John Carpenter's "Vampires"

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John Carpenter's Vampires

Who says you can't have fun with a movie that has plot holes the size of Nebraska? Who says the vampire genre is undead? Not me. Maybe I'm a little biased considering the fact that I just made a vampire film myself, but it's about time the guy who scared the crap out of us with Halloween did a vampire flick. And he does it well.

James Woods stars as Jack Crow, a cigar-chomping bad-ass who leads a Vatican-financed team of mercenaries into haunted houses to drag vampires out into the sunlight to watch them burn.

However, things turn for the worst when Valick, fashion victim and master vampire, crashes Team Crow's beer-and-hookers party and massacres almost everyone, leaving only Crow, his sidekick Daniel Baldwin, and a hooker who has been bitten by Valick and has telepathic link to him. Crow soon discovers that Valick is after a black cross that will let him walk during the day. So he's gotta stop him. Or else-- you know the rest.

Make no mistake; this is actually a western disguised as a horror flick. Take away the vampires and the modern day setting and you have High Noon. The maestro of horror himself, John Carpenter, has infused the

western into his films before (Escape From New York, for example). Here it works pretty well.

Are there things wrong with this picture? You bet. The little twist at the end of act II was totally unbelievable, and implausible. I won't give it away. The ending was anti-climactic. We never get to see the "nests" of vampires that we here about so much. And the script by Don Jackoby is sophomoric at best, breaking every rule of exposition in the book.

Still, this is a fast-paced action picture that never stops and is Carpenter's best work in years. Woods is excellent, and Thomas Ian Griffith's performance as Valick is top notch and charismatic. Carpenter reinvents himself as a film-maker; many of his trademark visual and editing tricks are gone, replaced with gritty mood lighting and interestingly placed montage editing. His trademark score his still there, though, and it is quite effective.

Overall, I recommend this picture because it's fun, not to mention really gory, and you don't have to think about it too much.

--Jordan Rockwell