double feature review, it seems only appropriate that I tackle vampires this week. Like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein story, Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel about bloodsucking has given plenty of filmmakers a launching pad over the last 100+ years of filmmaking. They must love this set up even more because all you really need are some cheap fangs, a bottle of stage blood and a cape. Hell, sometimes we only get one of the three plus a cocked eyebrow and the director is good to go. Today let’s examine one low budget vampire flick that was hoping to put the bite on viewers.
VAMPYRE lets you know it is serious right off the bat by opening with a quote from “A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe. These guys are scholars of horror’s written word…or they saw John Carpenter’s THE FOG (1980). The film proper opens with a young boy wandering around the forest as a voiceover mentions his name is David Gray. He is accosted by his vampire young sister, who he stakes, and then a vampire lady who should be working in Government as she puts the “bust” in filibuster. He kills her with a wooden cross to the chest. We then cut to the Village of Courtempierre, where Dr. Dreyer (John Brent) is counseling vampire queen Marguerite Chopin (Cathy Seyler) about the afterlife of vampires or something. Meanwhile, a mob of angry villagers (well, if you can call three guys a mob) are, naturally, angry because their children are missing. They ain’t gonna take this no more and storm over to the church where the vampires are and…gently knock on the door! The doc’s assistant Justin (James Flynn) tells them he isn’t in so they kidnap him and chop off his left leg. Then grown up David Gray (Randy Scott Rolzer, looking and sounding like a young Mitt Romney) shows up and plants a flimsy cross in the ground to keep the vampires at bay. Gray tells one guy he will show up when they need him most but only when it is at its worst (“Once the seed has been planted, evil must be allowed to fester and grow. Only when it has reached its full height can it be cut down again,” he says). What they hell is going on here? I have no idea.
“May I tell you about The Book of Mormon?”
like it is time for David Gray to live up to his promise. Back at Chez Gray, he is lying in a field and his spirit leaves his body. He wanders into the woods and makes out with cape girl before she kisses him, only to push a snake into his mouth. Damn, Freud would love this dream. Gray makes his way to the village and immediately decides to…rent a room at the local tavern and go to bed. No rush, Mr. Gray. The next day Gray is confronted by one of the fathers from the opening, who repeats “she must not die” while handing him a package that says “to be opened upon my death.” Gee, I wonder what will happen to him. Yep, he gets shot in the face by one-legged Justin and dies, an event which allows Gray to meet the old man’s daughters Gisele (Marilyn Semerad) and the infected Leone (Joan Kosby). I guess Gray is supposed to save them. He opens pop’s package and it contains a book with gems like “vampires suck young blood to prolong their shadowy existence.” Gee, thanks for the hot tip. Anyway, Gray wanders around doing nothing (Gisele is kidnapped by vampires under his watch) while the village doctor still continues his practice (apparently his true nature is supposed to be hidden, but I can’t see how as he was the only doc in town). Finally, a dude tells Gray that maybe killing the main vampire will break this vampire spell. Ya think?
“Girl in the Cape” lives up to her billing: