Vampires Anonymous (2003) / Comedy-Horror
MPAA Rated: R for language, violence, and crude sexual content
Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Paul Popowich, Nicole Forester, Steve Monroe, Michael Madsen, Michelle Stafford, John Boyd West, Eddie Kehler, Red West, Brent Hinkley, Shane Callahan, Carolyn Lawrence, Gi Gi Merone
Director: Michael Keller
Screenplay: Michael Keller, J.P. Srinivasan
Review published July 24, 2004
While watching Vampires Anonymous, I have to admit, I wasn't able to see every minute, as gastrointestinal issues forced a hasty exit to the men's room on a number of occasions. Normally, such issues would be considered a nuisance, but as it became clear that VA would be a dismally executed and wretchedly unfunny bore, such interruptions became more of a blessing. Had I not felt a responsibility to watch as much as I physically could to be fair in my assessment of the film, I would have preferred staying where I was, reading an enjoyable magazine, instead of fighting off the urge to nod off or click the fast-forward button. One button I didn't push was the pause button, as a film with as flimsy a premise and as devoid of entertainment doesn't exactly evoke the feeling that you've missed anything. That said, my recommendation is to skip this ambitious but poorly executed misfire and skip right to the magazine.
Paul Popowich stars as Vic, a vampire whose cannibalistic impulses caused him to take his girlfriend's life. Knowing he needs help, Vice enrolls in "Vampires Anonymous", a twelve-step support group seeking to curb the vampire thirst for human blood and divert it to feasting on animals. A compatibility diagnosis has determined that sheep would be Vic's meal of choice, which necessitates a move out to the rural neck of the woods in small-town Rock Creek, North Carolina. Vic tries to live out a normal life, but the slew of sheep desecrations has the community in an uproar, while his incessant need for human blood proves too difficult to quench. This makes a blossoming romance with Maggie (Forester) difficult, as getting too close may endanger her life. Meanwhile, a corporate slayer known as Taffeta Monroe (Stafford, "The Young and the Restless") arrives on the scene, who knows no mercy for vampires.
Although the correlation between being a vampire and a recovering alcoholic might produce some moments of humor, writer/director Keller never is able to build up the premise into anything of substance. The 12-step program is there, but even that isn't particularly witty, nor are any of the meetings and the fact that vampires have sponsors. There are a lot of potshots taken at regional Southern folk, especially in the stereotype that they have an affinity for making love to sheep, but even that surefire comedic staple is dealt with in a way that seems more crass than crackling with intelligence. Also on the downside, the actors don't really have much appeal in these roles, including lead performer Popowich, who has some comedic ability but probably not in shouldering the load or a poorly executed comic horror romance all on his own. The only really credible thespian in the mix is Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill), who gives a humorous performance despite not having anything particularly funny to do or say.
Vampires Anonymous will most likely only be of interest, and just barely, to vampire fetishists looking for a diversion from the norm. However, without laughs, scares or a credible love story, this has no value for those looking for a good comedy, horror flick or romance. Perhaps a twelve-step program for bad vampire filmmaking is in order, as this one sucks more than most.
©2004 Vince Leo