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Laramie Movie Scope:
John Carpenter's Vampires

Violence, sex, nudity and gore galore

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November. 1, 1998 -- Sex and violence, what a great combination! That combination is celebrated to a comic level in this film.

James Woods, who plays the buff vampire slayer Jack Crow, keeps up a running gag throughout the movie, asking fellow slayer, a priest no less, Father Adam (Tim Guinee) if he gets an erection from the excitement of killing vampires. What a barrel of laughs!

The idea of linking sexual excitement with murder might seem more apropriate for an abnormal psychology journal, but here, in "John Carpenter's Vampires," it is played for laughs, a sick joke.

There is also a lot of nudity in the film, including a slow pan over the body of prostitute Katrina (Sheryl Lee of "Twin Peaks"). Lee spends most of the film tied up (no, really), her body shaking and her bosoms heaving. There is also a scene where she shows lots of sexual excitement while being bitten by a vampire.

There have always been sexual overtones in the vampire story, from the days of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula," but it was usually a lot more subtle than it is in this film. The nudity and link between murder and sex may be more than just a joke in this movie, however. It could be a come-on to get more youngsters to watch the R-rated movie when it hits the video market. Now that's really sick.

Woods really has fun chewing up the scenery in this film, and his sidekick slayer, Tony (Daniel Baldwin of "Homicide: Life on the Streets") is also effective as is Guinee, and Thomas Ian Griffith as the master vampire Valek. While there is a lot of gore in the film, it is comic book-type gore, not the real intense stuff, as in "Saving Private Ryan."

As in most horror films, there isn't much character development, just a lot of screaming, cursing, stabbing, cutting, shooting, burning and explosions. There are a few surprises and some attempt at a plot, but generally, despite Woods' powerful performance, this movie fails to rise above the muck of the horror genre. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)