I’m not quite sure what to make of this one.
The first half hour or so more or less makes sense — and is actually reasonably well done for a very low budget film. At the eve of the millennium, a mysterious blonde woman and her daughter flee the mysterious group of commandos who are hunting them. There’s talk about a mysterious midnight deadline, and that the two need to be stopped before it is too late!
After a minor diversion when she meets up with another woman, with another child, who is also being pursued by the same men (and who is then killed off a few minutes later), she is forced to take refuge with…
Okay, I’m not making this up…
A house full of vampires.
Which is where it all goes wrong.
Now we know they are vampires, although they do drink wine, themselves. After all, they have the official vampire fangs and, when they’re being playful, they do bite each others necks.
Although not anyone else’s.
These are the Peyton Place version of the Anne Rice style vampire, dressing in Edwardian clothes, partying, and obsessed with sex and petty intrigues. But it does seem a touch strange when no one gets too upset when the Alien woman shoots the owner of the house, James (or, as everyone calls him, Dracula), as she comes through the door. And, yes, it is fatal, even if she didn’t use silver bullets, or cut crosses in them. These vampires are not bullet-proof.
You think someone might mind just a little. Instead they end up helping her. At least, the women do because all the men (well, there’s only one left) are ineffectual. As, come to think of it, are the commandos, who seem to be pretty much useless.
Well, except for their leader. Who is apparently a vampire himself: when he shoots the other male vampire, Tom, he calls him little brother. Which shouldn’t be a huge surprise as he is actually played by the same actor. In a tiny touch of irony, the leader is billed as “Jouvet” which sounds more or less like the relentless Javert, in Les Misérables.
Not, of course, that it actually matters that he’s big brother, or a vampire, or what his name is.
This one was released by Troma, which is often a bad sign (and more often a very bad sign), even if their quest for cheap movies to distribute for next to nothing has led them to buy up the occasional reasonably good film like A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell and There’s Nothing Out There as well as some very strange but interesting Indie films, like Sick Sock Monsters From Outer Space. This one definitely isn’t in the first category, and I don’t think I’d put it in the second, either.
Even if it is better than most of the garbage Troma churns out.
Their official description calls this one a “spoof” of certain campy British films of the Seventies, by directors like Ken Russell (The Lair Of The White Worm) and Robert Fuest (Dr. Phibes). I’m not sure I buy that one as the mostly wordless early sequences — which are the best in the whole film — do appear to be fairly serious, as does the ultimate, post-millennial ending. It is also very hard to sort out how many of the film’s absurdities are deliberately absurd. There is a certain amount of comedy here, not that it dominates the proceedings, even in the vampire sequences before the alien woman makes her appearance. However, the tone is so inconsistent that it is hard to classify it as one thing or another. The one film that it reminded me of was the 1977 British SF horror film, Prey, although it doesn’t have much in common.
When the aliens finally show up, they are all women, as well. In fact, I am left wondering if the aliens, whose true form is a shiny CGI version of the familiar Gray, have any sexual distinctions — or I would, if the second alien mother didn’t have a boy, instead of a girl.
Mind you, this isn’t a film one expects to be too consistent.
The film also seems to have been ahead of the cultural curve, although perhaps the feckless men are just part of the supposed spoofyness of the film.
I can’t say that I recommend this film, although I don’t mind having seen it. It is an interesting example of what people who create their own homemade and highly individualistic projects can turn out, even if ultimately it really is a failure.
But at least it isn’t as bad as most of Troma’s films.
Buy on Amazon:
A TO Z REVIEWS