Blacula, Bloodrayne, Underworld 3: Ten vampire movies (almost?) worse than Twilight Eclipse
Ah, the glory of Photoshop's desaturation tool
Courtesy Twilight: Eclipse
Yesterday marked the opening of Twilight: Tweengasm, and no power in the universe can stop a seething mass of blond 12-year-olds from streaming into theaters across America, where they will squeal in unison for two hours until every pane of glass in the nation is reduced to shards.
However, we know the Twilight series are really, really bad. They reduce a primordial horror film archetype into a castrated, sparkly Ken doll. But is Twilight: Eclipse the worst vampire film of all time? Check out these contenders and decide for yourself.
As soon as someone realized that you could combine the words "Black" and "Dracula", the release of Blacula was just a matter of time--it's one of those wordplay titles so bad that you gotta do something with it, right?
Blacula follows the sordid tale of an African ruler who tries to harness Dracula's power, but instead becomes trapped as a vampire in a sealed coffin until the funky '70s, when he is inexplicably freed by a couple of gay interior decorators (who he kills immediately).
Featuring a triple scoop of violence, sex, and funk music, Blacula has all the important features of any blaxploitation film, including terrible directing, worse acting, and a script that would make Battlefield Earth's screenwriters hide their faces in shame.
Interview with the Vampire
This movie could have been pretty decent, despite its roots as an Anne Rice novel: It's got Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst, who aren't terrible actors, absent the latter's embarrassing performances in the Spiderman series.
But there's also a couch-jumping, alien-worshipping elephant in the room, and with Tom Cruise in the role of the vampire Lestat, this film falls apart faster than Lindsay Lohan in a liquor store.
Sporting a fluffy blond wig and teeth that puff his cheeks out squirrel-like, Cruise flounces around the set in a huff for most of the film--when he isn't busy staring angrily into the darkness. Except for the whole "being fugly" thing, he could easily be regarded as a proto-Edward: over-earnest and aloof, boasting all the charisma of a lobotomized porcupine.
Bloodrayne is a film based on a video game. It's also directed by Uwe Boll. If that weren't enough to send you screaming, it stars Ben Kingsley, Michelle Rodriguez, Mealoaf, and Michael "This Movie Is Gonna Suck" Madsen, who might as well be playing a brick wall.
The source material seemed kinda cool; in the game you play a hot Nazi-killing vampire babe in WWII Germany. The setting allowed for skin-tight SS costumes and a novel, steam-punkish vibe.
Inexplicably, Boll decided to set his film version in a generic, brown 18th-century fantasy Europe and chose a script so boring and predictable you could watch it with the sound off and miss nothing. The whole thing has such an sheen of amateur work about it that you can practically hear people yelling "I rolled a 13 with my +1 longsword!" in the background.
Ok, so this one's technically an HBO series, not a movie. But its sheer terribleness transcends the traditional boundaries of form to land it on our list.
First, there are the godawful Southern accents, drippingly overdone by actors trying to hide their natural British or Aussie accents.
Then there's the obsession with sex--and take it from us, we don't mind a little sex in our vampire shows. But True Blood massively overplays the dirty bits, to the point that by the end of the first season, we were getting bored with seeing Anna Paquin's boobs. That's really hard to do.
Add onto the mix a heavy-handed metaphor whereby vampire rights stand in for gay rights ("Coming out of the coffin," get it? get it?), and you've got the worst thing to happen to HBO since Deadwood got canceled.
This epically bad horror/comedy monstrosity stars a pre-Ace Ventura Jim Carrey as a high school kid eager to lose his v-card. To everyone's surprise, along comes a seductive cougar, who takes Carrey back to her place.
But wait! It turns out this MILF is actually an ancient vampire, out for Carrey's virgin blood in order to sustain her immortality. What follows is a string of weak dialogue, unfunny jokes, and over-the-top '80s movie shtick that just falls flat. The high point of the film is a surreal, random dance-off between the fempire and Carrey's girlfriend.
Even the dreamy Jeff Goldblum can't save this trashy tale of two tabloid reporters who travel to Transylvania in search of Frankenstein's Monster. What they find are wacky hijinks in abundance, a convoluted series of plot twists involving the wolfman, a vampire, and the swamp thing, and more sub-par jokes than a Mencia special.
Transylvania 6-5000 is terribly acted, and featured production values so unacceptable, that critic Leonard Maltin was moved to give only a three-word review: "Transylvania 6-5000...stinks!" We admire his restraint in not using the more vampire-appropriate "sucks."
You can tell a movie is gonna be awesome when a) it has a number in the title to indicate a space-future setting, b) it's released direct-to-video, and c) Coolio's on the cast list. Dracula 3000 doesn't disappoint, from the low-budget sci-fi effects to the ridiculous premise.
A future space salvage ship finds a bunch of future space coffins, and because it's a movie, someone decides to open them up. Luckily that person is Coolio, so he spends the rest of the movie as a vampire, at least until he mercifully dies from a future space pool cue through the heart.
What follows is more or less the plot to Jason X: A bunch of generic character archetypes try not to die while being chased around a claustrophobic ship by bloodthirsty monsters.
It does have one of the better endings in trashy space-horror lore: piloting the ship into the heart of a star in order to kill the vampires and save earth, the android love interest reveals she has been programmed as a sex-bot just in time to provide a few moments of bliss for the generically hunky lead before the suicide mission ends. Bow-chicka-bow-bow!
Queen of the Damned
Not to speak ill of the dead, but Aaliyah's last movie blows chunks. Another Anne Rice flick, it comes with all the overblown frippery and romance-novel airs that mark Rice's Mary Sue writing style. The acting is wooden, the plot tedious, the special effects underwhelming.
To clue you in on how bad the plot is: the movie opens with the vampire Lestat (yes, the same one from Interview) being woken up from a long sleep by the sound of a rock band. Naturally he decides to take over the band and become a famous goth rocker, which these days is like saying you're well known in the competitive pinochle circuit. It just goes downhill from there.
What makes the whole mess even worse is that the only reason to watch Queen of the Damned is to see Aaliyah stalking around in the vampire equivalent of the Slave Leia costume--but perving on a dead lady makes us feel so uncomfortable that we can't even properly enjoy the skin on display.
We'll admit it. We actually liked the first Underworld movie. We like blue movies, and also movies with hot ladies in skin-tight latex. Guns and excellent special effects help too. But there's only so much other awful crap we're willing to put up with in order to get to the good stuff, and the third Underworld offering is swimming in awful crap.
First, no Kate Beckinsale. It's not like she's God's gift to acting, but she did hold together the first two movies and was really only outclassed by Bill Nighy, who could probably play a potted plant and make the role entertaining to watch. Making an Underworld movie without her was a huge mistake, because the leftover cast lacks a standout personality to carry the movie, and the ensemble cast just blends together into a mediocre soup of unresolved conflict.
One of the glaring issues is that that Underworld thrived in a sleek, near-future setting where metal and brick collide and gunfights in subway stations are the norm. Underworld 3 throws us into an alternate-history medieval setting, and the signature style choices translate to the fantasy-esque set pieces about as well as Google translates between Mandarin Chinese and English.
Vampire in Brooklyn
Oh Eddie Murphy, is there any movie you can't ruin? Then again, Vampire in Brooklyn pretty much came pre-ruined. A modern blaxploitation flick, it follows the story of Max, the sole survivor of a Caribbean vampire clan, who travels to Brooklyn tracking a half-vampire woman who holds the key to his race's survival. He's gotta get with her in order to save the day (cue funk music).
Unfortunately Max sort of sucks at handling the ladies, and so he has to resort to saving the love interest from being killed by a taxi cab in order to win a date. Just as our hero is about to score, he gets a stake through the heart and somehow everyone else ends up living happily ever after.
The mediocrity is only deepened by the obvious disregard with which the script-writers viewed the project; crappy quips and terrible gags abound - including one endcap joke about the endowment of black vampires. Real classy, people.
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