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Vamp (1986)

When Grace Jones turned up as May Day in the farewell Bond film from Roger Moore, A View to a Kill she seemed to be a perfect killing machine and a formidable opponent for James Bond. Therefore her features and screen presence seemed a natural for portraying a long legged dancer in a rather suspect bar that houses a pack of blood thirsty vampires with Grace the Queen of the horde.

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This low budget effort was released by New World pictures that frequented the crank’em out style of pictures that played at the theaters but ultimately found their profits through the growing VHS market.

This seems to be a cross between Porky’s and Fright Night. Chris Makepeace and Robert Rusler are a couple of youngsters looking to find their way into a top fraternity at college. In order to gain admittance they promise to find a featured strip dancer to make an appearance at the frat house. Off they go in search of the perfect figure.

They find themselves in a low end dive that might be looked at as a forerunner of the roadhouse in From Dusk Till Dawn. Here they find the featured dancer they believe will turn heads with their buddies on campus. Grace Jones takes to the stage in a bizarre dance that has our young men fantasizing of what may soon develop.

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With make up effects by Greg Cannom turning our beauties of the stage into something less than attractive, our group of teens find themselves stuck in a house of horrors. They’ve picked up a young waitress and a nerdish student who had the car to get them to the bar in the first place.

There are plenty of crooked teeth, hearts pulled from chests and a bug eating doorman to keep the effects fans happy. Stakes and crossbows play a prominent part as does a rather bizarre  looking albino played by perennial baddie Billy Drago. Miss Jones plays the role mute throughout allowing her facial features to do her bidding.

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Vamp was written and directed by Richard Wenk. Given his low budget beginnings he’s done very well of late as he’s become attached to The Equalizer redo with Denzel Washington as it’s credited writer. Make up artist Greg Cannom does a nice job here and would go on to a long career winning Oscars for 1992’s Dracula, Mrs. Doubtfire and Benjamin Button.

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When this film came out it carried a bit of fanfare with it in the group of teenage boys I hung out with mainly due to the fact that it just sounded so perfect to have Jones cast as a vampire. It’s a role well suited to her. Too bad it’s just another “B” comedy horror film aimed at the teenage market for a fast return at the box office. Grace may have been perfect for an upscale horror flick with a greater budget. She could easily have fit into something like The Lost Boys or the more serious minded Near Dark.

Anchor Bay put this one out a few years back. I hadn’t seen it since the VHS days so it was time for a rewatch.

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