They say that no one sets out to make a bad movie. I have a feeling that Larry Cohen is the exception that proves the rule in this case. There is no way a movie this bad could’ve been made by accident. This level of fail can only be achieved through sheer force of will.
Like most of the sequels to Stephen King based films, this one has nothing to do with the original. In fact, it goes out of its way to contradict it, by showing us that these vampires are different from the ones we saw earlier. There’s not even a perfunctory reference to either Ben Mears, or even to Barlowe. As such, it’s just a generic vampire film. You could give the town any other name and it would have no real bearing on anything.
The first forty minutes or so were especially painful as the film wanted to go with the Transformers 2 method of storytelling where things would just randomly occur, but nothing would actually happen. Luckily, the movie righted itself and we did get some semblance of a plot.
Granted, the plot doesn’t make much sense, but it’s still a plot. I don’t get why they went through the trouble of drafting someone to write their “Bible”. They explain why they picked him, he’s credible and has proven himself rather cold-hearted, but the vampires say that they’ve been able to thrive due to the fact that no one believes they exist. Even if the book wasn’t set to come out for 200 years, why rob your people of their greatest asset?
The bad acting seen here is the stuff of legend. When Tommy Wiseau delivers lines better than your cast, you have a serious, serious problem. Both Joe (the main character) and his son have no idea how to deliver lines and it shows. In fairness, I’m not sure how you deliver a line like “I’ve seen enough cows; I want to see my son” without either cracking up or making it sound ridiculous. Yes, it does make sense in context, but I still found that line utterly ridiculous (or should I say “udderly” ha ha ha, oh dear God).
The script itself might’ve been passable; well, OK, it’s pretty bad too, but the aforementioned bad acting makes it that much worse. This is especially true with the son, who is prone to profanity. Profanity in and of itself isn’t bad. When used well, it can add power to a character’s ire or indignation, and can even come off as poetic if done right. Here, it isn’t. As such, it’s clumsy and unnecessary.
The movie does occasionally delve into “so bad it’s freaking hilarious” territory, but those moments are few and far between. The fact that the vampires stopped drinking human blood because of hepatitis and AIDS is goofy and ridiculous. I guess viral infections affecting the blood’s taste makes sense, but it makes it sound like the vampires are contracting those diseases. You’ll also notice that the vampires roar like jaguars; that was weird. As if all of that wasn’t enough, when the main character’s vampire love interest gets doused with holy water, she actually screams “I’m melting! I’m melting!”
The only real redeeming factor here is the Nazi hunter. He pretty much stole the show. That being said, his little twist at the end was stupid, and I didn’t buy it for a second.
The movie was attempting to make some sort of social commentary, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is. The vampires try to paint themselves as victims of oppression and make several comments about how we might actually be worse. This is best exemplified with the aforementioned cows, who the vampires use for a steady blood supply. Surprisingly enough, they don’t kill the cow. Rather, they drink enough to feed, but let the cow live so that it can provide more later. This “mercy” is supposed to show that we’re more immoral.
The thing is that the movie undercuts that idea by having the vampires utilize slave labor to keep the town running by day. Joe does write it all off as “anti-human propaganda”, but it’s still bizarre.
Oh, and the main villain is killed when the characters impale him with an American flag. Really? I mean, come on. That’s just corny and dumb.
This is one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen in my life and ranks as one of the worst King films. Every time I think I hit the nadir, some movie comes along and brings us to a whole new low. Granted, this isn’t an adaptation, but it’s still horrible regardless.
Oddly enough, the general consensus I got was that this was a good movie. The reviews, as well as comments, were rather positive. Some went so far as to deem it a classic. Yeah, no, it doesn’t even come close. It’s not even one of those so bad it’s great movies. As said before, it has moments like that, but they are only peppered throughout the movie.
This is another one of those movies that has proven hard to find. Netflix doesn’t have the movie in its database, but you can buy it on DVD or VHS on Amazon, and the movie is online as well. Save your money and don’t waste your time with this.