Anyone who has Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead ingrained in their head needs no introduction to the famous Hare Krishna zombie so prominently featured in the movie.
Well, he’s still bald, and he’s back from the dead…again! Actor Mike Christopher is still appearing in horror flicks. While he’s going to return to his zombie roots in the upcoming Night of the Living Dead: Genesis, he takes on the role of a bloodsucker in Joe Vampire.
This little indie flick is very deceiving if you consider it comes from a company called The Sleaze Box and the poster art is very grindhouse. And when we first meet Joe Vampire and he says he wears dark shades because he’s in a Corey Hart cover band, I was so ready for camp and perversion!
Joe Vampire seems like such a cool dude in his sunglasses at night—and the perfect horror movie hero. When a chick he meets at a bar is assaulted by a hot and hunky gorilla juicehead prick, Joe lets the fangs fly. And right here is my favorite part of the film—the relationship between Joe and this chick. They’re flirty, laidback, and funny together. Between the title Joe Vampire, the Corey Hart excuse he uses regularly to keep his red vampire eyes hidden, and the chemistry between the couple, I really was expecting this to have a darkly comic midnight movie feel.
Instead, the tone completely shifts. There’s plenty of blood and some vicious vampire attacks, but Joe Vampire has a very melancholy feel to it. Joe is very alone and looking to make an emotional connection with someone. His new lady friend wants to get away from the pains of life by becoming a vampire so she can be with him forever. You suddenly find yourself feeling sad for these characters.
But a sinister clan of vampires has come to the city, looking to use Joe for their own evil purposes. These guys give off a mob vibe. Seriously. It’s like a vampire mafia! Which means plenty of hunky hulky testosterone in the film. And where there’s man meat, there are ladies. Two of the baddies are sexy hot female vamps who just love seducing pretty boys.
A dry-witted vamp and his new mortal lady friend being pursued by a vampire mafia and their two vampire vixens definitely seems like a plot for a wacky flick that could go to over-the-top places.
Instead, Joe Vampire is extremely reserved. It’s so unlike me to say this, but while the movie runs the perfect Dan-attention-span time of an hour and seven minutes…I wish it had been longer! All the major players are introduced hastily and then don’t get enough screen time as the film rushes to its conclusion.
Would’ve been nice to see more of this guy…as a man, not a meal.
Even some subplots, like the harvesting of little kids for food and Joe’s relationship with his new lady, could easily have been exploited and expanded upon. Not to mention, when we finally get to a tittie bar, it’s a fairly conservative one!
It’s only in the very final scene of the movie that we get a booblicious moment—that’s also vicious and bloody! What a tease!
Of course, these hang-ups are mine because I had certain expectations for the film. Joe Vampire is not for those in hunt of a sexy scary gorefest played for laughs. It’s a serious and moody movie for the more goth and gloom crowd who prefers spotlight stories about vamp lore and how being a vampire can really suck sometimes.