From JC–“I’ve heard stories about how awful this is, and I’ve never seen it myself, and I’d like for Peter to write a hilarious review of this.”
[Note: Because the Weinstein Company is apparently afraid of the implication of breasts, the movie is titled just Vampire Killers in the US.]
Lesbian Vampire Killers is the kind of movie that I should hate, but don’t. I’m normally not a fan of spoofy horror movies. Either make a real horror movie or make a real comedy, because whenever the two get overtly cross pollinated, the result is crap like Stan Helsing and Transylmania. You’d think from the title alone that Lesbian Vampire Killers is a lot closer to Transylmania than, say, Dracula Dead & Loving It, but this is a surprisingly tolerable and occasionally enjoyable horror comedy.
The setup is simple: two down-in-the-dumps young men decide to go camp in the countryside. What happens when they get there is a little more convoluted: there’s an ancient curse that stalks the very countryside they’re going to and it involves a Vampire Queen that once lorded over a gaggle of lesbian vampires and who will rise again if said gaggle of lesbian vampires can perform a sacrifice ritual involving virgins.
As you’d expect, the movie is heavy on the sexual humor, but I actually admire the direction in which it takes that humor. Instead of having a bunch of hot lesbian vampires grooving on each other, it tends to play down their sexuality and play up crude, but well-handled humor, including, but hardly limited to, vampires that explode onto the men bukakke style when they’re killed and ancient swords with dildo handles. Yes, that sounds even worse on paper, but in the actual movie it’s mostly tame and enjoyable.
Oddly enough, most of my complaints stem more from the look of LVK than its actual content. It’s a dark, ugly movie, and not in a moody, intentional well. It’s shot like a bad commercial, with a lot of random things like speed ramps and crushed lighting thrown in for no real reason other than they’re things that can be done in an attempt to find a style. But there’s no real style here. Take out the sex and violence and the whole thing looks like it could be an ad for spooky Hallmark cards.
But even if director Phil Claydon gets in his own way more often than not, he at least had the good sense to assemble the cast that he did. The main guy is a relative bore, but his sidekick James Corden (most recently seen as the inexplicable comic relief character in Paul W.S. Anderson’s clawing Three Musketeers), his love interest MyAnna Buring (whose career is dominated by movies like this, but who has proven she can kill dramatic roles too, as seen in Kill List, one of the best films of 2011), and the lead vampire Vera Filatova (who fans of the Brit comedy Peep Show will recognize as Elena) all have surprisingly good comedic chops. It’s never funny and smart enough to make you sit up and take notice, but if you’re ever in need for a background kind of horror comedy, Lesbian Vampire Killers will do okay in a pinch.