Pros: James Woods and especially Tim Guinee are very good.
Cons: Sheryl Lee simply doesn?t belong here (although she?s nice to look at)
The message behind this B-rated movie by B-rated director John Carpenter is obvious: Jack Crow (James Woods) leads a gang of hired vampire hunters hired by the Catholic Church to hunt down and destroy vampires whenever and wherever they can be found. They operate in the Southwest, hunting for vampires, shooting them with stakes, and dragging them out to the sun to be burned to a crisp (notice the pyrotechnic jet flames coming out of the vampires bodies). One day they do just that, but they miss one vampire called Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), who is now bent on revenge.
The vampire hunters then frolic in a nearby motel filled with beer bottles and sex workers (the technical term) and are enjoying themselves when Valek shows up. He wreaks havoc, killing hunters and hookers with every swipe, often cutting them in half; some hunters desperately open fire at the vampire, to no avail. In the end, only the prostitute Katrina and Jack survive, along with Montoya (Daniel Baldwin); they all escape on a jeep and blast the vampire off the vehicle. It turns out that Katrina (Sheryl Lee) has already been bitten by Valek (the reason for this still baffles me), thus making her a crucial link between the two surviving hunters and the vampire Valek.
Now if theyre professional vampire hunters working for the Catholic Church, then whats the point of seeing them commit all kinds of explicit sins previously mentioned? No wonder the evisceration of vampire hunters and all their hookers turned out to be the the best action scene of the movie- at least for me anyway.
Meanwhile, word of the slaughter reaches a nearby convent, where a young priest named Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee) makes his home. He offers to personally help Jack Crow find out how to defeat the vampire; Jack and Montoya has already split up to avoid getting killed together by Valek.
This is where the flesh scenes come in. You know, where Mr. Montoya strips Katrina naked in a motel room and ties her up on the bed. Suddenly shes groped, molested, and caressed by Baldwin as if she was a mannequin. It's actually a lot scarier than the scenes with the vampires, for reasons too grotesque to mention here.
Meanwhile Jack Crow sticks with the priest, Adam Guiteau, who seems to know a lot of information about the vampire who mauled his friends. As the vampire proves to be much more resilient than previously thought, Jack Crow gets frustrated and takes his anger out on Guiteau, pressuring him to give out information on Valek, who turns out to be a Czech-based vampire whos looking for a specific golden cross that was taken from Bohemia in the 19th Century. The rest Ill leave to you.
Seriously I dont get the kinky sex behind all these vampire movies. Virtually every vampire and horror flick Ive seen has women and flash, and this ones no exception. Sheryl Lee seems to be there only to, well, arouse guys whove recently broken up with their girls- and get tied up and slapped around and abused while shes there. The only things missing from her inventory seem to be leather panties and a ball gag, but it turns out theyre not needed. As it is she is simply an untalented, wooden sex object; enough said. Whoever hired her must have watched too many bondage pornos.
I actually rated Tim Guinee, who plays the young priest, far above this bimbo on the cast list. Guinee is much more brilliant than anyone would care to realize by looking at the movie. He plays the mild-mannered priest turned anger-filled vampire hunter with consummate ease and a strong passion. I wish we could all see him in many more movies.
James Woods is also intense. Basically he plays his role as the vampire hunters' leader unusually well. You can literally see the angry look in his eyes as he shows up on the screen especially when armed with a harpoon gun looking for vampires. He doesn't so much play Jack Crow as BECOME him.
Another good part, by the way, is the vampire. Thomas Ian Griffith is actually brilliant as the main vampire Valek in an otherwise low-budget movie. He is actually quite scary and does not mince his words. He, along with James Woods and Tim Guinee, are the best aspects of this flick.
Get rid of Sheryl Lee altogether (I'm sure she'll be a lot better off that way), stick with the rest of the plot, and Im sure Vampires would have made John Carpenter (and James Woods) much more famous. Also it would be a lot less offensive to sex crime victims. Daniel Baldwin, by the way, needs to improve his acting skills, but hes not terrible; at least he tries. There is no need to see him with Sheryl Lee, naked or not.
In closing, if youre an incarcerated serial rapist desperate for some lust but cant satisfy it if your state penitentary prohibits actual porn from coming in, then mail order this movie and stick to the scenes with Sheryl Lee bound and gagged. Youll thank yourself later for it. If youre a mom with kids or a woman looking for a romantic-style vampire flick, stay away at all costs. B-movies such as this are not for kids, silly rabbit.
James Woods- Jack Crow
Daniel Baldwin- Montoya
Tim Guinee- Father Alan Guiteau
Thomas Ian Griffith- Valek the Vampire
Sheryl Lee- take a wild guess
Directed by John Carpenter