Thursday, January 28, 2021 12:58

Posts Tagged ‘horror comedy’

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Ah, the genre that is horror comedy. In recent years there have been some great horror comedies, with Shaun of the Dead as a sound example. Shaun of the Dead worked – where countless lame parodies of horror films failed – because writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have both knowledge of and affection for the horror genre. It’s apparent at every step of the way; the tongue-in-cheek in-gags, their playfulness with established conventions of zombie films, and above all a genuine pleasure in what they’re doing.

If zombies have become part of the cultural landscape in horror, familiar enough to most viewers – genre fans or not – that they can understand the references and jokes, then vampires should surely be a safe target for humour, particularly in a world where the renewed popularity of the vamp (via Twilight, True Blood etc) has spawned an interest in older representations of the bloodsucker, all the way from Nosferatu to the heaving bosoms and suave demeanours of UK horror mainstays Hammer Films. Magazines across the world have run features on the ‘Top 50′ vampires, old films have been re-released, and even academia has seen some renewed sniffing-around the theme (when a genre finally reaches the professors, it has reached a notable level of saturation).

The thing is though, that as much as the elder vampires seem eminently familiar, for many people they aren’t, not really. Many people know the stills; a lot of people recall seeing an old film or two; essentially many people are vaguely aware of the films and their motifs, but those vaguely-aware people are just not well-equipped to churn out comedies on the topic. If you want to satirise or parody something – ooh, let’s say Hammer horror – then you need to know your subject, or the jokes will fall flat.

And so we come to Lesbian Vampire Killers. Don’t be fooled by the poster – that’s as near as you’re getting to nudity. Oh, and the vampirism is impossibly anaemic, and the killing? Pretty absent.

Director Phil Claydon thought, as is evident from the extras on the DVD release, that he had made a completely different film to the one I watched. He waxes lyrical on the gory visuals (huh?) the hot lesbianism (buh?) and the creepy setting, with evidently not a clue how tame and derivative it all is. He’s incredibly proud of the appearance of comedians Matthew Horne and James Corden – of course, as the film would not have been made without the appearance of two actors currently enjoying huge popularity thanks to their TV work – although their roles in such a poorly-scripted film can do little, ultimately, to carry the film along.

The film does not work either as a comedy or a pastiche on horror, because it is evident from every element in the film that there is no love whatsoever for the horror genre from which many of the comedy elements are expected to derive. And ultimately, this has been done well already by Steve Coogan’s series Doctor Terrible’s House of Horrible – funny, and warm, both to horror fans and non-horror fans, because Coogan is comfortable with his subject matter and can crack jokes which work.  There’s no affection for the Hammer horrors which Lesbian Vampire Killers rather aimlessly seems to look to, so we get no in-jokes, no sense of familiarity. This is a film which rather lazily tries to cash in on the vampire craze by half-remembering saucy elements from horrors of days gone by, thinking how easy it would to make something hilarious and lucrative along those lines, but falling at the first hurdle.

It is possible to combine laddish humour with horror – Jake West’s film Doghouse would be a lesson to the makers of Lesbian Vampire Killers, and criminally, it hasn’t received half the exposure that the latter has – so ultimately, the joke’s on us! Avoid this film like the stereotypical village in the woods. Nothing of merit lies therein.