Director – Anthony Hickox (Waxwork, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth)
Starring – David Carradine (Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Evil Toons), Morgan Brittany (Dallas, Married… With Children), and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Ash vs. Evil Dead)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
When I was in high school I started snagging any and every horror movie I could find. George A. Romero was my obsession but an unusual childhood had brought me up as a fan of Sam Raimi and his pairing with Bruce Campbell. One of the DVDs that I snagged when I was really getting into collecting was the horror comedy Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat. I thought I had watched this film when I added it to my collection but I couldn’t remember shit about it.
A few months back Vestron Video announced the new blu release of the film and this gave me the perfect opportunity to revisit it. However, once I got it in and hit play on it I realized that if I had, in fact, seen it I don’t recall anything from the film. Once again I want to thank Vestron for sending this copy my way.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows the vampires of the hidden desert town of Purgatory. Here they want to live a reclusive life while searching for a way to create synthetic blood so they no longer have to rely on feeding on humans. However, a group of vampires don’t want to change their ways and secretly are planning a revolution against them with a human family stuck in the middle of the conflict. **Spoiler Alert**
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is one of those horror comedies that you either love and hate. Most horror fans that are looking for a seriously bloody horror tale will skip this one but fans of Bruce Campbell and horror comedies in general will appreciate this one. As much as I love this one I can’t help but wonder how great this would have been if it would have added a little more humor and cut some of the war. Regardless, it was fun and one I would recommend to genre fans.
The acting in this one is great. David Carradine and Bruce Campbell receive top billing here but they are not the film’s star. Their characters are pivotal to the story and they deliver amazing performances but they are not the stars. The real stars are Deborah Foreman, Maxwell Caulfield, and Jim Metzler. The entire film has an amazing cast but it’s a damn shame the real stars are not top billed.
The story for this one is a modern western tale centered around two different factions of vampires with a slight sci-fi spin. I thoroughly enjoyed all the aspects this story delivers along with the large assortment of characters that we get. The humor doesn’t go all the way through the film and only happens on occasion. I found the humor to be very effective but not as common. Some of the scenes could have been cut a little shorter with some humor added to it to improve the pacing.
Finally, to be a film centered around vampires we don’t get that much blood. We get a few practical effects and some gunshot wounds but that’s about the extent of the effects here. I do enjoy the scenes with the vampire bats but it is a little bit cheesy. Overall, Sundown is a fun horror comedy with dashes of western and sci-fi scattered throughout. I really enjoy it but I can see why some genre fans don’t. I highly recommend snagging this blu and checking it out if you haven’t already. It’s worth every cent.
Isolated Score Selections