Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vamp - Nudie Bar of the Damned

Directed by Richard Wenk
Written by: Donald P. Borchers & Richard Wenk

Starring Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron & Robert Rusler

Rated R - Approx 93 Min.
Balcor Film Investors

Planet Productions

 - A Frightening Comedy
 - the first kiss is the deepest.
 - Ever have one of those nights?

 - The first kiss could be your last.

Alternate Titles:
El club del terror (The Horror Club)Argentina
A Noite dos Vampiros (Night of the Vampires) - Brazil
La fiesta de los vampiros (Feast of the Vampires)Peru

Clube da Meia-Noite (Midnight Club) - Portugal

"Formica....go figure!"

In all the years that I haunted the aisles of my beloved Video Paradise, there was one film that constantly eluded me:  Vamp.  The film was constantly rented out, it seemed and I was obsessed with seeing it.  I was mesmerized by Grace Jones clownish make-up and red hair on the cover.  I had only ever seen her in Conan the Destroyer before (I wasn't interested in 007 flicks back then so I hadn't seen A View To A Kill Yet) and quite frankly she kinda freaked me out in her role as Zula.  But there was something dark and sensuous about her on that VHS cover.

Just some guys out on the town on a Friday night.....what could go wrong?

Our little Mom & Pop video store closed before I was ever able to rent the flick.  Blockbuster had a copy as well, but for whatever reason there was always something else that had caught my attention.  Eventually VHS was replaced by DVD and Vamp vanished from the shelves as well as from my memory for quite some time.  I eventually caught it on late night TV once, but it was either a UHF station or basic cable, because it was heavily edited.  No nudity and no gore.  Which, let's face it, are the selling points of this film!  I'll be honest:  I fell asleep.  Hey, it was late, cut me some slack!

Thus we are brought to present day, where I was finally able to watch the film in it's original format thanks to Netflix.  So was it everything that I had hoped for?  Well....yes.  Yes it was.  First of all, I knew that it was going to be entertaining simply because Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles) was in it!  Add to that one of my favorite 80's wiseacres, Robert Rusler, and I knew that I was rediscovering pure 80's gold.

I dunno what it is....but yeah....this does it for me.  She's like a sexy tribal Ronald McDonald!

AJ (Rusler) and his pal Keith (Chris Makepeace) are a couple of wisecracking college guys trying to get into the big fraternity on campus.  After AJ promises the frat brothers a stripper to impress them, the pair recruit the school's nerdy rich kid, Duncan to loan them a car to head into the city, in exchange they will pretend to be his friends for a week.  Nice guys, eh?

They set their sights on a little place called the After Dark Club which only opens.....wait for it....after dark!  While waiting in a local diner, they run afoul of an odd group of punks lead by the ever bizarre Billy Drago (who is playing an albino!?).  After narrowly escaping with their limbs intact, the fellas head to the club to scope out the talent and try to score themselves a private dancer.....a dancer for money....she'll.....ya know what...I'm just not going to do it.

I remember you....whoa oh whoa oh.....

Inside the club, we are witness to Katrina (Grace Jones) and her ultra erotic, yet completely unsettling strip tease.  Here is where she is wearing the iconic white make-up from the film's VHS cover.  Besides the stark white face paint and bright red hair, her body is covered in tribal like markings, also in white paint and wearing a metal bikini that puts Princess Leia's to shame.  Not to mention her piercing blue eyes.  The first time I watched this sequence, it kinda freaked me out a bit.  Jones' performance is animalistic and completely bizarre, but goddamn if it isn't sexy!

Apparently, AJ agreed with my assessment because he decides that she's the perfect performer for their college friends.  He arranges to meet her back stage, where she seduces him (again freaky, yet oddly erotic) and then the whole thing takes a HARD left.  Teeth sprout out, eyes roll back in her head and she gets REAL ugly before taking a chunk out of AJ's neck and feeding on him.

Keith and Duncan meanwhile are waiting out in the club when Keith runs into Allison, who apparently knows him but he does not remember her.  As they begin their search for AJ things start to get even weirder for our heroes.  Apparently the whole town is in on this vampire thing and they don't want Keith, Duncan or Allison getting out to tell anyone.

Vamp is a hyper-stylized film.  The use of neon purple and green lighting in many of the outdoor city (and sewer) scenes lends a very distinct otherworldly vibe.  Only in the 80's could you pull of these kinds of visuals.  The soundtrack is also a quite fitting mesh of new wave, rock and electronica, composed by Jonathan Elias.

AJ's got more than a complexion problem here....

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  A lot of people and vampires die, that's for sure!  Exactly how many?  To be honest I forgot to keep track on this one.  I was completely enthralled by the 80's goodness.  I will have to re-watch and then edit this!

Nude O Meter:  There's plenty of flesh on display in the After Dark Club.  If 80's boobs are your thing, then you've come to the right place.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  Vampires.  Lots and lots of Vampires.  And Billy Drago.  That guy is so weird.....

Final Thoughts
This is absolute must see 80's horror/comedy here.  There isn't anything that I don't like about this movie.  It's got everything.  Vampires, strippers, vampires, blood, vampires, neon lights, vampires, strippers, vampires, Robert Watanabe......erm......vampires.  It's like this:  There are only two vampire movies that are MUST SEE from the 80's:  The Lost Boys and Vamp.  Everything else is secondary.  There, I said it!  I'm sure that's gonna stir up some shit.......

Final Rating
Four out of Five Pizza Rolls


  1. No Fright Night? I'm surprised. To each his own. I've honestly never been a big vampire guy, so my taste in vampire movies is probably suspect. On a (tenuously) related note, have you seen the From Dusk Til Dawn television series? Apparently, the baddies are now members of some kind of snake cult rather than vampires?!?

  2. DAMNIT! I knew I was forgetting one! Okay make that THREE quintessential 80's vampire movies!

    To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not a huge vampire fan myself. I love me some Dracula (old school Bela Lugosi is my favorite version). I can't stand all the new vampire flicks that are out now. The whole "sexy" vampire thing is extremely played out and it's quite tiring to me. I would love to see a film take on traditional vampire lore.....when vampires weren't sexy...they were evil, rotting corpses that fed on the living. Vile creatures, really.

    I haven't seen the From Dusk Till Dawn series yet.....but I have it on my list of stuff to check out.
    ......wait.....Snake Cult? WTF?