So, Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak) is coerced by down on his luck PI, Rafe Guttman (Dennis Miller) to find her missing brother, Caleb (Corey Feldman). Once Guttman figures out what’s going on – and it doesn’t take much detective work – he’s out to rid an old mortuary of its vampy harem.
Yes, it’s another vampire comedy, complete with bloodsuckers that explode when doused with holy water from Super Soakers, which seemed very THE LOST BOYS (1987). And the story’s foundation seemed to be based upon 1986’s VAMP staring Grace Jones. Of course, the two aforementioned movies are both superior to this initiative that sunk the “Tales from the Crypt” franchise. Granted, we get Dennis Miller and his smarminess to the nth degree, and everyone plays along with the comedic gag, including the lovely Angie Everhart as Lilith, but the barbs in VAMP and LOST were better and funnier.
Director Gilbert Adler, who has a very diverse portfolio as a producer (war, horror, drama, comedy, etc.), stayed true to the old “Tales from the Crypt” cable horror salute to the great comic book genius, William Gaines, of EC fame (in the movie, they named the cemetery after him). Yet, even with great character actors as William Sadler, Aubrey Morris and Phil Fondacaro, the story just serves as a fun romp with little bite. There is absolutely no suspense or surprises, and even if some of the exploding vampires are “cool”, it seems as if the fangs were filed down for this one.
Tom Priestly, Jr., director of photography did an excellent job with some wonderful camera angles to please the eye. Then again, with all his experience, from THE FRENCH CONNECTION to A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, and dozens more, it’s no wonder his work alone kept the story moving. Make-up effects were hit and miss, as well as visual effects, though with the comedic element, even the poorly executed material worked with the tongue-in-cheek feel of the movie. However, when the effects really triumph, it is thanks to Priestly’s camera work as well as Stephen Lovejoy’s sharp editing.
The one actor who seemed to have the most fun, however, was Chris Sarandon (of FRIGHT NIGHT and CHILD’S PLAY fame). As Reverend Current, he certainly dove into the role to have one hell of a good time. And his gung-ho evangelist over-acting brought more laughs than Miller’s witticisms.
All in all, the movie is fun, yet disposable. It doesn’t have that special edge to make me want to put it up on the shelf. Maybe if the final scene wasn’t so telegraphed, it could have finished on a stronger note worthy of remembering.
2.5 out of 5 stars