Thursday, May 05, 2011

Vampire Holocaust – review

Directed by: Shane Hatfield

Release date: 1997

Contains spoilers

Oh dear me…

Ok the VHS print was washed out so this was difficult to view in places but none the less…

Oh dear me…

This was a low end, no budget affair that was more than a little fragmented at its beginning. Essentially there were two groups of people.

in the bookstore
First off there was Tommy (Rico Love) and his crew. A gang, fighting with another gang, one of his crew is killed. He goes to an occult bookstore and asks about revenge. Whilst being shown the books, one about resurrection of the dead is mentioned. He takes that one, determined to bring all his fallen crew members back. There is a bizarre breakfast stop-off simply to introduce a character that will appear towards the end of the film and a plot about an in-gang take-over that was less a narrative and more a damp squib.

Dave's friends in school
Then there is Dave (Nick Stodden). He hasn’t been turning up in school because he has been working at his uncle’s bar. His friends are all more or less non-entities, film wise, bar his girlfriend Sherry (Coelle Peck). She’s been having nightmares about a murderous mime – now this is important, sort of. Anyway he works that evening in his uncle’s bar and then goes to pick some friends up before calling her, when he doesn’t she goes looking for him.

Rico Love as Tommy
So, Tommy does his ritual, which seems to fail and then they are attacked by vampires (well sort of vampire zombie type things, as there seemed to be as much a desire to go for a zombie movie as a vampire one – indeed only on a key few vampires, in specific shots, do we seem to see fangs). In the meantime Dave has broken down with his buddies and ended up fighting off attacking hobos (possibly vampire hobos). Dave and his pals end up in a junkyard, as do Tommy and what remain of his crew.

we just watched the Crow
They eventually decide to make crosses and bolt for the bar. However the bar has had a vampire infiltration, of one, whom Uncle Tony (Pat Stodden) has killed. He, Sherry and her friend Tracy (Brandy Gordon) are under siege. Intercut with all this is a killer with a painted face killing prostitutes. Sherry’s mime? We don’t know and no connection is made between her dreams and the man. Indeed it is likely that the makers had seen the Crow and thought, that’s cool, as it looks like Crow makeup that he's wearing.

the bar vampire
Be that as it may, when the survivors get to the bar (Tommy and 1 crew member plus Dave and 1 friend) and a stranger appears, wearing a long black coat, it does not take a genius to work out that he is the killer (with makeup off). When he reveals himself as the leader of the vampires it is even less surprising. He is Caleb (Joseph Rubenstein) and he is a direct descendant of Dracula. He was killing the prostitutes to get their blood for a ritual to raise his undead army, Tommy’s ritual did fail.

shotgun stake
What was more surprising was… when uncle Tony took shotgun pellets, emptied the buckshot and put little mini-stakes in each cartridge and much worse, in the end, he drops a stake into the barrel of the shotgun and fires it out, he somehow failed to blow his hand or maybe even his face off as the shotgun backfired, the shotgun failed to jam and the little stunt worked.

fangs on display
There is little lore. Crosses may or may not work – it isn’t clear. The vampires crowd doors and windows like a horde of zombies – completely failing to turn to mist and enter until Caleb tells them to (although, to be fair, I think Caleb was playing with the survivors). Kill the head vampire and all the other vampires die, unless you happen to be the girlfriend of one of the main characters and then – despite suggesting that sex would be necrophilia earlier in the film and thus indicating she did in fact die – she becomes mortal again with no recollection of the night’s events!

A failure to act, rubbish dialogue and failure to offer proper exposition. This was a chore to watch. 1 out of 10 for the scene where someone was folded to death!

The imdb page is here.

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