Dir: Phil Claydon
Lesbian Vampire Killers is a great title, it promises a fun 90 minutes, it promises to be funny, sexy, scary and sleazy. It would be wonderful if the film managed to cover all those bases, two would have been fine, one would have proved, perhaps, mildly diverting. Sadly Lesbian Vampire Killers manages to be precisely none of the above. Instead it’s just dull, duller than a wet Wednesday in Wales, at your Grandma’s.
Lesbian Vampire Killers is not funny, not even by accident. It plays like a spoof whose script has been run through with a fine-toothed comb and everything that even looks like a joke removed. In place of actual jokes we have fat man and little boy sketch comedy team James Corden and Matthew Horne, who run around like Hell’s Laurel and Hardy, Horne whimpering and Corden saying ‘cock’ and ‘fuck’ a lot, because that, apparently, is the essence of funny. For a spoof Lesbian Vampire Killers shows little regard or fondness for, or even knowledge of, its genre (the more sexually explicit of the Hammer Horror films), and it ends up playing like something a few 14 year olds thought was ‘dead funny’. I can imagine having written the ‘cocksword’ bit as a 14 year old, and then dying of embarrassment about it by the time I was 15. As well as being juvenile and unfunny the gags are incredibly predictable, several times during the movie I was able to call the EXACT sequence of jokes for what seemed like minutes on end. If, for example, you can watch the beginning of a shower scene here and not know exactly what the end shot is going to be, well, I wish on your behalf that the first movie you’ve ever seen had been better.
Lesbian Vampire Killers really ought to be sexy, but it’s not. First of all it’s going to disappoint its drooling teenage boy audience, because there’s actually very little in the way of nudity (a few rather unexciting fake boobs here and there) or sapphic action (a few kisses, but no more) and what there is is totally unarousing. The lesbian scenes present a problem because there is absolutely no heat or chemistry in any of them. Even when a vampire queen awakens and again meets up with the lover she’s not seen for 2000 years actresses Silvia Colloca and Vera Filatova seem bound by contractual obligation rather than desire. Most of the girls are sort of pretty, but only in that fake Barbie doll sort of way. The exception is The Descent’s MyAnna Buring, whose bespectacled charms were about the only thing that kept me awake.
If you are going to make a horror comedy you had damn well better include some scares with your laughs. Shaun of the Dead managed it, so did The Evil Dead, and An American Werewolf in London (though when that franchise went to Paris the scares, and laughs, stayed on the Eurostar). Lesbian Vampire Killers doesn’t. There are several reasons for this, the first being sheer technical incompetence. Almost the whole film is shot in near pitch darkness, this also neuters the sexiness and the comedy, but the fact that you’re forever staring to see what is going on is most deadly to the scares, because even when they do happen you can barely see the damn things. This isn’t, however, to say that the scares were scary in the first place. The use of surround sound is effective, but there’s no chill up your spine when the vamps voices reverberate around the cinema, and otherwise all Claydon has to offer are cheap boo scares that were old hat 40 years ago and vampires being hacked up only to spew rating aware white blood.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of sleaze every now and then, and exploitation movies often do it brilliantly. Lesbian Vampire Killers has a brilliantly sleazy title, but aside from being rather homophobic and outrageously poorly made it’s utterly inoffensive. Where, for the love of God, are the sapphic sex scenes? Why on earth, when she’s tied up to be sacrificed by lesbian vampires does MyAnna Buring get to keep her clothes on? What’s happened to the random gratuitous nudity? What happened to the explicit and bloody violence? I don’t want these ingredients in Magnolia, or Frost/Nixon, but for crying out loud, this is Lesbian Vampire Killers. In short; where’s the exploitation in this exploitation movie?
Lesbian Vampire Killers is terrible. The acting is horrible all round, though I can forgive much of that because the script is awful on an epic scale, but worse, the film simply fails to deliver on its own brilliant, brilliant title.