There are a select few filmmakers that are synonymous with the word “legend,” when it comes to the horror genre. Undeniably, John Carpenter is one of them. Even though I tend to agree that the man is an iconic director, writer, composer, etc., I still have yet to see a large chunk of his filmography. Today, I finally got to cross another one of his great pieces of work off of my ‘to watch’ list with his adaptation of John Steakley’s novel, entitled Vampires.
A team of vampire slayers, led by the most famous of all, Jack Crow (James Woods, Videodrome), are celebrating another day’s worth of work after successfully ridding the world of nine more of the undead. The celebration is cut short unexpectedly, when the forgotten-about master of the nest, Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith, The Karate Kid Part III), decides to break up the party and slaughter everyone he can get his hands on. Crow and his partner, Montoya (Daniel Baldwin, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man), are the only surviving members of their team and it is up to them to stop the original and most powerful vampire of all time from fulfilling his quest of becoming an unstoppable force.
I really don’t know why I never made an effort before today to watch this film, but like they say, better late than never. John Carpenter’s Vampires turned out to be one of the best vamp flicks I’ve ever seen. The story/script is effective in a now over-saturated sub-genre, the setting is reminiscent of From Dusk till Dawn or even more accurately, some of the best westerns to ever grace the big screen, the special effects are fantastic, and there is plenty of action.
Admittedly, I have not seen too many films starring our main protagonist, James Woods. I am well aware of him, but never got around to really seeing any of his work. From what I do know about him, however, I would never expect him to be as impressive as he was in Vampires. Woods is perfect as the foul-mouthed anti-hero who is hellbent on killing every single vampire walking the earth. He doesn’t care who he offends and he is ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. His partner, Tony Montoya, wonderfully played by Daniel Baldwin is also one bad-ass character. The chemistry between the two actors is made evident on screen, appropriately displayed many times as it is made clear that the two characters have been together a very long time and have seen a whole lot, more than most people could ever imagine, I’d assume.
John Carpenter’s Vampires is only made better by the amazing special effects work provided by the legendary team at KNB. Kurtzman, Nicotero, and Berger have worked on a countless number of films, winning awards and always outdoing themselves. Vampires is no exception. All of the bloody practical effects are flawless, making for one hell of a gory time. On top of that, Vampires is enhanced even further with an amazing score, composed by the maestro himself, John Carpenter.
If you’re like I was and have yet to see this flick, do yourself a favor and change that, immediately. Vampires is well worth the watch. The film is available now on beautiful Blu-ray from Twilight Time, so pick up a copy today!
I give this one 4.5 goons out of 5.