Monday, April 5, 2021

All My Vampers

Ever since I heard True Blood's Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) first pronounce the word vampire, "VAMPER" I have adopted it as my preferred way of saying it. I have to remind myself to actually say vampire when it comes up outside my own home, which is a lot more often than I thought it would be. This is not unlike Mark Borchardt stubbornly calling his film Covin,  COE-VIN, which I also do. 

Salem's Lot, 2004 d. Mikael Salomon

Written by: Stephen King (novel); Peter Filardi (teleplay)

Starring: Rob Lowe, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, Samantha Mathis, Andre Braugher

Does a Stephen King adaptation even need a summary? Bodies start piling up as a mysterious newcomer stalks a small North Eastern town. And as always, there's a writer.

This somehow made it onto my Netflix disk queue and was delivered the week after I finished rewatching The Twilight Saga. Someone, somewhere must have recommended it to me, although I think my Netflix queue still has stuff on it from 2010 that is just now coming up. 

I don't really have a ton to say about it; even though it's a 2004 production, the vibe is very much cheesy 80s film that you don't get too mad about or invested in. There are very good parts: the casting was interesting, the timeframe was updated from the seventies to (then) modern times, and Donald Sutherland as bad guy Striker seemed to really have fun with this role (the scene of him giddy and scampering up the stairs after a victim made me laugh, a lot).  There are also bad parts: the writing of the relationship between Dr. Jimmy and Sandy was cringe-worthy, the Ben Mears voiceover was mostly lame, and I keep waiting for someone to put the knives-under-the-vanishing-stairway bit from the book into a film adaptation (this didn't), but overall I still enjoyed the experience. This is exactly the kind of film we would watch for our Tuesday group and either spend the whole time overanalyzing or laughing at everything. I actually really dug the ending. My husband had the idea for Ben Mears (your favorite and mine, Rob Lowe) to shout out "Let's Rock," in conversational tone every time they went to kill a new vampire. Yes, everything Rob Lowe does must be related back to St. Elmo's Fire, forever. 

In terms of the vampire genre, I think True Blood might have ruined me a little when it comes to fangs. The retractable (kind of sexual) obviousness of all the Bon Temps Vampers' fangs springing out left and right made me realize that fangs are important. I'm not saying they need to be that clicky or anything but good fang work must be written into the special effects budget. Otherwise the killings are basically zombies who bite necks, why even bother with it? 

The fang work in this film was adequate (Rutger Hauer wore them beautifully), just like the fangs in The Lost Boys were good if a little thick, but I go back to one of my favorites again and again for both fangs AND creepy claw nails, and that's the original Fright Night. Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge is one of my favorite vampires,ever---attractive and creepy. Enough time has passed for me to try the remake starring Colin Farrell again, which I don't particularly remember digging too much, so maybe look for that this fall when I get into the horror lists properly. 

Cameron (Obnoxious and Anonymous) and I discussed the Twilight Saga a few days ago, and obviously, the attractive aesthetic is alive and well with these vampires with added sparkle and eye-change features, but seriously, had there been a little more attention devoted to fangs, I think it would have elevated the vampires, specifically their fight scenes, to the next level. 

Though I realize I'm missing the Wheadon series (I know, I'm getting to them), I decided to list my favorite vampire experiences in film, television, and books below. Tell me what you think I should do next! 

1. Fright Night (1985 film)

2. I Am Legend (book by Richard Matheson)

3. Dracula (book by Bram Stoker)

4. The Lost Boys (1987 film)

5. Dracula (1992 film)

6. Nosferatu (1922 film)

7. True Blood (television series) 

8. Fevre Dream (book by George RR Martin)

9. The Passage Triology (books by Justin Cronin)

10. I Am Legend (2007 film)

11. The Twilight Saga 

12. The Southern Vampire Mysteries (The Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris)

13. From Dusk Til Dawn (1996 film)

14. "The Reluctant Vampire" (Tales from the Crypt Episode)

In the meantime, if you're down for a nice long chat about The Twilight Saga, check out our discussion (I think I only slip and say "Vamper" once!").