What possessed me (no pun intended) to record this movie from Auntie Beeb while I slept late one night in early January is not clear, but let’s start with a few positives, the only positives in fact: the special effects, costumes and make-up departments have done a perfectly splendid job and deserve every credit for their work.
But let’s be clear: Lesbian Vampire Killers is up there with the very peak of British stinkers from the past century. It is an abomination to the craft of film-making and the very apogee of exploitation movies. Apart from those listed above, it has no redeeming features whatever. In fact, I can think of no logical reason at all to see this film unless you’re the sort of person…:
- Who will slavishly watch anything just because it stars Matthew Horne and James Corden, late of the hit TV comedy Gavin and Stacey
- Watches with the hope of minor saucy titillation, much as you might have watched the Carry On series
- Finds use of the word “fucking” every five seconds uproariously funny
- You have lost all perception of wit and subtlety
- Has never seen a Mel Brooks movie to see how it should be done.
In case you were wondering, Wikipedia states this to be the objective of this cinematic mess:
The film is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the classic Hammer Horror films and was originally slated to be the first “new” Hammer film. This did not come to pass and it was ultimately Alliance and Momentum Pictures along with AV Films who finally greenlit the project.
In short, this is intended as a spoof, but if you want to see how a horror spoof should be done, look no further than the aforementioned Mr Brooks’s Young Frankenstein. To work, a spoof must be an affectionate parody rather than a cynical exercise in exploitation for financial gain, which this movie unquestionably was.
Key rule no 1 is that if you’re going to mock the form, you don’t start by falling prey to the same clichés – like selling a movie on the strength of nubile actresses and sex. If women are outraged, they have every right to be, and using the misogyny of Hammer films as an excuse doesn’t wash – hence the “you should be ashamed of yourselves” photo put together by a film viewer outraged at what he saw.
Key rule no 2 should be if you are going to send up the genre they do it with intent. American Werewolf in London was unmistakably a parody but still had the best lycanthropic transformation, one of several scenes that had the audiences buzzing. The big idea and big joke of LVK is that the female vampires bleed copious quantities of white fluid. The “horror” scenes we get are tired and unimpressive. Think again, guys.
But the biggest problem with LVK is more fundamental: of itself there is nothing remotely funny. The script is written on the premise that the presence of Horne and Corden alone will make the audience crack up. I’m sorry to break this essential truth to Messrs Williams and Hupfield (for it was they who apparently wrote this debacle) is that H&C are not Morecambe and Wise, nor are they fit to lick the boots of the greats of comedy.
As a friend of mine put it, “Corden is the fat everyman, the bloke in the pub that buys drinks for people because he lacks personality.” Horne is, well, anonymous. He doesn’t have any major qualities of note, certainly not charisma. He is, to be quite frank, easily forgettable and best left to fade into the background by playing character roles.
Don’t get me wrong – G&S was a well-made romantic sitcom in which the two actors were well-directed and given a chance to demonstrate their acting credentials. But, and it’s a big but, their subsequent sketch show Horne and Corden amplified the fact that they are not major league personalities, let alone world class comedians. So if they were going to make LVK work it would have to be with the aid of a script that delivered the goods and enabled H&C to act the roles rather than being their own alter egos.
Maybe there is a plot then? Ah that would be a no. The film is summarised thus by Google: “Two best buddies (James Corden, Mathew Horne) encounter a nest of beautiful Sapphic bloodsuckers.” The same viewer who provided the eloquent photo mentioned above describes the movie thus:
My wife, who I love more dearly with every passing day, has an unerring knack of choosing the worst films in the world. The only saving grace about her selecting this pile of abject, risible, insultingly unfunny wank is that she had already seen Marley and Me on her own in the week and I know that I don’t have that to come. This is so bad that I feel morally offended that any of the clowns involved- the squeaky fat one, the gargoyle-faced one, the one with all of the brothers- hasn’t come out and publicly apologised for it. It’s a comedy-horror with no comedy or horror in it. The plot, which was written on the back of a soggy beermat, is thus: ‘give the film a title to get teenage boys interested and make it look like a Lynx advert with a couple of flashes of nipple’.
That tells you all you need to know, since the lamely-used clichés are all much in evidence, including the presence of a decent actor, Paul McGann, playing a manic sweary priest in a performance that bore all the hallmarks of boosting his pension pot but causing him severe embarrassment. McGann should have known better, but then so should all the cast – the women in particular. We should all be embarrassed that good money has been wasted on this abysmal project. Apparently even Corden thinks it was bad too, and he should know.