5-25-1998 1330 fcst (french cool standard time)
John Carpenter's VAMPIRES
Ya know folks, dontcha just love a paycheck? I never really have had a paycheck before, on account of my lazy no-count slacker ass, but this Planet Hollywood gig of mine, pays pretty good, and when they sent me my check this past week, I decided I needed to go see a movie.
So it was this hazy Mexico smoke filled day, that I awoke, and thought... "Hey, there's a John Carpenter movie playing in France that I ain't seen." Now usually when I have a thought like this, the fact I'm dead broke stops the forward momentum like a Mack Truck into a tricycle, but this time I checked my check book and realized hey, France was in my budget.
I caught a plane from Austin to Houston, then took that dang 767 AIR FRANCE flight to Paris. Now I'm completely uncomfortable on this plane, because well I'm in coach, I ain't rich yet, just reckless. After awhile I begin to get hungry, my stomach begins growling, people in seats around me believe that there is some sort of structural integrity problems with the plane. The stewardess (a hottie) decides to serve the meals. To drown out the stomach noises I listen to my John Carpenter compilation... YEAH!!!
This was a real meal, none of that roasted peanuts crap. It was some sort of slab of meat, really tasty, I think they roasted the dog that was barking when I came on the plane. After eating I dozed off. Hours passed, 9 and a half of em. I was woke up by the hot stewardess shaking me and asking for me to get off the plane.
Wow, I'm in Paris, this is kinda cool, I thought briefly about walking around the city, about taking all the sights, but ya know what, there's a John Carpenter movie that I haven't seen yet. So I find myself a copy of Le Monde, and try to find the movie section. The problem, I don't understand a damn word. So I'm stumbling around the dang airport like an american buffon (hey, that's funny I am an American Buffon) with a newspaper I don't understand a word of.
All the people look like they won't understand me, so I decide to find a cab, those people speak all languages and probably know a movie theater playing VAMPIRES.
Now, having been in New York, all the cabs there look like cabs, but here they are all Mercedes Benzs. What's up with that? That's like weird. So I step in the world's most expensive cab when the le dude looks at me in the mirror. I look back.
Then I say, "Me see Moooooooo vie!"
He just stares at me.
So I say, "Me see cool John Carpenter moooooo vie! Go!"
He just stares at me. I contemplate getting out of the cab, but then I'd just be at the airport. I wonder if they show movies at the airport?
"Cinema... Movies? Le vampires? John Carpenter's LE VAMPIRES?"
He just stares. So I begin thinking in French terms, as taught to me by my prejudiced film background. MIMES!! Everyone here understands them. So I begin miming a projector. He stares. Then I make fangy things with my fingers. He stares. I do that Lou Costello impersonation of Bela Lugosi from ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN....
And the cab begins moving. The cab dude is shaking his head and occasionally stares back at me. I smile. I think I did it, I smart am I.
He arrives at this theater that's got a big banner for JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES. I beam with pride. YES!!! I DID IT!!! YES!!! I hand money to the cab dude, and he smiles and says something, I think he said, "Est-ce que vous etes ivre" So I just say, "we we" cause that's what they do in the movies.
The cabbie drives off, smiling. So I just head on up to the ol le Box office. I hold one finger up, and she says something, so I push money at her. She gives me money back and a ticket. Around this point, I begin wondering if I'm being taken, but hey it's their country and I'm the stupid one here.
This was a cool theater. The Bretagne! It had a real curtain, little side balconies and a top balcony. There was a painting on the ceiling of a beautiful woman holding a sword, with clouds all around her. Cool. Nice ambience.
The curtains part, and the film begins...
JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES
To say I'm a John Carpenter fan is a major understatement. When I first read this script I began frothing at the mouth. There were rumors that the film would be directed by Rodriguez, Del Toro, Renny Harlin, etc etc... But when John Carpenter got it, my hopes went up. Why? Well ya see John Carpenter has been making pretty sucky films for a few years now, and as a Carpenter worshipper, the knowledge that good material was working it's way into his hand is fantastic.
So as the trailers were playing, I didn't pay attention because my mind was busy playing Carpenter themes, remembering Kurt Russell phrases and getting geeked out.
This is a JOHN CARPENTER movie!!! In that bubble gum and kicking ass way! In a lot of ways this is totally unlike any Carpenter film I've ever seen, but at the same time, it's everybit as familiar feeling as a town you moved away from.
First thing to say. This film is nitty gritty, none of that cream ball stuff here. This film is a manly man flick. It's basically about two friends that kill vampires together. And they don't kill vampire like you've ever seen before. It's violent as hell, horrific even. You feel bad for the vampires, like you do for the replicants in BLADE RUNNER, because it's just so dang brutal. When these suckers get hit by sun, it ain't no gasoline fire, it's a potassium fire, violent ignitive death. It would suck so bad to die this way.
James Woods is one mean motherfucker in this flick. "Ya know... you're a real pile of dog shit, (deleted to protect secret identity of S.O.B.)" "Why don't you come over here and take a bite out of my asshole" "That's it Padre, fuck with him!" "So Padre when I was beating the shit out of ya back there.. ya know.. kicking your ass... did that give ya a woody?" He is a dude ya just don't fuck with. You a lady, well, that don't save your hide, this one chick he was gonna score with, he slaps around, pushes to the ground and so on. This Jack Crow fella will take a knife to an innocent preacher a slice off a slab of beef for a sandwich with two day old moldy bread. His cracked up face, gives ya the idea this guy has been killing vampires forever, he's fed up with it, but he's too pissed to do anything else. This is a classic John Carpenter anti-hero type.
Daniel Baldwin is a big lug of a guy, the sort of person who's spirit animal is a rabid bunny wabbit. This is the overweight Baldwin, so naturally I like him. He reminds me of my friend RoRo. A big sorta fella that is just a teddy bear armed to the teeth in the most effective killing tools known to the world. He's a damn good character.
The Vampires, well they ain't all that pretty, but they'll be the height of fashion to the P.I.B.s of the world. When they come up out of their graves... well, let's just say, it's real cool. They are so bad ass looking. They are super-strong, and ya really don't want to be around them when it's dark, cause there ain't nothing you can do.
John Carpenter's score. Well, it rocks. It's less of the 'heartbeat' rhythms, and more of a cool Christine-y kinda sound, sans Thourogood. It works with the film, and for the first time in a long time he has a score that deserves the movie it's set to.
Just to let you know, John Carpenter is back with a bad ass flick that's set to give you a steel tipped boot in the ass. You'll yelp with glee. It is energizing as hell. The digital sound really put me in the film, and wow, this was worth traversing an ocean to see.
Well, now I'm just concerned that TRI-STAR will try to force some cuts, if I even hear so much as a whisper about editing it down, I'll go postal. This film is hardcore, for hardcore fans. Anyone think otherwise should just take a flying lead into the East River. Well, I have to go now, I have to find my way back to the airport and back to Austin. Hmmmmm... will I ever see home?