Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vamps: Deadly Dreamgirls – review

original cover, film now available as an extra on Vamps 2
Directors: Mark Burchett & Michael D Fox

Release date: 1995

Contains spoilers

Remember Twilight Vamps and the back cover blurb? As a reminder it posed the question “Who doesn’t like a good vampire Nudie Bar movie?” and it has, for some time, been a favoured location for certain vampire movies… more often than not the low budget vampire movie. It, of course, has the advantage that nudity is a requirement but the question, as posed, is loaded… you see it does say “good”, and invariably these films are not good vampire movies (or good movies full stop).

Jenny Wallace as Tasha
Vamps is no exception, it is poor (I’ll say that at the outset). Shot on video and obviously costing little or no budget. Nevertheless it did have some good ideas buried within it, it also tried to build character (possibly a little too much given the nature of the film but not enough to be satisfying). It begins, at the Vamps strip club, with the MC Max (Charles Cooper) announcing the Queen of the Night Tasha (Jenny Wallace). The intro seemed a little From Dusk Till Dawn, except that FDtD was a year after this (and a considerably better movie, being an example of a good vampire nudie bar flick).

vampire strength
In the audience is a redneck hick, who heckles Tasha and then gets fresh with another dancer, Tabitha (Stacey Sparks, Abe’s Tomb). When she slaps him he chases backstage after her and calls her a bitch. He is intercepted by Randi (Amber Newman, Vampyre Tales) who lifts him up by the throat. After she de-pants him (and we get the awful dialogue regarding being sucked and sucking him dry) she bonks him and then eats him. Tasha tells her off as she wasn’t given permission to have a lunch break.

an even worse film within the film
We see a vampire movie on TV and later we discover it is called Vampire Busters and the King of the Undead. It is actually an interesting idea, make a movie within a movie that is so bad it makes your real movie look good. Anyway, watching this atrocity about Count Hackula (Steve Gatch) is Father Seamus McConnel (Paul Morris). His room has vampire movie posters and the hostess of the movie, Vanna the Vampire (Karen Stolle), makes comment about a naughty fan sending her a crucifix. The phone goes and it is his friend Larry (Rob Calvert) who knows that he is watching the show and also plans on taking Seamus out the next night for his birthday.

Heather got the job
Heather (Jennifer Huss) turns up at Vamps looking for a dancing job. She has just got out of an abusive relationship with Keith (Sean Nielsen) but has flunked out of college and wants to make enough money to get out of town. Tasha (who owns Vamps) interviews her and then has her dance. She is very stiff but, when Tasha dances with her, she loosens up and is a natural. She gets the job. Now, unlike other such films only the three women, Tasha, Tabitha and Randi, are vampires. The other dancers are human and unaware of their colleagues natures (though they think them a bit weird). Tasha is interested in Heather, but not as dinner, she thinks the girl will make an excellent new vampire.

Max is the Vamps MC and day servant
Larry has taken Seamus to Vamps and, whilst dressed in civvies, the priest is clearly uncomfortable (Randi suspects him to be gay). When Heather goes past they recognise each other. They went to the same High School and, whilst in different years, they performed in A Streetcar Named Desire together. They get talking and when Tasha intervenes she shows a dislike when she hears that he is a priest – though she quickly apologises and even (unsuccessfully) tries to seduce him. Heather arranges to have breakfast with the two friends, but Larry bails and, when she cannot get into the room she is crashing at, Seamus puts her up for the night.

Heather in danger
The film then spends some time building the relationship Heather shares with the (at that point unrevealed to her) vampires and her relationship with Seamus. It was a good idea but didn’t do it as well as it could of, which is a shame. Seamus and Heather clearly fall in love but, of course, he is celibate. Will he reject her and will that rejection push her to the vampires? Will he be able to save her?

death by plunger
I said that this had some good ideas and it did. Seamus is a horror movie buff and has bought some props, including a cross from one vampire movie (to his chagrin, later, he discovers that crosses do not ward vampires and holy water just makes them wet). He also bought a sharpened plunger from another movie – and that was obviously going to be used and thus we have death by plunger.

Lorissa McComas is the vampire queen
Vampires dream, we discover, and it is in a dream that we see how Tasha came to be a vampire – turned by the Vampire Queen (Lorissa McComas). We also discover that Tabitha has problems with being a vampire – not only the idea that she will outlive all those she knew but also that she dislikes blood and doesn’t like to bite humans. This was not exploited in any meaningful way, unfortunately.

fanged and dangerous
Interestingly, if a victim is drained they die. If they are fed upon but not drained the vampire saliva mixes with the blood and turns them… ish. They are not a full vampire and must feed within 12 hours to turn or they will die. This also means that a victim clearly bitten and left till later was half vampire before they killed him. A vampire draining another vampire will kill that vampire. We also hear that some vampires become filled with bloodlust, are addicted to blood, and burn out within 100 years – that seemed odd and needed further explanation.

So the film had some interesting ideas and dynamics which it singularly failed to exploit. Unfortunately the film looked cheap and the acting wasn’t brilliant. 3 out of 10. The imdb page is here.


carmen rosa said...

Estimado Blogger, visité tu blog y está excelente, me encantaría enlazarte en mis sitios webs. Y por mi parte te pediría un enlace hacia mi Web y así beneficiar ambos blogs con más visitas. Si estás de acuerdo no dudes en escribirme a:

Espero tu Respuesta.

Un cordial saludo

Taliesin_ttlg said...

dear Carmen

thank you for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed the post. Unfortunately your name leads to a broken link and you have not left a blog name/address so that I can look at your blog.

Please leave a blog address and I will investigate your request