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John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)


Duration 1h 48m Rating (UK) 18
Source of story A book “Vampires” by John Steakley
Director John Carpenter
Writers/Script Don Jakoby,
Starring James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Maximilian Schell, Thomas Ian Griffith, Tim Guinee,

Elevator Pitch: Down in New Mexico a bunch of vampire hunters are employed by the Vatican to search for the undead and dispatch them. They work in daylight breaking into the vampire’s lairs and harpooning them, then pulling them out into the daylight where they burst into flames. After one successful hunt they are partying in a motel when they are attacked by a “master vampire”, leaving only the leader, Jack Crow, his assistant and a hooker, who has been bitten, left alive. It is revealed that the attacker is searching for a symbolic cross, with which he will be able to walk the earth in daylight. Using the hooker’s telepathic powers they search for the vampire, to save the world.

Content: There is female nudity but no sex, although it is implied that only the attack by the master vampire prevented it taking place. This is a total gorefest. The vampires are capable of slicing off the heads of humans, and if the humans are just bitten then it is up to those left alive to stake them through the heart and to cut off their heads to prevent them rising and joining the vampire throng.  So there is a lot of creeping about in darkened houses and occassionally we see the activities of Valek, the master vampire, through the eyes of the telepathic prostitute.

A View: This film was variously thought of as very good, or very bad, by the critics. One of its bad points was there there seemed to be no plot, just a number of visually unpleasant set pieces, although it was apparently toned down a bit to get an R rating. There seemed to be a lot of vampires about, an infestation. Where had they all come from and how do the humans even survive? There are a lot of vampire movies out there, some of them from the vampire’s point of view, so I would choose another, but if decapitations lights your fire it could be for you.

Additional Info: John Carpenter directed five films in the 1990s. This was the only one to make money.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



  1. Pingback: John Carpenter’s Vampires: Movie Review - May 25, 2020

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