Vampires (1998)

March 13, 2013 - 5:17pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: action, blood, Daniel Baldwin, gore, James Woods, John Carpenter, Maximilian Schell, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, vampire, vampire hunters, vampire hunting

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John Carpenter
James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell

I first caught Vampires when it was in theaters in '98 and recently felt the need to revisit it to see if it still held up to what I remembered. Surprisingly enough, I think I enjoyed the movie more now than I did in the past, probably because as an adult I can appreciate certain aspects of it better, especially knowing it was John Carpenters last "good" film (in my opinion). While vampires right now are seemingly being defanged and more feminized and comedic, it's good to go back to a time when they were still considered pure evil and ruthless.

The flick stars James Woods as the resident vampire-hunting badass named Jack Crow and his crew of skilled hunters, as they take on a sleeping nest of vamps during the day. One by one, they impale and burn each bloodsucker until the house remains vacant once again. Unfortunately, they missed the unhappy leader of the pack, who was sleeping elsewhere during the assault. Hot on their trail, the leader Valek makes his way to the seedy motel where the gang of hunters party over the success of another hunt. The boozing and debauchery is cut short when Valek arrives at the door, where he bites, rips, and tears each and every person he gets his hands on.

Jack Crow, a whore that Valek bit and another hunter (Daniel Baldwin) barely make it out alive and seek refuge at a church. There they learn that the leader they encountered was actually the first and oldest vampire and he's in search of an ancient relic that will aid him in walking in the daylight. It's up to Crow, his partner, the bitten (but not yet turned) whore, and a young priest to stop Valek before it's too late for all mankind.

Although the story isn't the most original by today's standards, it's still a pretty solid flick thanks to all the violence, gore, and just being loads of fun from the start to finish, namely because of James Woods  as the ballsy wise-crackin' badass Jack Crow; Hell, even his name oozes pure awesomeness. You can tell Woods was having a blast with his character and Valek himself was equally badass, being as savage as he was. We're also given a lot of good practical effects and gore--something I miss seeing in the genre now-a-days.

As far as the film goes, it was a moderate success, enough of which to spawn a couple straight-to-DVD sequels years later. As I said before, it was pretty much Carpenter's last good effort. He did the poorly received Ghosts of Mars a few years later before calling it quits with directing for about a decade. Either way, Vampires was a nice look back at a better time for vampires and Carpenter's career in general.

If you haven't seen this yet, I'd suggest doing so ASAP, as it remains as one of Carpenter's last "good" films (in my opinion, of course) and takes us back to a time when practical gore effects were the norm and vampires were still ruthless savages.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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