The Vampire in Retreat" DVD
Vampire in Retreat" DVD cover
It's not every day
I get to use phrases like "forgotten art form" or "horror
western", so I have to eat a bit of crow here and thank Lions
Gate, who often winds up as my whipping boy in pieces like this,
for routing me a copy of Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat.
It truly is a horror
western--basically, a group of vampires lead by Count Mardulak
(remember this name, it's going to be really important later)
moved out west in search of a new life, much like settlers of
the American West often did. Sick of murder and bloodsucking,
they founded the town of Purgatory and developed Necktarine, a
kind of synthetic blood (at least that's the label I saw on a
machine dispensing it) that provides the same nutrients as human
blood. Many of the vampires aren't fond of this beverage, and
thus a rebellion is growing in the town. Soon, a human being and
his family arrive in town to get the Necktarine plant up and running
at full capacity, and thus finds himself in the middle of a vampiric
I'm already very enthusiastic
about it just from the synopsis, and watching it will prove to
be an even bigger thrill. The horror western is a forgotten art
form--seriously, when's the last time YOU saw one?--and actually
finding a decent vampire movie is a change so welcome that it
can't help but be good. I'm positively bubbling out here; not
only am I getting a GOOD vampire movie for a change, I'm also
getting a full-on horror western.
And even better than
that, I'm also getting a Bruce Campbell movie! That's right, this
is one of those great sort of "lost movies" that was
originally released way back in 1990, but got a full-on DVD release
thanks to the folks at Lions Gate. This is back before Bruce Campbell's
career started to turn into a vague mush of Old Spice ads, voiceover
work, nonstop cameos and, sadly, Burn Notice. So what you're looking
at here is an almost unheard-of subgenre featuring a horror master
at the top of his game, and that all adds up to be an absolutely
It will prove to be
great fun, and will challenge certain parts of the ever-amorphous
vampire mythos in directions that will prove just as exciting
as the rest of the movie around it.
The ending will manage
to be several surprises in one handy package.
The special features
include interviews with David Carradine, Bruce Campbell and M.
Emmet Walsh, director's commentary, English and Spanish subtitles,
audio and display options, and one trailer, but for The Monster
Squad instead of Sundown. This is kind of strange, but I'll live
All in all, man, what
a way to end a year, huh folks? A rare early Campbell that also
happens to be a good vampire horror western? I couldn't have asked
for much better.
The Vampire in Retreat
Directed by Anthony Hickox
Written by John Burgess, Anthony Hickox
Starring Bruce Campbell, David Carradine, Maxwell Caulfield, M.
Produced by Jefferson Richard105 mins
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