Sunday, 17 June 2012

I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

Obviously not a film for everyone, I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle is for those who wanted to see the cast of UK TV show "Boon" in a bad horror movie or who wanted to see a movie about a possessed motorbike or who wanted to see . . . . . . Neil Morrissey attacked by a lively turd in a random nightmare sequence. It has all of these things and more. None of them make for a great viewing experience.

The story is nothing to dwell on, what with it being fully described in the title of the movie, so let's move quickly past that.

The acting is okay if you enjoy acting performances that look as if they belong in some 80s British comedy drama series full of more bad puns and lame moments than anything else. Neil Morrissey is the leading man and he's so-so, if nothing special. He's certainly better than anyone else on screen, with the possible exception of Anthony Daniels in a rare non-C3PO role. Supposed to be a lovable loser trying to find out exactly what's wrong with his new purchase, Morrissey is believably dim but not really as endearing as his "cheeky chappie" could be.

The effects are about as varied as you can get with some of the stuff here being quite enjoyably gory but other stuff looking as if someone knocked it up in their workshed with a load of red paint and sticky back plastic (which, in all likelihood, is probably what happened). The bike itself is a nice looking machine and gains some nice design "upgrades" as the movie progresses. Director Dirk Campbell also does a good job of blocking scenes tightly enough to show the bike moving, apparently, without anyone on board.

The biggest problem with the film, although there are many minor failings to choose from, is that it's simply too preposterous to enjoy fully. The central premise is not just stupid but also stupidly executed. It's as if we're expected to buy into the fact that this bike can get everywhere and sneak up on people every night when the bike is there, reminding you that . . . . . . . . IT'S A BIKE! I must also make a special point of mentioning the Hell's Angels here that are about as scary as the Hell's Grannies depicted by Monty Python. Fans of the great, quaint UK horror Psychomania will enjoy seeing this bunch of tame "tough bikers". And, considering the film was released in 1990, it's strange to think that it may have seemed dated as soon as it came out. Perhaps people can argue that it's done that way deliberately, a homage to the decidedly British horrors of yesteryear. I'm not buying that one.

With Michael Elphick also hamming things up and a bunch of people who were never really (or should never have been) bound for anything more than TV work, the movie just about works it's way to an average rating with it's exuberance and sense of self-belief (not to mention the surprisingly enjoyable, generic soundtrack) but it just has far too much to work against with the onslaught of poor, groansome gags, the silliness of the whole scenario and the complete lack of tension throughout. UK horror has seen much worse entries in the genre but it's also seen MUCH better.


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