26 May 2008

Movielog, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, 2001
Written by Ian Driscoll
Directed by Lee Demarbre
85 minutes

Okay, so I got a little burned out on reviewing movies and books for awhile. Partly just due to the sheer pace of the reviewing, but partly due to the overall quality of each film and/or book -- for the most part, I was watching a masterpiece every night. Which is somewhat insane. So I've pulled back and decided to spent less energy on watching movies and reading books for review, and catching up on old TV that I haven't had the chance to watch.

And see some really brainless cinema. In case you couldn't tell from the title, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter fits into that category perfectly. Basically, a punk-rock kung-fu Jesus has to take on a group of vampires who are killing hot lesbians so they can use their skin as grafts to protect their own skin from the sunlight. Or something like that.

The premise sounds delightfully absurd and deliriously profane, but unfortunately the filmmakers decided to go the PG-13 route and pull back from most of the scandalous fun that should have been in a film like this. There's no nudity to be found (and, oh, how I wished for some nudity when Maria Moulton showed up as Mary Magnum!), the gore is incredibly tame, and overall the writing lacks a certain punch. This is mostly because of the incredibly amateur level of this production -- Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter was made over the course of about two years on weekends on a nothing budget, and most of the actors and extras are clearly the friends and family of the filmmakers. Interestingly, the great length of production seems to have done something for the quality of the film, as (assuming it was shot basically in-sequence) the later parts of the movie are much more competently shot and much more ambitious in their scope than the earliest sequences. There are even a couple of stunts involving a motorbike that would have been fairly impressive even in a much larger-budget film -- I don't know if there was a stunt double used or if the actress can actually ride a bike, but either way it was unexpected and nice to see.

Is this film worth your time? I'm not sorry I spent the ninety minutes on it, and there are sequences that are pretty clever and pretty funny, but the lack of a budget really shows here, and the writing isn't good enough to make up for it. When you make this kind of movie, you pretty much do it for the love rather than the money, and I'm sure that the filmmakers have made exactly the film they wanted to make, but to me it seems stilted and unnatural. It's entertaining as far as it goes, but really, I wanted a little more bite.

No comments: