There’s a reason why I added each of the three films in this post to my media library, so let’s find out why…
DANCE WITH DEATH (1992)
The director of Demon Wind brings us what is considered a remake of erotic thriller Stripped to Kill from just five years before, which is about a detective that goes undercover at a strip club to investigate a series of murders of dancers. But believe me, even if you’re a fan of Stripped to Kill, Dance With Death is altered enough to make it worth a watch—and worth it for me to have on Blu-ray to complete my Stripped to Kill franchise collection.
There also happen to be some awesome people in the cast. Martin Mull plays the club owner during the era that he was a regular on Roseanne. Just two years before she’d find fame on Friends, Lisa Kudrow plays the friend of the main female character, who is a reporter this time instead of a detective.
And Maxwell Caulfield, with Grease 2 ten years behind him, plays the detective that teams up with the reporter to solve the case.
The reporter wants to get the story and solve the case, so she takes a job as a stripper at the club. There’s plenty of T&A during the dancing scenes, but we only get to see a few death scenes. However, one in a phone booth is particularly disturbing and violent.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of red herring so we don’t guess the killer too soon, and there’s even a lesbian plot line (makes sense the year Basic Instinct struck it big as an erotic thriller).
Most importantly, the old school final chase scene is fricking fantastic. It’s a long, suspenseful chase with a masked killer that just won’t seem to die. The finale alone had me thinking I might like this film better than the original.
TO SLEEP WITH A VAMPIRE (1992)
I added this DVD to my movie library because I needed to complete my collection of every horror movie starring Mallory’s boyfriend Nick from Family Ties, so I deserve what I get.
To Sleep With a Vampire is a perfect example of the kind of soulless direct-to-video/direct-to-cable crap that was being pumped out as the 80s morphed into the 90s.
This is a gothic erotic vampire romance that falls flat on all counts. Scott Valentine plays a lifeless (no pun intended) vampire that goes to a strip club (obligatory in movies during this era), lures a suicidal stripper home, and then tells her he’s going to suck the life out of her before the morning comes. First, he insists she tell him all about the joys of being mortal.
The best part of all the poor attempts at thought-provoking dialogue is when the stripper asks the vampire if he’s sucked on guys. He doesn’t answer.
Right from the start, their interactions are volatile, violent, and filled with sexual tension. The eroticism includes some tits and Scott in a leopard print Speedo.
As far as vampire lore is concerned, he can’t be in the sunlight, but he does have a reflection.
And while a slimy taxi driver who thinks he’s funny chauffeurs them around town, and Scott uses his long fingernails to climb the side of a house to get inside a window, at one point Scott simply beams himself and the main girl off the beach in a sparkle of light when the police show up. So apparently he has the ability to teleport… but opts to do things the hard way?
As mortal and vampire begin to bond, the big question we don’t even feel like sticking around to get the answer to is…will they live eternally ever after or is someone going to die?
DANCE OF THE DAMNED (1989)
Here’s the big six degrees moment of this post, which is also why Dance of the Damned was a must-have for my completist obsession. Dance of the Damned comes from the director of Stripped to Kill, and To Sleep With a Vampire is a remake of Dance of the Damned! What the hell? Why was everyone unofficially making sequels to director Katt Shea’s movies a few years after she made them?
I can safely say To Sleep With a Vampire is virtually an exact duplicate of this movie, with very minor details altered and a slight difference in tone.
The vampire is played by the dude from Porky’s who played a sort of asshole because he had an abusive father. I much prefer him in the role of the vampire over Nick from Family Ties. He also has an amazing mullet from hell that would make Billy Ray Cyrus feel inadequate.
This vampire gives off a sexier and more dangerous yet likable vibe, so it’s easier to imagine him glamming the stripper into coming with him for the night. He shows off his long fingernails earlier, he has monster-blue eyes, and he has a very 1980s, mono-colored monster POV.
The few differences include a reference to lesbians being the best tippers at the strip club in place of her teasing the vampire about sucking off guys, weak synthpop music during dance scenes that tells you it simply has to be the end of the 80s, a more gruesome response from the vampire when a couple of thugs harasses him and the girl, and the taxi driver who picks them up being less sleazy and not offering hints of comic relief as he does in the remake.
There’s also a great erotic horror scene of the stripper licking the vampire’s canines while they make out, and the final battle has a much better supernatural tone. It’s much more compelling than the hokey feel of the chase in the remake.
And finally, when they climb the side of a building to enter a house through a window, I’m almost positive it’s the same window that the Glick boy floats outside of in Salem’s Lot, if not an intentional facsimile.