Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

So much has been said about how hard it is to mix horror and comedy. You could probably say the same about how to do a good "dumb" comedy. Granted, many a horror-comedy hybrid is ultimately dumb, so doing something that is funny or at least amusing and also dumb can be hard, because you run the risk of it being too dumb, and thus not that funny. Thankfully, Dirk Campbell's sole directorial effort outside of TV has both a title that get's your attention, and manages to be entertaining in spite (and in some cases, because of) it's absolute stupidity.

Nick Oddie (Neil Morrissey*), aka "Noddy", just got a great deal-a new motorcycle! Well, there's a bit of a problem-it's been possessed by it's former owner, who was the leader of some sort of Satanic cult, and it needs to kill people for their blood in order to live. Meanwhile, Inspector Cleaver (Michael Elphik) is on his case, and Nick is going to need the help of a priest (Anthony Daniels, mostly known for his role as C3PO) to stop the bloodthirsty hog, all while the body count rises.

If there's anything about "I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle" that didn't sit well with me, it was the character of Inspector Cleaver. He comes equipped with "wacky" music, smells of garlic, and is nowhere near as funny people behind the movie think he is. I also wasn't too keen on the last shot of the movie, which leaves room for a sequel that will never happen, and then there's the fact that it could have about 5 minutes cut from it.

Outside of that, I had a lot of fun with this movie. The thing that helps the most is how committed it is to it's own universe. This is a movie with biker gangs, motorcycles thirsting for blood, said bike going on a killing spree in a hospital, lines like "let's kick some bottom", and so much more. Yet, you just go with it, and end up becoming damn near enamored with this tale. Plus, there's some genuine laughs to be had, references that are actually kinda fun ("An American Werewolf in London"), the acting is mostly good, the direction isn't bad, the songs are kinda catchy, and there's plenty of moments that leave your jaw open due to how strange they are. The highlight though, is a warped homage to "Shivers" in which Noddy encounters one of his own turds-which talks to him, then jumps into the poor guy's mouth. It's disgusting and crude, yet so utterly bizarre that I have to applaud it. I wonder if the creators of "South Park" are fans.

So, will this be your cup of tea? Well, it depends on your tolerance towards dopey comedy. While it occasionally is too dumb for it's own good, I found it to be a fun ride (pun intended), as it feels like a worthy heir to oddball Brit horrors like "Horror Hospital" and "Psychomania."

Rating: 7.5/10

*Neil Morrissey is mostly known for his role in the British Comedic Drama "Boon." He's also the voice of Bob the Builder, so in honor of that, I give you this:

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