Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sundown: The Vampires in Retreat (1989)

One of the great things about movie packs is that they usually contain movies that are always worth watching. Sure, there might be a a few (or in most cases, many) clunkers to be found, but it's those little movies that make them worth getting. In this case, it's the Anthony Hickox film "Sundown: The Vampires in Retreat." Granted, it's also available in a fun special edition, but since I'm a cheap kind of guy, getting it with a six movie pack for five bucks seemed like a smarter idea.

Welcome to Purgatory. No, not the actual one, but a town with that name. It's a nice place and all, except for the fact that a family of four has decided to stop by, and the whole town is made up of vampires. Oh, but these aren't all bad vampires. In fact, much of the town doesn't want to hurt people, and are drinking synthetic blood thanks to some scientists and Marulak (David Carradine.) However, other vampires don't want to drink synthetic blood and would rather drink the real thing. Vampires like Jefferson (John Ireland), who has an angry mob ready for war with the town. Add a descendant of Van Helsing (Bruce Campbell), and you've got shit ready to hit the fan.

While it does have a few problems (a few uneven performances and the fact that it runs a little too long), "Sundown" is a lot of fun and stands as the best thing Hickox directed. For a horror comedy, its actually pretty funny, with plenty of amusing gags and performances (Campbell is hilarious), as well as likable characters and solid direction and writing throughout. It also boasts an intriguing little premise. The idea of vampires trying not to behave like vampires has been done before, but here the topic is handled without the usual boring angst. It's a movie that manages to avoid taking the usual road and is a lot of fun to boot.

That out of the way, those hoping for lots of blood and gore might be disappointed. Sure, there's some minor stuff (charred vampires and an amusing bit with an umbrella), but this isn't a splatter movie. That's just fine however, as tons of grue would have hurt this. This is a movie that runs on tons of heart and enthusiasm, and doesn't need tons of splatter to work.

For those looking for a funny and original take on the vampire tale, then "Sundown" is absolutely worth checking out. If only more hybrids of comedy and vampires were like this (apart from this, "From Dusk Til Dawn" and especially "The Fearless Vampire Killers", there aren't many great vampire comedies IMO.)

Rating: 8/10

1 comment:

  1. Glad you dug the movie. I reviewed it on my blog a few months ago. It's pretty darn good.

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