Written by: Ron Cotton on December 15th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: 1987
Director: Luis Esteban
Writer: Rollin Jarrett
Cast: Trevor Lissauer, Johnny Venocur, Adam West, Sydney Lassick, Carmen Electra, Daisy Tormé, Danny Hitt
DVD released: 2005
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.87:1 Letterbox
DVD Release: Digiview Productions
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $1.00
“Remember what we talked about. Your an adult now and you’ll be man of the house while we’re in Europe for the summer. This is our way to show that we trust you.” – Frankie’s Parents
Frankie (Trevor Lissauer) is king of his domain while his parents tour Europe. Bogie (Danny Hitt) swipes liquor from Frankie’s home for the two on an extended beach outing. The two discuss Dee Dee (Daisy Tormé), Frankie’s love interest over the night sky. Just as Frankie gets up to leave, Bogie is biten by some strange creature. Another surfer named Moondoggie (Johnny Venocur) approaches who was alsoattacked. Moondoggie for the promise of “hot babes” gets Bogie to spill the beans about where Frankie lives, allowing him to come over anytime. Soon, Moondoggie takes up Bogie and Frankie’s offer with the two hot babes that he promised. Things aren’t what they seem, and as summer comes to a close, Frankie flush out his unwanted guests anyway possible.
Digiview Productions continue to release DVD titles that feature debuting actors and actresses. American Vampire isn’t an exception to this rule. Carmen Electra’s acting debut in a full feature length film began with American Vampire. Originally “An American Vampire Story” changing both the movie title and movie cover during a VHS reissue to increase sales. Making her the pivotal focus on the cover is misleading, as her role as Sulka is both insignificant and alludes to other expectations not found within the film. One would expect a more graphic film from American Vampire’s PG-13 rating, restricting it from most of its target audience.
“Now what’s this brouhaha about these bloodsuckers?” – The Big Kahuna (Adam West)
American Vampire is a genre mixing feature, unifying stereotypical beach movies with vampire film somewhat unsuccessfully. The acting performances of Sydney Lassick as the “Igor” and Trevor Lissauer as the “neophyte” were above-par. Adam West’s contribution to American Vampire automatically indoctrinates this film as a B-Movie simply by association. West’s performance lacked the expected zest and charm of his other tell-tale roles. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt and speaking like a dude from the valley, it’s not the Adam West that you’ve come to expect. Dick Dale contributes with very short cameo, the basic staple of any beach film.
The color, lighting, and sound are satisfactory. The songs in American Vampire are unique but don’t fit the general scheme of things. Featuring some limited CGI that’s interesting but not amazing. Shot in 35mm, the film lacks depth and the crisp characteristics of film. American Vampire has the soft appearance of low-grade digital video, possibly edited on an early non-linear editor. The softness might also be from the interlacing. Labeled as a Full-Frame release, American Vampire is Letterbox release. I believe the Letterbox release is the correct aspect ratio, because Full
Frame VHS release has the boom bobbing into and out of the frame.
American Vampire isn’t much of a contribution to cinema, plays out more like a made for TV movie. Perfect for late night drunken tirades leaving your brain on the back door. I nod in agreement when another eluded that this film deserves to be featured on MST3k.