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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Alpha Vamp

Vampires (1998) on IMDb

Plot Overview

garlicVampire slayer Jack Crow (James Woods) has had him a bad hair day. After failing to completely eradicate a vampire nest near Fort Union, NM, his team was hit at night by master vampire Jan Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) while they were partying at the Sun-God Motel. He's like a character in a Chris Holm novel:

Frank was only sixty-three—a decade younger than any­one who met him might have guessed—but they'd been sixty-three hard years. He'd spent a good forty of them drinking, smoking, and whoring around like he was still that young punk from Hoboken with some­thing to prove to the big dogs across the Hudson in New York. Now he was paying the price for those trans­gressions—and it turned out the interest was steep. (64)

For having been raised by the Church after his parents were killed by vampires, he seems to have not got the message about idolatry, cussing, boozing, and whoring. It's best to avoid these things, especially if your life calling is battling the dark side.

Jack's number two man Anthony Montoya (Daniel Baldwin) is the only other survivor of the massacre. He's put in charge of a pretty prostitute Katrina (Sheryl Lee) who was bit by the vampire. They're holding her hostage as she's changing (“A master vampire has a telepathic link to his victims, and you're gonna help us find him.”) He takes her to the Plaza Hotel in Apache Springs where he tries to work out the cost of the room. It's $375 with a deposit of $25. Unable to do the sum, he asks the clerk, “What's the [eff]ing total, guy?” who replies, “That's erm ... $400.” Better keep him away from intellectual challenges. He can be the muscle. Or not. As he's removing the girl's gag, he covers her mouth with his unprotected hand, which might not be the best way to keep vampires in check.

The third and final member of their troop is Vatican archivist Father Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee) who was being groomed for the position but now has to step in prematurely owing to the death of the padre they'd been using. Father Adam is a “book­worm” ill-prepared for this rough & tumble job, but he's all they've got. He's also a spy for the Church.

ornate crucifixThey are after centuries-old vampire Jan Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) whose incomplete inverse exorcism that created him left him vulnerable to sunlight. Once he completes that exorcism with the salvaged black cross of Berziers he'll be unstop­pable. We're given little hope those three clowns can stop him, but it was a hard and brutal exorcism that didn't complete the first time, and they still have to contend with Murphy's Law. Some­thing's bound to go wrong with the ritual. Vampires aren't supposed to be out and about in the day­time. It's like trying to have your cake and eat it too. With­out them being out of sight, out of mind, people can't just deny their existence.


Eventually Jack is confronted by his betrayer in the church:
I'm sorry to disillusion you, Jack. As one grows old, as death approaches, we begin to question ... our faith. And I found mine lacking. “Is there a God? Is there a heaven?” I can no longer answer this for certain. I've witnessed no miracles, had no visions, and the prospect of death terrifies me. I've realized I've only one ... alternative, and I made a bargain, with the devil if you wish.
From J.B. Mozley's sermon on Seeking a Sign, we note Jesus's reply:
when the scribes and Pharisees came to Him and said, (Matt. 12:38) “Master, we would see a sign from Thee,” He answered and said, (Matt. 12:39-40) “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall also the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And … to the same purpose, (Luke 16:31) “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

The first lesson this passage teaches us is, that we must take things in the order in which God sends them. God gives us our consciences first, the law written in our hearts, which tells us what to do and what to avoid. This law gives a great deal to do to God and our neighbour—our neighbour being all the people around us, high and low, rich and poor, one with another, our relations and friends, our equals, superiors, inferiors. If we obey this law, He then vouch­safes some­times to comfort and cheer His servants by special providences. But if persons expect special providences first, and then say that they will begin to think of doing their ordinary duties, they then invert this order which God has established. (64–5)

A member of the clergy in this outright “evil and adulterous generation” had inverted the natural order of things by requiring signs and miracles before performing his ordinary duties. When they didn't occur, he set about to perform another “inverted exorcism” to enhance a vampire from whom he expected in return to receive an undead immortality.

Production Values

” (1998) was directed by John Carpenter. Its screenplay was written by Don Jakoby based on the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley. It stars James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, and Maximilian Schell. The acting was all good except for the wooden delivery in a brief scene of the man playing the local lawman. Sheryl Lee was under­standably tempting.

MPAA rated it R for strong vampire violence and gore, language and sexuality. Due to law regulations, sale restrictions apply to the 108 minute uncut version (rated “Not under 18”) of the film. There­fore German video distributor VCL also released a cut version (rated “Not under 16”) that omits 3 minutes and is widely available. This is not a high budget picture, but they made the most of what they had. How much does one need shooting night scenes in the desert?

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The action was unrelenting, the acting was mostly good, the plot was rudimentary but cohesive, the music was fitting being composed by the director, the special effects gore was border­line cheesy—but then how realistic do we want it to be, seeing we still have to sleep at night?—and it wasn't long and drawn out. This was all in all a pretty good vampire flick if that's how you get your kicks.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Special effects: Average special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Holm, Chris. Red Right Hand. Copyright © 2016 by Chris Holm. New York: Mulholland Books, 2016. Print.

Mozley D.D., J.B. Sermons Parochial and Occasional. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1880. Print.