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Vampirella/Night Hunter

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Vampirella/Night Hunter



    Released by: New Concorde
    Released on: July 22, 2003.

    Director: Jim Wynorski/Rick Jacobson

    Cast: Talisa Soto, Roger Daltrey/Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, Melanie Smith, Nicholas Gues

    Year: 1996/1995

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movies:


    Two goofy vampire themed features from New Concorde together at least! Though both of these movies were released on their own, this double feature offers them up again, just in case you missed them. Here's a look…


    VAMPIRELLA:


    Directed by Jim Wynorski, Vampirella begins on the planet Drakulon where a man named Vlad (Roger Daltry… yes, that Roger Daltrey) kills off the father of our titular vampiric heroine (Talisa Soto) and then jets off to Earth to make it big as a rock star in fabulous Las Vegas. Vampirella gives chase, not about to let the fiendish murder of her dad go unpunished, and upon arriving on Earth she quickly meets up with a man named Adam Van Helsing (Richard Joseph Paul) who leads a covert group of renegade vampire hunters. Though at first they appear to be destined to live as enemies, they soon form more than a friendship together and team up to bring Vlad to justice once and for all.


    Based on the long running Vampirella comic magazine series originally published by Warren, the movie doesn't have a whole lot of resemblance to that series but is instead a quick, cheap cash in on the popularity of films like Interview With A Vampire that were enjoying big box office success at the time. To its credit, the movie is entertaining enough despite some occasional sluggish pacing and an obviously low budget.


    Performance wise, Daltrey is fun as the bad guy. We've seen him act before but generally in larger productions (Tommy, for example). If he's slumming here, and let there be no doubt - he is slumming here, at least he appears to be having fun while doing it. Part of that enjoyment probably stems from the fact that he's cast opposite the stunningly beautiful Talisa Soto. Exotic enough to make the part work for her, she looks amazing, if ridiculous, in her red pleather costume (which doesn't really look all that much like the iconic comic book costume) filling it rather nicely and somehow never looking particularly embarrassed about any of this. Richard Joseph Paul fills out the cast well enough I guess, he's the hero and that's that. Angus Scrimm pops up in a quick cameo as an 'elder' and David B. Katz plays a character called Forry Ackerman, an obvious nod to the Famous Monsters Of Film Land editor who created the original Vampirella character decades ago, while the real Forry Ackerman has a brief walk on as a guy dancing to a band playing.


    The film doesn't have much in the way of gothic atmosphere and instead relies on occasional salaciousness in attempts to overcome its stereotypical low budget mid-nineties look and feel. Sometimes it succeeds but more often than not the movie feels like the cheap quickie that it is. There's potential that it rarely cashes in on but you could do worse - there's eye candy aplenty here and the whole thing is goofy enough to provide for some mindless amusement.


    NIGHT HUNTER:


    Don 'The Dragon' Wilson is Jack Cutter, the last of a line of vampire hunters that has been around for hundreds of years. At the beginning of the film, Cutter mixes it up with a couple of vampires in a hip Los Angeles restaurant. When he kills them off, he ends up chased by both the local police and by the other vampires from the same clan as those who he recently disposed of.


    While on the run from the law and the vampires, Cutter meets a foxy female reporter (Melanie Smith) who falls for him (as I'm sure you know by now, all the ladies love Don 'The Dragon' Wilson) and aids him on his quest to eliminate the vampire scourge plaguing the city. It is his blood destiny, after all. Lots of poorly done shootouts swiped from John Woo movies occur and everything ends all very predictably.


    Now don't get me wrong - my inexplicable obsession with The Dragon is the stuff of legend, but even I have my limits. In an odd twist of circumstance, I watched this movie with more than a few pints settling in and kept thinking out loud 'Hey wow, I can't believe what a rip off of Blade this movie is. What a scam. It's even ripping off The Matrix, and man, could they steal from Hardboiled any more blatantly?' Well, apologies are due, I suppose. Night Hunter was actually made before Snipes took up his sword against Steven Dorff and before Keanu Reeves put on black sunglass and made black fake leather trench coats hip for a few months. I was pretty much dead on when I noticed the Woo swipes though. The big difference is that while John Woo's action scenes are poetic and ironically very beautiful, the gun play scenes in Night Hunter basically consist of Wilson running around with twin .45's making a poopy face at the camera while everything shakes in what I can only assume is an attempt at some form of unique cinematography. It ends up being rather dizzying, but when you've got a few beers in you, seeing Wilson make poopy faces can be kind of fun so in that respect, Night Hunter works.


    If you're a fan of really horrible action movies and like awkward looking, former kickboxing champions running around with greasy mullets shooting poorly made up and cliché ridden vampires, then Night Hunter is the film you've been waiting for. It's not good, but if you're in the right frame of mind (how you get there is up to you), it can be fun.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Both movies are presented in fullframe. Black levels could be a little bit deeper, but they're not too bad. Some softness is present and these were obviously taken from old masters but there's not much in the way of print damage to report. Nothing to write home about, but we've all certainly seen worse.


    The bass is pretty flat in both films but other than that, the audio tracks, both of which are Dolby Digital 2.0, sound as good as the movies really need to. Dialogue is easy to understand, sound effects come through with surprising clarity, and there is very little in the way of hiss or other audio defects.


    The main extra for Vampirella is a commentary track with director Jim Wynorski. This is a reasonably interesting talk as Wynorski discusses the trials and tribulations involved in bringing the famous Warren Comics character to life. He notes what footage was 'borrowed' from other Corman movies and talks about some ideas that were tossed around but which never made it into the final version of the movie. He also talks about the various cast and crew members involved, working with Corman and the effects work. There's some dead air here and there but for the most part this is reasonably well paced and interesting. Aside from that we get some trailers and cast biographies. Extras for Night Hunter include a few trailers for other New Concorde titles, cast biographies. Both sides of the flipper disc include menus and chapter selection options.


    The Final Word:


    If you've made it this far you've probably figured out on your own if this is up your alley or not. No need to bother with this if you've got the two single disc versions but if you dig cheap, goofy horror mixed with sci-fi in the case of Vampirella and B-grade action in the case of Night Hunter, these are some good, dopey fun. Emphasis on dopey.











































    • Richard--W
      #1
      Richard--W
      a straight arrow
      Richard--W commented
      Editing a comment
      Vampirella could have been so much better. Even on a shoestring budget, it could have been so much better. It has no style, no sense of itself. Talisa Soto was a good choice to play Vampirella, but her costume is all wrong, the script is all wrong, and the film is a total washout. Made too cheap and too fast to amount to anything. I hate the way Jimbo handled this film.

    • Jason C
      #2
      Jason C
      Senior Member
      Jason C commented
      Editing a comment
      Gotta thank you for saving me from NIGHT HUNTER Ian. Putting Maria Ford with The Dragon damn near makes that required viewing for me. Looks like I'll pass

      Talisa Soto is hilarious in that outfit.
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