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VAMPIRES

SYNOPSIS:
Jack Crow (James Woods) and his team are full-time, Vatican-endorsed vampire hunters. Team Crow employs drastic measures, to say the least. They manage to seriously anger the "original vampire" Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) and now the hunters become the hunted.

"Sam Peckinpah meets Howard Hawks meets John Carpenter - a wild combination if ever there was one, but Carpenter's take on the vampire genre is as close to a Western as one is likely to get as we approach the end of a jaded nineties. And only Carpenter can get away with it. Vampires is a lot of fun, as well as being a visually exciting film. Balanced with an often dry humour, the film is incredibly sexy, excessively violent at times, but just as fascinating, as we see a modern day wild bunch do battle with the first vampire. Beautifully shot on location in Arizona, Carpenter keeps up momentum and throws in some unique ingredients to a familiar mix. One actually has a sense of character here, especially with the relationship of the James Woods-Daniel Baldwin characters, which is classically Hawksian. Woods, arresting as usual as Crow the relentless vampire killer; Baldwin gives an interesting performance as his close friend who falls for a bitten prostitute, beautifully played by Sheryl Lee. Vampires is not only your classic good vs evil morality tale, but a film about the role of the Church, which adds some interesting twists to a conventional genre. Vampires isn't for everyone, and it's certainly not designed for the faint-hearted, but under the imaginative direction of John Carpenter, is a compelling and engrossing piece of escapism."
Paul Fischer

"If you want to see James Woods stabbing a vampire in the heart with a giant spiked cross while yelling 'Suck this!' you'll probably get a kick out of this action-horror hybrid. It's a throwback in more ways than one: the climax takes place in a dusty, deserted Texan town, and director John Carpenter's guitar-heavy score often suggests a spaghetti western. At the same time, the graphic setpieces revive the now surprisingly rare pleasures of horror movies at their most flamboyant, with numerous gags about priests or vampires who die in spectacularly bloody ways. In a brilliant piece of casting, the head foe of evil is played by James Woods at his sleaziest, with his angular sneering face, foul mouth and jittery manner. (As The Simpsons reminded us, Woods only plays 'tightly wound' characters.) When Woods is posed as a supercool hero in leather jacket and jeans against a spectacular widescreen desert vista, the effect is equally rousing and casually self-mocking - the essential mood throughout. Clearly this is a total boys' movie: Sheryl Lee, the female lead, spends all her screen time looking either petrified, orgasmic, catatonic, or occasionally all three at once. But the kinky hints in her performance are strictly passing tones (along with the anti-Catholic satire). What counts here are the gore effects, the wisecracks, and the complex but always clear action sequences, pulled off with expert speed and panache. Truly, 'the kind of movie they don't make any more.'"
Jake Wilson

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JAMES WOODS

VAMPIRES (M15+)
(US)

CAST: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell

DIRECTOR: John Carpenter

PRODUCER: Sandy King

SCRIPT: John Carpenter, Don Jacobi, Dan Mazur (John Steakley, novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gary B. Kibbe

EDITOR: Edward A. Warschilka

MUSIC: John Carpenter

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Thomas A. Walsh

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 10, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: June 15, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow







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