Robert Van Helsing (Bruce Campbell) is an incompetent descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, exploring the small town of Purgatory in search of his infamous ancestor. But Purgatory is inhabited by reclusive vampires who prefer to take it easy and lounge around in sunglasses and sun cream - a protection against the sun's deadly rays. There is no sign of the Count.
David Harrison (Jim Metzler) is an expert in the production of synthetic blood, and has develpoed a batch that will ensure the vampires of Purgatory no longer need to kill for food. He is nevertheless unaware that Purgatory is populated by the undead, thinking his work as part of an official experiment.
Things go wrong, though. The equipment suddenly ceases to work and the now-evil Shane (Maxwell Caulfield), who has been in Purgatory since the initial installation, and has been turned into a vampire, falls in love with Harrison's beautiful wife. Meanwhile, some of the toothy townspeople decide that the traditional ways of obtaining blood are preferable.
A war inevitably breaks out, resulting in vampire against human, vampire against vampire. Good versus evil.
'Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat' is directed by Anthony Hickox of 'Waxwork' and 'Hellraiser 3' fame. It is a low budget, off-beat comedy-western-horror that may not appeal to everyone's taste. This cross-genre film has nevertheless gained cult status, similar to other films in this subgenre like 'The Lost Boys', 'Innocent Blood', and 'Fright Night'.
The film is aptly-cast: Maxwell Caulfield (The Supernaturals), Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks, Waxwork), Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Waxwork 2), Jim Metzler (Never on a Tuesday), and David 'Kunf Fu' Carradine as the Count. M. Emmet Walsh delivers a hilarious performance as Mort Brisby, an ageing vampire/gas station attendant, but 'Sundown' inevitably belongs to Bruce Campbell.