Indie film making is a double edged sword. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead and The Blair Witch Project are all brilliant examples of simple ideas, well executed with the minimum of budget. These movies are proof that effective horror derives from a good story well told and that minute finances can actually be positive, forcing film makers to think of new, more innovative ways to create an enjoyable cinematic experience…
On the other hand, it can result in absolute catastrophe, giving talentless cretins a platform for which to present their indulgent projects. Here enters Fist of the Vampire, an embarrassing, confused and convoluted travesty of a film.
Detective Lee Southward -played with consistent apathy by Brian Anthony- is transferred to Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, Transylvania, get it!?!?) where he must infiltrate an underground fight club in order to chokeslam his way through a series of minor criminals. As his ‘investigation’ continues he meets an officious undercover cop who offers to help him in his noble quest for justice.
However, things become complicated when they discover that the people who they seek to put behind bars are actually vampires!
From here the dynamic duo battle their way through a blood sucking crime syndicate, encountering lurid sex, hard drugs and bloody action along the way…OH FOR F**K SAKE!! I wouldn’t tolerate a professional movie this formulaic!
No amount of boobs, blood and blue screen can hide the fact that this film is an incomprehensible mess, it’s about as structured as a jenga tower made out of mini battenburgs. The tenuous ‘plot’ is a petty excuse to jump between a series of minor set pieces in an infuriatingly desultory fashion. The director -Len Kabasinski- relies on cheap thrills to entice his audience, sewing gimmicks of sex and violence onto the story in a shoddy, patchwork design. Just to be extra obnoxious, each scene is overlaid with a phenomenally poor techno/metal soundtrack. Which brings us onto our next problem…
Fist of the Vampire is a film so metal that it practically oozes Jägermeister. Every ozzy-esque vocal and ‘chugga chugga’ riff is emblematic of Kabasinski’s rock hard boner for heavy metal. I don’t have anything against the genre per say but when a scene is accompanied by a noodly guitar solo so stupid that even Yngwie Malmsteen would be embarrassed to play it, it tends to deflate any and all tension like a punctured balloon emitting a comical fart noise as is slowly dies.
These songs are particularly intrusive during scenes of supposed drama, the staccato riffs and adolescent wails distracting from the dramatic action.
Amazingly, the aforementioned problems don’t even come close to being the films biggest issue, which prestigious title goes to the fight sequences. They are nothing more than glorified games of patty-cake, the participants repeating the same stiff maneuvres over and over, bumping shins and elbows together in embarrassing displays of childish scuffling. This isn’t aided much by the botched editing style which frequently reveals these amateur attempts at fight choreography to be just that, amateur.
None of this would be so bad if it wasn’t executed with such bare toothed seriousness.
Fist of the Vampire; amazing name, awful film.
Additional film information: Fist of the Vampire (2007)