Adapted from a novel entitled ‘Vampire$’ (note the dollar sign), this film lets you in on the fact there is a faction within the Catholic church which seek out and hunt vampires.  James Woods plays hard-ass vampire killer Jack Crow and Daniel Baldwin is his second in command Montoya.  After a successful extermination of a vampire nest, Crow and his band of slayers are celebrating with a bunch of hookers and large amounts of alcohol.  Enter Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), the very first vampire who is most displeased some of his underlings have been killed, what follows is a mass slaughter with only Crow, Montoya and a hooker called Katrina surviving.

Jack learns that Valek was in fact ‘created’ by the Church as he was burned at the stake for turning his back on the Catholic faith.  Accompanied by Father Adam the Cardinal’s assistant, they set out to track Valek and destroy him using Katrinia’s psychic link due to the fact that he had bitten her.

Vampires was one of the first DVD’s I ever bought and at the time was unreleased in the UK (it was a Region 1 disc).  I was impressed then by some of the beautiful widescreen photography and the gory make-up effects, the best part of twenty years later  the effects by KNB still hold up and the picture looks tremendous on Blu-ray.  James Woods totally shines as Jack Crow the world-weary crossbow bearing mean SOB, Thomas Ian Griffith is one cool stylish and scary vamp and poor old Sheryl Lee as Katrina is possibly more abused than she was in Twin Peaks.

The film has a  western’esque feel to it and Carpenter’s music fits the vibe extremely well adding a tremendous atmosphere which sounds terrific played very loudly through a decent set-up.

One of JC’s best latter day films and the Blu-ray has a commentary, a ‘making of’ and part one of a really good interview with Carpenter at the BFI by Nigel Floyd of The Guardian (the other part is on the Ghosts of Mars disc).  Still a bloody (pun intended) great horror and a good film to boot.

  • Starring James Woods  Thomas Ian Griffith  Tim Guinee  Maxmillian Schell
  • Director John Carpenter
  • Distributor Powerhouse/Indicator