Vamp – Arrow Video
Director: Richard Wenk
Cast: Grace Jones, Chris Makepeace, Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Vamp is one of those classic ’80s vampire flicks that seemed to have slipped through the cracks. While everyone remembers films like Fright Night, Near Dark and The Lost Boys, this movie, their contemporary and equal in cool factor alone, has become one of the long lost and little remembered. Well, UK based Arrow Video remembers it and has decided to give it back to the masses, now in glorious high-def. But just in case you’re one of the many who have let this one slip under your radar, here’s the skinny behind Vamp.
Keith and AJ are two cool college guys looking to get into a fraternity, but in order to do so they must hire a stripper for an upcoming party. Unfortunately for them, they make the huge mistake of going to the “big city” with their nerdy sidekick, looking for the After Dark Club. After running afoul of an albino street gang, they find the club and are quickly mesmerized by the exotic (and exceptionally strange) Grace Jones who is not only the queen of the strippers but also the queen of the vampires. After one of the buddies gets the juice box treatment, the rest team up with a spunky waitress with a mysterious past and make a run for their lives. Unfortunately they are stuck in a very weird, hostile, rundown city with vampires, albinos, and murderous garbage trucks all looking to do them in.
Vamp is one of their rare horror comedies (hormedies?) that really pulls it off. It ping pongs back and forth between funny and frightening, but there is surprisingly a lot more to it than that. There’s a delightful sense of the weird running throughout and the color scheme of purple and green gives it a nice visual style often missing in horror films. The direction is very good and all the actors do their jobs well. Chris Makepeace is the embodiment of the nice guy, Robert Rusler is the quintessential cool guy, Dedee Pfeiffer is great as the ditzy blond, and Gedde Watanabe (of Sixteen Candles fame) is perfect as the nerdy comic relief. Even Grace Jones, who I never really liked in earlier roles like Conan The Destroyer and the James Bond film, A View To A Kill, is really good here as the titular Vamp. Hmm, maybe that’s because she never once utters a single word? Whatever the case, it all works out well.
Vamp has always been one of my favorite flicks, one that I could name drop and enjoy the look of confusion on the faces of my friends. Well now that it’s out on Blu-ray, that may change, but I’m ok with that.
To further make this Blu-ray a must buy for vampire lovers everywhere, Arrow Video has once again provided the goods, both on and off the disc. Those on the disc include three chunky interviews with director Richard Wenk, actress Dedee Pfeiffer, and producer Donald P. Borchers, that all together total over an hour. There’s the short “Scrapbook of Scares” featurette that focuses on press releases and reviews collected by director, Wenk. There a short bit of behind-the-scenes rehearsals of Grace Jones’s first vamp attack, bloopers, trailers, and perhaps the coolest bit: a comedic short film by Richard Wenk called Dracula Bites the Big Apple.
However, I did find one thing missing that I thought was a big disappointment; no audio commentary. The old DVD from America’s Anchor Bay had a great one, and I really don’t know why Arrow couldn’t send them a few bucks to use it here. It’s a pretty big missed opportunity. Oh well, as far as off the disc goodies there’s a double-sided wall poster, a double-sided Blu-ray case cover, and a seven page collector’s booklet.
Vamp is a great, unique movie and if it’s missing from your home movie collection, and chances are it is, then this is a great way to get it; on Blu-ray for the very first time. It’s never looked, sounded, or been better. It’s recommended.