Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a scamp, a camp, and a bit of a tramp...

"I got a bad case of loving you!"

Picture it: 
Grace Jones, perennial muse of Andy Warhol, dancing naked and painted head to toe by Keith Haring.  Grace Jones, pop icon, pretending to be the Queen of the Vampires.  Miss Grace Jones chasing after Michelle Pfeiffer's kid sister and the hot guy from Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.  Picture a movie audacious enough to open with frat boys wearing nothing but their best bed linens and performing a ritual sacrifice.  This, my friends, is Vamp (1986).

Robert Rusler and Chris Makepeace are two besties in a bit of a bromance who are sick and tired of life in the dorms.  They promise a local fraternity the procurement of strippers for their upcoming kegger in exchange for admittance.  Faster than you can say After Hours, these upper-middle class suburban gentlemen head off to the big bad city (chauffeured by Long Duk Dong) to find some whores!

Our protagonists happen upon a mafia-run stripclub festooned with multicultural, transgendered vampires.  DeDee Pfeiffer is working there as a barwench dancer with a heart of gold.  Dream big, girls!  But you know how fickle the art crowd can be.  Soon enough, Grace Jones and her albino hoards are weary of these boys with their midwestern charm and they want our heroes dead (and after they sat through her boring solo performance)!  How rude.  What easily could have just been a Porky's retread, Vamp takes the teen sex comedy horror film in a new, more subersive direction.

"I love you, Keith - but all I can see right now is food." 

This movie was always on HBO in the late-80s.  The vampire scenes are surprisingly graphic and perversely sexual.  Violence seems to come out of no where when juxtaposed with the sophomoric tone of the rest of the movie and it proved deeply traumatizing to my eight year old self..  Darkly comedic, subtextually homoerotic, shot with hyper-color saturated lighting, with Grace Jones on mute while the rest of the ensemble gives performances several shades above camp, Vamp sits comfortably in the asthetic of queer cinema.  Despite this films meandering pacing problems (it often feels like an over-long, aimless Cyndi Lauper video), I would have loved for Vamp to have been a franchise, like the American Pie movies, showcasing douchey-hot frat boys going to vampire run strip clubs all over the country.  Eventually, the series would culminate in an epic, Las Vegas showdown of good and evil where Grace Jones and Gina Gershon battle tete'a'tete - but some things can only live in dreams. 

1 comment:

  1. DeDee really is the most talented one in the Pfeiffer acting dynasty.

    -- aunt john