Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 17th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1986
Director: Richard Wenk
Writers: Richard Wenk, Donald P. Borchers
Cast: Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron, Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe, Grace Jones, Billy Drago
BluRay released: October 4th, 2016
Approximate running time: 94 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Vamp was co-written and directed by Richard Wenk whose other notable screenwriting credits include, 16 Blocks, The Mechanic and The Equalizer. Key collaborators on Vamp include, cinematographer Elliot Davis (Lords of Dogtown, Twilight) and composer Jonathan Elias (Children of the Corn, Two Moon Junction).
Vamp has an interesting premise that is bound to give most viewers a feeling of dé·jà vu. Content wise, this film bears more than a striking resemblance to From Dusk till Dawn. And though the premise lays the foundation for a solid horror film, it is ultimately the infusion of comedy into the mix that solidifies this film’s place as one of the best examples of horror / comedy hybrid.
The narrative is meticulously constructed and pacing is never an issues as things are always moving forward at a rapid momentum. Also all of the characters are well defined and their motivations are never in doubt! And perhaps the most surprising asset of this film is how fleshed out even secondary characters are.
From a production stand point there are no areas where this film does not excel. With its visuals being one of its greatest strengths. According the cinematographer Elliot Davis a major influence on the look of this film was Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. Standout moments include, the scene where Grace Jones seduces one of the pledges before revealing she is a vampire. And the film’s finale where the protagonist finds himself under ground in the vampires resting area.
Performance wise the cast all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Grace Jones (A View to a Kill) in the role of Katrina, the head vampire. Other notable performances include, Dedee Pfeiffer (The All-nighter) in the role of a waitress named Amaretto who works at a vampire infested bar and Billy Drago (The Untouchables) in the role of an albino gang leader named Snow.
Vamp comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer used for this release comes from the same source used for Arrow Video’s UK release for this film. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels remain solid throughout and details look crisp. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included for this release. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, T.V. spots, two trailers, a Blooper Reel (6 minutes 13 seconds), Rehearsal Footage (6 minutes 40 seconds), a short film also directed by Richard Wenk titled Dracula Bites the Big Apple (21 minutes 2 seconds) and a documentary with cast & crew titled One of Those Nights (44 minutes 30 seconds).
Topics discussed in the extra titled One of Those Nights include, the origins of Vamp, first time director writing the screenplay, the cast and how casting the right person can make or break a film, horror and comedy finding that right balance, on set memories, rehearsal’s, Grace Jones and how she changed from once filming began, the look of film and their thoughts about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option and a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew info, an essay about the film titled Vamp: More Than Just Scary Laughs written by Cullen Gallagher and information about the transfer. Overall Vamp gets a first rate release from Arrow Video.