Vampire in Brooklyn

A cocktail of humor, love, and BLOOD.
"A comic tale of horror and seduction."

Hello everyone! Welcome back to The Tagline, and to the second part of my expose on shitty movies laid like dead birds at the front step of Wes Craven. Today, I will explore a movie he actually WAS responsible for, at least in par:, the intensely bizarre Vampire in Brooklyn. Made in 1995, Vampire in Brooklyn was an attempt to do... something, I'm not really sure exactly what. Eddie Murphy's career had cooled somewhat by 95, and perhaps in an attempt to reassert himself, Eddie Murphy embarked on this strange endeavor. To clarify, Wes Craven directed, and had some other creative input, while Eddie Murphy and his brother Charlie wrote the story and screenplay. Together, these forces conspired to create Vampire in Brooklyn, a film that was apparently supposed to be part comedy, part romance, and part horror. What it actually accomplished was being a confused mess of a movie that succeeds at being none of the three things it tried to be. As a quick rundown, Eddie Murphy portrays Maximilian, the last of a race of vampires, who has traveled to Brooklyn in order to find the one woman who can be his mate. This woman is a police detective, Rita, portrayed by Angela Bassett. Max seems to be operating on a fairly strict timeline, and so enlists the help of some low-life, turning him into a ghoul to help while Max is confined to his coffin during the day.

What follows in his quest to turn Rita into a full blown vampire (we find out she is half-vampire) is a confused mix of lame attempts at comedy, marred by excessive amounts of gore, and the constant death of characters, attempts at horror ruined by obvious, cumbersome special effects and generally lame setup, and the romance is ruined by those two things I just said. The timing is never right on any three of the elements, and what is left is a surreal and powerfully unpleasant experience. The collected components of this film make up such a terrible whole than honestly, the weird racist Blackula-esque angle didn't really occur to me. It is certainly there, and I see that now as I look back, but watching the movie I could only keep asking myself, how did they actually let this be released? Even more than how terrible the movie was, what continued to strike me was just how utterly strange the movie was. I can't honestly think of another movie that mashed up the genres of horror, comedy, and romance. I'm not positive that you could successfully do so, but if it were possible, this movie was not the one to accomplish it. Somehow, this movie manages to feel like a lifetime of misery despite the fact that it is around a paltry 100 minutes.

This is actually Eddie Murphy. He plays three roles in this
awful movie. Each one is terrible.
While not funny, or romantic, Vampire in Brooklyn is also not scary at all. The special effects are lame, and detract from any real possibility at horror. The attempts at comedy are mostly incredibly lame, with the exception of the mostly ad-libbed lines of John Witherspoon (Who most of you would probably recognize as Grandad Freeman on the Boondocks, or maybe not, my blog could be read exclusively by aliens from Proxima Centauri I have no idea). Aside from that, the humor is crude without being funny, and profane without being interesting, which is disappointing considering that Eddie Murphy traditionally did a lot better of a job at those things.  When asked later, Murphy stated that he needed to do Vampire in Brooklyn to get out of a deal with Paramount, so that he could make The Nutty Professor (a movie that was not good, but that admittedly helped put Murphy back on top of money mountain). Among some of the worst moments in the movie are sequences where Murphy plays the role of a preacher and an Italian mobster, and also any scene involving his ghoul servant.

It is so very much the early 90s right now.
Murphy and Bassett at least have some kind of chemistry on screen, but the rest of the movie is just so terrible that it doesn't really end up mattering. Ultimately I recommend watching this movie only to experience the surreal mix of failed components and to see first-hand exactly how you don't go about making a successful entry into a horrifically over-exposed horror sub-genre (the vampire movie, which obviously STILL suffers from over-exposure.)

That's all for me harping on Wes Craven's failures for today, but join me again when I reveal the failures of other directors and actors!

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