John Carpenter's Vampires Review

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Jack Crow (Woods) is an unofficial, Vatican-sponsored vampire hunter. Until recently, he and his team would prowl the Americas like pest controllers, clearing 'nests' of bloodsuckers. Problems begin though, when the particularly powerful vampire Valek shows up and kills Jack's team. He's looking for a particular relic that will enable him to walk in daylight...


What has happened to John Carpenter? Escape From LA was way below par, but it's still inconceivable that the man who made both Halloween and The Thing could be sullying his hands with this sort of derivative, horror-by-numbers dreck.

James Woods - cranking up his edgy profane act to such a pitch it looks like his head is about to explode - plays maverick vampire hunter Jack Crow, hot on the trail of top undead guy Valek (Griffith), whose minions - in the film's only good scene - massacred most of his team. Meanwhile, Valek is searching for a mythical cross which will allow him to roam abroad during daylight hours. Accompanied by partner Montoya (Baldwin), Goth chick Katrina (Lee) - who may or may not be turning into a vampire (originale, non?) - and a young priest (always useful on a vampire hunt), Crow is in a desperate race against time to kill Valek before he becomes invincible.

Carpenter obviously thinks he's being very clever by setting it in the New Mexico desert - From Dusk Till Dawn - and tries to up the cool quotient by way of Lee's cleavage, Wood's incessant swearing (always good value though) and all manner of vampire-killing gadgetry. Crow's preferred method of vampire offing is to harpoon them with a stake attached to a winch and drag them into the sunlight. Still, for all the exploding gore, graphic eviscerations and combustible corpses, it's not shocking, not sexy and not scary. But what is most galling is how proud Carpenter must be of the film. Including your name in the title takes some balls - although given what a sorry spectacle it is, Allan Smithee's Vampires might have been the more sensible option.

Schlocky, and nothing approaching a return to Carpenter's form of The Thing or Halloween (or Dark Star, for that matter). Woods' schtick never gets tired, there's a few decent sequences, and above all it's cheesy fun. Disappointing, but nowhere near as bad as Escape From L.A.