Modern Vampires

A fitfully entertaining nouveau-exploitation film written by Matthew Bright (Freeway) and directed by Richard Elfman (brother of Danny, who here contributes theme music). Casper Van Dien is Dallas, a fun-loving vampire who pals around with continental vamps Ulrike (Kim Cattrall), Panthea (the enthralling Natalya Andreychenko), Richard (Craig Ferguson), and Vincent (Udo frickin’ Kier!). He meets and falls for young trailer-trash vamp Nico (frequently topless Natasha Gregson Wagner) and takes her side against the powerful Count (Robert Pastorelli, better as a big-cheese vampire than you’d think) while eluding Dr. Van Helsing (Rod Steiger, so hammy you could serve him for Easter dinner).

The movie sort of farts around until the halfway mark, when Van Helsing hilariously gains a team of rowdy, pot-smoking Crips and Natasha Lyonne drops in for a small role as a lesbian who takes a liking to Nico. Good for a rental, but don’t expect too much more than your $4 worth; given the writer, director, and cast (Van Dien is better here than I’ve seen him before — something about playing a scruffy anti-hero vamp loosens him up), it should be a lot spicier and stranger than it is … although the scene wherein Van Helsing’s posse stages a gang-bang on a bat-monster version of Kim Cattrall has to go down in some sort of movie history. I guess the movie is content to be cheerfully cheesy junk, so don’t expect it to be otherwise. The DVD is full-frame and not a terribly good transfer.

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