SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT (1989) Reviews and Vestron Video Blu-ray news

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Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat will be released on Blu-ray + Digital by Lionsgate Home Video as part of their Vestron Video Collector’s Series on August 17, 2021. Special features:

Audio commentary by director Anthony Hickox and director of photography Levie Isaacks
Isolated score selections and audio interviews with producer Jefferson Richard and music historian Randall Larson
Interview with director Anthony Hickox
Interview with actor Bruce Campbell
Interview with actor David Carradine
Interview with actor M. Emmet Walsh
Interview with special makeup effects creator Tony Gardner
Theatrical trailer
Still gallery
New cover artwork by Matthew Therrien

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of the movie:


Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is a 1989 American comedy horror film about a vampire hunter and a town filled with the bloodsucking undead.

Directed by Anthony Hickox (Full Eclipse; Warlock: The Armageddon; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time) from a screenplay co-written with John Burgess. Produced by Jefferson Richard.

The movie stars David Carradine, Maxwell Caulfield, Morgan Brittany, Bruce Campbell, Jim Metzler, John Ireland, Deborah Foreman and M. Emmet Walsh.


Under the leadership of their ancient and powerful leader Jozek Mardulak, a colony of vampires seek a peaceful life in the desolate desert town of Purgatory. The key to the transition is the town’s artificial-blood making facility and it is just not working. Mardulak summons the human designer of the plant, who brings his wife and two young daughters along for what he thinks will be a pleasant desert vacation.

Ethan Jefferson is a vampire who wants to return to hunting and feasting on humans. Soon, the plant manager and his family are caught up in a civil war as Jefferson organizes a revolution.

In the midst of the vampire civil war, a young descendant of the Van Helsing family arrives intent on destroying all vampires…


Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat should never have been allowed to vanish from sight the way it has. While it is by no means a brilliant film, it is consistently funny, capably staged, generally well-acted, and occasionally even thought-provoking. Bruce Campbell gives one of his best performances…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“It’s not as good as Waxwork, but I definitely wouldn’t call it a bad movie by any means. It was rather funny, the story was more interesting than I initially thought it’d be, and the actors did a fairly decent job. The familiar faces on display here all handled their roles well…” Bastard’s Got a Nosebleed

” …there’s a bit of swearing and blood, but not enough to warrant the rating it got back in ’88. Sure there are melting, burning, exploding vampires at the end and a fellow gets his head punched off at the beginning, but it’s done in such an over-the-top fashion it causes more laughs than screams. It’s silly and great.”

“The story is a solid mix of horror and comedy wrapped into a nice western package. There are some scary looking vampires, bat/human hybrids, some transformation scenes, and plenty of fangs […] Mixed in with the horror are some very funny lines, the bumbling Van Helsing played perfectly by Bruce Campbell and an amusing umbrella kill.” Crappy Movies Reviews


“Despite the mixed bag of performances and the mediocre attempts at comedy […] Sundown manages to entertain. There are some really great moments in the film and some interesting ideas thrown around. The conflict that arises within the vampire community is amusing and intriguing while Van Helsings efforts to carry on the tradition of his famous relative give Campbell ample opportunity to do what he does best and ham it up…” DVD Talk


Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is a fun little movie that hits some creative genre beats along the way. The action is well-crafted, the production design takes full advantage of the landscape and small-town atmosphere, and enough of the humor/fun lands to keep things moving and entertaining.” Film School Rejects

“I was moved by several powerful moments […] I just wish Hickox, who gets mainly fine performances from his mix ‘n’ match cast, would hire himself a screenwriter, drop the ‘Count Duckula’-style lousy jokes and get on with the serious business of making post-modern genre movies.” The Kim Newman Website

“Its contradictory juxtaposition of routine marital discord with supernatural carryings-on works more often than not, and the film is full of in-jokes aimed at serious horror buffs. But Sundown ultimately suffers from the fact that it’s a genre picture that refuses to pick a genre and settle in; many viewers are alienated by such post-modern signal mixing.” TV Guide

“The flick has a great cast […] None of them are given anything worthy of their talents, which is the first problem with the film. Sure, Bruce’s mugging is welcome, but it’s not very funny and honestly, it belongs in another movie […] It’s all over the place. Director Anthony (Hellraiser 3) Hickox veers from dumb comedy to maudlin soap opera rather uneasily.” The Video Vacuum

“When the film turns into a full-on western, things get even more enjoyable with vampires shooting at each other and bodies and bullets flying everywhere. Director Anthony Wilcox is no stranger to a good horror film […] so it’s no surprise to see him take on the vampire genre and succeed. It’s also no surprise to see that Sundown has quite a cult following. Bruce Campbell probably helps with that…” Wight Blood



MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Cast and characters:
David Carradine … Jozek Mardulak
Morgan Brittany … Sarah
Bruce Campbell … Van Helsing
Jim Metzler … David
Maxwell Caulfield … Shane
Deborah Foreman … Sandy
M. Emmet Walsh … Mort
John Ireland … Jefferson
Dana Ashbrook … Jack
John Hancock … Quinton Canada
Marion Eaton … Anna
Dabbs Greer … Otto
Bert Remsen … Milt
Sunshine Parker … Merle
Helena Carroll … Madge
Elizabeth Gracen … Alice
Christopher Bradley … Chaz
Kathy MacQuarrie Martin … Burgundy
Jack Eiseman … Nigel
George ‘Buck’ Flower … Bailey
Erin Gourlay … Juliet
Vanessa Pierson … Gwen
Brendan Hughes … James
Gerardo Mejía … Pucci
Mike Najjar … Ramon
Phillipe Simon … Pierre
Chris Caputo … Dan – The Bodyguard
Dean Cleverdon … Vampire #1
Jay Bernard … Vampire #2
Stuart Cohn … Vampire #3
Phillip Esposito … Tom ‘Redneck’ Pryor
Larry Barsky … Vampire
Cynthia Gardner … Lingerie Vampire

Filming locations:
Arches National Park, Utah, USA
Hittle Bottom, Moab, Utah, USA
Thompson, Utah, USA

Filming dates:
11 October 1988 – November 1988

Technical details:
104 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1
Audio: Dolby

$2.8 million

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