After a quick weekend break we're back with more reviews for 31 DAYS OF FRIGHT here at Exploitation Retrospect. Today's review comes to us from longtime ER contributor Jonathan Plombon. Be sure to check out his EPIC article on the wrestling and porn connection in ER #51, now available for pre-order.
The thought that perhaps the Amazon.com comments for MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE were influenced by this matriarchal bias crossed my mind when I read the scattered reviews for the film. They're almost unabashed in their adoration, which, of course, made me immediately think that MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE would be snot rags. But fuck me a hand basket, MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE is actually good.
MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE's tone recalls memories of FRIGHT NIGHT, complete with the sort of edgy, cuss-filled PG-13 content that '80s flicks like THE MONSTER SQUAD nonchalantly included. The title, however, panders 100% to fans of children's programming, which in recent years, has unleashed a slew of "the person whom I'm supposed to trust most is actually trying to kill me" flicks like Nickelodeon's THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF and The Disney Channel's Canadian import, MY BABYSITTER'S A VAMPIRE.
But don't judge FREAKIN' VAMPIRE by its title or it's rather simple and obvious premise of a boy named Rusty (Lahcen Anajjar) who discovers that his stepdad Richard (Larry Peterson) is a member of the undead. It's every suburban, white kid's worst fear. Produced, directed, and co-written by David Matheny, the film plays up Rusty's teenage anxiety of dealing with the typically ignorant adults with more believability than could have been possible without such a decent cast and Matheny's cloudy, dreamlike texture.
Word of warning: don't ask questions like how a vampire could hide his murderous rampage from his wife or get a job without venturing into the sun. Like your guidance counselor, FREAKIN' VAMPIRE doesn't give you any real answers. This vampire's just walking about, exposing himself to sunlight and living it up during the day.
Get over it. I applaud the whole "screw explanations" approach. In fact, I got so into not having to abide by any traditional rules that I sort of hoped there would be a talking duck for no other reason than to have a talking duck. Now, I can't say whether or not the new rules are a product of its low budget or if it's just surge of creativity, but if you're lingering on whether or not the stepdad vampire can be in light then you probably should just skip the movie altogether.
This reviewer won't go into microscopic detail about every last plot point, since the viewer can see most of them coming, and hell, can probably predict much of the film from the title alone. But there's a familiarity with the film that curls up with you like a warm blanket. And even if the retro feel doesn't completely satisfy you, the last forty minutes will.
Filled with rubbery, head-exploding slimy minions stalking the night, the climax sets itself in a graveyard where a far-off howl of uneasy light shines dimly in the sky above. The look screams of computer generated, but it's remarkable considering that this was made for nickels.
MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE is bubble-gum fun. It lasts just long enough to enjoy every minute without you getting antsy in your seat, even if there isn't a terrible amount of creativity to chew on. – Jonathan Plombon
MY STEPDAD'S A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE is available from Amazon.
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