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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies & gentlemen & vampires, Let's get ready to rumble!!!
John Carpenter proves he hasn't lost his mojo with this darkly intriguing film featuring two of the most frightful creatures on Earth: vampires and one of the Baldwin brothers. I love traditional vampire stories with suave and debonair Dracula types, but sometimes you just want to get down and dirty with the creatures of darkness and bring an edgier type of horror to the...
Published on 10 Jan 2004 by Daniel Jolley

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carpenter, back on form
After the very average Village of the Damned and Escape from LA, Carpenter's flame was waining. However going back to his horror roots seems to have worked. For the most part Vampires is a success. Indeed the first thirty minutes are some of Carpenter's finest work. The film does have a dip here and there, but James Woods is superb in reeling the film in. He is absolutely...
Published 24 months ago by Colonel Decker


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies & gentlemen & vampires, Let's get ready to rumble!!!, 10 Jan 2004
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
John Carpenter proves he hasn't lost his mojo with this darkly intriguing film featuring two of the most frightful creatures on Earth: vampires and one of the Baldwin brothers. I love traditional vampire stories with suave and debonair Dracula types, but sometimes you just want to get down and dirty with the creatures of darkness and bring an edgier type of horror to the banquet. Jack Crow (James Woods) and his crew of modern-day vampire slayers don't mess around, a fact which is made clear in the most vivid of ways in the opening scenes of the film. We join the fun at an old abandoned house somewhere in the Southwest U.S., a location that has been identified as a probable nest of bloodsuckers. The guys load up, move in, and find themselves in a personal war as these vampires tend to subscribe to the old "the best defense is a good offense" strategy. While the gore is not excessive by any means, there's blood enough to somewhat sate the avaricious desires of the horror-loving viewer, and I could have watched vampires being hauled out into the sun to spontaneously combust all day long. Crow is a little bothered by the fact that the "master" he expected to find in the nest was a no-show, but he doesn't let that stop the party the boys throw back at the hotel. Cheap booze and cheap women are the main attractions, and even the team's priest (none other than Julio from Sanford and Son) ties one on. Crow himself is on the verge of a little excitement with a hot little number named Katrina (Sheryl Lee) when the master he was looking for earlier decides to crash the party.
Crow escapes with his right-hand man Montoya (Daniel Baldwin) and Katrina, a vampire in the making. Crow hopes to use the psychic link that will develop between Katrina and her creator in order to pinpoint the powerful vampire's location. A consultation with the Catholic priests overseeing the whole secretive vampire-slaying business provides him with an unwanted new helper in the form of Father Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee) and the knowledge that he is not dealing with just any old vampire - he is dealing with the legendary Jan Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), a renegade priest who became the first recorded vampire in history back in the 1300s. Throw the rules out of the window because this thing is personal now, and Crow will stop at nothing to destroy this most powerful of enemies. An interesting subplot involving Montoya and Katrina makes for a more human link between audience and film, but the deadly battle between the forces of good and evil and the mayhem and destruction it brings remain the real focus of John Carpenter's Vampires throughout. Maximilian Schell makes a wonderful contribution to the film, Sheryl Lee is outstanding in my opinion, and even Daniel Baldwin pulls off an impressive performance. In the end, though, it is Woods and Griffith who steal the show.
John Carpenter's Vampires is a bold and refreshing vision of vampirism in an age when good vampire movies are quite rare. Woods really seems to relish his role as vampire slayer, evoking the type of obsession that was required of his character. How often are you going to see a priest roughed up and slapped around in the interest of good vs. evil? The opening twenty minutes of this movie are just fantastic, yet Carpenter manages to carry most of that same passion and energy throughout the remainder of the film, closing out with an ending that truly satisfies and takes nothing away from what has come before. Frankly, I had only recently heard of this movie, but in my opinion it deserves a lot of attention. It numbers among the best vampire movies I have ever seen.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Carpenter turns his hand to vampires..., 30 Aug 2003
By 
Priyan Meewella "Phoenix" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This is not so much a vampire film by John Carpenter as it is a John Carpenter film that just happens to have vampires in it. Carpenter returns to the vampire western setting immediately reminiscent of Near Dark, but this is a very different movie, not least because it focuses on the "other side".
Jack Crow [James Woods] is out for revenge after the vampire master Valek [Thomas Ian Griffith] kills off all but one of his slaying team (which was in itself an act of revenge...nevermind). To track him down, Woods uses a prostitute, Katrina [Sheryl Lee], who has developed a psychic link with Valek after being bitten. Also with him are his remaining slayer pal Montoya and naive priest Father Adam. Once Valek is revealed to be the first vampire on a mission for omnipotence, Crow certainly has his work cut out...
Crow is a standard hardened cynical hero, tough and efficient, happy to use threats to get results. He works for the establishment but plays by his own rules (becoming a habit with these modern slayers...). Much like all the major Carpenter leads, he finds himself set up and has a job to do. This flawed crusader role fits James Wood perfectly, and he delivers the cycnicism cuttingly, especially as regards the church he works for.
Valek is a scary presence, supremely powerful, ruthless and swift in his killings. In fact, he is much like an evil Crow. Griffith's presence resonates whenever he is onscreen, monstrously tall with faint veins running along his pale cheeks. However, after his initial attack upon the slayers, there is very little for him to do other than be chased down by Crow. What we do see is through his eyes as Katrina's psychic link develops, and while the attempt to focus on the slayer may be deliberate, it is somewhat self-defeating with such an impressive central vampire character.
Baldwin's Montoya seems to be lacking something, although perhaps it is just Woods' charisma as Crow, but Lee's Katrina is played well, evoking sympathy for the treatment she received from the cold slayers. Her fear is also clear as she feels herself slowly slipping away as Valek's bite seems to be taking hold.
There are some unusual methods of vampire slaying deployed in the early sequence: staking them, then winching them out with a truck into the sunlight where they burst into flame, writhing and screaming. These slayers are far more professional, and far less eccentric than the stereotypical breed, however. In short, they are more human. Carpenter's pacing is also careful after the opening sequence. Short bursts of violence serve to build up the tension towards the final confrontation that the audience knows must happen.
Vampires is quite simply stunningly beautiful. It is a visual feast, where rusted trucks and ramshackle buildings become abstract art. There is a great use of deep red lens filters, making the dusk scenes look much richer. The scene in which the vampires rise from their graves is truly amazing. This is all combined with a superb accompanying soundtrack by Carpenter himself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun take on the vampire legend., 28 Aug 2002
By 
MRS J A GLENISTER (Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vampires [VHS] [1999] (VHS Tape)
Hee Hee! I really liked this film. I've always loved John Carpenter's stuff anyway ("The Thing" - ooh!) but found a lot of his more recent stuff just a little too sick/gory. This film is a welcome return to his tamer work which has that tongue in cheek feel to it without distracting from a superb horror element.
James Woods is superbly cast as the head vampire hunter and really makes the film his own. Daniel Baldwin is an endearing sidekick, but it is the vampire-butt-kicking priest that often steals the scene.
It's one of those films (which is common right now in the vampire arena) that offers yet another explanation for the creation of The Vampire and alternatives to the common myths of crucifixes and garlic etc. It's not your typical "stake 'em and we all live happily ever after" vampire film, but instead ends rather sadly with one of Wood's character's good friends being "turned" and many vampires left un-defeated.
Woods and his team have a rather odd technique to killing their vampires which is indicitive of Carpenter's style. It's a kind of quirky film with it's serious moments as well. The head vampire is rather more realistic that the traditional sexy vampires you'll find in films like Fright Night, Dracula 2001 etc. (altho they too are fab films). Instead, this vampire is rather pale, veiny and cold and pretty brutal. That said,
the vampires aren't scary as such and this is not a particularly scary movie. It is however fun, intreging and a must for Carpenter and vampire fans.
If you don't take it too seriously (which I don't think you're meant to), you'll not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Move Over Buffy, 16 Mar 2002
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Essentially this is not Carpenter's strongest work although flashes of genius do appear in this tongue in cheek Vampire slaying blood fest. There is no question that without the staggeringly hammed up performance delivered by Woods, as a veteran vampire slayer employed by the Catholic church, the film would be in trouble. No actor can pull off being psychotic as well as Woods and he plays it for all he's worth. The scene in which Woods sadistically beats and kicks an innocent priest whilst delivering a lecture on vampires is, to my mind, one of the funniest, yet disturbing things that I've seen. The plot? Who cares? It's 90 mins of James Woods killing everything wearing the same wry smile as Willis in Die Hard.You know the one. It says "The're paying me a fortune to have this much fun?" This film is a blast. Buy it now if only for the priest bashing scene!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Carpenter has the Wild Bunch as Vampire Hunters, 22 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
"John Carpenter's Vampires" is something of a misnomer because most of the twists in this action charged tale of the bloodsucking undead have to do with the novel by John Steakley and the script by Don Jakoby. In the world of Carpenter's film there are teams of mercenary vampire hunters, sanctioned by the Vatican, searching the earth for nests of vamps and using their vast array of weapons and equipment to drag their prey out into the sun where the explode into flames. There are also Master Vampires who travel around with their packs. Leading the stalwart Vampire Hunters is James Woods as Jack Crow, in one of the most delicious over-the-top performances in Woods' celebrated career. Carpenter's commentary tells time and time again of how Woods adlibbed lines throughout the film.
The basic story is that after disposing of a nest they find in New Mexico, Crow's team is wiped out by Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), a master vampire. But this time is more than personal, because Valek is after a sacred black cross that will allow vampires to walk in the sunlight. This would not be a good thing. So Jack is hot on the trail aided and abetted by Tony Montoya (Daniel Baldwin), the only other surviving member of his team, Katrina (Sheryl Lee), a hooker who is about to turn into a vampire, and Father Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee), the rookie priest assigned to provide support. Be forewarned: Jack Crow spouts more profanity (in both the conventional and literal meaning) than have been heard in every other vampire movie filmed in the entire history of the world. "Vampires" is indeed a different kind of vampire movie, made with Carpenter's stylistic flair and more than a bit of Sam Peckinpah-type violence. A worthy addition to the video library of late night vamp-fests.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carpenter, back on form, 23 Sep 2012
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
After the very average Village of the Damned and Escape from LA, Carpenter's flame was waining. However going back to his horror roots seems to have worked. For the most part Vampires is a success. Indeed the first thirty minutes are some of Carpenter's finest work. The film does have a dip here and there, but James Woods is superb in reeling the film in. He is absolutely a no nonsense vampire slayer, it actually feels like Woods' character from the movie Cop is now a vampire slayer.

Woods sidekick also brings a freshness to the movie, and the master vampire is terrific. There is of course tons of blood and a few eerie moments.

Vampires works well, and any fan of Carpenter's work will like this. I give this film 3 and a half stars, almost a 4 but not quite. However amazon will only allow for 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Horrible Blu Ray Edition, 12 July 2012
By 
A. Cox "AJC24" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Let me make one thing clear before we go any further - I'm a massive John Carpenter fan and regard Vampires as one of my favourite John Carpenter films. Now, with that revelation out of the way, maybe my dislike for this Blu Ray release will make more sense to you.

The fact that Vampires has even made a Blu Ray release should be massively celebrated, I find it's extremely tough find all of Carpenters movies on Blu Ray, so you can imagine my excitement at seeing this one available, albeit with German box art. I didn't mind that, though. I was quite happy to buy this and just enjoy Vampires in all of its gory, action filled glory in even more glorious High Definition... but things went wrong literally from the moment you put the disk in your Blu Ray Player.

I can forgive the German box art (why did this never seemingly get an English based release?) and I can forgive the German menus and the fact that I had to manually change the in-movie language to English from the default German setting. I can put up with all of those smaller gripes. What I can't put up with is the fact that this Blu Ray edition looks worse than the DVD release as regards picture quality. And I mean that. I'm actually convinced that the DVD release looks better than this. I was shocked at the poor quality - it's almost like they took a poor version of the DVD release and just shovelled it onto a Blu Ray disk and tried to fool everyone into thinking it's HD. Trust me - this IS NOT HIGH DEFINITION done right. It's a true shocker in appearance and you simply won't believe how poor the transfer is until you see it for yourself.

Want my advice on this one? Buy the DVD release - it looks better!

Things get worse than the shoddy picture release when you realise that this Blu Ray edition has been made even more pointless by the fact that whoever made this Blu Ray edition has cut 5 minutes of film from the Blu Ray release. The run-time of the original DVD release is 103 minutes - the run-time for this Blu Ray version is 98 minutes. What the geniuses at the helm of this release have done, and I cannot convey how annoyed I am with them for doing so, is cut the goriest parts of the movie out of the final release. The massacre in the Sun God Motel just a few minutes into the film, for example, is completely missing. The guy from Jack Crows team answers the door, Valek stands there and next thing it literally just cuts to the very end of the massacre without showing any of the gory deaths that were happily accepted and shown on the DVD release.

I really can't see the point of that... why release a VERY cut down version of the film? It's not an overly gory movie, even though it can be quite gruesome in places in saying that, but it just completely detracts from the final product.

So poor picture quality and all the intense gory/horror scenes cut out? I say pass on this, save your hard earned cash and buy the DVD edition. You really don't want or need this version.

Wait for a proper Blu Ray release... if one ever happens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Carpenters Vampire$, 5 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This Vampire movie has it all, another of my guilty pleasures. James Woods as the slayer Jack Crow, Thomas Ian Griffiths as Jan Valek the Master Vampire. Dang why are they all portrayed as tall dark and handsome????

The theme slant here is The Master's goal to be able to walk in the day light. Trouble is he needs the Berziers Cross together with the help of a member of the Catholic Church (who in return for his assistance will have eternal life as a vampire).

James Woods plays his part with finesse and passion. Great to see him in this role.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most original vampire films to date!, 23 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film is a gore loaded, action packed film that thoroughly lived up to expectations. Some people will complain the vampires are far too brutal compared to other films. But the film is based on a book (very loosely) and the book shows vampires as pure evil that kill without remorse, so Carpenter is simply following the books characteristics. John Carpenter once again proves what a great director he is!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Open-minded, 7 May 2007
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Vampires was and still is a fairly enjoyable watch; the cast is good, and the movie does manage to give a fright or two. Here's to the bad part: the script. The script is predictable and very unoriginal. The 80's yielded some of the best vampire movies of all times, and the 90's tried to further develope this concept by adding depth, something the movies a decade earlier did not have. The 90's did hold some outstanding "vampire" movies; Interview with the Vampire was an epic tale that managed to stay clear of most clichés, and Bram Stoker's Dracula had something most vampire movies lack; a story. However, movies like "Blade", "The Forsaken" and "Vampires" completely missed the point; they didn't have a solid story, and unlike "From Dusk Till Dawn", stalled a lot to get to the actual point. The latter wasn't a good movie, but at least it got to the point, which was of course all the killing.
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Vampires [DVD] [1999]
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