Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (2005)

An ambitious title for a very cheap movie, Vampire Wars is actually a very fun and entertaining pilot for a TV-show that never was realized on the channel formerly known as The Sci-Fi Channel. It’s a tongue-in-cheek mix of horror and action, with some healthy but not to annoying doses of humour.

A crew of vampire-hunters is roaming the universe, killing vampires and making jokes with each other. One day a new member arrives, the young and ambitious Damian (Dominic Zamprogna) who are suppose to be the one that will be captain after tough-guy Churchill (Joe Lando). After a disastrous mission Damian is left alone in command with his skeptical group of vampire-killers under him. But one mission is left, and they’re forced to follow him…

This is a very cheap production, but wait. It’s not cheap in a bad way. First of all, we have this whole universe where every planet looks like some Canadian backwoods-forest, including old warehouses. The computer animations leading to each planet it something that was primitive even in 2003 and everything, from the sets to the clothes look homemade. What really makes this movie worth watching is the slick direction by Matthew Hastings and the nice cinematography (I guess, 35mm) and the cool vampires and random monsters showing up to enlighten the story.

Universe is based on different vampire-tribes, two of them are The Voorhees and Leatherfaces. Another one is like a parasite-worm who controls its victims and makes them hunger for human flesh. The Leatherfaces is the most primitive, with human skin on their faces and spears and stuff. The Voorhees is the typical punk-goth-hybrids with bad hygiene. Leader of them are Michael Ironside, who seem to have a lot of fun in his performance.

The gore is not bad at all, mostly blood that spurts everywhere, but a few gory impalings, limb-rippings and lots of gory aftermath too - way more than a lot of other SyFy-movies. Vampire Wars is one of those “b-movies” that knows what it is and never hides that fact that the budget was a dime or two, but still manages to delivers good entertainment, blood, a quite witty script and lots of adventure to the audience.

For us who are much into monster-movies there’s a fun surprise at the desert-planet, the monster from The Terror Within 1 and 2 makes a cameo! Yes, it shows up very unexpected and tries to kill our heroes! Not to surprising, because the producer of this movie is Andrew Stevens who starred in The Terror Within 1 and 2 (and even was the director of the last one!).

If you find it for a buck or two, this is a movie I can recommend.


kindertrauma said...

I really enjoyed this one and always thought it would have made a great series...I had no idea it was an actual pilot!

Too bad they didn't go forward with it. It would have been a lot better than most of the stuff that does make it to series I think!

Thanks for bringing this one up. It deserves more attention! -Unk

Ninja Dixon said...

I agree with you, it could have been a really fun show, and maybe with a slightly higher budget too :)

Anyway, I pleasure for me that you enjoyed the review and I hope more people takes the chance to see it!