Director – John Carpenter (Halloween, Ghosts of Mars)
Starring – James Woods (Videodrome, Hercules), Daniel Baldwin (Grimm, Vegas Vampires), and Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks, Texas Killing Fields)
Release Date – 1998
Rating – 4.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “Prepare for the dawn”
When I was getting into horror I found myself becoming obsessed with vampire movies. I was always renting movies like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My Best Friend is a Vampire, Vamp, Once Bitten, and so on. I fucking loved vampire flicks but I found myself preferring the cheese 80s vampire flicks over the more modern releases. That changed when I was in middle school. My brother was on his way home for the weekend and rented a few movies at the video store for me.
One of the new releases he snagged was John Carpenter’s Vampires. I fucking loved the movie and after watching it I begged him to take me to K-Mart to grab a copy for my collection. I watched this one more times than I care to count over the years and own it every format that I collected up until now. Sometime back Scream Factory announced the release of the flick on blu. Knowing how much I love this film I reached out to Scream and they were kind enough to send a blu my way. Thanks guy!
**Spoiler Alert**The story for this one follows Jack Crow (Woods) who leads a group of vampire hunters pay rolled by the Vatican. He finds the nests with his team during the day and clears them out before nightfall. While clearing out a nest he discovers that this one does not have a master vampire and with nightfall approaching he calls off the hunt. They return to a hotel to party to celebrate a successful mission when they are attacked by a master vampire who knows Jack’s name. He kills all of Jack’s team except one. They are able to escape and quickly realize that someone within the church has sold them out. The two, along with a hooker bitten by the vampire, but stop him before he is able to find an ancient cross that can grant him the power to walk in the day.**Spoiler Alert**
I like John Carpenter but his films are rarely in my top whatever lists. Halloween is a fundamental slasher but one I would not list in my top ten favorite slashers. The same can be said for a few other of his films. I know fans can’t get enough of him but I rarely find myself wetting my pants over his films. With that being said, Vampires is easily in my top five favorite vampire flicks. The movie’s horror and western styles blend so well together and it works for what it is.
The acting in this one is great. James Woods, aside from being a political shit show on social media, is a damn fine actor. He has delivered some icon horror performances over the year aside from his contributions to other genres. His performance here is highly enjoyable and his character is what makes the film so much fun. The slew of supporting characters we get is solid as well but I never cared for Thomas Ian Griffith as Valek in the film. His performance is goofy as fuck in the film and really takes away from then tone of the film.
The story for this one is fun especially if you are looking for a movie that is a little more than your typical horror film. Vampires blends western with horror which works. We find ourselves getting pulled into the store and can’t wait to see what happens. I liked the origin story of the vampires and the mythology surrounding it.
Finally, this one doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore. Most vampire films have some blood but very few deliver the gore like this one. The practical effects are damn near perfect and the gags in this one are the ones that I often compare other kills to. Overall, John Carpenter’s Vampires is a must watch for vampire fans and horror fans alike. The acting is great, the story is solid, and the effects are fucking unforgettable. This blu is gorgeous and well worth every penny Scream Factory is charging for it. Grab it now on blu!
NEW Time To Kill Some Vampires – An Interview With Composer/Director John Carpenter, Producer Sandy King Carpenter, And Cinematographer Garry B. Kibbe
NEW Jack The Slayer – An Interview With Actor James Woods
NEW The First Vampire – An Interview With Actor Thomas Ian Griffith
NEW Raising The Stakes – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
NEW Padre – An Interview With Actor Tim Guinee
Audio Commentary By Composer/Director John Carpenter
Vintage Making Of Featurette