A title like Lesbian Vampire Killers makes certain promises to the viewer. Most obvious is the holy titular trinity of sexy lesbians, blood-sucking vampires, and multiple killings. And while you may not know for sure if you’ll be seeing hot lesbians staking vampires or hot lesbian vampires getting staked, you really can’t go wrong either way. The one remaining guarantee implied by a title like this is that you should expect plenty of laughs, and while they may be of the campy variety they should at least be intentional. So expectations in place, I attended last week’s SXSW premiere ready for tittering and titillation. And I was not disappointed… for the first twenty minutes anyway.
Jimmy and Fletch are two friends in need of a vacation. Jimmy (Matthew Horne) just had his heart broken by his serial dumper of a girlfriend. Allow me to re-phrase… his girlfriend Judy (Lucy Gaskell) has dumped him several times already, and has now done it again to take up with another man. Fletch (James Corden) has just recently lost his job as a party clown because he punched a little shit in the face. The two of them drown their sorrows in a bar and decide to throw a dart at a map of Great Britain… they’ll take a camping trip wherever the dart lands, and that wherever ends up being the tiny town of Cragwich. Once there they stop at a pub with clientèle slightly warmer than those found at The Slaughtered Lamb and are given directions to accommodations deep in the forest. Of course the locals neglect to mention the curse that hangs over Cragwich, the curse that turns all girls on their eighteenth birthday into lesbian vampires, the curse to which Jimmy may hold the key…
There aren’t any surprises to be found in Lesbian Vampire Killers, and what you expect is pretty much what you get. Throw in a van full of European hotties, a constant stream of quips and jokes, a gaggle of lesbian vampires trying to resurrect their long dead queen, and a vicar (Paul McGann) crusading against the vampires in an effort to protect his own daughter on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday, and you have a film that moves at a fairly quick and breezy pace for its entire ninety minutes. The problem is that while the film offers sex appeal, vampire action, and laughs, only the humor can keep up that pace.
Let’s start with the sex shall we? It starts off strong with some very fine and and very nude vampire chicks cleaning each others teeth and breasts with their tongues, but the visual splendor doesn’t last. After these brief opening scenes the lesbian vampires turn prudish with both their bodies and their pubic displays of affection. Clothes stay on and the girls start kissing each other like their hearts just aren’t in it anymore… it’s sad really. And the vampire violence fares even worse. Presumably in order to avoid issue with the film ratings board there’s nary a drop of blood in the entire film. When our heroes splay, skewer, or behead one of the vampires we’re treated to a geyser of milky white spooge in place of crimson arterial sprays. It provides a few easy laughs, but it’s not as satisfying as it should have been. It doesn’t help that half of the onscreen jizz is CGI… and the CGI in this movie is terrible. The film uses quite a bit of it too (CGI, not jizz) and it looks ridiculously bad almost every time.
After the sex appeal goes limp and the action is revealed as tepid and sticky, the film’s success comes to rest on the comedy… and luckily the writing and performances are consistently pretty funny. Horne and Corden have honed their comedic skills and chemistry on the successful British TV show, “Gavin & Stacey” and the upcoming (and creatively named) “Horne & Corden.” The pair work off each other quite well, and even if comparisons to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost prove apt it doesn’t lessen their comedic appeal. McGann also packs in the laughs as the foul-mouthed and incredibly serious vicar. Lesbian Vampire Killers is definitely worth a watch, but it won’t find a home in the pantheon of classic horror comedies like An American Werewolf In London and Return Of The Living Dead. The only real guarantee the film follows through on is in providing ninety minutes of light comedy. You’ll chuckle a bit, you’ll see a few boobies, you’ll wonder why a house would have a fantastic walk-in shower but no toilet, and you’ll go home and google the girl who actually uses that fine walk-in shower, but that’s pretty much it.