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John Carpenter's Vampire
AKA: Vampire, Vampires

USA 1999 Color, 102 min
Director John Carpenter
Daniel Baldwin Tony Montoya
James Woods Jack Crow
Thomas Ian Griffith Valek
Sheryl Lee Katrina
Maximilian Schell Kardinal Alba
Tim Guinee Vater Adam Guiteau
Tommy Rosales Ortega

Jack Crow is the ringleader of a horde of mercenaries, who have found work on the Vatican payroll as vampire hunters. In this respect the idea is original. But all that follows after that is shooting, bloodbaths and earthy macho talk. And that starts right at the very beginning: the group of commando storms a deserted farmhouse somewhere deep in the New Mexico desert - the hideout of a family of vampires, who are then turned into vampire soup by the specialists. There are "stakings" and burnings all over the place, but the boys are still dissatisfied, because ober-vampire Valek was yet again not among the victims. He takes terrible revenge later on at the nightly victory celebration, killing almost the entire group. Only Jack, a friend and a prostitute bitten by Valek are able to escape.

Valek meanwhile, who was once a priest but then became the mother - pardon me, father - of all bloodsuckers as a result of an industrial accident during an exorcism, is searching for the Black Cross, a legendary utensil that makes him and people of his kind insensitive to sunlight, thus providing him with almost endless power. Naturally - Jack the intrepid vampire killer, whose mutated, bloodsucking father once slurped away Jack's mother, an event that somehow had a lasting influence on Jack's life, has to prevent this. And so he shoots and slams, massacres and talks himself stupid through the movie, right up to the finale in a deserted desert western town, where the score is finally settled, along with more shooting and massacring - and the waffling is just as stupid as before...

Desert, vampires, splatter, and action ... what does that remind you of? Of course, the box office hit that Messrs Rodriguez and Tarantino had some years before. Only, what those two produced tongue-in-cheek as original rascally splatter fun, Carpenter turned into an embarrassing iron-man movie in the style of the worst kind of sorry Eighties' efforts. Consequently, "Vampires" stupidly rolls along in the wake of "From Dusk till Dawn" and finally sinks. Normally good actors like Jack Woods, Sheryl Lee und Maximilian Schell act as woodenly as stakes, and the once really good director John Carpenter, who unfortunately hasn't succeeded in making a good movie in an eternity, only appears to be a mere shadow of his talent (seems to have gone the same way as Roman Polanski or Dario Argento - has anyone seen "The nine gates" or "Phantom of the Opera" by the aforementioned gentlemen? You see?)

Apparently, as you could read in the press, Carpenter wanted to shoot a western with overdrawn figures on the edge of caricature and with a good shot of irony. It was actually to be expected that this wouldn't work; caricature and irony were never Carpenter's forte - rather, these were moods and atmosphere. These are not to be found in "Vampires". Sorry, John - this movie belongs right down at the bottom of the video store shelves, directly next to Dolph Lundgren and crimes by similar boneheads. Don't ruin your good reputation - retire.

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