Sunday, July 26, 2009

Review - Vampires (1998)

From Blogger Pictures

Last night I got done watching one of my favorite vampire movies: “John Carpenter’s Vampires.” I have always liked this movie ever since I was younger. I’d always pop it in the VHS player and just become enthralled in the action and the horror of it all. But, there was something that I have always like about this movie more then just the makeup, effects and scares… something that I could not put my hand on until now. It’s the way that this movie was photographed.

It’s a beautifully shot movie in the style of the typical westerns. Though the movie doesn’t typically follow the general structure of classic Hollywood westerns it’s very easy to see that Carpenter was heavily inspired by Sergio Leone flicks. Take for example the beginning sequence when James Wood’s character Jack Crow is staring right at the screen with his sunglasses on. This is a reference to the extreme close-ups that Leone pioneered in his western movies; extreme close-ups showing all the sweat and wrinkles and facial features of the face.

From Blogger Pictures

 Another scene that is very reminiscent of the western genre is when Jan Valek arises from the ground along with all of his minions and then they walk slowly towards the camera while dirt is blowing against their bodies. This reminded me of the scene in “Once Upon A Time in the West” when Frank emerges from the bushes and kills that kid.

One thing that most early westerns pioneered is the use of the establishing shot, where the movie takes place and this movie has so many wonderfully photographed shots of the landscape, barns, windmills and abandoned old towns. Even the beginning title of “Vampires” is homage to your traditional John Ford western flicks.

From Blogger Pictures

So, in perspective it can be debated that this movie is in fact a western horror movie and I think that Carpenter really delivered. John did a great job with an acoustic score but what would have been awesome would be if Ennio Morricone did the score. Imagine that electric guitar and high pitched strings… give me goosebumps. 


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