Planet of the Vampire Women (2011)

It’s called truth in labeling…

This one came from someone called TFO Productions, but if you look back at their first production, Monster from Bikini Beach, you will learn that TFO stands for “Trash Film Orgy.”

Which, yes, sums this one up nicely!

A ragtag gang of space pirates stages a big space Casino heist.  With an energetic young police officer on their tails, they flee to a storm wracked neighboring planet in an attempt to escape, only to find themselves stranded on…the Planet of the Vampire Women!

Now, as this is a trashy exploitation film, there are an impressive number of naked boobs on display here:  we start out in a sleazy interstellar strip joint, and, naturally, every time a Vampire woman attacks another girl, it usually seems to involve tearing her clothes off. Heck, even the ancient alien weapon has huge bare breasts (which are also bulletproof.  Who knew?) In fact, I think there are only three women in this thing who manage to keep their clothes on.

Now, those of you who’ve seen Mario Bava’s Classic, Planet of the Vampires, will find these space vampires somewhat…familiar:  a dying disembodied alien race that can take over our dead bodies.  Mind you, Mario never had his “vampires” drink the blood of the living, but then what would an exploitation film be without lots and lots of blood?

Now, this was shot in a warehouse in Sacramento for about $25,000, so, as you can expect, it has a lot of small sets, anonymous rocks, and, naturally, some very cheap looking digital effects.  Now, most of the blood is practical and looks fairly good, as does much of the gore, but there are moments, like a digital severed hand, that do not work as well.

But one does more or less expect that.

I’ll confess I love the creatures that show up on the alien planet, particularly the  giant alien monsters they end up fighting.  The alien bugs reminded me more than a little of the ancient Martians of Hammer’s Quatermass and the Pit when we first saw them, and the puppet version is fairly good, if limited, but we see far too much of the digital bugs.  The huge alien skull is cool, but the big monster suits…well, they may be the biggest man in suit monsters I’ve seen.  They are nicely goofy and have a real presence to them even if you’d never mistake them for something other than a guy stumbling around in a really big suit.  They look suspiciously like the sea creature from TFO’s first “epic,” Monster from Bikini Beach, and have an absurdly large head on a tiny body.  But there’s just something about the darn things…

You never miss for a moment that the people making this thing were having a lot of fun.  Not only do we get a lot of silly moments (like the unexpected result of a vampire biting one of the characters at the end of the film, or a “pleasure clone” who can change her outfits instantly) but we also get a lot of action, a bit of horror, a few random murders which don’t have much to do with the plot, a lot of nudity, some moments of humor, and a lot of borrowed SF tropes that are used with wild abandon.  One of my favorite touches is that their stolen antique military craft has a big steering wheel that looks like it came out of some Seventies muscle car.

And let’s just say their getaway is more Fast and Furious than Star Wars.

About the only familiar face is TV horror host Mr. Lobo, who gets a cameo as a macho guest trying to fight the vampires with his bare hands (he doesn’t last long).

This is a B-Movie, one that knows what trashy B-movie fans love.  It is a goofy, space opera version of a grindhouse horror film, it’s From Dusk till Dawn mixed with a bit of Aliens, a few spaceship battles, and even a few giant monsters.  You can’t take it seriously for a moment, but then nobody ever expected that you would.

It’s just silly fun and doesn’t aspire to be anything else.  You wouldn’t want to bring the kids, but then, they weren’t making it for them anyway.

If you can accept that, then you should have fun.  You might even find yourself filled with a strange desire to check out writer/director Darin Wood’s other films.

Even if you wouldn’t necessarily want to admit it to anyone else.

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