From Batman to bad movies – the hokey horror of Adam West

adam west

After a notable absence from horror following some appearances in the 80s (One Dark Night, Zombie Nightmare), superhero icon Adam West brought his charms to some cheesy horror as we moved into the new millennium. So here’s a look at 3 Bs with the Batman.

AN AMERICAN VAMPIRE STORY (1997)

american vampire cover

I can’t even wrap my head around how a copycat of Fright Night could be so boring. Adam West is pretty much the only thing this one has going for it.

american vampire lead

A cute kid is home alone for the summer, so he and his buddy plan to party. First night on the beach, they’re attacked by a bat, then a strange dude appears out of nowhere and invites them to hang out.

american vampire bat

This is our main vamp, played by Johnny Venocur, whose horror resume includes Evil Laugh, Hard Rock Nightmare, and Lord of Illusions. Awesome resume, but he’s no Chris Sarandon or Colin Farrell.

american vampire carmen

He invites himself to stay at the main kid’s house. He has two pretty women with him—one of them Carmen Electra if you look hard enough. He has a weirdo assistant/cook, played by veteran actor Sydney Lassick (Carrie, The Unseen, Lady In White, Curse II: The Bite), who seems to thirst after our main kid for more than one reason.

american vampire vamps

NOTHING HAPPENS. Our main kid just endlessly finds hints that there’s something weird about his houseguests. There’s no humor, no nudity, no horror. NOTHING.

american vampire cross

An hour into the film, he finally contacts vampire slayer Adam West, who shines simply because he’s Adam West.

american vampire adam west

Seriously, I don’t even know that the material he’s given is any good, he just knows how to work it. A whole lot more of nothing happens, with a few lame encounters between the main kid and the vamps once he exposes their secret, then Adam West pops back in to help him vanquish them.

american vampire main vamp

Adam West deserved to have a bigger role here—and a different script.

SEANCE (aka: KILLER IN THE DARK) (2001)

seance cover

Séance apparently went unreleased for years and eventually just showed up on YouTube for free viewing. YouTube could be like a one-stop rehab center for failed indie filmmakers– the place you go to admit you have a problem and rid yourself of it all at once.

seance ghost

Recall the absolute cheesiest, messiest, nonsensical episode of Freddy’s Nightmares or Friday the 13th: The Series you ever saw and you’ll know what to expect from this low budget film. Corey Feldman tells his college friends about a little boy ghost he befriended as a child, so they decide to have a séance to try and contact it.

seance seance knife

Through the magic of awful special effects, they are transported to the middle of a slasher situation and witness a guy get murdered.

seance slash

When they return to their séance, they learn the murder actually happened outside their house. Freaking out, they drag Corey’s spiritual grandmother into it, as well his brother, who’s a priest. Meanwhile, they start getting murdered in typical slasher fashion.

seance stab

It’s at the point that everyone is standing outside a garage just screaming at each other and having meltdowns that I realized this was even worse than the worst Freddy’s Nightmares episode.

seance garage

A guy getting killed by a CD that flies out of his computer hammered the point home.

seance CD

The hammer started pounding me in the head when Corey began acting possessed in a hospital.

seance neck slice

Worst of all, another séance transports the group past some homeless guy by a Dumpster, then minutes later he saves them from the killer with a wave of his arms, which leads Corey to say, “That guy must have been an angel.”

seance adam west

It led me to say, “Holy shit, this is the end of the movie and that was Adam West.” WTF? I wouldn’t have realized Adam West was in this film if I wasn’t watching it specifically to write an Adam West horror movie blog…

MONSTER ISLAND (2004)

monster island cover

This throwback parody to 1950s monster movies is also a nostalgic watch because it’s a reminder of the days when MTV still had an ounce of cultural relevance and cool factor left to its name. What’s MTV, you ask? It was a channel that changed the face of music by showing only music videos in the 1980s, and then morphed into a trendy network of programming aimed at young people in the 90s and early 2000s. These days you might hear about it once a year if a pop star does something perverse enough at its annual award show to make it seem edgy again.

monster island mantis

Anyway, in Monster Island, a dude wins an MTV contest to party on an island with his friends and…Carmen Electra!

monster island carmen scream

But just when Carmen hits the stage, a giant wasp flies in and kidnaps her.

monster island carmen kidnap

It’s up to the main guy and his friends to save her. But the jungle is filled with giant praying mantises, giant spiders, fish men, and other mutated creatures!

monster island fish man

Just like the plot, the monster “special effects” have a lot in common with the original King Kong, providing plenty of laughs as the goofy monster models toss people around left and right, get into battles with each other and tractors, and even have sexual relations.

monster island attack guy flies

The cast plays along with the silly fun, and is a perfect product of the time, including MTV VJ La La and Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys.

monster island lala

monster island nick carter

Plus, we get scream queens Chelan Simmons (See No Evil 2, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Final Destination 3) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Grindhouse: Death Proof, Black Christmas remake, Final Destination 3).

monster island cast

Adam West comes on board as a scientist with the brains to help the kids find Carmen’s prison and destroy the monsters.

monster island adam west

He’s fun here, but there’s so much going on in Monster Island that he stands out more in that lame vampire flick he appeared in with Carmen Electra…

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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