A dad afflicted with vampirism struggles to keep himself intact when he’s offered a crazy job in this fun and witty 1960s set horror-comedy.
On Halloween 1962, Dr. Raymond Wilensky is a psychiatrist who is met by the temptress Victoria, Goddess of the Underworld. She bites him and now, Raymond is a vampire. The only ones who know of his newfound affliction are his wife Natasha and brother-in-law Bob. When it’s their daughter Susie’s Sweet 16, Raymond and Natasha do all they can to hide this secret from Susie. However, when Victoria arrives out of the blue, she informs Raymond that she infected him because she needs help with some of the other monsters in the underworld and perhaps, a doctor could help them.
That night, at dinner, in which Raymond and Natasha meet Susie’s boyfriend Jimmy, a bat shows up out of nowhere. The bat is Oliver, a fellow vampire who Raymond intends to help. While Raymond is treating other monsters with their problems, he begins to have trouble at home as he deals with Susie’s relationship with Jimmy as well as having to quench his thirst for blood. Will Raymond be able to remain in the dark about his vampiric tendencies, or will things go too far for the “vampire dad”?
From the mind of director Frankie Ingrassia comes this fun horror-comedy that while there is some blood involved, gives off a Parents-vibe in terms of its setting, but instead of dealing with cannibalism, we have the story of a psychiatrist who is afflicted with vampirism only because the underworld needs a doctor to talk to the monsters who feel affected with their problems involving their natural tendencies. However, for this dad, it’s about work-life balance and having to deal with both the job and his issues at home with his budding teenage daughter.
Jackson Hurst is fun to watch as the titular Vampire Dad, Raymond, who has the ability to go from Ward Cleaver to Dracula in a matter of minutes. What drives his performance is his range of emotions as one minute, he’s happy and the next, he’s attempting to hold back his thirst as we see him struggle with being the dad of a budding teen while in an ironic twist, he’s a psychiatrist who has been hired to help monsters. Emily O’Brien brings that Beverly Cleaver performance to things as Natasha, Raymond’s wife who knows the secret while Barak Hardley is funny as mortician brother-in-law Bob, who finds himself having a crush on the next-door neighbor. His attempt to hypnotize Raymond in one scene is quite a hoot.
What’s even funnier is when Raymond and Natasha attempt to hide the vampirism from their daughter, with them making funny excuses towards her. Bob even gets in on some of the excuses and even his is quite funny. Sarah Palmer is wonderful in her first major role as the vampire goddess who is responsible for Raymond’s newfound affliction, as seen in a terrific comic book style animated sequence. In a fun way, this particular style is used for “chapters” and for some pivotal scenes as well. Some of Raymond’s new clients are a hoot too, especially Jonathan Pessin’s neurotic vampire Oliver, who just can’t seem to accept the notion of not dying. There’s even a werewolf, ghoul, and invisible man who serve as some of the new clients.
Vampire Dad is a 1960s set fun horror comedy that could join Parents and Serial Mom in the world of these nostalgic set horror-comedies as a triple feature. Jackson Hurst is great to watch as the titular dad, some fun comic book animation sequences, and a fun twist in the film’s final moments of its 80-minute running time. It’s a wonderful directorial debut for actress Frankie Ingrassia.
WFG RATING: B+
Random Media presents a One Two Twenty Films production. Director: Frankie Ingrassia. Producers: Kathryn M. Moseley and Jed Rhein. Writers: Kathryn M. Moseley and Frankie Ingrassia. Cinematography: Leah Anova. Editing: Tuffy Williams.
Cast: Jackson Hurst, Emily O’Brien, Grace Fulton, Barak Hardley, Juli Cuccia, Sarah Palmer, Michael Naizu, Rich Cohen, Jonathan Pessin, Linda Nile, Natalie Mitchell, Gene Arroyo, Crispin Rosenkranz.