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Vampire in Brooklyn

USA 1995, Color, 100 min
Director Wes Craven
Screenplay Charles Murphy, Michael Lucker, Chris Parker
Producers Eddie Murphy, Mark Lipsky
Photography Mark Irwin
Music J. Peter Robinson
Eddy Murphy Maximillian
Angela Bassett Rita Veder
Allen Payne Justice
Kadeem Hardison Julius
John Witherspoon Silas

Maximilian is a vampire, the last one of his kind. This is why he got bored by his life on a deserted island in the Bermuda triangle (!) and took off for New York. Here Rita, a half-vampire, who doesn't yet have the slightest clue of this, lives and works as a police detective. Sometimes though she has presentiments and visions and is, as she tells her partner Justice at the very beginning of the movie when he asked her why she never gets tired during night shifts rather a night person. Hi hi, giggle, giggle - well.

Our Cop due is called to the docks, where an old ship with loads of dead bodies on board has appeared. An eye witness claims that he had seen a huge wolf on the ship (damn, why does this seem so familiar?) that fled toward the city. Sure, we know it at once, it was Maximilian. After his arrival in Brooklyn he first has some Italian food for supper (after a fight with two Mafiosi) and then makes the little thief Julius his ghoul servant. Now their task is to find Rita and to seduce her, as Max can only make her a creature of the night if she gives herself over to him voluntarily. Max, a man of style and elegance doesn't have to wait a long time for his chance. He plots a bad fight between Rita and her partner Justice, the man she really loves and uses the lady's first weak moment to put his fangs into her throat after a hot dance.

When Rita realizes, what has happened to her, her colleague Justice is already there to rescue her, accompanied by a vampire expert (some kind of black Voodoo van Helsing). Max is impaled, Rita becomes human again, the lovers can hold each other in their arms and the sky is full of violins.

And the unnerved spectator thinks "why the hell is it this guy who gets the lady and not the vampire?". The chemistry between Angela Basset (those who have seen her as power woman in "Strange Days" will surely wonder how she could be persuaded to participate in this movie) and Allen Payne (who awkwardly staggers through his scenes) doesn't work out at all, which is not at all Angela's fault as the coacting with Eddie Murphy (who to our surprise plays his role as evil dandy (well, he ain't really that evil) very convincingly - works perfectly well.

But there's some more problems with this movie. "Vampire in Brooklyn" wants to be a horror comedy, and just like most other movies that had this claim, it fails completely. This flick is neither horror nor comedy. From a horror movie you demand atmosphere, the thrills and chicken pocks. In "Vampire in Brooklyn" we hardly find any of it (except of the admittedly great opening scene with the arrival of the uncanny ship). And the two or three more or less funny gags, (all of them going on the account of Kadeem Hardison as ghoul regularly losing the one or other part of his body or of John Witherspoon as his queer fish of an uncle) are not sufficient to make it a comedy. Murphy himself doesn't make us laugh a single time, and it was probably the first time in his moved career that this has happened to him. It must bee some 20 years ago that he made his last really good and really funny movie, but the presentation of Maximilian the Vampire doesn't seem to have caused him many problems. The scene where he takes possession of a priest and preaches some "Evil is Good" sermon though is not quite funny.

Wes Craven, another guy with an unsteady career (loads of ups and downs) never really got the grasp of the screenplay, which should have mainly been due to two fact: a) it is not very good and b) Eddy Murphy who was also the coproducer often had the famous last word to say on the set. Murphy may be a good actor, but he doesn't really know how do make a good staging, especially when it comes to horror movies.

That this movie receives two bats from us anyway is mainly due to the performance of Basset, Hardison and Witherspoon. Apart from this Brooklyns Vampires are not really interesting, neither for vampire nor for Murphy fans. If you haven't watched it yet, you haven't really missed a lot.

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