we then hear is that stakes actually immobilise vampires (inferring that stakes do not kill them), a silly piece of lore considering that when one of the vampires is staked and the stake is then removed, it remains dead. All the vampires have greyed faces and black shadowed eyes. The makeup was a little too much, stagy and obviously makeup, but I could live with it. The act of making Mel become Giovanni’s bride will involve her sacrifice and that will open the gates of death for all slayed vampires to return.

a couple of vampires
The main problem I had with the film was the sound. The dialogue all sounds dubbed (indeed in one scene we hear the dialogue but not the ambient sound of the car doors closing). The problem was it was obviously dubbed (or so it seemed to me, apologies if it was anything else) and whilst the studio recording of dialogue means that we can clearly hear it (a plus against many low budget movies) it was distracting when I kept focusing on to the fact it was a dub rather than immersing myself into the film.

the gang
That said, I did enjoy this as I watched it – dubbing aside. A score of 4 out of 10 suggests to me a solid score for a B movie of this type. It had interesting ideas and lore (though some needed tightening) but the dialogue kept lifting me out of the film.

The imdb page is here.


Zahir Blue said...

This sounds like fun, actually. Methinks I remember seeing a trailer once upon a time...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

It was more fun than perhaps it should have been, I did rather like it.