Ah the 80s were a glorious time for horror. Many of the great horror franchises started in the 80s and with it being the heyday of VHS and Beta, even if a film never made it to the big screen it had the chance of a long and successful life on the video store shelf. This is how I discovered many of my favorite horror films and it is also how many horror fans found smaller films that may have been missed otherwise. In 1986 writer/director Richard Wenk made a great little vampire movie called Vamp starring none other than Grace Jones. While Wenk only went on to direct a couple more movies that didn’t really go anywhere, he still has a busy career in Hollywood today writing screenplays for films like The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. But if you enjoyed those recent blockbusters go back and give Vamp a try now that it is out in a new special edition from Arrow.
Two college students, Keith (Chris Makepeace) and AJ (Robert Rusler) are trying desperately to get into the good graces of the campus fraternity. Promising to find a stripper for a frat party, they embark on a road trip with lonely rich student Duncan (Gedde Watanabe) to a shady part of town and a mysterious strip club to find Queen Katrina (Jones). But once they discover the club is actually inhabited by vampires, they go on the run for their lives trying to escape.
Vamp is an incredibly fun movie with tons of horror, gore and laughs, a perfect example of a great 80s horror flick. The whole cast are great including 80s mainstay Makepeace and Rusler from A Nightmare on Elm St. and Grace Jones absolutely steals the show as the terrifying Katrina. Wenk’s direction is surreal and inventive with superb vampire makeup by Greg Cannom (The Lost Boys, Exorcist III). One thing that seems obvious is the connection that Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Til Dawn might have been influenced by Vamp, they have many things in common including vampires, strip clubs and overall aesthetic. And Vamp is just as much fun, well worth checking out if you missed it on the video store shelves.
The new special edition from Arrow includes a new hi def transfer, a great new documentary on the making of the film, behind the scenes, blooper reels and even a great short film by Wenk. Vamp is loads of fun and highly recommended.