It’s obvious to anyone who doesn’t have his head stuck up his ass that you don’t go into a movie called “Lesbian Vampire Killers” expecting the second coming of “Citizen Kane”. While the threshold for “success” is undoubtedly set very low as a result, there are nevertheless expectations that must be met. In the case of Phil Claydon’s “Lesbian Vampire Killers”, I would have to report in the affirmative. Yes, indeed, the film certainly lives up to its title of delivering lesbians who are also vampires. The other thing that makes the British horror-comedy a success is that it’s just funny, and a lot of the jokes actually work thanks to co-star James Corden, who easily steals the show and is actually more leading man than co-star Mathew Horne. The film even manages to buck genre conventions by keeping Horne’s character mostly inept for much of the film, while the bumbling, quipping Fletch (Corden) pretty much saves the day.
The film co-stars Horne and Corden as best buds Jimmy and Fletch, who decide to take a holiday (as the Brits call it) after Jimmy’s girlfriend dumps him for the nth time and Fletch is fired from his job after an encounter with a water-spraying kid. The duo ends up in a small town in the English countryside, where friendly locals point the way toward a free cottage somewhere in the woods, the same place where four comely lasses led by Lotte (MyAnna Buring) are also headed. As it turns out, the locals were more than happy to point the way because they plan for Lotte and her friends, along with Jimmy and Fletch, as sacrifices to the town’s coven of lesbian vampires. The town, you see, was cursed long ago by the queen of the lesbian vampires, Carmilla (Silvia Colloca), so now whenever a girl in town turns 18, she immediately becomes a lesbian vampire. The only way to break the curse is for the long-lost relative of a brave knight to return home and take out Carmilla once and for all.
Unfortunately for all involved, that long-lost relative happens to be the hapless Jimmy, who really is one useless bastard. Thankfully for Lotte and company, Fletch is there to save the day. The slightly overweight best friend does his best to fend off the vampires while at the same time trying to get with some of Lotte’s friends. Or hey, maybe even Lotte herself, who confesses to still being a virgin. She has eyes for Jimmy, but you know, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. Also hanging around and eventually lending a hand is the town Vicar (Paul McGann), who is a tad concern about the curse, being that his daughter is about to turn 18 any minute now. Together, the Vicar and Fletch set about to save the day, the world, and Jimmy and Lotte as well, the two having been captured by the vampires. Did I mention Jimmy is one hapless SOB?
It’s really incredible that something as superficially silly but so very fun as “Lesbian Vampire Killers” is directed by Phil Claydon. The last time I stumbled across a Claydon film, he was directing a serial killer movie called “Alone” in 2002. That was a miserable piece of filmmaking, and it’s amazing that Claydon has since developed a sense of humor since then. Of course it probably helps that the script by Paul Hupfield and Stewart Williams is all about the gags and crude humor. The film is filled with all manner of juvenile comedy, including the unfortunate shape that makes up the hilt of the ancient sword destined to slay Carmilla. “Lesbian Vampire Killers” also benefits from a very nice budget, so it never has that low-budget feel a lot of horror-comedies are burdened with. The movie is slick from beginning to end, with its obviously staged scenes clearly made to look, well, obviously staged for effect.
The main star of the film is without a doubt James Corden, who carries the film like a real champ while we wait for Jimmy to finally discover the Ash (of “Evil Dead” fame) inside him. We know it’s only a matter of time, though it’s actually a good thing that it takes Jimmy so long to finally turn heroic and not simply clueless and, well, stupid, because in the meantime we get treated to Fletch’s perverse (though admittedly very agreeable) sense of humor as he flounders between beheading lesbian vampires and trying to flee. Fletch acts the way we would act in the same situation, though probably with less crude language. Then again, the guy is being chased by lesbian vampires and getting bossed around by a foul-mouth Vicar, so maybe he’s got a reason to be testy.
The rest of the film is all eye candy. The filmmakers have taken care to cast the film with only the prettiest ladies, including Vera Filatova as the second-in-command vampire who gets most of the screentime while she and the brood work to bring about Carmilla’s return. Silvia Colloca, as Carmilla, is gorgeous, but unfortunately doesn’t have all that much to do, which is a shame. The rest of the lesbian vampires are filled out by Ashley Mulheron, Louise Dylan, and Emer Kenny as the Vicar’s comely daughter, who is 18 going on Las Vegas showgirl. Female lead MyAnna Buring (“The Descent”) has the right mix of sexy librarian and vampire fighting warrior. Though it’s all done for comedy, there are one or two lesbian encounters in the film that will surely pitch a couple of tents out there in viewerland. What I’m trying to say is, don’t watch this with your parents, boys.
What else to say about “Lesbian Vampire Killers”, except that it delivers on its promise of vampires, lesbians, and killers. Sure, you could ask for more than just those three things, but why would you, knowing the title going in? The object, obviously, is to create a cult movie. I’m not entirely sure if they’ve succeeded in this regard. The film is certainly funny enough, and there are lesbians and gore aplenty, but I have to admit, there just isn’t as much of the “cool” factor, or cool action sequences, that can usually be found in your usual cult horror classics, like, say, Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” films. Maybe Claydon can give us more memorable action in the sequel. “Effeminate Werewolf Killers”, anyone?
Phil Claydon (director) / Paul Hupfield, Stewart Williams (screenplay)
CAST: Paul McGann … Vicar
James Corden … Fletch
Mathew Horne … Jimmy
MyAnna Buring … Lotte
Silvia Colloca … Carmilla
Vera Filatova … Eva
Ashley Mulheron … Trudi
Louise Dylan … Anke