Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Haunting Desires – review

dvdDirector: Fred Olen Ray

Release date: 2004

Contains spoilers

Oh, Fred Olen Ray, you do make some pants movies and this is one of them. With barely a story in place and your performers on auto-pilot this is a poor excuse for a softcore ‘erotic’ movie.

Admonishments aside, let’s look at the film – after all that is what we are here for.

Evan Stone as AdrianHaunting Desires starts in a strip joint and, let’s face it, vampires in strip joints have become more clichéd than vampires in castles. Like their gothic counterpart, the sleazier end of the vampire habitat can be a good place to film your movie… if done properly… when not… Well we have a dancer, Melissa (Belinda Gavin), and one of the patrons – Edward (Glen Meadows) – seems to be getting a little bit overly stimulated, pulling his tie off and all. We see a guy wandering around, later revealed to be club owner Adrian (Evan Stone), he is dressed like some sort of pirate and thus sticks out like a sore thumb.

Belinda Gavin as MelissaNow the club is called Underworld, though later Adrian calls it the Underground by mistake, and as another dancer comes on stage Edward is approached by Melissa who asks if he wants to take things to the next level. He assents but suggests his van. Now, when I watched this I thought I had heard this wrongly at first… a van, says the man in a suit… but van it is, with mattress in the back. Now, given we later hear that he is a rich guy, there really is something incongruous with this set up. Anyway, they get it on until she grows fangs and bites. He pushes her off and she giggles and then guess what he does… Does he throw her naked butt out the van? No. Does he get his naked butt out the van and run? No. He drives off, naked, with the vampire giggling in the back of the van. He then seems shocked when she heads up front and bites him again, for the few seconds before he crashes and dies over the steering wheel!

Trout and JillIn the morning the cops are on the scene, led by Detective Trout (Jay Richardson) – for some reason Ray does like to call his lawmen by the name of Trout, see the Lair. Also appearing at the scene is crime columnist Jill O’Connor (Beverly Lynne). Trout stops her getting anywhere near his crime scene. Jill goes home and ends up in a horny tryst with husband Tommy (Thomas Jakob) – the scene breaks and Tommy is leaving for a meeting, the lovemaking was Jill’s fantasy and clearly their marriage is, in reality, passionless. As he goes, Mr Andrews (Waris Treyman), her editor we assume, turns up and essentially tells her that her stories have gone off the boil and she needs to get the old fire back. He reminds her of when she broke the white slave ring in Chinatown. She retorts “Oh, come on, I was practically raped with a broom handle!” In response Mr Andrews muses, “You just can't make stuff like that up.” – Though you clearly can as it was in this script!

photographing fang marksSo, to keep her career afloat, Jill breaks into the morgue. She photographs the coroners report and then looks to take a shot of the victim. We see the fang wounds. She is just stood around when he sits up and puts his hand on her shoulder. She freaks… of course… and then Trout walks in. The victim is still led down and apparently dead and Jill sounds like a fruitcake when she suggests he is still alive (this is the last we see of him as his family are having him cremated that very day!) Trout decides to be kind and buy her a coffee and toss her some info. He was killed, Trout says, by being stabbed in the neck by a sharp implement. The motive was robbery, all his blood was stolen. Jill gets home and she has stolen the bagged up belongings from the coroner’s – a little fact that Trout never realises.

Adrian and JillThere is a matchbook and Jill calls the number written inside – it is the club and she puts the phone down. After an interlude where she phones Tommy and we discover that he is either having an affair or with a prostitute (an excuse to have some simulated sex on screen with no story impact), the phone rings and it is Adrian and he knows her name and says the address is on the matchbook – inviting her to the club. When there he gives her a drink (spiked) and denies knowing Edward. He claims he knew her number due to caller id and then the drug kicks in. She ends up on the stage , drugged and being fondled by two strippers. She awakens in her car and, when she tells him, Trout too ends up checking the club.

Glowing eyesIt’s all standard then on. Adrian and the (massive total of) three dancers are all vampires. He is seducing Jill into their world and can turn into a majorly crap bat. We hear that he is 2000 years old. They are obviously sensitive to sunlight as the windows in the living area are bricked up. Their eyes can flash with bright light (as can the ankh pendants they all wear). Jill is bitten and clearly under their influence.

eek... death raysAs for the ankh pendants, they are something of an Achilles heel as tear one off and, poof, the vampire goes up in smoke. Adrian can fire laser beams out of a ring (don’t you just love it when that happens... not). But these can be reflected off shiny metal trays and can kill the vampire firing them. Serves him right for having funky death rays – it just shouldn’t be allowed.

catching a bulletThe vampires are also very fast. How fast? When a bullet is fired it flies in crap cgi slow motion and is snatched out of the air by Adrian… what a man…

The film, itself, is drivel. The acting is awful generally – Richardson and Lynne coming across as a low rent Laurel and Hardy, whilst Evan Stone whispers his way through the scenes in an attempt to appear seductive/menacing at the same time, I’d guess. The story is drivel and goes nowhere fast, culminating in a pointless twist that we have seen countless times. Why the vamps do what they do is not explored (especially perplexing is why they have suddenly started leaving bodies to be found), how the club can go on with a grand total of three dancers is not explained (especially as there is one point when all three are in the private area, meaning things must have been boring for the clients up front!)

This is a pointless, non-erotic, badly plotted and acted piece of fluff. Avoid. 1 out of 10 reflects that the crap bat is so crap it deserves recognition.

The imdb page is here.

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