Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vampires: Out For Blood

There are times I really wonder if actors look at a film script or talk to their agent and think to themselves "well, I do need to make another payment on the boat" or "well, it's better than NOT working, I guess...unless they want me for a Tarsem Singh film."

For instance, look at the movie Vampires: Out For Blood.  You have Kevin Dillon acting as a down on his luck cop whose wife left him, has developed a drinking problem, and has a chief who's starting to get tired of him while still feeling compassion for the man.  You have Lance Henriksen, one of my favorite actors of all time (seriously, I get excited any time his name is attached to a project, regardless of whether it's a children's cartoon, a video game, or a wacky (and likely terrible) sci-fi movie.  He's playing said chief of police, and manages to exude compassion and a strictness that works great.  Kenneth Colom, aka "Officer Lucas" on The Shield!  There's Svetlana Chavez, a very hot girl playing "Hot Girl."

...okay, so yeah, there isn't a whole lot of reason to go after this movie for the acting abilities of most of the cast (except for Lance Henriksen).  So why would anybody want to see this?

Oh, right.  Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as a sex-crazed vampire would help.  Anything else?


I have had the biggest crush on Vanessa Angel since Weird Science was on the USA Network.  Even before that.  She was a Baywatch girl for a few episodes, she was in Stargate for a few episodes, she was in so many things I happened upon and those silly feelings from being fourteen years old would always wake up briefly before settling back down.  Sure, I might not have been willing to watch Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 because I'm not masochistic, but I did watch The Cover Girl Murders, and believe me, if she hadn't been in it I would never have known the movie existed.

But back to the movie:

You know what makes no appearances in this film?  Bats.
So, here's the story:  Detective Frank Holten (played by you know who) is struggling after his wife (Vanessa Angel) has left him (but not divorced) and is sleeping her way around Hollywood while her newest vampire erotic fiction novel is coming out.  His chief assigns him a missing girl case to try to get him to stop following his ex around and stop drinking excessively.  This leads Frank to start investigating S&M rave clubs, which probably is not what his chief had in mind since "investigating" seems to mostly entail sitting around, drinking beer, and looking around at people.

However, he spots Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (in the outfit above), the "missing girl" and tries to follow her.  He witnesses her throwing a drunk guy in an alley around, and when he tries to corner her for information, she does this weird thing where glowy contact lenses appear in her eyes.  She takes an interest in him, and despite his initial (and brief) protests that he just wants to ask her a few questions, she asks him flat-out if he wants to have sex with her (with creepy glowy contact lenses) and he agrees.

Seriously, who could say no to that?
(Alternative: "Um, you've...you've got something in your eyes there...")

He, her, and two other people get into a limo where, um, let's just say that Jodi Lyn's character isn't really known for being patient when it comes to her sexpot tendencies.  Once they arrive at an abandoned hospital, she takes Frank back to yet another S&M club where things start getting hot and heavy.  Until suddenly half of the people sprout fangs and start biting people.  Frank fights back, but a withered old guy sinks his teeth into Frank.  Frank, however, is able to tug a curtain off a window letting in some sunlight (I call that poor planning on the vampires' part), and he wakes up later with a bit neck and no trace of a vampire S&M murder orgy having happened.  Needless to say, the other cops are dubious of Frank's story.

Frank keeps an eye on the hospital (wearing the same blood-soaked t-shirt he had on the night before because I guess he has no other clothes or the movie had no clothing budget) and Jodi Lyn shows up once more, explaining that he's going to turn into a vampire, kills two other cops in front of him, and then he gets knocked out again.  He wakes up one more time to find no trace of the other cops or vampires having been around him.

He tries to confront his ex, who seems to doubt his claim that he's turning into a vampire even when he manages to throw a stranger thirty feet away and, after being maced in the face, sprouts glowy contact lenses of his own.  He starts researching vampires the only other way you can, by shopping at creepy bookstores.  Some other cops show up and take him in, where his chief and ex tell him they're worried about him.  She spots a mirror and realizes that Frank has no reflection in it, and volunteers to take him home and keep an eye on him.

She takes him to a seedy motel (um?) and starts working to try to "slow the process" by having him drink wolfsbane and pressing a crucifix against his neck wound.  Jodi Lyn and another vampire show up, as does Vanessa's new boyfriend and a PI he hired to follow her, but the vampires murder those two while Frank and Vanessa (yes, her character has a name, but I can't be bothered to remember it or Jodi Lyn's character's name) barely escape.

Seriously, dude, you've been wearing the same blood-stained shirt for days now.

Together, they come up with a plan to murder the "master" vampire, head back to the hospital, and Frank does manage to kill most of the vampires (including Jodi Lyn, thus depriving the leather and latex pants industries of a loyal client) before the master appears, having captured Vanessa and bitten her neck.

"Um, you've...you've got a little something on your...well, on your everything, man."
Apparently, and I never knew this, if a master vampire bites several people, but one of them kills the master vampire, it means the others also instantly die, thus presenting Frank with a moral dilemma.  Kill the vampire and kill his (not)(ex)wife, let her kill the vampire and he'll die, or he'll just grab the crossbow when she's holding it, they'll wind up firing it "together" and thus the problem is solved.

Well, except that for some reason Vanessa Angel refuses to leave while the hospital is (for reasons?) blowing up.  Frank gets committed to a mental hospital after the chief tells him he's been missing for several days, as has Vanessa.  He thinks he killed his ex and suffered a mental breakdown.

See, now, for a moment, the movie almost got good here.  When the chief starts rattling off the evidence against Frank, you find yourself honestly wondering if maybe he was just hallucinating the entire thing.  This is also played well in a scene where Vanessa suddenly appears in Frank's mental ward room and shows off her new vampireness, which is what she really wanted all along.  It's the only reason she agreed to help him from the beginning.  This could ALSO be a neat plot twist if it was handled well.  Frank stabs her with a chair leg while the chief and Frank's doctor watch Frank stab empty air on a TV screen via the camera in his room.

Honestly, I thought this was turning into a really well-crafted "guy went insane, everything we knew was wrong, the monsters never existed" film.  Or at least an adequately craf- okay, a very poorly crafted film that had a clever twist at the end.

...except it doesn't.  The chief and doctor come in, Frank points to where his "dead" wife's body should be...but it isn't there.  They drug Frank, and the chief spots an earring on the floor.  It's not his, it's not the doctor's, and no female nurses work that floor of the hospital.  After the doctor leaves, the chief peeks under the bed, and the last shot of the movie is Vanessa's face as she lunges at him.

I had some issues with this movie.  First off, why would you confront Frank in a mental hospital with a security camera in the room?  Sure, it can't pick up vampires because they can't be photographed (really?), but if you kill him, then there's going to be video tape footage of a guy claiming to be in battle with vampires getting his throat ripped out with nobody else in the room, or he kills you, and suddenly there's a body in the room that needs to be explained.  Or in this case, the vampire winds up killing the chief when (again) there's a video camera constantly recording everything.  Either way, people are going to know that vampires exist.  Way to go, Vanessa.

Second, there's a scene in the cop break room where a talk show starring Melissa Rivers is on, and she's interviewing Vanessa Angel about her book, the erotic vampire fiction, and the talk gets pretty into "undead sex" and why it might be appealing.  This is in a cop break room full of stereotypical male cops.  WHY IS THIS PROGRAM ON besides to make Frank upset when his wife starts talking about hooking up with Hollywood's A-list?  Also, who acts proud of that when they're still technically married?

Why- ...okay, actually, you know what?  For the most part, the movie's fine, even if it does require you to suspend disbelief with the same technology that gives us maglev trains.  Vampire lords can sense when someone is trying to keep someone they bit from turning?  Okay, yeah, sure.  It's a gradual process so sometimes he has a reflection and sometimes he just "fades out?"  Why not.  Vampire masters can calmly take hold of a crucifix necklace and yank it off someone's neck?  I guess.  Frank wants to keep Vanessa Angel safe, so he handcuffs her to a bar about six feet from a dead security guard they killed (secretly a ghoul) at the entrance to the hospital filled with vampires and the sun is already going down?  ...okay, no, that's actually pretty stupid.

Anyway, it's a lame movie filled with weak acting.  If you like randomly interspersed boobs and sex and swearing, it has all of those categories covered just fine.  It's the plot that can't seem to get past the idea that it needs to repeat plot points five times and explain every single thing about a horror movie monster that EVERYBODY knows about that gets in its way and leaves it feeling more like a movie that some college kids would make if they suddenly had the budget for it.  Seriously, when you have to explain to a guy that "holy water, garlic, and stakes are essential to keep around" then you really have to wonder how he managed to go without watching anything, ANYTHING with a vampire in it before.  Not a single episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer?  That one Animaniacs episode where Yakko accuses Dracula of stealing Batman's cape?  Even the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he fights a vampire?  Anything else with Dracula?  Movies, TV shows, books?  Nothing?

There's a couple of good scenes, but they're quickly lost in the slurry that is everything else the film has going against it.  Honestly, the best part of the movie (aside from Lance Henriksen's huge movie-long cameo where he steals every scene he's in) is Jodi Lyn O'Keefe's hedonistic vampire character because it was just so goofy, and considering I've never been much of a Jodi Lyn O'Keefe fan (still not), that says a lot.

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