aka “Midnight Kiss”
Normally, I’d say “not to be confused with the other Vampire Cop from a few years earlier” at the start of a review like this, but I have a confession to make, dear reader, and that is, I did confuse them for years. I told a story about trying to find the worst trailer on the worst-looking movie on Blockbuster’s shelves, back in the VHS days, then find the worst trailer on that tape, and so on down until we theoretically came to the worst movie ever. We found “Vampire Cop”, several rounds in, but never saw it for sale or rental. Fast forward to this site, and I decided to find it again, and that’s what brought me into the world of Donald Farmer, a world I’m delighted to inhabit. Then…the other day, I was telling my friend about Mr Farmer, and wanted to show him the trailer for “Vampire Cop”. I searched on Youtube, up this popped and I had a sudden realisation that this was the trailer I’d seen all those years ago, and I had to track it down and watch it as soon as possible.
I think the vampire represents feminism – watch the arc. The police station is absolutely chock full of the most appalling sexism, and our hero, Detective Carrie Blass (Michelle Owens) is perhaps understandably a little annoyed by this. A vampire bites her and she suddenly understands her power, and goes around beating the crap out of guys. If she finally kills a guy and drinks their blood, she’ll become a full vampire (feminist), but instead kills her sire and goes back to her ex-husband and her job, where nothing at all has changed. I didn’t say it was in favour of feminism!
I’m not sure the movie intended this to be the case, it could just be a guy with weird attitudes towards women trying to make a movie where a strong woman is the hero? Anyway. It starts off where a nice-looking middle-aged woman is sat in an almost deserted bar and the world’s sleaziest, medallion-wearing douchebag is hitting on her. She refuses, understandably, and walks outside to her car, where Medallion follows her and decides to take what he wants by force. But who’s that coming out of the shadows? Dressed as a vicar, with a sweet cross earing, a man billed only as “The Vampire” (Gregory A Greer, channelling Crispin Glover) gets involved by tearing Medallion’s face off (!), then taking a few shotgun blasts from the bar owner before grabbing the gun and blowing his head off. If you’re wondering if he’s there to save the woman, you’ll only have a few seconds to wait for an answer, which comes when he drains all her blood.
This is apparently the 16th murder in recent months, and the Homicide detectives are stumped- when they’re not busy ogling female corpses or loudly mocking any woman within earshot, that is. Carrie was a detective and is now in the new Rape Crisis Squad, and she (of course) annoys all the men when she walks in and is able to get loads of good information from a vampire attack victim, with the simple technique of talking to them as if they were a human being. So, she wants back on the case, but to do that she’ll need to be a detective; luckily, one of her female co-workers informs her that the Captain is more than happy to promote women who agree to sleep with him. She did it, and it was the best decision she ever made! Carrie resists until the case escalates, then decides boffing the captain is the lesser of two evils and agrees to meet him after work one evening. Guess where he takes her? Yes, to a strip club! Carrie’s ex-husband, Dennis (Michael McMillen) interrupts them with news about the case, sees Carrie and loudly accuses her of brown-nosing, maybe three feet away from his superior officer. But he’s a guy so has no problems!
I’m really getting bogged down in the soul-destroying aspects of this movie. Anyway, she gets bitten while on a stakeout, and The Vampire takes something of a liking to her. I think, I’m really not sure, as his insane overacting makes spotting his actual emotions a touch on the difficult side (he’s a quipper, too, should you be down on your groaning quotient for the month). Oh, and the formerly married couple are forced to be partners by the Captain – I don’t know tons about police procedure, but I’d bet every penny I’ve ever earned that there’s a rule specifically forbidding that. Because she’s not been a detective for a while, we’re also treated to a training montage, where Dennis shows Carrie how to run and fight and shoot a gun, and from hating him there’s clearly a new-found respect and friendship between the two. Really?
I’m sort of circling round the plot, and that’s because there’s really not one, traditionally speaking. When Carrie starts displaying vampiric tendencies, you think she’s going to take revenge on the male cops who’ve treated her so badly, but in fact the Captain’s eventual punishment for appalling sexual harassment…is nothing. The other cops? They get off scot-free too. The only person who really suffers (apart from The Vampire), is Carol, the woman who Carrie helped near the beginning of the movie – she’s also turned into a vampire but deals with it with slightly less aplomb than our hero. All Carrie does is nearly eat some raw meat, beat up a surprisingly multi-ethnic gang of thugs, and then get her ex’s help to do all the hard work. Oh, and she murders a guy who’s got a gun in the foyer of the police station by bashing his head against a wall until his brains come out…but the rest of the cast treat it as a mild inconvenience, so perhaps it wasn’t brains and the guy was fine.
What of our vampiric friend? Well, he and Carrie have one thing in common – this is the only movie they ever worked on, in any capacity (something they share with a good half of the cast). When you hit the top your first time out, why try again? Not only does he grimace and give good quip, but he also has one amazing scene where he buys a book, but before you’ve got the time to think “oh, this is deepening his character a little” he’s reading a bit, laughing maniacally, then tearing the page out. It’s the Bible! Boom, take that, Christianity!
I would love to really mock this movie or say it was a hidden gem, but sadly the truth is somewhere, well, not in the middle, it’s way closer to the terrible end of things. It’s technically incompetent, of course – holes pre-appear in peoples’ chests before the stake arrives, pages are pre-torn out of books, that sort of thing. It’s one of the most sexist movies I can remember, and I’ve seen a lot of terribly sexist movies. But there’s the faintest whisper of a good movie there – I wish I could relate it to the director or the two credited writers, but their careers amounted to a whole heap of the sort of thing you’d have avoided in a video shop of the time (even more so than this, because at least this has a badass title). Take, for instance, the scene in Carol’s house near the end. It’s a weird mix of the extremely camp (Carol’s appearance and dialogue) and the quite creepy (how her house looks). It’s a scene that I wish had had better people working on it.
I’m actually sort of irritated it had just enough interesting stuff to make me bothered about thinking about it all through the day after I saw it (were it not for the notes I take, half the movies I review would be forgotten by the time it takes me to hit “stop” on the remote). Maybe give it a try if you’re in a forgiving mood.
Rating: thumbs in the middle