Lesbian Vampire Killers

Lesbian Vampire Killers


Reviewed by: Robyn Jankel

You’d be hard pushed to think of a film in recent cinematic history with a more enticing title than Lesbian Vampire Killers. But are we following lesbians who kill vampires? Blood-sucking gay murderesses? Or destroyers of same-sex orientated nosferatu? And would it really matter in any event?

The premise turns out to be far simpler than such confusion might suggest. Mathew Horne and James Corden play a pair of bored best mates who take a trip into a phenomenally well-forested part of south-east England and happen upon a troop of lesbian vampires. Also present are a Scandinavian female foursome, led by Lotte (MyAnna Buring), intent on researching the infamous local legend of Carmilla (Silvia Colloca) - an ancient vampire queen with a penchant for the ladies.

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When Lotte’s friends start getting picked off by Carmilla’s army of undead followers, Fletch (Corden) and Jimmy (Horne) find themselves in an unexpectedly supernatural situation. With the help of Lotte and the local priest, it is up to the hapless pair to rescue the village and put an end to the centuries-old curse.

Horne and Corden are famous for playing Gavin and Smithy in the BBC3 comedy Gavin And Stacey and it is their crowd-pulling potential that has been harnessed in this feature-length endeavour. One can practically hear the argument in the boardroom, during which the idea for a supernatural comedy horror was possibly first mooted. Such a ridiculous premise would be utterly at odds with the identifiable realism of Gavin And Stacey. It would be new and fresh. Not to mention, with such a tightly-packaged collection of male fantasies in one madly-monikered film (hot women snogging one other? Check. Naked breasts? Check. Jokes about condoms? Check. Exploding brains? Check), the men of Great Britain would be practically guaranteed to turn out in their force.

While such a commercial attitude to take towards a film is not unheard of, it’s rarely quite so brazen as this. And unfortunately, what could have worked on paper (Horne and Corden are, after all, very funny – and one feels that such a bonkers name really ought to bear fruit erring on the side of so-bad-it’s-good) turns out not to be quite so successful as the financially-motivated bigwigs may have hoped.

Perhaps concerned he would be accused of unnecessary bloodshed and gratuitous girl-on-girl action, director Paul Claydon has edited the film to within an inch of its life. Gone are any slightly off-topic subplots or background information; gone, too, is the hint of a twist or turn in the poker-straight narrative. While it can’t be denied that the story rattles along at breakneck speed, it could have done with being a good 20 minutes longer, had the extra time resulted at least one unexpected bend in the predictable storyline.

Unlike Shaun Of The Dead, the mickey-taking supernatural comedy horror to which Lesbian Vampire Killers will inevitably be compared, the humour is too base and the same jokes drawn out for too long. And, fundamentally, Horne and Corden are not so versatile as the producers presumably predicted. Whilst one suspects that they did everything in their power to avoid the film being a case of Gavin and Smithy dropped into a vampire-infested forest, that’s exactly what it’s turned out to be, and it’s a shame.

The two men may, perhaps, be incredibly multifaceted and have phenomenally wide-ranging comic abilities but this film does not give them a chance to exercise such potential and I’m unlikely to tune into their next attempt. An hour and a half is too short for the film to ever really get going, but at the same time it is also far too long to have the same jokes repeated constantly in a format which may have worked in a 30-minute slot but just doesn’t translate to the big screen.

Lesbian Vampire Killers does have some great production values, which gently mock the cheesiness of the old Hammer House of Horror flicks and form a great-looking, cheap-and-cheerful backdrop for the film. The vampires themselves are ornately-decorated sirens with perky breasts and poufy hair, shrouded in heavy mists and dripping in velvety blood. The villagers provide comedy value in a League Of Gentlemen style and Paul McGann’s vicar is wonderfully hammy, but aside from that the jokes are forced, predictable and overdone.

It would be unfair to say that the film is not funny, there are some very humorous comments and a few moments of classic slapstick which work on an almost unfeasibly shallow level. But Horne and Corden do not have the ability or the experience to carry a film which relies solely on their pulling power, and the producers have unfairly placed too high a burden on their shoulders.

Where Shaun Of The Dead was a loving pastiche of an adored genre, Lesbian Vampire Killers simply takes the mickey out of vampire films; a genre which, for all its history, arguably deserve slightly more respect. This lack of deference sucks the life out of the film (pardon the pun) and all the penis jokes in the world can’t resurrect it.

Reviewed on: 10 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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Richard Mellor **

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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