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.
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