Judge David Johnson lives next to a vampire. His name is Ted. He's got a sweet riding lawnmower.
"Your wife was nearly raped by a bat while you sat downstairs working."
I thought I had a sense of most tongue-in-cheek, Bruce Campbell-fronted horror romps, but this one came out of the blue and surprised me…in a good way.
Facts of the Case
Thanks to a handy scrolling title card, we learn that the strangely benevolent Count Mardulak (David Carradine, Kill Bill: Volume 2), the most powerful vampire in the world, has taken a collective of fellow bloodsuckers deep into the United States Midwest to begin a commune devoted to drinking synthesized blood and staying out of the human-murdering game.
But not all the vamps are keen to Mardulak's idealism, and a break-off faction has opted to wage war against their undead brethren. Caught in the middle of this, ahem, blood feud is an engineer and his family, brought in to perfect the blood synthesis, and a wannabe vampire hunter (Campbell).
If you're in the mood for a goofball splatter-lite horror/comedy, this 1990 effort will deliver. While neither soaked with laugh-a-minute dialogue or spurt-a-minute bloodshed, Sundown has a lot of things going for it, which I will detail…now.
• Bruce Campbell
• David Carradine
• Stop-Motion Bat Mayhem
• The Vampire in Retreat
• Blood Geysers
Like I said, it may not be the funniest or goriest horror slapstick adventure you'll ever see, but Sundown more than satisfies the craving for a vampire saga that does not take itself seriously. Bruce Campbell fans especially will be well-served by tracking this one down.
A very nice DVD awaits you. Lionsgate has spit out a remarkably crisp 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and pinned a clean 5.1 surround sound mix to it. Extras include a nostalgic audio commentary by director Anthony Hickox and DP Levie Isaacks, three interviews with Campbell, Carradine and well-known character actor M. Emmet Walsh, a photo gallery and trailers.
You like vampires? And laughing? And Bruce Campbell? Here you go!
Not guilty. Bite down!
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