Lionsgate // 1988 // 89 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 14th, 2009
Released under Lionsgate's "Lost Collection," this dopey late '80s vampire teen comedy should have remained unfound.
Jeremy (Robert Sean Leonard, House, M.D.) is your typical high school kid. He has a crummy part-time job stocking shelves at the local grocery store, his best friend is a sex-obsessed loser and he's nursing an unrequited crush on a girl with a boy haircut. Also, a bizarre sexual encounter with a heavily-made-up woman in a castle turns him into a vampire.
As Jeremy grapples with his new identity, a vampire hunter (David Warner) is determined to wipe him out. That's a lot for a kid to deal with, but there are a lot worse things than drinking pig's blood and wearing sunglasses all the time. Back acne, for one. And inopportune boners.
There's a trivia track included on this disc and it's the only extra feature. And like the half-assed release it's a half-assed effort -- just some crude type overlaid on the screen while the film is going. Anyway, one of the questions was if this movie or The Lost Boys was the higher grosser. Thinking that I was the only one who happened to miss the My Best Friend is a Vampire phenomenon and that it was big hit with the teenage crowd I stupidly considered giving it the edge over The Lost Boys. Turns out The Lost Boys took in $30 million and My Best Friend is a Vampire? $175,000. Ouch. I guess I wasn't the only one who never heard of this movie. (And why, by the way, would you put a trivia item on your movie that shows how utterly inconsequential it is?)
And for good reason, because this flick blows. I'm pretty sure the filmmakers were going for a Teen Wolf vibe, you know with a hapless kid from high school hit with a supernatural monster-of-the-week affliction, but where that movie succeeded juxtaposing school life with the challenges of being a werewolf and all the goofy shenanigans that went with it, here, none of that happens. Jeremy turns into a vampire, does his hair in a slick new do, wears sunglasses and drinks pig blood and...that's about it. No awkward gym class experience, no science lab gone awry, no embarrassing explanation to the guidance counselor of why he can't see his reflection in the mirror, none of those potential comedy set-pieces you'd figure would be in this movie. Come on, you've got the perfect recipe for all kinds of tomfoolery and the bulk of the film is wasted on this stupid vampire hunter and that guy Paul from Cheers driving around in a van. The cover art, with the coffin-shaped locker and the tennis shoes? Easily the best vampire/school gag of the movie. Pathetic, huh?
If you do decide to enroll in this slow-learner curriculum, Lionsgate has a release worthy of the film's mediocrity. A low-quality full frame transfer and a tinny 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix that does nothing worthwhile make for a disappointing technical presentation. That trivia track is it for extras.
It's stupid and littered with missed opportunities, but if the sight of a young Dr. Wilson guzzling down a pint of milk with red food coloring does it for you, then My Best Friend is a Vampire is the movie you've been waiting for!
Guilty. Ram a stake through this one. And put your back into it.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Trivia Track