Sunday, 13 July 2014

Beverly Hills Vamp (1989)

Directed by (the infamous?) Fred Olen Ray, Beverly Hills Vamp is simultaneously awful and pretty great. The plot is as slim as it is ridiculous, and it's the least important aspect of the movie. This is just an excuse to see some pretty women being vamps, "enjoy" some awful gags, and look on in wide-eyed wonderment at the strangely brilliant Eddie Deezen. Imagine a gangly Jerry Lewis trying to impersonate Groucho Marx while fitted with a voice-altering device that makes him sound like a high-pitched Joe Pesci and you've got the general idea.

Deezen and two of his friends, Tim Conway Jr. and Tom Shell, want to make it in the movie business. After one meeting, they then decide to go out for an evening of fun. They end up at a house overseen by Madame Cassandra (Britt Ekland), unaware that all of the alluring women are actually vampires. Deezen resists any temptation, as he's faithful to his girlfriend, Molly (Brigitte Burdine), and that's what keeps him safe. But can he keep his friends from being bitten?

Written by Ernest D. Farino, this is a scattershot film that throws everything at viewers in an attempt to fill out the skimpy premise. There are gags, characters sometimes break the fourth wall and comment on the film that they're in, minor characters (such as the one played by Caryle Waldman) are given their own little skits, beautiful women act foolish, and Eddie Deezen overshadows the whole thing with his own inimitable, hand-waving style. There's also some fairly amusing lines delivered with great camp by Ralph Lucas, who also gets an unexpected "honour" with his last scene.

Director Fred Olen Ray is no fool, however, and he knows that people aren't going to sit down and watch this movie for the plot. Oh no. Most viewers, who will mostly be male, will watch this for the female stars. Ekland is the big name, but she's often sidelined in favour of the younger talent; Debra Lamb, Jillian Kesner, and Michelle Bauer.

Ahhhhhhhh Michelle Bauer. If Bauer wasn't in the movie then I don't mind admitting that I could easily take two points off the final rating given here. But she IS in the movie, and that's enough for me to rate the film as above average. Because she'll always be one of my favourite '80s scream queens.

Anyone who doesn't share my love for her (and if not, why not?) can always adjust the rating accordingly.


No DVD release seems to be available, unfortunately, so check out the movie here, for the time being -

As I couldn't find a decent screenshot to use, this picture of the gorgeous Michelle Bauer will have to do.

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