(Vampire pun time) This Vampire film sucks more than the Vampire in it does
Dir. Anne Goursaud
Runtime: 92 minutes
Starring: Martin Kemp, Rebecca Ferratti, Alyssa Milano
Hmm… maybe I should file this under “shit I’ve watched and accidently watched again despite promising myself I wouldn’t re-watch it”. So, 1995 – I was a teenager, the world was a different place, not just for me but in general. That’s the year that (bear with me because this trip down memory lane might better than my film review) …
Man Utd (yuck!) broke the Football transfer record buying Andy Cole (sorry, I mean Andrew Cole) from Newcastle, which was later broken when Liverpool bought Stan Collymore from Notts Forest. The same year that Eric Cantona kung-fu kicked a fan, Blackburn Rovers won the English FA Premier League (where are they now?), and Everton won the FA Cup. Prime Minister John Mayor resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, only to win a re-election into the same role. Pubs were allowed to open all-day Sunday for the first time. The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, had a hip replacement at 95 years of age. Soft pop crooner Cliff Richard was knighted. Rose West is found guilty. Pierce Brosnan starred in “Goldeneye”. Robson and Jerome released a cover song of “Unchained Melody” with a B-side of “White Cliffs of Dover” into the charts and were successful. Songs like “Boom Boom Boom” by the Outhere Brothers, “Back for Good” by Take That, “Boombastic” by Shaggy, “Here comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze were heard all over the place… Blur, Oasis, Michael Jackson, Pulp, Scatman John, Boyzone, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Meatloaf, East 17… do you get the picture??
Well, that same year as all that was happening, I watched a film called “Embrace of the Vampire”. It had Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp in it as a vampire, and Alyssa Milano – who appeared as a child in “Commando” (1985) but had really excelled (?!) in the computer game to film; “Double Dragon” (1994) … it’s before she went only to “Melrose Place” or “Charmed”.
So, here’s the premise… Charlotte is a 17-year-old virgin, fresh out of a convent and at college. She has lots of dreams about sex, like nearly every night. She is having the sex dreams because of a Vampire that’s infecting her consciousness the way Vampire’s do (sleazy bastards). The Vampire was turned into a Vampire because he was bitten by a nymph a long time ago (as luck would have it, it was actually 3 topless nymphs, because – well why not? Who is to say that that’s not how mythical Nymph’s operated back in ye olde times!). The Vampire basically has 3 days to get Charlotte to commit to him (because when she’s 18 years old she’s no good to him). Why… well, the Vampire is convinced that Charlotte is his reincarnated lover that he lost a long long time ago – she killed herself on hearing of his demise. Charlotte already has a boyfriend, Chris. Surrounded by typical American college kids that are jocks, sluts, and geeks – Chris is the nice guy that’s willing to wait for Charlotte to become sexually active, despite how frustrated and ready to ‘pop’ he is. One day Charlotte accepts a necklace from the Vampire – foolish Charlotte, don’t you know the saying about not accepting gifts from undead creatures of the night?? When she wears the necklace she acts differently – she starts going to parties dressed in “sexy” clothes – the necklace basically makes her slutty. One night she beckons the vampire to her in her sex dreams – he duly arrives, and Chris is there too because it’s near the end of the film and the director needed to end things. Charlotte has to decide between sweet Chris, and eternal slutty life with the a Vampire that’s looks as old as her dad – and of course choose between the light and darkness, blah, blah, blah.
This is a forgettable run of the mill, trashy, vampire film. The vampire waits until the last minute to try and find his forever friend/lover. It’s the 1990’s so going after a sexualised 17 year old is ok I guess (#MeToo). He has random powers that aren’t really explained; like his telepathic ability to project himself to Charlotte; or his ability to shoot lighting bolts (for real!). There’s a random orgy, 3 students go missing, and generally nobody cares… did I mention Jennifer Tilly is in it?
I think the main concept behind this film was to get Alyssa Milano naked. It’s a film that seems to cry out “Look at me – I’m all grown up now!” with very few redeeming qualities. There are other semi-naked ladies kissing other semi-naked ladies so I’m not sure if the film was aimed at teenage boys in the 90’s… I mean I was a teenager, but I thought this was cheap rubbish even then. I’m sure there are some metaphors in it about how girls blossom into women – but there is also a lot of flesh being shown which belittles any positive messages about chastity or the lack thereof.
Director Anne Goursaud must have been bitten (haha, get it) by the vampire bug after working as an editor on Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic 1992 version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” with Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. If you think this teenage flesh film was a one off, it was not. 1996 saw the director working with Milano again on “Poison Ivy 2” (1996), and then doing “Another 9 ½ Weeks” in 1997 – both of course, super classy films. In fairness, this film was her directorial debut so it was always going to be rocky. She did get other work off the back of this… but not much as a director.
The description on the VHS cover promised something a little more vampire filled when I read it at my local video rental place, so I was a little let down. By the mid-90’s I was into Hammer House of Horror films, so to me the title suggested it might give me a Christopher Lee performance – I should have read the cover better at the video rental shop.
I’m going to burn the name of this film onto the inside of my eye-lids so I don’t fall into the same trap and watch it again. I implore you to do the same. I’m sorry that I haven’t given much positivity for the film so… OK, here goes – it’s a better Hollywood film than I have been able to make.