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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Grace Jones, Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron, Robert Rusler
DIRECTED BY
Richard Wenk
SCREENPLAY
Donald P. Borchers (Story), Richard Wenk (Story/Screenplay)
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
93 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Arrow Films (DVD/Blu-ray)
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 "Vamp" Gets Blu-Ray Treatment From Arrow Films 
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Vamp is one of those "Hey, I know that kid!" films. In this case, that "kid" is Chris Makepeace, beloved teen star of Bill Murray's Meatballs and an actor whose career never really got close to that high again with his last acting credit being 2001's straight-to-video Full Disclosure.

Despite advertising Grace Jones front-and-center in its marketing, word-of-mouth quickly spread that Jones was really a secondary character here the focus of the film being on a couple of frat pledges (Chris Makepeace and Sandy Baron) who head off to the big city to hire a stripper for the next frat party. The boys fall into some weird ass time warp, not the Rocky Horror kind, and find themselves in a strip club that serves as the front for a vampire club where unsuspecting businessmen are never seen again.

Jones is here, of course. She's a dancer in the club, but she only has a couple of choice scenes before she pretty much disappears. She's nowhere near the focus that the film's poster, description and marketing would have you believe. That's really quite the shame, because it's hard not to believe that Jones could have hit a home run here.

Makepeace and Baron are fine here, though there's a reason we haven't heard from Makepeace since 2001. It was obvious in Meatballs that he had a limited range and it's obvious here. Gedde Watanabe, another underrated actor, is here as the college dude with the car. Unfortunately, he's not given much to do and he really doesn't do much.

Vamp is basically just an exercise in cinematic mediocrity, a mid-80's curiosity that will likely trigger some memories for those who've seen it or who will just be able to say "Hey, I remember that poster. Whatever happened to Grace Jones?"

The film, however, has gotten some pretty fine packaging from Arrow Films, the U.K. based indie distributor that specializes in making these films look better than they are. Released on DVD/Blu-ray on October 3rd, the film has some mighty fine extras to enjoy:

  • High Definition digital transfer
  • Original mono audio
  • Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • One of those Nights: The Making of Vamp - a brand new documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Wenk, stars Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe
  • Behind-the-scenes rehearsals
  • Blooper Reel
  • Image gallery
  • Dracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) – Richard Wenk’s celebrated short film
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil

First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher

I'd be hard-pressed to consider Vamp a "must watch" or "must acquire" film, but for fans of 80's cinema or fans of the film this is probably the best package you're ever going to find.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

    The Official Rating Guideline
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    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
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