(Originally Posted 8/20/11)
Ahh 1986, the year of my birth. While I really grew up in the 90s, I admit I love me some 80s movies. I am not a big fan of the music from the decade for the most part, and I hate the fashion, but the films still stand the test of time for me. And that brings us to Vamp:
Vamp is (obviously) a vampire movie starring the strangely beautiful Grace Jones. It also features one of my very unconventional crushes, Billy Drago. Unfortunately, he only gets about 5 minutes of screen time, but it’s memorable. He plays a albino gangster. It writes itself.
Keith (Mel Gibson lookalike Chris Makepeace) and AJ (Robert Rusler) are college freshmen trying to get into a fraternity. To get out of being hazed, they promise to bring supplies for a party and a stripper. They decide to go to a seedy part of town, hoping to find a willing dancer for the night. They bring their friend Duncan (Gedde Watanabe) along with them. The group pulls up to a biker bar/strip club and go in to check the place out.
A waitress recognizes Keith, but he has no idea who she is. She introduces herself as Amaretto (cutey Dedee Pfeiffer), and gets offended when she realizes Keith doesn’t remember her. While she goes off to get them some beers, the bar’s head dancer, Katrina (Grace Jones!) comes to the stage, delivering a sexy and strange performance. Patrons throw money at her feet as she exists. AJ decides that she would be perfect for their party and goes backstage to proposition her. But wacky hijinks ensure when Keith discovers everyone there is a vampire.
Jones has no lines, the character of Katrina is silent but oh so deadly. She communicates through sex appeal and animalistic grunts. She’s hot, she’s ruthless, she’s the Queen Vamp on the block. She has a few flunkies who gather “dinner” for her from the bar, any drifters no one will miss. Vic (Sandy Baron) is the head lackey and downright hilarious. He reminds me of a disgruntled game show host.
The imagery is insane. Lots of dark, deary colors contrast against hot pinks and light greens. It reminds me of the art direction for Batman and Robin only, you know, good. Not a scene goes by where there isn’t some kind of colored noise going on behind the characters. It keeps your brain busy if that makes any sense. Quentin Tarantino stated that this film was a giant influence for From Dusk Til Dawn, which is extremely apparent, especially with the Vampire make up effects used in both films.
My only problem with the movie is that it starts out a little slow, and in between action, it drags a bit. Aside from that, this is a classic piece of 80s cinema and I believe everyone owes it to themselves to check it out at least once. This is one of those movies that I love so much, I can’t bring myself to spoil it too much. Just go check it out. There will even be a U.S. Blu-ray release in September, you can preorder it now at Amazon for less than 13 bucks.