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My Grandpa Is A Vampire (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • My Grandpa Is A Vampire (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: October 25th, 2022.
    Director: David Blyth
    Cast: Al Lewis, Justin Gocke, Noel Appleby
    Year: 1992
    Purchase From Amazon

    My Grandpa Is A Vampire – Movie Review:

    Eight years after making a name for himself with 1984’s Death Warmed Up, filmmaker David Blyth, after being fired from The Horror Show, decided to try his hand at some decidedly more family friendly fare with 1992’s My Grandpa Is A Vampire, known in its native New Zealand as Moonrise and also released as Grampire!

    When the movie opens, none other than Al Lewis, not cast against type at all, plays an aged vampire named Vernon Cooger. We see him flying through the night sky and enjoying himself at a carnival funhouse. From here, we meet a boy named Lonny (Justin Gocke), from California, whose father is a member of a touring orchestra currently travelling New Zealand. With his parents busy with work, Lonny stays with his best friend, Kanziora (Milan Borich), the two always seeming to be able to find a way to entertain themselves.

    Lonny is also stoked to be reunited with his aging grandfather, Vernon, who isn’t in the best of shape. In fact, Lonny’s aunt doesn’t think grandpa is going to be sticking around that much longer. Kanziora, however, starts to notice some of Vernon’s more unusual habits and eventually deduces that Vernon is, in fact, the vampire we all knew he was from the opening scene. This doesn’t diminish Lonny’s affection for the old coot, but when it turns out that a local vampire is starting to get Vernon’s scent, the boys soon find themselves with their hands full.

    Written by Michael Heath, the same man who wrote Next Of Kin, the main draw in this movie is the chance to see Al Lewis essentially reprise his role from The Munsters, albeit in a different setting. For the most part, it works a fair bit better than it probably should. Lewis is really fun to watch here, clearly getting into the role and having a good time playing it to the hilt and with plenty of crazed enthusiasm. The rest of the cast is fine, they play their parts well enough, but Lewis is very much the star of the show and it’s the novelty of seeing him put into various screwball situations thanks to the two boys trying to sort out his predicament the delivers most of the film’s comedic value.

    The production values are quite good here and the movie is surprisingly well-shot. The cinematography is colorful and, at times, downright atmospheric, making great use of shadows and a fog machine to create some interesting gothic imagery at times. This contrasts in interesting ways with the movie’s goofier qualities, of which there are many, but they’re still interesting regardless. They feel like visual nods to classic vampire horror pictures like the kind that Hammer Films was pumping out a few decades earlier.

    My Grandpa Is A Vampire – Blu-ray Review:

    Taken from a brand new 2K restoration of the original negative under the director’s supervision, the AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer on a 50GB disc, framed at 1.85.1, looks great. The colors really pop here, especially in the funhouse and carnival scenes, while we get really strong black levels as well. Skin tones look perfectly natural and detail is often times very impressive. There’s good depth and texture on display throughout and virtually no print damage to note, the image is always very clean. Noise reduction, edge enhancement and compression issues are never noticeable and the image always looks nice and film-like.

    Audio options are offered in English only in 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Master Audio tracks with removable subtitles provided in English only. The 5.1 mix opens things up in terms of the score and the sound effects but mostly keeps the dialogue upfront. Both tracks are properly balanced and come through clean, clear and devoid of any hiss, distortion or sibilance.

    Extras include an audio commentary with Director David Blyth and Screenwriter Michael Heath that does a nice job of covering the history and making of the movie. They talk about the origins of the project and what inspired them to make it, where their respective careers were at the time, getting Al Lewis on board and what he was like to work with, memories of shooting specific scenes, who did what behind the camera, the film’s release history and quite a bit more. It’s an interesting and detailed talk.

    Grandpa Remembers Grandpa is a sixteen minute interview with Actor Daniel Roebuck, who played Grandpa in the recent Rob Zombie directed reboot of The Munsters. He speaks about what drew him the to the original TV series and his love of Al Lewis’ work on the series as well as his thoughts on Lewis’ work in My Grandpa Is A Vampire.

    The disc also includes My Husband Was A Vampire, an archival interview with Karen Lewis, who was Al Lewis’ wife. She speaks for seventeen minute about their relationship, travelling to New Zealand with him for the making of this movie, Lewis’ acting style and some of his career highlights.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc is the inclusion of a five episode radio play version of Moonrise (which the movie was based on), the film’s original trailer, menus and chapter selection options. Packaged inside the Blu-ray case alongside the disc is a color insert booklet containing an essay titled New Zealand Gothic For Kids: Discovering & Appreciating David Blyth’s Moonrise by John Campopiano as well as an interview with Karen Lewis where she talks about visiting New Zealand, her own acting career and Al Lewis’ work on the feature.

    My Grandpa Is A Vampire - The Final Word:

    My Grandpa Is A Vampire is a pretty entertaining, family-friendly take on the vampire movie, more interested in laughs than in scares. It’s a fun watch, highlighted by Lewis’ enthusiastic lead performance and occasional doses of genuine atmosphere. The Blu-ray release from Severin looks excellent and features some extra features as well.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized My Grandpa Is A Vampire Blu-ray screen caps!

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