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Vamps: Life, Love & Bloodsucking in New York

  • Alicia SilverstoneKrysten Ritter...
  • ComedyRomance
  • Amy Heckerling
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Vamps: Life, Love & Bloodsucking in New York
The mythological beings known as vampires have definitely had their share of publicity over the past few years.  Whether they’re protagonists in a best-selling novel or a leading character in a blockbuster feature, the vamps, as we know it, are more often than not most likely to complicate matters by falling in love with a human. It’s usually all too dramatic, as far as vampire storytelling is concerned, and to some, this phenomenon might be reaching the end of the road.

It’s so refreshing, then, to see Amy Heckerling’s Vamps goes in a completely different direction. It’s back to basics with Heckerling, who was also the creative force behind 1995 hit-comedy Clueless; she manages to keep Vamps simple and forthright, all the while landing a few laughs.

Goody (Silverstone) and Stacy (Ritter) are a couple of modernised vamps living it up in the Big Apple.  The twenty-something girls live by their own set of rules, which they have mastered over the years. They don’t feed on human blood – rats do the trick – they’re always back in their coffins by sunrise and, according to them, “dating sucks!” Goody is the older and more experienced of the two, having been changed into a vampire in 1841. To her, modern-day technology is puzzling and she can’t for the life of her understand the obsession. 

Stacy, the younger vamp, was turned in the 1980’s by the same ‘stem’ vampire, Cisserus (Weaver). Unlike her buddy, Stacy has no problem keeping up with the fast-moving world, although nostalgic references to the 80’s music and fashion are endless.

Things get complicated when the girls start falling in love. During a film class at night school, Stacy meets Joey (Stevens); a privileged young man whose father (Shawn) seems to have a thing for vampires and wants to see them dead.  Stacy immediately falls head over heels – even the family name Van Helsing can’t put her off.  Meanwhile, Goody runs into an old boyfriend from the 60’s, Danny (Lewis), whose wife is dying of cancer.

Even though the story is leaning towards the ridiculous, it somehow ends up being surprisingly enjoyable. It never tries to be serious and the 80’s feel and colour palette helps in its storytelling; it provides a uniqueness that hasn’t been seen on the big screen in a while. The special effects deliver and the cheese and bloodshed are kept to a minimum.  The tacky one-liners never fail to amuse and it’s obvious that the entire cast had lots of fun with Heckerling’s script. 

Clueless fans will love seeing Silverstone back in the saddle as the film’s leading lady; her cuteness and charm is endearing and her character manages to hold the scruffy story together.  Ritter is just as good; her portrayal of geeky Stacy is engaging and the two make a really good match.  Weaver, meanwhile, is hilarious and it’s refreshing to see the veteran actress getting back in touch with her comedic roots. 

Vamps is strange and deliberate in its forthcomings.  Even though it’s not very cinematic and might make a better DVD choice, it definitely lands a few laughs.

Like This? Try

Clueless (1995), Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

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Vamps reunites co-stars from the 1995 hit Clueless, Alicia Silverstone and Wallace Shawn - the  high-school principal.

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