Take a Trip to the 90’s with Vampires by John Carpenter

If you really want a trip to the 90’s with the guarantee of seeing James Woods lookin’ damn fine in a pair of denim jeans–then you should watch John Carpenter’s Vampires.  I won’t lie to you–I’m not a huge vampire person.  Don’t get me wrong!  Everyone has a thing and Vampires (along with Zombies) aren’t really my bag.  Despite my reservations, I do love Bram Stoker’s Dracula–that film always holds a special place in my heart.  But I’m mainly frustrated with the simple fact that over the years the Twilight franchise took a major shit on our beloved creatures of the night.  Upon its’ release, every tween known to man was obsessed with vampires not knowing the incredible works of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice.  If you stepped into Hot Topic, Twilight merchandise made its’ presence known from ceiling to floor.  All the twi-tard’s got together, held hands and listened to that track Decode by Paramore on repeat.  Even my mother liked it! Stephanie Meyer truly made a mockery of these bloodsuckers as a whole…

But if you’re anything like me, you want the vampires who silently stalk you.  You want a vampire who feasts on human blood–not the blood of animals (aka a vegan-pire).  You want a vampire who lives in a giant fucking castle who wears long capes with glorious bloody fangs.  You want a real vampire.  A blood-sucking, ruthless-son-of-a-bitch that won’t think twice about sucking you dry.  With that being said–I recently visited Vampires by John Carpenter this past weekend.  Being a fan of John Carpenter’s work, I enjoyed visiting this little diddy from the 90’s.

This film is based off Vampire$ the novel by John Steakley

 “Vampire$, Inc. which treats vampire-hunting as a commercial enterprise, funded by large payments from the vampires’ potential victims and secretly supported from the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church“.

 (I’m definitely going to add this selection to my book club…)  

My fiance is a huge fan of John Carpenter’s work.  After contemplating on what to watch, he suggested that we watch this flick.  I already had an in an interest in Johns’ work and plus I had a stupid crush on James Woods, why would I watch this movie?  You gotta love the cinematography in the first few minutes of this film.  Rolling out into the middle of the desert in New Mexico, James and his crew make a stop at what seems to be an abandoned home.  Pulling out their weapons from the caravan, they get ready to invade the ‘obvious’ nest.  This flick plays upon the fact that these creatures of the night exist all around us. If only. And these Vampire Hunters are sponsored by the church to seek and eliminate all Vampires from existence.  Can you imagine if the church truly sponsored this type of holy crusade?

After a successful raid, the team decides to have a full on rage fest in a nearby hotel.  Beer. Hookers. Pizza. Vampire Hunters.  All I know is–Edward Cullen wasn’t raging the ultimate rage fest–he was binging on an all vegan diet.  But seriously–I wish that that kind of party existed–just to say that I was there.  And I’d be furious like a hornet’s nest if I didn’t get an invite.  What tickles my side is that the church is funding these excursions!  Who knew that the church would honor these kinds of amazing sleepovers.  I would have been attending 6am mass on Sunday’s if I had a guaranteed spot on the team.

The party is interrupted by an all-powerful vampire–the first one to ever exist.  And this guy means business.  He immediately begins slaughtering everyone at the party including the vampire killing crew.  I won’t lie to you, my jaw dropped the second bodies started hitting the floor.  This scene is bloody satisfying and I was loving every minute of it because I’m known to cheer for the bad guy almost always.  If he wasn’t slicing people in half with his hand, he was drilling a hole through someone’s chest with his fist.  Thomas Ian Griffith truly embodied the all terrifying, ancient vampire Jan Valek.  If he was standing in my doorway, I’d probably be a little scared for my life.  Or let him suck me dry so I can be immortal.  His line delivery and facial expressions bring his character to ‘life’ in this film.  Plus–he throws people around like rag dolls while dodging bullets.

If you’re interested in seeing this scene–I managed to snag the video.

Also, if you speak Spanish–you’re at an advantage…

Many John Carpenter fans have claimed that this film confused them because it didn’t meet the ‘Carpenter Criteria’.  After reading various comments on threads in regards to this film, the general consensus is that the script is shit.  In my opinion, the script isn’t terrible but there is room for improvement.  In fact, what script is 100% perfect?   I’ve seen plenty of horror films where the entire script was absolute garbage and there wasn’t anything in the film that hadn’t already been done before. Since his success from Halloween, Christine, and the Thing–Vampires just didn’t fit the usual mold. Is this film as strong as his other leading titles? No. But is it complete garbage? No.  In fact–I’d say it’s just as good as the other films that hit the theatres in the 90’s.  Sadly, this film got the shittiest rating ever from film critics.  Film Critics devoured this flick and took a dump all over it.  IMDB gave it a score of 6.1!  Sometimes IMDB doesn’t what the fuck they’re talking about and while I’m at it–neither does Rotten Tomatoes.  There.  I said it.  And the overall consensus from Google users favored this film by 87%.  So–it wasn’t like it was a complete flop.  Would you believe some overrated film critics or would you rather depend on everyday movie-goers?

If you’re going to have a vampire movie, you better have some incredible transformation scenes.  And I believe that goes with anything in regards to mythical/fantasy creatures.  The ultimate award goes to Sheryl Lee with her insane performance while undergoing the transformation from human to vampire.  Although I believe that the scene which involved her being completely nude was a little ridiculous, she is literally butt-naked and handcuffed to the bed.  Why was that necessary?  What does that have to do with the story?  That was probably the most awkward part of the entire film was having to watch Daniel Baldwin sit next to Sheryl’s naked body.  At one point, I said to myself—this shit makes zero sense right now–can we fast forward this bit? 

Sheryl Lee with John Carpenter

If I were to take anything away from this film, I would put my neck on the line for James Wood’s if I were on his team of hunters only on the condition that he insults me during each Vampire raid. Okay, okay–maybe I’m incredibly biased because I have a slight crush on the guy.  Can you blame me?  It’s James-Fuckin-Woods.  The majority of this film is James delivering some of the best lines.  But regardless of my crush on James Woods or my almost biased opinion about John Carpenter and his film, you should give this flick a try despite everything you’ve read.

The clip below has some behind the scenes content with John Carpenter and the cast of vampires.  There’s also some content with the stunt team.  Carpenter always wanted to shoot a western film and Vampires was as close as he was going to get…

Carpenter had it right when it came to the concept of creating a modern vampire film.  You either have the Bram Stoker approach or you try to do something new with the genre.  Nothing in between.  And that’s exactly what you see here.  A new approach to a classic creature.  Hollywood should take some notes…

Have you ever seen Vampires by John Carpenter?  Leave me a comment!

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