Directed By: John Carpenter
Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell, Tim Guinee, Mark Boone Junior
Synopsis: Jack Crow, the leader of a recently decimated team of Vampire hunters, must stop a master Vampire from performing a ritual that will make him unstoppable.
Thoughts: You can’t argue the in the 70s and 80s that John Carpenter brought us some brilliant movies. It’s also tough to argue that since then, he hasn’t come close to returning to that brilliance. Even so, he has directed some pretty decent movies since then, including In the Mouth of Madness, The Ward, and this movie, Vampires.
John Carpenter takes a vampire story and puts it into a modern Western setting. It takes place in the Southwest and there are multiple shots that look as if they came right out of a John Wayne movie. I swear that after I watch it, I feel as dusty as the characters in the film.
The cast is pretty phenomenal as well. James Woods nails his role as Jack Crow, the head vampire hunter and his foil, Valek the Vampire is played equally well by Thomas Ian Griffith. Griffith’s screen presence is very imposing and I loved the gothic look of the vampires in the western setting. Very cool imagery indeed. Although the team’s screen presence is pretty limited, I liked them as well, especially Mark Boone Junior, but I am biased by his recent work on Sons of Anarchy (great show if you haven’t checked it out.) Even Daniel Baldwin delivers a very solid performance as Jack Crow’s partner, Montoya.
This is one of my favorite vampire flicks of the last 20 years and something that I watch a couple of times a year. I love Wood’s snarky one-liners I’ve read that Carpenter let him improvise quite a bit, as long as Woods did one good cut straight from the script. While this isn’t in the same league as Halloween or The Thing, I still think it’s pretty damn great. If you passed this one by, check it out.