On occasion, I split two film articles in half. This happens when I find I do not have much to discuss over mediocre poppycock. A plastic candy dish at The Dollar Tree has more charisma than these films. In this case it’s Teen Vamp and Vampire at Midnight. Coincidentally, it seems I keep writing about these horror-comedies that were released in 1988. I addressed this issue in my previous Black Roses article. It’s merely fortuitous as it all fell into place and it appears that I have a shelf brimming with horror-comedies from this year in question. Much like Black Roses, Teen Vamp didn’t stand a chance going head to head against cult classics like Night of the Demons and Lair of the White Worm. There was also the success of Teen Wolf so this rookie director must have had desire to cash in on that money train. It’s just too bad they failed to make a decent film. Both the comedy and horror do not work and Teen Vamp becomes another forgotten VHS from the year of 1988. Not even a ‘comedic’ performance from the legendary Clu Gulagar could save this rump roast. I came across this long, lost piece of crap at Movie Land. I purchased the majority of their tapes. There are a few copies on Ebay. One is actually going for $25. I paid $2, NEENER!
Descriptive Plot on the hind of the box: “TEEN VAMP is a new, mouth-watering, neck-biting free-for-all that you can really sink your teeth into. A hilarious and deliciously wicked story of a boy and his teeth. When all the other kids were getting braces, he was getting fangs. Miracles do happen, just ask Murphy Gilcriest. Once the uncool and unloved laughing stock of his class, Murphy has found an instant ticket to high life. With his leather jacket and super-human strength, he has become the envy of his entire high school. You see, with just two barely noticeable scars to show for it, Murphy has been transformed into a full-fledged vampire…..and his life will NEVER be the same. “
Teenage angst and vampirism isn’t a fresh fad. It has been done many times over and the concoction is still churning out films like Twilight. The script seemed hasty and the conclusion seemed far detached from any biased notions the producers must have had that is not even casually humdinger. Murphy Gilchriese (Beau Bishop) is a VERY convincing 17-year-old that has a crush on Conny Sutton (Angie Brown) but his problems lie within the typical high school superstitions and standards. Pretty cheerleaders do not go out with dweebs and Murphy is quite the dweeb. His mute father and bible thumping mother do not help his status and his best friend is possibly one of the most dumbbell ‘teenage’ characters in this setting. Conny’s boyfriend is the premature and burly Bucky Ryder (Evan Dietz) whose vocabulary extends to the phrase “Poon tang” during a make-out session with Conny. Conny seems to find his lack in proper grammar use and void of maturity, along with personality, charming and ever-so-sexy. The name Bucky is in poor taste and often used in teen horror flicks. Lets not forget Buck in the Zombie-Comedy My Boyfriend’s Back. Maybe it’s just me, I could never be attracted to someone who goes by the name Bucky or Buck.
Moving on, Bucky chases Murphy away from their football victory party off the field. Murphy and his weirdo bestie are in the mood to live life, dangerously, so they head to a whore house where Murphy pretends to be a veteran and happens across the stunningly beautiful vampire, whose name is easily forgettable, while his friend waits for ‘seconds’ outside in his vehicle, in MY Best Friend is a Vampire fashion. The vampire’s eye’s light up and she turns Murphy into a vampire. No sloppy seconds for his weird friend. She disappears and we don’t get to see her again until the end of the movie that lasts for a messily five seconds. I have a problem with this. The vampire’s background is never established and several issues are never addressed. Murphy wakes up the next morning as a vampire and he just happens to have a cool black leather jacket and sunglasses laying around. He even picked up a smoking habit and becomes the coolest kid in school after giving Bucky a dose of his own medicine. Murphy’s mother seeks counseling from a ridiculously over-the-top minister played by Clu Gulager that wants to play Inspector C from The Pink Panther films but falls short. The school’s coach, Murphy’s family, Conny’s family, and Gulager waste the rest of the film tracking Murphy down. The climax falls short and I just wasted 87 minutes of my life. Even worse, I wasted an hour writing this.
Description on the hind of the box: “A savage killer is plaguing Los Angeles. His mutilated victims, throats cut and bodies drained of blood, are mounting up fast. The police are baffled, and fear of a vampire on the loose is rapidly spreading the city. (Notice all the grammatical errors.) But homicide detective Roger Sutter (Jason Williams) is one man who refuses to give in to fear. A rogue cop who doesn’t go by the book, Sutter is warned to stay away from the case by superiors worried about his unorthodox methods. For once, Sutter almost obeys orders. Then “the vampire killer” hits too close to home, and Sutter goes after him with a vengeance that pits tough cop against crazed killer and keeps the thrills coming nonstop. Ready for a lurid chiller that will haunt your dreams? …Keep your eye on the night sky and brace yourself for a visit from the VAMPIRE AT MIDNIGHT.” Seriously, who the hell wrote that? I can’t even…. Whatever. As far as thrills coming “nonstop” and your dreams being haunted, that’s cute. The only thing scary about this movie is how creepy and stalkery the male characters are. Even the female characters are rapey.
Now you got the gist of this somewhat original plot. Lets dig a little deeper shall we? The description failed to mention that there’s one vital question the viewers should be asking themselves, is the killer a vampire masquerading as a hypnotherapist or is it the other way around? Pardon me for laying all the cards out on the table so soon into the review but the villains “talents” are easily questionable before the detective discovers his plastic fangs during the climax. This is not your typical vampire. Sunlight doesn’t make him burst into flames. Holy water doesn’t do shit and garlic is non-existent. We don’t even get a classic stake to the heart. One of Count Gustav’s “undead” wives was also able to walk around in sunlight before she is shot to death. Turns out, she was a runaway teenager. I’m sorry, a 35’-year-old runaway teenager. Dr. Radikoff (Gustav Vintas – Count Gustav) is the most unattractive, balding, creepy accented vampire I’ve ever seen. It’s clear that this is just some disturbing old geezer who pretends to be a vampire to get girls. He even sniffs their hair. That doesn’t go without saying that the man does indeed have a unique gift, the ability to hypnotize people. So he hypnotizes his clients before killing them and hypnotizes his bitches or potential undead ho’s into worshipping him. Another one of his expertise is that he has the ability to help these ‘artists’ with their talent, making them successful. Gustav Vintas if you are alive and reading, I would be delighted to hear your perspective on your character. The doctor also has a bodyguard that looks like a potential member of the band Warrant with his long haired mullet and wardrobe of choice.
Jason Williams (THE Flash Gordon) plays the detective who has no problem chugging warm, stale beer in the morning and feeds his fish burritos and spies on his neighbor. This is straight up stalker behavior that would make me feel uncomfortable. His rookie friend just walks around with sexy lingerie under her uniform, hoping for the right rapey moment. She sports some ugly ass bangs but her body is banging. Pianist Jenny (Leslie Milne) portrays the next ‘undead’ bride. Count Gustav meets Jenny at a dinner party where he gains her trust as a new client to help with her stage fright. Jenny begins visiting the creep at his mansion every night for ‘sessions’ and soon falls under his spell. Her cross is replaced by a necklace and he begins to haunt her dreams with his noticeably plastic fangs. Lucky for her, she has a stalker that may get there in time to release her from the evil hypnotist.
Dulany Ross Clement’s script had little to offer as his story is all over the place. The film takes itself too seriously. There are no traditional vampire laws. The killer does drink blood but he does it after slashing his victim’s with a retractable blade that slides out of his jacket sleeve. This is a product of the 80’s with the typical fashion and decor. The lighting tricks are flashy with a smoke machine setting off the mood but there’s not enough blood and gore to keep the viewers happy. The fish Frank had more charisma and he is even in the credits! Even the score was a let down. The song “Midnight Kiss” plays during the opening and closing credits and it hardly sets the mood since it’s so out of place. It’s a shame, with a bigger budget and talented filmmakers, this baby could have shined. This release is from Key Video, one of the more awesome VHS distributors (FOX Video) with color bars on the sides of the boxes. This particular cover was a favorite amongst horror fans but like many pretty covers, Vampire at Midnight lies to you! This is a crime-thriller with no scares but we do get to see a fair share of boobs and they even threw in leg warmers and a fun dance sequence with switch blades for the hell of it. The Code Red DVD release with female wrestler Maria on the cover as an Elvira wannabe is a messily VHS transfer. She isn’t present during the menu set up but it’s complete with a commentary with Williams and director Greg McClatchy. Vintas gets an interview where he talks about his career as a psychologist and how it was fun for him to play this role and he discusses his favorite vampires on film that were inspirational to him.
Additional films from 1988 that I previously covered or plan on covering soon; The Blob, Witchery, 976-Evil, Anguish, They Live, Maniac Cop, Fright Night 2, The Butcher, Black Roses, Bad Dreams, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Pumpkinhead, Monkey Shines, Pin, The Kiss, Cheerleader Camp, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Flesh Eating Mothers, Return of the Living Dead 2, NOES 4, Friday the 13th 7, Brain Damage, Cannibal Campout, Hellraiser 2, Howling IV, Flesheater, Redneck Zombies, Sleepaway Camp 2, Witchcraft, Demonia, Zombie 4, Zombi 3, Slugs, Serpant and the Rainbow, Waxwork, and Rat Man