I've been wanting to see this vampire film for years and finally got my undead hands on it. It falls into the 'reluctant' vampire who feeds on the suicidal genre, alongside such other similar films such as Pale Blood, Graveyard Shift and Interview with the Vampire.
There is something about magic of 80s vampire films that has been lost to the ravages of time. Even the Lost Boys and Fright Night, along with movies that have vampire characters such as The Monster Squad had that certain charm and appeal that is lacking today with the genres "style over substance" approach.
The film starts off with our reluctant vampire (Cyril O'Reilly) who is wondering the night time streets of a desolate neighbourhood when he comes across a sign that advertises "Live Girls". The Vampire has to feed soon or he will perish, so he searches out for a female lost soul that is suicidal and perchance will not be missed by the living when she dies.
Upon entering the club the Vampire is enamoured by Jodi (Starr Andreeff who played Iris in Vampire Journals), finishing up her striptease act and notices in her the quality that he seeks.
|Vampire using eye mojo|
The Vampire stays behind and offers Jodi $1,000 to spend the night with him conversing because like she, he is also lonely. They catch a bus to his neighbourhood, en-route he discourages two punk types from accosting Jodi. Along the way Jodi gets the hint that something just is not right with this man, and attempts to hand his money back to him several times.
Reluctantly she enters his house where soon enough she discovers he is a vampire and his purpose for bringing her there. She unloads a gun clip into him to no avail, and for the rest of the night they share each other's lives, pains, and lifestyles and how they are both outcasts of society.
The Vampire explains that he is a separate species, therefore cannot turn Jodi to become his life mate. Many years ago, on the verge of starvation, the vampire and his family attacked and drained a family with a nearby broken down carriage, and since the sun was about to rise they left the bodies unhidden and fled to a nearby barn. Their crime was witnessed, and in revenge the barn was burnt down around them. His mother died saving him, burying him in the earth, but he sustained enough fire damage that he slumbered under the earth for 100 years, to wake up in an empty field, his family all dead.
As the night progresses, Jodi becomes more uncertain that she wants to die, and is faced with her flaws and mistakes. She also realises that humanity is a gift, a spark, and that the threat of eventual death is also a gift that gives humans the ability to fix their mistakes and see tomorrow as another day. Jodi begins to become sexually attracted to the Vampire, and it's obvious he hasn't been in that kind of situation before. We are unsure as to what his other victims were like, but it seems that he has had more of a connection with Jodi than his other victims.
As the night nears dawn, with 6am signalling the death knell for Jodi, the vampire takes her to see her son on his birthday, and Jodi repays that kindness by taking him to a beach and using the lamps on the boardwalk recreates daylight for him, helping him visualise a human sunbathing in the middle of the day.
As the 'drug' wears off, she makes a desperate attempt to escape, realising in the last moment that she truly wants to live and repent. Locking herself in the bathroom she uses the last of her vampire strength to tear open a covering over the window allowing sunlight to pour into the room.
I am a fan of Starr Andreeff. I thought she stole the show in Vampire Journals as Iris, daytime servant to the Vampire Ash, and was glad to see some early work of hers in this film. She played a vulnerable character really well, but she excels at playing beautiful, evil and ruthless in VJ, and I wish she had a bigger career that I could have followed. She was very beautiful in her prime.
O'Reilly as The Vampire certainly played his part well. He resembled some model on the front cover of a romance novel that I believed was intentional, but I think the real reason he wanted to die was because he was stricken with that god-awful mullet.
The vampire powers in these films were typical classical vampire troupes. Eye Mojo, fangs, strength, speed, wall crawling and accelerating healing. Not having shape-shifting made sense since the vampires here were their own race, and not supernatural evil with the powers of Dark Gods.
What I would have done:
This film was great for its time, though nowadays the reluctant vampire is quite cliche. But living for millennia can be tiresome and it seems deep down that the Vampire of the piece seems to want to die as much as Jodi thought she wanted to. Mortal feelings and human sentimentality is certainly a weakness not to be indulged by our kind, and after playing with his food the Vampire should have killed her like the others.
Still all-in-all I was happy with what I saw. But I'm dreading the impending remake.