review archive - articles - podcast - contact us


1986 - 94m.


Grace Jones is one of those iconic 80's figures who rose to prominence mainly by being bizarre. She hung out with Andy Warhol, recorded a few albums, modeled, and showcased a number of unique hairstyles. She became known to b-movie fans when she appeared alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer and next appeared in arguably the campiest of the Bond films, A View To A Kill. When I think of Grace Jones, I think of the video for her song "Slave to the Rhythm" that used to play on the avant-garde rock video shows I watched as a teenager and I think of Vamp. Her performance as a vampire stripper in this flick includes one of the more memorable dances in the stripper film subgenre. Even though Jones has a non-speaking role, she holds the screen in the limited minutes in which she appears.

Chris Makepeace stars as Keith, a college student who takes a trip to the big city with his buddy (Robert Rusler - Freddy's Revenge, Thrashin') in an attempt to find a stripper so that they can get into the big fraternity on campus. Along for the ride is a nerdy Asian guy named Duncan (Gedde Watanabe - Sixteen Candles). After a close call on the road they somehow spin-out into the bad area of town where they quickly learn that the action starts after dark. We know the time has arrived when Billy Drago shows up and looks menacing with a couple of girls who have bad teeth. The trio soon end up at the strip club they are seeking and Rusler splits off from the group to try to hook up the action. Meanwhile, Makepeace and Watanabe pass the time with Watanabe cracking bad jokes and being annoying. The Asian guy being a loser with no friends and sounding like a stock 80's rich snob is an odd choice to say the least and it appears as though his character is only there to provide comic relief which is odd because he is not funny. Maybe it's just me but when your running gag is to miss your mouth when spraying breath spray, you need to either look at a new career or be really angry with the writer/director. Also along for the ride is Dedee Pfeiffer as the way-cute girl who seems way too nice to be a stripper and Sandy Baron as the owner of the club who has an appetite for cockroaches.

The real fun starts once Ms. Jones sprouts fangs and the other strip club employees also show us their taste for blood. There are some nifty vampire effects that were fairly original at the time and you can see how FX artist Greg Cannom evolved these vampire effects into The Lost Boys. The flick has some decent gore moments including some nasty throat biting as well as a heart ripping (both courtesy of Jones). The main thing I remember about this movie, however, is the strange technicolor lighting that looks like a cross between Suspiria and Creepshow. Nearly every location utilizes this exaggerated lighting which makes many scenes feel like a comic book. While this style of bright colors and a sense of artificiality fits well with the time in which the movie was made, it also has that 80's music video look to it. This is not a bad thing as I sometimes like it when some movies are destined to be synonymous with the time in which they are shot.

Although Makepeace is top-billed, Robert Rusler is the star of this show. He takes the spotlight away from Makepeace whenever they share the screen and his confidence shines through. I never got it with Makepeace as he always seems like such a wuss but then again, I think the first time I saw him was in My Bodyguard and he is forever typecast in my head as the nerdy kid who is tormented by Matt Dillon. It is difficult to take him seriously in a hero role especially after an awkward rendition of "Bad Case of Loving You" while they are driving. They could have picked a better song if they wanted us to think this kid was cool. Rusler, on the other hand, has that George Clooney casual demeanor that you want in a lead character. I don't understand why this guy didn't become a bigger star.

Those of you looking for skin will be somewhat disappointed. It is strange to me that director Richard Wenk would want to film stripper scenes where nobody takes their clothes off. It is an R-rated movie but maybe he was shy. Even Grace Jones keeps her clothes on although she does have some funky underwear made of metal spirals. Overall, if you can appreciate dumb humour and like it mixed in with your horror, you will probably get a kick out of this flick. If you are looking for intense horror or naked girls, you would be better off looking elsewhere. I liked this flick and have enjoyed in each time I have gone back to it over the years. (Josh Pasnak, 10/30/11)

Directed By: Richard Wenk.
Written By: Richard Wenk.

Starring: Chris Makepeace, Dedee Pfeiffer, Robert Rusler, Grace Jones.