It’s official. I hate vampires.
That doesn’t apply to the Bela Lugosi classic Dracula, or even the tight leather Kate Beckinsdale Underworld. I mean the cheap knock-off movies that bring no originality to the vampire subgenre, no new mythos, no new twists, just rehashed clowning around where the vampires are super strong and diabolical, and usually sexy as well.
Vampire Hunter opens with a comedy of tired characters. There’s the damsel-in-distress, the would-be bad-ass hero, the evil genius vampire, and his annoying sidekick ghoul/Renfield. (In this case, I mean Super annoying.) Soon, the vampire wins out and the hero is dead on the floor. I actually thought I started the film at its climax, but low and behold, this is a flick where the next great Vampire Hunter is going to emerge from the shadows and defeat the evil whatever-his-name-is.
The film then breaks into a long montage of the next hunter, John (Gallimore), who knows more martial arts than Crayola knows crayons. It’s obvious from his repeated routines with staff, nunchuks, etc, that this guy is a real bad-ass. Unfortunately, that also foretells the level of acting destined for the film.
Sean Gallimore is the lead actor, and directed and wrote the film, at a budget under $5000. You can’t knock him for that, and honestly, his artwork isn’t bad either. For the most part, Vampire Hunter looks like the non-sexual scenes of an 80’s porn film, with equal sound and Hi-8 quality. The guy’s got tenacity and physical skills. I’d like to see him paired up with some other companies to put him into roles better suited for his skill set. John and his wife Heather (Leigh) soon cross paths with the vampire lord Morgan (Millan), and begin the road to an inevitable confrontation.
Vampire Hunter hits the nerve with me which drives me nuts. Word to aspiring filmmakers: if you’re going to make a vampire flick, go easy on the fangs. They don’t need to be six inches long and completely impair your actors from being able to enunciate.
Soon, the film becomes a marriage between Fists of Fury and Underworld, leaning heavily towards the former. Staking a vampire and then kicking him in the face seems to the be preferred method of retirement in this venture.
The beginnings of a really good flick are here, but due to budget, they’re not executed. Gallimore is working on a new film titled Fight Ring, which looks a lot slicker and a lot more in tune with his skills. The trailer, as well as artwork and writing from Gallimore, is available at www.seangallimore.com.
Vic Carlson is responsible for the original score of Vampire Hunter, which is slick and compact and works well over the film’s multiple fight scenes. The obvious highlight is the fight choreography, especially well executed by several of the skilled cast members. Gallimore is every bit as capable as Van Damme in his early films. It’s about enough to overcome the poor effects, including the one vampire’s Lee Press-On claws.
In the end, Vampire Hunter is a martial arts action movie before it’s anything else. In that vein (pun intended), it’s decent, and above average for its budget. Gallimore shows promise interpreting his art to the screen, and would benefit highly from a budget and an experienced director. Here’s hoping Fight Ring executes his vision more accurately than Vampire Hunter.
Thankfully, the ghoul gets it early on.
This is the third time I’ve cued up this disc, and the Pendulum Pictures high-pitched electronic Casio keyboard sound effect gets more annoying each time. Vampire Hunter is part of a six-movie, two-DVD compilation titled Brutal Blood Suckers from the aforementioned Pendulum Pictures.