The church has long known that vampires exist. However, it is discovered that a group of vampires are searching for a powerful doom for mankind. The Vatican then secretly enlists a team of vampire-hunters, led by Jack Crow, to hunt down and destroy the vampires before they find the crucifix.Written by
John Carpenter in top form with film "Vampires" (no spoilers)
John Carpenter is America's greatest living director of westerns. Although "Vampires" is his first literal western, JC's been turning out 1st rate original westerns from "Assault on Precinct 13" to "They Live" and "Escape From New York" to "The Thing". Even though these movies don't take place in the west, they have all the ingredients of a good western: the lone hero/outlaw, the seige or attack, the showdown, and plenty of action. "Vampires" takes place and was filmed in the southwest (filmed in Sante Fe, NM). Carpenter's DP Gary Kibbe captures some nice wide John Ford-ish western vistas, and Carpenter's minimalist score capture the desolate, hard nature of the place. The real asset of this film is its cast, especially James Woods as the insanely tough and foul-mouthed slayer Jack Crow. He really does some inspired improvised riffs, and when he's not kicking ass Woods has a lot of fun with it all. Jack Crow is a classic Carpenter hero: all man, flinty eyed & completely alone, and Woods plays this unsympathetic character with such a quick wit you can't help but admire the guy. Thomas Ian Griffith plays a great Valek, the master vampire whom Jack has sworn to slay. Griffith plays the character completely straight, and it works extremely well. Griffith is an imposing figure, and you get a real sense of the nobility & savagery of Valek's character. Compared to Woods, Griffith underplays his role, but still commands a very real presence of power & evil. Carpenter stretches the $20 million dollar budget well, but you can sometimes "see the zipper down the monster's back". Despite a few fake looking wounds or rubbery stakes, Carpenter delivers a polished & stylish film, on par with movies costing 10 times as much (better in some cases). I believe Carpenter works best with a little larger budget, but he should stay away from the typical Hollywood giant budget, he works best with a smaller production. "Vampires" is a treat for any Carpenter fan, and hopefully marks the beginning of a new standard in his films.
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