Tri-Star Home Video
Review by Jesse Nelson
of you that've read the excellent John Steakley
book (spelled with a dollar sign for the
"s") that's the basis for this
movie know that its hybrid mix of action
and horror can't be beat. Unfortunately,
Carpenter's latest sucks all the life (and
fun) out of the story. I never judge a movie
by comparing it to the book with
very few exceptions, the book is never as
good as the movie. Instead, I take the movie
for what it's worth and how it stands on
its own, but this movie has too much against
it to be any good.
First of all, I love the music
of John Carpenter. It's creepy and fits
his movies so perfectly. The music in VAMPIRES
just isn't good. It sounds like a rejected
Ry Cooder score and feels like it belongs
in ROADHOUSE. There are even times when
the lack of music seriously affects the
action of the film. The opening vampire
slaying would've had much more energy with
just a little bit of music any type
If that was my biggest complaint,
I could still recommend the movie. But,
as you probably guessed, it isn't. My biggest
complaint is that the film is so unnecessarily
misogynistic that I just felt uncomfortable
watching it. Back in the 70s pointless nudity,
calling women bitches and smacking them
around was just fine (in fact it's still
fine if you are Rudy Ray Moore). But today,
it just doesn't wash. You probably can't
count the number of times James Woods calls
Sheryl Lee "bitch" or "whore"
(granted she is a hooker in the movie).
I just didn't get it. It really has nothing
to do with the movie and doesn't help reinforce
Woods' tough guy act. In fact, it just makes
the character look like a jerk.
Also, is there anyone out
there that can tell me which Baldwin can
act? Well, it sure isn't Daniel Baldwin.
He may be a master of the crack pipe, but
a thespian he is not.
Finally, where's the John
Carpenter I love so much? I try so hard
to enjoy his films, but it's been a while
since he made a solid film. IN THE MOUTH
OF MADNESS was probably his last good try,
but even that was a mess. Maybe someday
soon, he'll make something with the love
and enthusiasm for which he made THE THING,
until then he has a fine selection of older
films that always warrant repeat viewings.