Friday, 8 October 2010

Vamp (1986)

I was first introduced to Vamp (1986) by director Alex Cox on BBC2’s brilliant and sadly missed late-night Moviedrome series. The series was heavily influential on how my taste developed and introduced viewers to some seminal films – Vamp is not one of those seminal films but it’s more fun than watching a rodent on a record player and is featured here as part of Culturine’s Halloween series of scary B-Movie cult classics.

Vamp tells the story of two American frat-bro’s and their token stereotypical Chinese accomplice, as they hit the town in search of sexy ladies. The friends end up getting more than they bargain for, including Michelle Pfieffer’s sister, when they stumble across a seedy underground strip club. Whilst the friends find plenty to feast their eyes on, the staff discover something to sink their teeth into.

Grace Jones plays dancer Katrina, her screen time is minimal, she doesn’t say a word but she doesn’t really have to. Caked in zebra patterned body paint and a pillar box red wig, Jones gyrates her way through an erotic dance routine and then gets her fangs and unsightly toenails out for the lads. The effects are plasticine-awful and appallingly dated but beyond that Grace Jones makes a bloody brilliant Vampire, and a scary one at that.

The plot is run of the mill and predictable but overall it’s an incredibly entertaining piece of eighties cinema. Vamp’s obvious influence is evident in From Dusk Till Dawn and its God awful spawn of sequels. Vamp is not frightening by today’s standards though it would probably terrify the tamer Twilight generation. Part of the appeal of this film is its eighties nostalgia. It’s reminiscent of my youth and, for me is the film equivalent of slipping into a warm bath. A warm bath with Grace Jones though, that does sound frightening!

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