John Carpenter's Vampires (1998)
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Critic Reviews for John Carpenter's Vampires
The picture isn't anything special, but by the standards of late-career Carpenter, we'll take what we can get.
A suspense-free snark-fest desperate to turn its protagonist - vampire slayer Jack Crow (James Woods) - into a Snake Plisskin-style icon of supernatural-badass cool.
Vampires is an entertaining watch thanks to James Woods's great performance.
All in all, Carpenter does a good job with this stylish and scary vampire movie, giving us a great leading hero and a great villain.
Grungy, disreputable fun -- the kind of blood-and-tequila western that can only be made nowadays when disguised as a horror movie.
Audience Reviews for John Carpenter's Vampires
Or known as 'John Carpenter's Vampires' if you wish. This film starts off really well with Woods and his vampire slaying team cooking up some vamps in their own unique way. They find em, harpoon em and drag them out into the sunlight via a winch on a truck. What I really liked about the film was this cool vamp slaying team, there were a few well known faces in there, character actors that really made a unique cool looking unit. Its such a shame that they all get wiped out early on. This leaves Woods and Baldwin galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle. It also seems to diminish the film before its even started, but wait! all is not lost. Woods character is a solid hard ass, he looks unashamedly cool with his black leather coat, blue jeans and shades, he's got a mouth on him, a wicked name and knows his way around most weaponry, in short he's an older Snake Plissken with a short back n sides. The plot is simple enough, its Woods vs vampires, good enough for ya?. When I say vampires I mean just one badass head vampire (who looks suspiciously like the head nutter from 'Ghosts of Mars') and a lot of faceless stake fodder. Its all about Woods really, yeah he has the typical wet sidekick pushed on him, a newbie priest to look after, and there's Baldwin but to be honest they don't figure. You wanna see Woods swearing and kicking vampire ass. When I first heard of this I didn't think too much of it, after 'Escape From LA' most were in shock and this really didn't sound very inspiring. But this does turn out to be a pretty decent western vampire flick along the lines of 'From Dusk Till Dawn'. There is plenty of blood and gore with some nice body part effects, obviously violence is high, nice visuals and your obligatory cowboy-like musical score. Not your obvious Carpenter flick as it does seem more glossy than most, still looks a bit 'made for TV' here and there but generally its a tad more Hollywood. Doesn't add much new to the vampire lore either, only the way they harpoon vamps and certain weapons have a face lift of sorts. All your usual types of deaths, leaping around, decapitations, vampire POV, bone snapping sound effects etc...are present and correct. Better than you would expect but mainly down to Woods, without him who knows. Its cheesy and not quite up to the standards of other more original quirky Carpenter films but it certainly holds its own amongst other vampire films. It does always amuse me though how all the characters know regular bullets don't have any effect on vampires, yet they continually empty clips into them as if it will do any good. 'Can I ask ya something Padre? When I was kickin your ass back there...you get a little wood?'
Here's a John Carpenter movie that I hadn't seen before, and one that I found pretty enjoyable for the most part. You see I've never been a huge John Carpenter fan. Yes he's made some terrific films in a couple of different genres, but when you look at his overall output, a lot of times it feels lazy and stinks of egotism. Hell, nearly ever movie he makes he puts his name on the title, and I don't like that at all. Vampires could have been a great abortion in the style and awfulness of Ghosts of Mars, which he made right after this one, but it isn't. It's not incredibly-well acted (other than James Woods) and it's laughably schlocky at times, but it's different and manages to actually be entertaining in spite of itself. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece or anything, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. It's not one of Carpenter's best films, but it's decent enough that you won't be bored or angry, like I usually get watching his lower calibre movies.
I have heard a lot of good things about this movie and people keep asking me why I hate it since I love vampire movies, so I suppose I will give it another try sometime. But for now, I will say that I hated the beginning of this movie, it's confusing and strange and I couldn't find anything good about it.
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