Waynesville Mail

A Macabre Journey: Humor, Romance, and Bloodshed Collide!

MOVIE REVIEW
Modern Vampires

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Genre: Comedy, Horror, Romance
Year Released: 1998, 2021 Ronin Flix Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 31m
Director(s): Richard Elfman
Writer(s): Matthew Bright
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Gabriel Casseus, Kim Cattrall, Craig Ferguson, Natasha Lyonne, Natasha Andreichenko, Robert Pastorelli, Udo Kier and Rod Steiger
Where To Watch: available to order at www.roninflix.com


RAVING REVIEW: A hidden gem in cinema, FILL 'ER UP WITH SUPER is a captivating French road movie that takes viewers through themes of friendship, masculinity, and the human experience. Alain Cavalier'sLovers of all things Tales from the Crypt, looking for an offbeat and unconventional cinematic adventure, will undoubtedly be mesmerized by Richard Elfman's creation, MODERN VAMPIRES. Set in Los Angeles, this unique film invites viewers into the city's secret vampire society, filled with their nightly mischief. The intriguing screenplay by Matthew Bright melds different genres, resulting in a multifaceted story that prompts deep contemplation.


Richard Elfman's MODERN VAMPIRES is brimming with intentional and unintentional humor, guiding viewers on a delightful expedition through sexual allure and bloody affairs. The riveting performances of the main actors are central to the vivid depiction of this complex world of eternal creatures. An eccentric touch is added to the narrative by a renowned doctor and his motley crew of city vigilantes, who unite to pursue the bloodthirsty beings.

The film is abundant in explicit content, featuring gruesome feasting sequences and passionate romantic scenes. However, it is not designed for those craving a spine-chilling horror flick. Instead, it caters to an audience who appreciates an engaging and enthralling exploration of vampire folklore. An intriguing and unique take on a world that has been revisited time and time.

An essential ingredient of MODERN VAMPIRES' charm is the score composed by Michael Wandmacher, with the central theme by the director's brother, Danny Elfman. The piece perfectly aligns with his brother's strange vision, providing coherence to the otherwise disjointed story and intensifying the film's overall effect.

The film's diverse cast delivers dynamic and dedicated performances, infusing the production with vibrant energy. Their spirited portrayals offer additional depth to the mysterious universe. Not to mention this now iconic cast, it felt like every scene I saw “someone I knew.”

While the storyline is captivating, it is also somewhat rough around the edges, and Elfman's directing choices tend to emphasize its shortcomings rather than accentuate its positive aspects. The portrayal of human characters, often reduced to simple distractions or sustenance for the vampires, might be more appealing if Elfman showcased more remarkable technical finesse. This is also part of the reason that this made-for-TV film was so charming; it instantly took me back to my days of staying up late and watching movies I probably shouldn’t have.

Nevertheless, MODERN VAMPIRES delivers a fun exploration of the vampire genre with a distinctive spin that sets it apart. Although it leans on B-movie tropes for its plot and dialogue, the film maintains a refined appearance in its execution. The film never shies away from practical effects that make it stand out. The makeup and gore are exceptional for the time.

In summary, MODERN VAMPIRES weaves together humor, eroticism, and a hint of the macabre. While it may not be deemed a classic in the usual sense, it provides a singular experience for those courageous enough to plunge into its peculiar depths. The film's unapologetic treatment of its subject matter and Elfman's directorial decisions culminates in a memorable yet somewhat disorganized viewing experience. For those with a penchant for the peculiar and unconventional, MODERN VAMPIRES could be the perfect film to quench their cinematic thirst.

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[photo courtesy of RONIN FLIX]