Review of Vampires (1998)
Seen in 2022.
Two teams of vampire hunters sponsored by the Vatican are decimated. According to Medieval legend, the master responsible for this was the victim of an accidentally inverted exorcism and is looking to complete the ritual.
A fun, dumb action movie, not as stylish as Blade (1998) but with some nice practical effects, especially vampires winched(!) into sunlight to burst orgasmically into flame.
In The Terminator (1984), James Cameron (J. C.) told the story of a saviour named John Connor (J. C.) with similarities to the myth of Jesus Christ (J. C.), the son of a carpenter. In Vampires, John Carpenter (J. C.) tells the story of a saviour named Jack Crow (J. C.) and it’s even more openly pop-Christian than Prince of Darkness (1987). Fortunately, Carpenter’s attitude is ironic. Crow wears his black leather jacket in every scene. He’s not above torturing the priests he works for, his main claim to competence is that he once killed his own father, and he’s curiously obsessed with the question of whether violence gives a particular priest a hard-on, yet Crow is played by James Woods, a B-movie action star who is not tall, not muscular, not handsome, and not cool, but is nonetheless the right man for the job.
Sexism is rampant. Other details are cute. There’s one of those lesser Baldwins. The upper edge of the screen is faintly red-rimmed in outdoor scenes, but it’s a static overlay; it never moves. There’s a cardinal who betrays the Church because he’s never seen a miracle, but he has seen vampires bursting into flame in sunlight; I don’t know how he explains that if it isn’t a miracle. Crow is crucified at one point, as you’d expect, but his cross is conspicuously phallic, as it should be.