I grew up in the era of Elvira. A campy, colorful, fun approach to horror. I’ve always had a soft spot for that aesthetic and its probably why I continue to host B-Movie horror film nights at my house on the reg. If that’s something you like as well, VAMPIRE DAD has it in spades.
Written by Kathryn M. Moseley and Frankie Ingrassia with Ingrassia directing, this debuting filmmaking team combined a ton of elements and aesthetics that are proven to work together. Opening credits and transitions that pay homage to the EC Comics of the 1950s, beautiful and vibrant set design and costuming, situational comedy, and sexy vampire women. It’s all so familiar. If you love early Tim Burton Films like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Edward Scissorhands, this is in your wheelhouse. What makes this film work is its unique story which allows for it to feel fresh and different from other films that use those elements.
Raymond (Jackson Hurst) is visited on Halloween night and bitten by Victoria, the goddess of the Underworld (Sarah Palmer) and he is turned into a vampire. His wife Natasha (Emily O’Brien) and his dopey brother-in-law Bob (Barak Hardley) help him conceal his new identity as a creature of the night from his teenage daughter Susie (Grace Fulton) and the rest of the neighborhood. Raymond was bitten by Victoria because the creatures of the night needed a psychologist and that happens to be Raymond’s day job in his home office. Now he is visited by werewolves, zombies, and fellow vampires because even monsters have their personal problems.
The rest of the film plays out as it becomes increasingly difficult for Raymond to hide what he has become and suspicious activities continue to occur in the neighborhood. All of this is surrounded with clever dialogue that made me laugh out loud quite a few times and low budget comedy horror that just understands what it is and is completely alright with it. At one point in the film, a fellow vampire flies into the home as a bat and several family members try to grab an obvious looking rubber bat in slow motion while epic classical music plays. VAMPIRE DAD doesn’t shy away from what it is and that allows the film to draw me in without me poking holes in its production. You can’t critique a film that is clearly critiquing itself.
The performances in this film are quite good as well. I particularly bought into anything Sarah Palmer’s Victoria said and she ate up every scene she was in. Barak Hardley’s Bob started off as a Zack Galifinakas-like caricature but morphed into a lovable and goofy Uncle character with some of the best lines in the film.
VAMPIRE DAD isn’t a masterclass is arthouse cinema or some special effects-driven blockbuster. It’s happy to be a small film with a cast list of less than a dozen people who are looking to shine a comedic light on the world of horror and pay homage to some of the best elements of those campy Elvira late-night moments and they do it in such a way that they left me wanting more when it was over.
VAMPIRE DAD is now out on VOD.