Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #92: Bram Stoker's To Die For (1988)

At last, vampires I can understand and relate to.

This movie has a fair bit of charm. Also, it's awful. But it seems to believe in itself, which leads me to enjoyment. I wish Rifftrax would cover it.

This is a film that's from the 80s and doesn't let you forget that at any point during its runtime. Pluses include a decent amount of rubbery monster gore and unexpectedly violent murders. Minuses mostly being lukewarm sex scenes you wish would go somewhere, and characters you don't care about. And there's quite a few more characters than there really needs to be. You can't shake the feeling that you're watching a TV pilot. I couldn't get Forever Knight out of my head.

Character rundown is as follows: Vlad Tepes with a British accent, a real estate agent named Kate, her asshole friend who thinks she's his girlfriend, another friend, that friend's aloof boyfriend, and then a monster vampire with a mullet. Oh and two cops that come and go just so someone can say something like 'Wow, who could have done this?'

Kate's friend who thinks he's her boyfriend is especially entertaining for being so utterly unlikable and getting rewarded for it. He's a total dickhead of a shallow and controlling jerk who, sadly, pretty much becomes the hero of the film by figuring out who VLAD TEPES is once he finds a book on VLAD TEPES' shelf called VLAD TEPES, and it's about the history of VLAD FUCKING TEPES. He promptly reads Bram Stoker's Dracula to learn how to kill vampires, of course. This is why To Die For is Bram Stoker's To Die For.

Mullet vampire is pretty awesome. His curly mulleted hair, his superbly 80s outfit, his lame shades, and his penchant for smoking makes him so. My favourite moment comes when mullet vampire dramatically tosses away a cigarette to pursue a murder victim, and by the time he enters the room she's walked into maybe 20 seconds later, he's apparently lit up another one because he's just so cool. I guess if you're immortal, addiction can get pretty bad.

Have a sultry trailer!

As the film went on I realised that I wasn't at all interested in the main characters. I wanted more of the cops. Every time they came on, I hoped beyond hope that they'd stay on the screen. I don't care about British Vlad Tepes. I wanted the adventures of Grizzled Veteran Black Cop and White Trash Rocker Cop! Kicking ass. Taking names. Getting shit done. Lt. Williams and Detective Bocco, writing your tombstone.

It's sad that I fixated on the barest, most non-character characters in the film because it was more interesting than vampires.

So: Certainly one of the most 80s films I've ever seen. After seeing it, I had the weird, atavistic urge to write a screenplay around the two cops, who, having seen the darkness lurking in the black of the shadows in the night time, have pledged themselves to the solving of paranormal crimes.

Also, here's a music video someone made with clips from the movie. This is someone's favourite film. She ignored the cops:

Original post can be found on my blog hereabouts.

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