Directed by Richard Wenk
Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1986
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4, 2016
I can’t put into words just how excited I am about the films Arrow and MVD are releasing on Blu-ray. Many of those released in the past have been titles I consider classics, and yet there have been many I have never seen before as well. The diversity is impressive, as are the HD transfers and bonus features that accompany each film.
One of their more recent releases is the 80’s blood-sucker movie VAMP, starring the incomparable Grace Jones. VAMP is a film you simply have to see to appreciate. It is darkly funny, but it’s also a heck of a vampire film. And while not necessarily scary, it is certainly a worthy addition to the undead film canon.
If you are not familiar with VAMP, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution:
THE FIRST KISS COULD BE YOUR LAST!
Two fraternity pledges head to a seedy part of town to find some entertainment for their college friends but are faced with bloodthirsty vampires!
Keith (Chris Makepeace, Meatballs) and AJ (Robert Rusler, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) want to make the right impression at college and so they devise a plan to get them into the best frathouse on campus. They head to the After Dark Club where they want to find a stripper for a party their friends won’t forget; instead they find themselves among vampires led by Kinky Katrina (Grace Jones, A View to a Kill)!
Almost certainly an influence on From Dusk ‘til Dawn, Vamp is superbly designed by many of Grace Jones own award-winning collaborators and features stunning effects by four-time Oscar winner Greg Cannom (The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker’s Dracula). Delivering laughs and scares in equal measure, with the added bonus of vampy sex appeal, Vamp is a comedy horror romp with real bite!
Grace Jones is undeniably one of the best actresses who has ever portrayed a vampire onscreen. Her sensuality combined with subtle animalistic traits she uses onscreen make a frightening yet inviting character. This terrifying combination creates the perfect vampire “queen”.
VAMP is shot well and looks great onscreen. The HD transfer is impressive, particularly when compared to the VHS version. I remember watching this two decades ago and being frustrated with the graininess of the low-light shots. The Blu-ray takes care of that problem, offering a nice, clean picture.
The acting is great, with Chris Makepeace and Robert Rusler in the leading roles. Makepeace is a familiar face, as I remember him from MEATBALLS and Rona Jaffe’s MAZES AND MONSTERS, two films I frequented in my younger years. And Rusler is VERY familiar to me because he’s been in many movies I’ve loved over the years, including WEIRD SCIENCE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, THRASHIN’, and Stephen King’s SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK. Supporting cast includes Billy Drago, who has to be one of the hardest working B-movie actors in history, and Dedee Pfeiffer, whose filmography is as diverse as Samuel L. Jackson’s. Despite everybody mentioned above, Grace Jones steals the limelight; her onscreen presence is intoxicating, and she highlights every scene in which she appears.
The special effects in VAMP look great, and there’s some nice carnage amidst the vampire make-up. I like how the transformation makes the vamps look like monsters instead of just actors with fangs; I feel this is a more accurate depiction of what a blood-sucker would look like (if they were real, of course).
VAMP is another big win for me, and I highly recommend it. Campy sometimes, but always fun, this is one movie you’ll probably revisit again. The Special Edition contents include:
• High Definition digital transfer
• Original mono audio
• Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• One of those Nights: The Making of Vamp – a brand new documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Wenk, stars Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe
• Behind-the-scenes rehearsals
• Blooper Reel
• Image gallery
• Dracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) – Richard Wenk s celebrated short film
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher