My Best Friend is a Vampire (1988) / Comedy-Fantasy
aka I Was a Teenage Vampire
MPAA Rated: PG for mild sexual references and language
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Robert Sean Leonard, Cheryl Pollak, Evan Mirand, David Warner, Rene Auberjonois, Paul Wilson, Fannie Flagg, Kenneth Kimmins, Cecilia Peck, LeeAnne Locken, Michelle LaVigne, Harvey Christianson, Kathy Bates (cameo)
Director: Jimmy Huston
Screenplay: Tab Murphy
Teenage monster flicks seemed to be all the rage in the mid-1980s, starting off with the extended video to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, followed by notable entries like Teen Wolf, Fright Night, Near Dark, The Lost Boys, and The Monster Squad, among many other more obscure ones. My Best Friend is a Vampire is one of those obscure ones, never really differentiating itself from the rest of the “hip” teen monster mini-genre. If you were one of the few that saw it at the time of its release, you’ve probably long forgotten it by now, or if you haven’t, you’ve probably often confused it with any of the other films that it is basically a carbon copy of.
Set in Houston, Vampire follows the exploits of virginal high school geek Jeremy Capello (Leonard, The Last Days of Disco), who has the hots for the equally virginal geek-girl, Daria Blake (Pollak, Pump Up the Volume). Jeremy’s best friend Ralph (Mirand, Megalodon) thinks he just needs to get laid with a complete stranger to get his pent-up feelings out of his system. His job as a grocery delivery boy affords him the opportunity when he meets a sexy older woman named Nora (Peck, Ambition), who implores him to come back at midnight for a little nookie session.
After the liaison, Jeremy begins to notice some odd things about himself, including sensitivity to sunlight, paler complexion, and a thirst for blood. An odd man named Modoc (Auberjonois, Police Academy 5) starts following him around, attempting to mentor the young lad in his new life as a vampire, but Jeremy thinks he’s just a crazy kook. Meanwhile, the dastardly vampire hunter Professor Leopold McCarthy (Warner, Tron) is hot on his trail, with a wooden stake just waiting to be driven into the heart of the newly-turned vampire.
My Best Friend is a Vampire is a benign time-waster that may have some appeal to those nostalgic for teen films of the 1980s, and perhaps those that enjoy innocuous vampire fare. It has a likeable cast of character actors, an amiable charm, and the usual 80s soundtrack of hits featuring such notable artists as Blondie, Timbuk 3 and Oingo Boingo. The only problem with the film is it is highly derivative of the aforementioned teen films that came prior, to the point where nearly every scene and story element feels like we’ve seen it before. Mildly pleasant for a vampire flick, but far from remarkable.
©2006 Vince Leo