Monday, November 16, 2009

Film Review: MY BEST FRIEND IS A VAMPIRE (1987, Jimmy Huston)

Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 89 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Robert Sean Leonard (DEAD POETS SOCIETY, THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO), Kathy Bates, David Warner (TRON, TIME BANDITS), Rene Auberjonois (EYES OF LAURA MARS, WALKER, BREWSTER MCCLOUD), Cheryl Pollak (PUMP UP THE VOLUME).
Tag-line: None I could find.
Best one-liner: "This blood's for you!"

MY BEST FRIEND IS A VAMPIRE is kinda like an 89 minute Halloween episode of a nondescript 80's sitcom, but this sort of thing is not without its charms. I'd say on the 80's-o-meter, it's somewhere between THE WORST WITCH and TEEN WOLF TOO, and I'll leave it up to you to decide which is the high end and which is the low end of that scale, not that it even matters. The plot is this: Robert Sean Leonard (DEAD POETS SOCIETY, TAPE) becomes a teenage vampire after an encounter that's about as erotic as the 'corn seduction' scene from TROLL 2.

Creedence Leonore Gielgud, is that you?

Next thing you know, he's slurping raw meat milkshakes and receiving tutelage from centuries-old vampire (Rene Auberjonois of WALKER and BREWSTER MCLOUD) named Modoc.

Robert Sean and Rene purse their lips in preparation for a scene where they must take the name 'Modoc' seriously.

His mom & dad think he's gay, and, given its Texas locale, I guess the moral is that your average parent would rather their kid be an undead bloodsucker than a "homo?" Ah, well. The story is unfolded from the point-of-view of our newly-anointed ghoul, and not from the POV of his d-bag best friend, thus making the title problematic, but, you know what, let's not split hairs here. The film adheres to the rule that every teen movie must have a zany driver's ed scene, features a 'car coasting on two wheels scene' one year before TWINS, and has liberal use of Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)," which everyone knows is the most essential ode to tinted eyewear since Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night." Cheryl Pollak (PUMP UP THE VOLUME) is the nerdy love interest (code for a total model babe in dorky glasses) and Kathy Bates has a bit part as her mom.

Hang in there, Kathy, MISERY is right around the corner.

David Warner phones it in as the Van Helsing-type, and he's completely aware that he's in something that's only a half-step up from an After School Special.

David Warner mentally compares his career's trajectory with that of Roddy McDowall's.

Basically, all you need to know is that there's a scene where Leonard and Auberjonois clink beer cans full of blood and toast: "This blood's for you!"

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it all ends on a kooky freeze frame:

This kooky freeze frame, no less.

Three stars.

-Sean Gill

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