Vampires (1998)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Hybrid Western  |   Release Date - Oct 30, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - Japan, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Fred Beldin

John Carpenter's foray into the vampire genre doesn't provide much in the way of scares, but works fine as a hyper-macho action film. James Woods is his old, reliable, leathery self as the head of a scrappy (but doomed) band of vampire slayers. These men are a morally ambiguous bunch, convinced of the presence of evil and the need to destroy it, but unsure of the role God plays in the universe. The plot echoes their suspicions, suggesting that the Catholic Church itself is responsible for creating the monsters, and the men of the cloth who fund the hunters are depicted as either ineffectual or corrupt. Indeed, Vampires sets some kind of record for priest abuse; they're punched, kicked, shot, cut, insulted, and decapitated throughout. Women don't get any role models here either, as the only ones on display are hookers or bloodsuckers or both. There's no need for messages in a vampire film, though, just a terse, gory story with a few twists to keep it fresh, and Carpenter delivers a reasonably entertaining, one-dimensional ride through dusty ghost towns and seedy motels.