Oh, the horror - but not in a GOOD way....
I’m late with this review. My first attempt to watch the movie midweek was doomed to failure as I fell asleep. That should’ve told me something.
Let’s look at the ingredients of this movie - Wes Craven directs horror comedy. Or, more accurately, a film where Eddie Murphy had a hand in the story, produced the movie AND stars. Not many movie stars can write their own movies and pull it off successfully - Sylvester Stallone is a very rare exception. This movie is firmly in the other category. In short, it’s downright woeful.
Despite an effectively eerie Dracula-esque opening with a deserted ship crashing into Brooklyn Harbour, arrying a gruesome crew of corpses and a vampire, Maximillian (Murphy) it them immediately lapses into dumb, predictable stupidity.
I like Eddie Murphy, but he fails miserably to transform himself from a likeable, fast talking streetwise hustler to a debonair aristrocatic vampire. Every time he opens his mouth to speak, it’s wrong somehow. It’s not what we expect, and Murphy just doesn’t have the acting chops to pull the role off successfully. In short, Murphy should stick to what Murphy does best - and this ain’t it.
Arriving in New York, Maximillian soon picks up a sidekick, numbers runner Julius (Kadeem Hardison), whom he turns into a ghoul. He’s kind of the "Renfield" here. The comedy, such as it is in this comedy horror, is down to Julius and his mishaps.
Maximillian is the lone survivor of a tribe of vampires who fled to a caribbean island. To keep the line going, he needs a mate and tracks down a woman (Angela Bassett) whose mother had a vampire father and left the island. Unfortunately for him, she’s a cop.
I have no idea what on Earth possessed Craven to get involved with this mess. The poster blurb promised "A comic tale of horror and seduction" - despite some early make-up effects by Greg Nicotero, this film is very, very light on scares (though to be fair there is an un-nerving sequence with a cobra) and almost devoid of humour. It’s boringly predictable and over-long. The characters don’t engage and Murphy’s miscasting soon becomes downright irritating. Maybe with another actor in the lead it could’ve been better? Who knows, but this is what we’re stuck with.
If you want to see a REAL blaxploitation vampire movie - watch Blacula. If you want to watch a really funny vampire in New York comedy, try and track down a copy of George Hamilton’s Love at First Bite, but steer clear of this train wreck, because this movie just doesn’t deliver.
Next, let’s go for Shocker.
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