At an absurdly self-indulgent student film festival, the directors of the (mostly terrible) short films start getting killed off one by one and a budding British documentary filmmaker decides to investigate.
Two friends, Joshua and Calvin, stumble into an underground world of Vampires who hunt humans and farm their blood. Through no effort they manage to escape with their lives and the love of two vampires.
Count Dracula is in L.A., running a hideous club scene, and he's angry that a rogue vampire, posing as a streetwalker, is slashing. He's also unhappy that Dallas, a youthful undead and former protégé, is in town. The rogue slasher, Nico, serendipitously picks Dallas as a victim; after discovering each other's nature, they become lovers. In fear of the Count, Dallas's coterie urges him to kill Nico, but he refuses. Meanwhile, a Viennese vampire hunter, Van Helsing, arrives in L.A. and hires the Crips to help him. They're soon following Nico and Dallas. When they capture her, Dallas wants to deal: spare Nico and he'll lead the hunters to Dracula. It's time for stake and bake. Written by
Modern Vampires is a darkly comic social satire, not a straight-ahead vampire movie. Due to the way film was marketed, some unsuspecting viewers, thinking they were going to see a straight-ahead vampire film, may not have gotten what they expected. See more »
When they pull up in front of the club to celebrate Dallas's return to LA, the license plate on the car is for Florida. See more »
I never knew vampires could do sex.
That's a myth. With a good commercial lubricant we could go for hours.
See more »
Modern Vampires is the tale of a crew of ghastlies enjoying the night life of L.A. in relative obscurity until someone goes on a killing rampage which brings them to the attention of the local police, as well as the local don, Count Dracula, who likes discretion so much that he even has a special cleaning service for messy vampires. That tells you something about how seriously this movie takes itself. Who's doing the killing, why, and what to do about her (yes, her) is the basis of the plot. A parallel plot involves Dr. Van Helsing on another of his famous vampire hunts, so the predatory vampiress is triply threatened.
This is not an easy film to characterize. It's about vampires, yes, but they're not so much scary in the traditional sense of Lugosi and Lee as they are just kind of creepy and weird, and as disgusting as they are terrifying. They turn their victims into human sodas to be drunk in underground nightclubs They transform into gargoyle like creatures that seem to have more in common with modern sfx-driven horror movies than the original vampire legend. And for God's sake don't ever make love to one of them. That too has taken on new and dire consequences.
The film also explores the notion of degrees of vampiric evil (no surprise to any Buffy fan). Casper Van Dien's character Dallas has made two vampires to save them from unhappy fates, so humans are obviously something more than just food to him. These vampires have all kinds of family arrangements, from mafia like to almost normal human variety. There is even one who is eternally pregnant, a bizarre state of affairs surpassing even Ann Rice's child vampire Claudia, whose role, to some extent, is played by the (s)punky young vampire portrayed by Natasha Wagner. Although physically mature, she is an emotional child who gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'instant gratification.' And Van Helsing himself, a reputed Nazi collaborator, may not be a paragon of virtue. So nothing is quite black and white in the undead underworld of Los Angeles.
If you simply have to see every vampire movie ever made, you must see this as well. If you're a fan of Casper Van Dien or Rod Steiger, they're protagonist and nemesis, and you shouldn't miss the chase. Van Dien manages to look good even in fangs, which these particular bloodsuckers sport 24/7 and have to talk around as well as sometimes explain to the curious. If you're fascinated by show business dynasties, catch it for Natasha Gregson Wagner, who is at times eerily reminiscent of her mother Natalie Wood. Just be warned-everything in this movie is a bit overdone. The comedy becomes slapstick, some scenes are more disgusting than truly horrible, and the sex is approached as either grotesque or tongue-in-cheek, or occasionally fang in neck. They even throw in a bit of Lesbian activity, but the most interesting scenes involve Van Dien and Wagner-as visually arresting a couple as you'll ever find anywhere-who, before the movie ends, have managed to swap almost every bodily fluid imaginable.
MV can't decide if it's horror, comedy, romance or satire, and so mostly falls short of being really satisfying in any category, but it delivers some characters who can be fun to watch, notably Van Dien and Wagner as the young (in vampire terms) lovers fleeing the old vampire patriarch whose will they have defied. Rod Steiger looks and acts like a cross between Uncle Fester and the decrepit Van Helsing portrayed by Olivier in Dracula 79. And sometimes you just have to laugh at the homeboys who receive The Dark Gift like it was an STD, almost a satiric comment on AIDS stood on its head: this infection lets you live forever, if you don't mind being a homicidal maniac for the rest of your unnatural life.
To enjoy MV, you just have to turn off your critical faculties, pass the beer and pizza, and take it for what it is.
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