An American Vampire Story
directed by Luis Esteban
(Columbia TriStar, 1997)

Imagine, if you will, a low-budget horror film with a vampire called Moondoggie (which is so much easier to say that Count Eric von Zipper), a vampire-hunter called the Big Kahuna, almost no blood whatsoever, a soundtrack of we-can't-actually-pay-you quality and barely enough plot to hold 99 minutes of low-quality video together. By all means, throw Carmen Electra in there, but you're still left with one of the worst vampire films ever made. For the love of Dracula, there's not even any nudity in this film.

Carmen's hot -- there's no doubt about that -- but she doesn't exactly get a lot of camera time in this stinker, and you can see plenty more of her in a wide selection of magazine pictorials than you'll ever get to gawk at here. (On an even more deflating note, she has a body double in this film. Now, I ask you, why on earth would Carmen Electra need a body double?) Who made this film, anyway? The whole point of making an atrocious horror film is to get some attractive women naked. I thought everyone knew that.

So here's the story. For some insane reason, the parents of Frankie (Trevor Lissauer) leave him home alone all summer while they tour Europe, seemingly unaware that a teenager with a best friend named Bogie (Danny Hitt) cannot possibly be trustworthy. A mere one day later, Frankie finds himself hosting Moondoggie, a stranger he and Bogie met on the beach, his babe-alicious friends Katrina (Debra Xavier) and Sulka (Electra), and Frankie's disgusting lackey Bruno (Sydney Lassick) in his home. These increasingly unwelcome guests basically take over the whole house. Despite the fact that lost pet notices seem to appear outside right after each of Bruno's amazingly bloody meals, trash bags are used to cover all of the windows, weird little knick-knacks like Satanic crosses start popping up, and three coffins suddenly appear in his parent's bedroom, it takes Frankie a while to figure out that he may in fact be suffering from a vampire infestation. With Bogie incapable of seeing anything wrong with Moondoggie and his hot little vampirettes, Frankie has only one option -- to seek the help of Dr. Van Helsingmeister (Adam West), better known as the Big Kahuna, a surfer dude trying to live up to his family name.

Were it not for the presence of Electra in this film, it would have already fallen into the trash pit of putrid cinema. It's not even bad in a funny way -- it's just bad, period. As long as there are bargain bins, though, there will be guys like me who see Carmen Electra adorning a DVD cover and decide to give the film a chance. Just be forewarned: the plot is really weak, the acting is below average (including that of West, who is no stranger to thoroughly awful films), the special effects -- which are few and far between -- are amateurish at best, the filmmakers obviously had a restraining order thrown on logic before shooting began, and the list just goes on. The only people who should subject themselves to American Vampire are those of us obsessed with watching as many bad horror films as we can get our hands on.

by Daniel Jolley
23 December 2006

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