VAMPIRES: LOS MUERTOS
Vampires was a slick and effective vampire film. Alas, the same cannot be said for Vampires: Los Muertos. On both Halloween III and Fright Night Part 2, Tommy Lee Wallace demonstrated a reasonable degree of style, even though he was working in the throwaway genre of the sequel. However, by the time of Vampires: Los Muertos one wonders where all that style has gone. The film swings between a certain slick proficiency, moments of pretension and a good deal of what looks like a cheaply made B movie. Tommy Lee Wallaces action sequences look impoverished. He copies all the roping, staking and winching action sequences that John Carpenter pulled off with aplomb in Vampires but here they only seem cheaply conducted. When he tries to improvise his own original sequences, they collapse into laughable pretension like the scene where a vampire kisses a victim, then pulls their tongue out about two feet and bites into it; and especially the scene where Arly Jover seduces Darius McCrary as he camps out, goes to give him a blowjob and then sinks her fangs into his dick (a sequence that reminds one more like something out of the porno Dracula film Dracula Sucks (1979) and had one rolling in hysterics).
There are scenes that might have worked had Vampires: Los Muertos been accorded a better budget there is an intriguing opening where Jon Bon Jovi pulls up a man threatening a hooker with a gun, she thanks him, only for him to then turn and shoot her with a staked gun revealing that what we thought was a rape was a female vampire attacking a victim. If this had been directed with a little more style, it would have made a great punchy opening; as it is it only seems B-budgeted and cheap. Wallace does direct a stylish slow-motion sequence where the vampires slaughter everybody in a cafe in the time it takes Jon Bon Jovi to throw a tissue in the waste can in the mens room, but it collapses into abject pretensions in the surroundings. Even the effects work from the normally top-drawer Hollywood makeup studio K.N.B. EFX Group looks tatty and cheap.
Nothing in Vampires: Los Muertos works. Tommy Lee Wallaces script is roughly slung together and filled with loose ends. There are gaping holes the film leaves one asking questions such as where the vampiric antidote that Natasha Wagners character uses comes from, something that appears out of nowhere without explanation. Much of the film involves Jon Bon Jovi assembling a team of vampire hunters for a mysterious client but even after the clients identity is revealed there is not the slightest clue given as to why they hired him in the first place or why the client is going around killing off all the potential recruits before he can get there. Other plot elements the quest for the anti-crucifix that can allow the vampire to walk in daylight again, the vampire hunter using the aid of a girl who is half-vampire have been blatantly lifted from the first film. Even the Mexican setting seems to have been borrowed in a direct nod to From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and sequels.
The hero of the piece is played by Jon Bon Jovi, the former lead singer of the 1980s big hair rock group Bon Jovi. Since the demise of the group, Bon Jovi has been carving a modest acting career for himself with parts in films such as U-571 (2000) and Cry Wolf (2005) and a recurring role in tvs Ally McBeal (1997-2002). One is dubious about the leonine Bon Jovis acting abilities he seems more handsome pretty boy than actor but here at least projects an inner calm and purpose that is modestly effective.
Vampires: The Turning (2005) was a further sequel.