Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Super Friends: Voodoo Vampire – review

Director: unknown

First aired: 1980

Contains spoilers

It seems that, in 1980, the idea of superheroes was still attracting an inordinate amount of camp and illogical, ill-thought out plot. Welcome to Super Friends, an amalgam of the DC heroes; debased and pantomimed for kids TV. Too harsh? Possibly, perhaps I was in the wrong mood when I picked this up on YouTube but it is worryingly pointless.

We are in the swamps of Africa and out of a doorway, above which is carved a giant bat, comes Vampirus the Voodoo Vampire looking for victims. At the time an expedition is travelling that area. They are harassed by a bat that then turns into Vampirus – recognised as such by the guide.

She announces “Do not be afraid,” and you might wonder why… well she tells us “there is no escape from my voodoo spell.” Now, call me a pedant but surely the inevitability that she announces is a reason to be afraid. With the slim hope of escape removed surely we should be even more terrified? Said spell involves firing lasers out through jewels in her fangs…

Batman (Olan Soule) and Robin (Casey Kasem) are in the bat-jet, flying over Africa when the ‘trouble alert’ sounds. A video link-up reveals the guide who gets half a story out before being blasted by lasers – and turned into a vampire. Batman homes in on his signal and he and Robin eject and parachute down. They are attacked by the guide (who now has laser fangs too) and then batman gets bitten by the guide (in bat form, which has no supernatural effect) and Robin is got by a snake. Luckily Black Vulcan (Buster Jones) saves them.

vampire heroes
They find Vampirus but quickly Batman and Robin are turned, despite the fact that their cloaks are impervious to her lasers. They attack Black Vulcan but he seems to explode (and uses the cover to hide) and so Batman takes Vampirus to the Halls of Justice. Once there Superman (Danny Dark) and Aquaman (William Callaway) are soon vampirised. Black Vulcan just about pulls Wonder Woman (Shannon Faron) to one side before she is spotted.

the sh*t invisible plane
Black Vulcan and Wonder Woman follow them back to Africa. You might be wondering what diabolical plot Vampirus has devised; especially given she has 4 superheroes under her control… She’s going to return below the swamp with her vampire slaves. Yup, that’s it. Anyway, Wonder Woman distracts them whilst Black Vulcan does… something… It looks like he flies behind the moon and makes it glow brighter. Is he is space? As he caused the reflection of the sun’s rays to be temporarily amplified somehow? Who knows – but everyone is cured and Vampirus is sealed away and I was left scratching my head. Not great, poor plot, poor logic, poor lore, poor use of superheroes. On the plus side, vampire Superman and Batman (vampire Robin and Aquaman are less impressive).

3 out of 10 for nostalgia back to the pantomime of superheroes. The episode's imdb page is here.

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