MOONRISE; MY GRANDFATHER IS A VAMPIRE
Grampire was one of several efforts following the success of Fright Night (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987) to attempt to make vampire films for teens and children. There is nothing wrong with the idea of a vampire film for children Angela Summer-Bodenburg has had great success with her series of Little Vampire books. Unfortunately, David Blyth approaches the exercise at a cartoon level in fact, Noel Appleby with bulging pot belly and squat eyes could almost be a cartoon figure in live action. However, in stripping the vampire of virtually everything except its immortality, David Blyth has created a vampire film that is literally bloodless (and considering Al Lewiss age, also toothless). It is a warm fuzzy vampire film where theres no threat, just a good deal of silly running around trying to avoid the buffoonish vampire hunter. If one is going to make a vampire film then take away everything a vampire film is supposed to be, one wonders what the point of the exercise is.
Noel Applebys vampire hunter does add a certain amusing Kiwi parochialism, he charging into action in a black singlet and at the end heading off to the pie-cart to get a good feed. However, Grampire is still a silly film 81 year-old Al Lewis, best known as Grandpa on tvs The Munsters (1964-6), spends the entire time cackling his head off as though he were addicted to dental intoxicants. The funeral is the films height of silliness with a woman guest for no apparent reason trying to do erotic things with the food and the boys being possessed to play an electric organ to give atmosphere as Al Lewis rises from the coffin.
Grampire is almost saved by the classy professional photography, a striking electric blue lighting scheme, which creates an atmosphere of perpetual midnight and helps enormously in disguising the B-budget. There are momentary images, like the scene of Al Lewis, Justin Gocke and Milan Borisch dancing in slow-motion to Mozarts Magic Flute, which attain an image of wistful adolescent nostalgia that one senses David Blyth originally wanted to achieve. The importing of Justin Gocke, previously a regular on tvs Santa Barbara (1984-93), is a bad case of trying to make local material acceptable to the US market it is one supposes inevitable, but did they have to choose someone with such an abrasive accent?