In a ploy to up sticks from their chaotic halls of residence and into a fraternity, Keith (Chris Makepeace) & AJ (Robert Rusler) drive into the city to hire an exotic dancer for the party they promised to throw to prove their worth as frat brothers. However, in a From Dusk till Dawn (1996) style twist of fate, the unlucky pledges run into – yeah, you guessed it – vampires!
Some movies wear their influences like a glistening, gleaming badge of honour. Some movies wear their frantically beating hearts on their sleeve. All disguised with carefully shifted plotlines, locations and genders. Yet it’s hard to condemn when everything is dressed up in that classic smoky midnight 80s downtown backdrop, like an old theatre stage come to life, all the while exuding an effortless cool in spite of the hair, the fashion and the music.
It’s nice to see Rusler taking on a greater role in a movie. Chris on the other hand… I just don’t see how these two got paired together. The chemistry is lacking. Chris’ comic timing is a little off and he spends most of his scenes with Rusler appearing quite uncomfortable. Is it because a year prior to making this picture his screen partner starred in a certain horror sequel that had more homosexual undertones than a Batman movie directed by Joel Schumacher? I don’t know. There just seems to be a hint of terrified reservation in those big blue eyes of his.
Grace Jones is well known for her strong, iconic looks and Vamp is certainly no exception. From her first appearance to her last breath as the ferocious Queen Katrina she phases from a mixture of Pennywise the Dancing Clown and Pris from Blade Runner (1982) to a cross between a fierce jungle cat and Straker of Salem’s Lot (1979).
If Evil Ed had survived the original movie I could imagine Vamp being a strong sequel to Tom Holland’s Fright Night (1985). It has a hint of the bizarre and while it is just different enough not to be accused of being a total cash-cow knock-off, the feeling remains. That said, Vamp is highly enjoyable 80s vampire romp that did not deserve to plummet into the obscurity that merits the Arrow Video treatment. But is there a better way to be rediscovered?