Lesbian Vampire Killers

Lesbian Vampire Killers

**

Reviewed by: Richard Mellor

Should you go to see Lesbian Vampire Killers? Take this simple, snobbish test to find out. 1. During Gavin & Stacey, the sitcom in which Mathew Horne and James Corden's double-act was born, did you a) guffaw uncontrollably between sips of Stella, or b) change the channel? 2. Russell Brand: is he a) the future of comedy, or b) a prize pratt? 3. The word 'cock': do you use it a) 10-1000 times a week, or b) 0-10 times a week? All a)s? Reserve your ticket now...

Just don't expect to be amazed. Phil Claydon's bawdy comedy derives its send-up humour from the not-so original combination of ordinary, incompetent Joes with super-serious, world-theatening disaster. A planned-in-the-pub walking holiday unfortunately takes best mates Fletch (Corden) and Jimmy (Horne) right into Cragwich, a small hamlet amid a huge forest in wild west Norfolk. Little do they know their peril: but we have the benefit of portentous Midsomer Murders-style music, and advance knowledge of an ancient curse that sees all the village's fair maidens morph into bloodsucking homosexuals upon their 18th birthday.

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The lads initially think all is well, as they meet four visiting Swedish bombshells and accompany them to a remote cottage, much to the delight of the lascivious Corden. Alas, three of the girls quickly succumb to the temptresses, leaving the boys and Lotte (MyAnna Buring) to fight the good fight. The humour is based around their total unsuitability to this task: Horne is more timid than your average dormouse, while Corden resorts to high-pitched cowardice, exasperated “oh fucking hells” and babbling incomprehension, interrupted by occasional appreciations of the girl-on-girl action unfolding before him.

More than once LVK flirts with the stuff of homo-feminist fantasy. Take a step back and you have feeble men pretending to be beer-swilling behemoths and getting thoroughly out-thought and out-fought by seductive, dominant lesbians. Vampire queen Camilla even has a “gargantuan scythe”. Or perhaps the film's homophobic, what with the crassness of the marketing-oriented title, promising non-existent naughtiness to horny teens, and the regularity with which Corden calls Horne a 'poof' or similar. (Such prejudice is currently being repeated in the puzzlingly popular pair's BBC4 sketch show, courtesy of its gay journalist, Tim).

Fans of LVK would doubtless encourage a thicker skin, in line with the banality of the film's comedy, perhaps. And, in truth, Claydon's caper does provide some genuinely funny moments - especially when gently spoofing much soberer 'horror' movie counterparts (not that LVK is remotely scary). The best stem from Corden's delightful refusal to take seriously the disgruntled local vicar (Paul McGann), a man hell-bent on erasing the Sapphic plague. Interrupting McGann's advice on slaying vampires, Corden dismissively tells him such information is common knowledge. "We've all seen it in films," he says.

Corden's more energetic, enthusiastic brand of wit is far better suited to these outlandish proceedings than Horne's delicate sighs and subtle faces; as a double-act, the pair quickly cloy and it's a relief when they're separated. Horne and Buring, involved in one of celluloid's more aneroxic love stories, are kidnapped as sacrifices for the returning Camilla. After a requisite threat to sod off home, Corden revels in his role of unlikely, fat saviour, amused by the pivotal "cock-sword" he utilises and cheerfully throwing condoms filled with holy water at the vamped-up vampires, now writhing like pupils from a sexed-up St Trinians episode.

That's about as charming as it all gets. On the whole, LVK is puerile silliness - gags, girls and gore with a catchy title and little raison d'etre. If you really want decent comedy, Eye For Film suggests getting hold of the film's press notes: in them, co-writer Stewart Williams reveals that he "wanted to write something like Withnail & I", before Horne compares LVK to a "silent film". Now that really is funny. An altogether more appropriate reference point comes when Williams explains the christening of Horne's character: apparently, he's "named after Jimmy McLaren in Grange Hill".

Reviewed on: 19 Mar 2009
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Lesbian Vampire Killers packshot
Horror spoof sees two hapless buddies try to save a community from the bite of girl-loving vampires.
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Robyn Jankel **

Director: Phil Claydon

Writer: Paul Hupfield, Stewart Williams

Starring: James Corden, Mathew Horne, MyAnna Buring, Silvia Colloca, Vera Filatova, Paul McGann, Ashley Mulheron, Louise Dylan, Lucy Gaskell, John Pierce Jones

Year: 2009

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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