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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Vamp - A gem from 1986

Vamp (Directed by Richard Wenk)

If you are fond of 80s horror, then the chances are that you may have already watched this title already, and either love it and go back for more, or despise it and wish it wouldnt happen again.

Regardless, i thought it was a great movie, even though i find myself asking why?

The plot revolves around Keith and AJ, two college students who are searching for a stripper to impress their way into a new fraternity. They are also joined by the geeky, but amusing loser Duncan who they allow to tag along in exchange for one of his rental cars to get them into town.

What seems a fun and harmless journey soon becomes a nightmare, as they find themselves in a dark underworld, where law and order appears slack, and gangsters run riot and of course vampires run the local strip club.

The story is fun, and the gore is pretty decent in places. I think Grace Jones plays the part of lead vampire Katrina well even if she doesn't talk throughout the film, apart from a sadistic laugh when shes ripping out throats, and hearts.

Once the boys have fought their way past a local albino gangster Snow (Billy Drago, Papa Jupiter from The Hills Have Eyes 2006) and his friends they get to the 'After Dark Club' and find stripper (Katrina - Grace Jones) who they are convinced will get them their place in a new fraternity, but she turns out to be rather undead and hungry for blood.
AJ falls victim to her and his body is chucked in the trash by the strange and violent looking Vlad.

AJ is finally found in a dumpster by Keith, and assumed dead, till he makes another appearance at the club once the police are called in by Keith, and the vampires need to hide the fact he was ever dead. Keith, Duncan and club waitress Amaretto soon realise the truth of the club when back to life AJ reveals his undead secret to Keith and is killed with a stake.
The group are thwarted by the undead staff, and other local vampires around the town, as well as gangster Snow who is angry and searching the streets with a few more friends to hunt them down.

Its now a fight for survival, as the group need to find a way out of the club and get out of the city.

They manage to get out of the club by burning the place down, but once on the outside they are soon aware that their problems do not just affect them on the inside, as they are soon attacked by local bloodsuckers aiming to halt them from leaving town.

Duncan soon changes into a vampire from a bite he got in the club (which you don't see happen) and is killed when the car they are driving crashes, leaving poor Duncan to roast.

Now down to two, Keith and Amaretto have to escape the monsters as they appear from the burning club, and the around the streets. They manage to escape into the sewers to burn down the lair of the vampires and have a final conflict with Katrina before being attacked once more in the film by Vlad (Katrinas boyfriend from the club) who is taken care of by... AJ! Yes it turns out the stake contained an artificial wood, which means AJ didn't die. Unfortunately for him though he remains a vampire and cannot escape like Keith and Amaretto, and follows them from under the streets as the credits roll.

Keith (Chris Makepeace) seems to play his part well enough as the hero of the film, but for some reason didn't appear in anything bigger after, except a few TV programs and a couple of seemingly rubbish straight to DVD movies.

Robert Rusler was before and is after a well known actor, and has been credited in many films and programs since Vamp but his golden years seem to lie in the 80s with Nightmare on Elm Street part 2 and Weird Science. He plays the role of cocky and confident AJ, who finds himself joining the vampire coven, when he falls victim to the dark but strangely sexy Katrina (Great body anyway!).

Katrina is played by Grace Jones, who doesn't really need much of an introduction, as people will know of her from her music and i guess weird and wonderful ways. Shes gone from model, to film and music star. This film will probably not be a best highlight from her career, but its collected a big cult following, which means that it wont be a film that disappears from the face of the earth anytime soon.
Her character is a dark, and mysterious vampire, who keeps a low profile during the film except from her dance then turning AJ, and a final conflict with Keith and Amaretto at the end of the film. Oh and a part where she teaches one of her waitresses a valuable lesson for feeding her AJ, who unlike the other club goers hasn't come to the club alone and his friends are waiting for him still. Hence why the vampires are keen to stop his friends from leaving the club with their secret in jeopardy.

Dedee Pfiffer plays the role of Amaretto, who is a sexy, if stereotypical blonde, with a past involving Keith which is a secret till the final third of the film. It doesn't really shape the film in anyway, as its just a school romance which blossomed between the two, which Amaretto hopes Keith will remember. Keith takes a liking to Amaretto when they first meet in the film, and she helps him to try and locate AJ.

Duncan is played by Gedde Watanabe who actually, aside from Grace Jones has had a rather high profile film career, including Gremlins 2, and some more recent films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a appearance in The Simpson's.
Duncan is the geeky, yet lovable loser from the campus, who spends the best part if the film roaming around the club, while Keith and Amaretto are on their search for AJ.
He also becomes a bloodsucker at the end, and is cut short in an explosive car crash. 

Overall i think this film rates 8 out of 10, and if not for being wonderful, i guess its because it was one of the first vampire films i ever watched, and it kind of takes me back when i watch it. The whole green and pink lighting, and the cheesy humour. The story is fun too, its worth a watch, even if it may be just the once for a lot of people out there.

Give it a go!

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