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A group of fraternity pledges head for the seedy side of the city in search of strippers and discover a sinister spot called The After Dark Club. But when the bar's luscious dancers turn out to be bloodthirsty vampires led by the kinky Katrina (Grace Jones), the evening takes on a freaky new twist. Can these guys survive a bizarre onslaught of vixens and vamps, or will the armies of the undead take the ultimate bite out of their night?
For more about Vamp and the Vamp Blu-ray release, see Vamp Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 20, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chris Makepeace, Robert Rustler, Grace Jones, Sandy Baron, Gedde Watanabe, Dedee Pfeiffer
Director: Richard Wenk
» See full cast & crew
Vamp Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 20, 2011
Richard Wenk's "Vamp" (1986) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films. The supplemental features o the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; with star Robert Rusler and critic Calum Waddell; interviews with actress Dedee Pfeiffer, director Richard Wenk, writer Donald P. Borchers; behind the scenes rehearsals; various promo materials; bloopers; and more. The disc also arrives with four-panel reversible sleeve options with new artwork and original posters; double-sided fold-out poster; and exclusive collector's booklet by Jay Slater. In English, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Here's a film that fits perfectly into the "it is so bad that it is actually good" category. Even considering the limitations of the genre it belongs to, not a lot in it makes sense, but the actors try so hard to make the most of the weak script that one can't help but admire them. The 80s were so much fun!
The plot revolves around fraternity pledges Keith (Chris Makepeace, Meatballs) and AJ (Robert Rusler, Crisis in the Kremlin), who decide to hire a stripper for some wild entertainment. Because they need transportation, they ask the geeky, filthy rich and annoying Duncan (Gedde Watanabe, The Spring) to give them a ride. He does not mind, so long as they treat him as a friend.
The friends end up at some strange place that is supposed to be New York City, but looks more like Tijuana, Mexico, where they are almost immediately confronted by a wacky albino thug (Billy Drago, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection) and his puppets. Then they enter the area's top spot, the After Dark Club, where lonely old men go when they wish to feel young again. After a couple of drinks, delivered by the charming Amaretto (Dedee Pfieffer, Up Close & Personal), AJ leaves Keith and Duncan and ends up somewhere in the back of the club with one of its stars, the exotic Queen Katrina (Grace Jones, Conan the Destroyer), who sucks his blood.
Richard Wenk's Vamp is definitely a film that has not aged well. But, frankly, this is arguably one of the key reasons why one would want to see it - it is a slice of nostalgia, cheesy, filled with cliches, and loaded with no longer cool one-liners that should bring back all sorts of different memories. That is, of course, if you remember the 80s, which is when these types of films were all the rage.
Looking at the various posters the film's distributors released back in the days, one would think that Jones has a major part in it. The reality is: she does not. There are only two scenes with her - her exotic dance and that famous scene where she licks AJ before she sucks his blood - that are worth mentioning. This is rather unfortunate, because with a little more imagination, and with Jones spending more time in front of the camera, Vamp would have been a very different film.
Still, Vamp has plenty of charm. During the 80s, heavy neon lighting was regarded as a key ingredient for these types of atmospheric films, and Vamp goes completely overboard with it. A lot of what was obviously meant to look erotic - the sexy dances, kissing/licking, etc., - now also looks absolutely hilarious. So the atmosphere is indeed quite unusual.
Rather predictably, the acting is a mixed bag. Makepeace and especially Watanabe occasionally look good as the horny boys who have landed in paradise, but Rusler is incredibly stiff and wooden. Pfieffer's enthusiasm, however, is admirable - she definitely looks like the type of girl most fratboys would want to meet. Drago is hilarious as the albino thug, but, like Jones, does not get enough time in front of the camera.
Ultimately, Vamp is goofy, kitschy, dated but charming B-film whose debut on Blu-ray should excite primarily older horror fans who have seen it before. The younger crowd, and especially those who like their horror films with a heavy dose of CGI effects, more than likely won't be impressed by what the film has to offer.
Vamp Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Richard Wenk's Vamp arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best Vamp has ever looked - fine object detail is very good, clarity pleasing, and contrast levels dramatically improved. What impresses the most, however, is the color reproduction: the variety of neon-esque reds, blues, greens, purples, browns, and blacks look fresh and healthy, and there is no color bleeding or background shimmer. Generally speaking, the fine film grain is kept intact, though occasionally there are small doses of light noise mixed with it. Some minor noise corrections have been applied, but, again, the integrity of the film is very much intact. Edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern; neither is macroblocking. Blown through a digital projector, the film also conveys pleasing depth and tightness. This being said, I noticed one extremely small pixelation glitch very early into the film (it is basically only a blip, but I noticed it). At this point I don't know if it appears only on my screener or if also pops up on other discs. Everything else looks very good. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Vamp Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Arrow Films have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
I don't have any reservations - understandably, the English LPCM 1.0 track has a rather limited dynamic amplitude, but the dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. There are no balance issues with Jonathan Elias' music score either. While viewing the film, I also did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, excessive hiss, or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Vamp Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are perfectly playable on North American PS3s and SAs.
Vamp Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Richard Wenk's Vamp is an odd but quite entertaining film whose cult status is well deserved. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films, should make a lot of older horror (and comedy) fans happy because Vamp has never looked this good before. RECOMMENDED.
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