Judge Gordon Sullivan plans to invite a few vampires to his next party.
This Party Is Going To Suck.
I've been doing this reviewing gig for a while now, and, for the life of me, I can't recall seeing a film more poorly advertised than Vampire Party. First, there's that title. Sure, it accurately describes the film's plot, which features three friends getting into an exclusive party that just happens to be a gathering for hungry vampires. Still, it lacks the mystery and subtlety of the original title, Teeth of the Night. Which bring up another point: the original title is actually Les Dents de la Nuit, and the film is French. That fact is only made clear in tiny little letters at the bottom of the back cover. I know some people like their Freedom Fries and all that, but I don't think it would hurt to advertise the film's Gallic origins. Finally, the lead copy on the cover refers to this film as an "Airplane! style spoof," which leads the viewer to expect a horror-comedy film along the lines of the Zucker's Scary Movie franchise, but with vamps instead of slashers. Aside from a recurring Titanic gag, this simply isn't the case.
How then, you might ask, would I market Vampire Party. First I'd lose that silly name. If the marketing team is clever enough to give the film the tagline "This Party is Going to Suck," surely they could come up with something a little better than Vampire Party for a title. If nothing else keep the French original and sell it on mystery. I also wouldn't use Airplane! to sell the movie. There are too many more recent and appropriate touchstones. I'd sell as a relative of Dead and Breakfast (without the music), Shawn of the Dead (without all the cinematic touchstones), or perhaps Black Sheep (minus the gore).
That's really where the heart of Vampire Party lies. It's telling a fairly standard horror story (friends trapped in a remote mansion with vampires) but with everything amped up to comedy levels. Rather than having a gaggle of pretty, Edwardian vamps, Vampire Party will throw in a young overweight girl as a bloodsucker to get a laugh. Naturally, the main vampire (played by Tché ky Karyo, of Bad Boys fame, as the box tells us) is completely vain and spends more time fussing with his hair than he does with killing people. It's generally a fairly subtle brand of comedy, with only the occasional over-the-top character to really signal that it's a spoof.
Overall, the film is fairly gentle, with only the occasional moments of violence and other icky stuff. That leaves the characters to anchor the film, which works surprisingly well (especially considering it's all in a language other than English). The three main characters are all pretty identifiable types. Sam is the hard-partying pretty boy who still manages to be charming despite his obsession with having a good time. Alice appears to be a vapid exercise instructor, but when push comes to shove she knows how to deal with vampires, while Prune is the more level-headed character. Together the trio comes off as very friendly, and their different reactions to bizarre antics that surround them keep the movie engaging on several levels.
Sadly, the DVD presentation is a lot more like the marketing than it is like the feature presentation. I certainly can't knock the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, with its strong handling of the film's darker scenes. Nor can I complain about the 5.1 surround French audio, which keeps the dialogue audible (for those who can understand it), but also artfully manages the soundtrack and effects. But, the disc is bled a bit dry after that. The only extra is the film's trailer, which is a shame. I'm sure Vampire Party was a blast to film, and it would be great to hear from the actors or the directors (even if it had to be subtitled).
Vampire Party is a decent little horror/comedy hybrid that manages to maintain its comedic edge despite a language barrier. Although the horror won't satisfy true gorehounds, anyone with a taste for more recent horror-comedies will almost certainly enjoy this. I mean it has a sharpened toilet brush handle as a weapon, what's not to love? Even though the disc could use some extras, it's still worth at least a rental for the target audience.
They claim the party's going to suck, but that isn't the case with Vampire Party. Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dark Sky Films
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