VAMP (1986) Reviews and overview

 

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‘She’ll love you to death.’

Vamp is a 1986 American comedy horror film directed by Richard Wenk (Dracula Bites the Big Apple; Wishcraft), from a screenplay co-written with Donald P. Borchers (producer of Children of the Corn; Leprechaun 2; Voodoo). The movie stars Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron, Robert Rusler and Grace Jones.

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Two college students, Keith and AJ want to hire a stripper to buy their way into a campus fraternity. They borrow a Cadillac from lonely rich Oriental student Duncan, who insists on coming with them to scope out strip clubs in a nearby city.

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The three boys find themselves at a club in a shady party of town and, after being impressed by an surreally artistic stripper Queen Katrina, AJ visits her dressing room to convince her to come strip for their college party. Katrina seduces AJ, then pins him down, killing him with a bite to the neck…

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Reviews:

Vamp is a vapid American Werewolf-influenced frat boy-themed time-waster that did well on VHS in the mid-1980s and has built a minor cult appeal since. Grace Jones was – and still is – featured extensively in the film’s promo imagery but her role in the movie itself is minimal. That said, she’s genuinely creepy.

Overt green/blue/red lighting was stylish when Dario Argento defined it well in Inferno (1980) and many movies copied the look but six years later it was passé and now makes Vamp seem very dated.

Making a combination of vampires and strippers on-screen dull would seem to be impossible but, alas, Wenk and his cohorts manage this and most viewers will probably become distracted midway through; this one certainly did.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

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On 3 October 2017, Vamp is issued in the UK on a single disc Blu-ray by Arrow Video with new extras:

High Definition digital transfer, with original mono audio and optional English subtitles.
One of those Nights: The Making of Vamp – NEW documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Wenk, and stars Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer and Gedde Watanabe.
Behind-the-scenes rehearsals with Grace Jones and Robert Rusler.
Blooper Reel
Image gallery
Dracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) – Richard Wenk’s disco-themed short film
New artwork by the Twins of Evil
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Other reviews:

“There are some funny lines, and the relationship between the human kid and his best pal the vampire is handled with a lot of original twists. But the movie finally descends, as so many films do these days, to one of those assembly-line endings made up of fights and chases.” Roger Ebert

” … a fun vampire movie with that undeniable 80’s movie feel. It plays with that delicate balance between comedy and horror. Not every movie is successful in this merging of genres … The comedy in Vamp falls a little on the silly side; it has the kind of humor you’d find in films like Revenge of the Nerds (1984) or Porky’s (1982).” The Film Connossieur

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“Director Richard Wenk slathers the film in 80’s purple and green lighting through almost the entire run time. I would say this looks like crap if I saw it in a modern movie but this is an 80’s movie and for whatever reason it seems to work. Wenk seems to know how to set up some interesting ideas and visuals and they do mostly work for the film.” Rogue’s Hollow

“Whether that’s due to a sluggish middle act, the American horror movie tradition of having incredibly boring strip routines, some bits of stilted dialogue, or just a general lack of urgency about the whole thing it’s hard to tell. I’ve seen Vamp a couple of times now and have always wanted to like it, but after a very promising start it seems to lose its way.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

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” …an oddball fusion of gore, black comedy and sexy vampire hotness, featuring day-glo noir visuals from three-time Oscar winner Greg Cannom (Bram Stoker’s DraculaMrs DoubtfireThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button), OTT costuming under the direction of Grace Jones (who is genuinely terrifying), and a career-best turn from Deedee Pfeiffer.” Peter Fuller, Kultguy’s Keep

In the UK, Vamp was released as a Blu-ray + DVD by Arrow Video on July 14, 2014 with the following features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature and extras [1 Blu-ray, 2 DVDs]
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Original uncompressed mono PCM audio
  • Audio commentary with star Robert Rusler, moderated by Calum Waddell
  • Introduction by Robert Rusler
  • Vamp it Up An interview with star Dedee Pfeiffer
  • Vamp Stripped Bare An interview with director Richard Wenk
  • Back to the 80s Producing a campy cult classic
  • Scrapbook of scares Richard Wenk looks over his collection of Vamp memorabilia
  • Behind the Scenes rehearsals
  • Blooper Reel
  • Dracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) A short film by Richard Wenk
  • Original Trailer
  • Easter Egg
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tom The Dude Designs Hodge
  • Booklet featuring writing on the film by Jay Slater
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Buy via Amazon.co.uk

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Choice dialogue:

“They’re boring creeps. They don’t call them walking dead for nothing.”

Main cast and characters:

Chris Makepeace … Keith
Robert Rusler … AJ
Grace Jones … Queen Katrina
Dedee Pfeiffer … Allison/Amaretto
Gedde Watanabe … Duncan
Billy Drago … Snow (Night of the Templar; Zombie Hunters; The Hills Have Eyes)
Sandy Baron … Vic

Hy Pyke (Halloween Night; Nightmare in Blood; SlithisLemora)

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