Sunday, February 7, 2010

AIDS is a danger even to vampires in
'Sucker: The Vampire'

Sucker: The Vampire (1993)
Starring: Alex Erkiletian, Yan Birch, and Monica Baber
Director: Hans Rodionoff
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Reed (Erkelitian) is a nurse at a local hospital who moonlights as a vampire's man-servant and disposer-of--drained-bodies. When he accidentally leads Vanessa Helsing (Baber), a sexy vampire-killer to the home of his master (Birch), the showdown ends with Vanessa's death. However, even in death, she gains revenge, as she infects the vampire with AIDS and he swiftly starts to waste away.

"Sucker: The Vampire" is perhaps one of the strangest vampire films ever made... and it manages to be hilarious, twisted, and touching all at the same time. The film is 100 percent flab-free--not a scrap of padding anywhere!--the script is witty, and the twist in the final act is quite funny (and more than a little creepy). The lighting and camera-work is expertly done throughout the the film. (The lighting in the vamp re scenes is particularly clever.) Heck, despite all the tragic events that unfold, the filmmakers manage to deliver a perfect happy ending!

Most of the film centers on Erkelitian doing some pretty funny shtick that swings from him portraying a mildly creepy geek to a full-out, necrophiliac madman; I don't think you'll ever seen Renfield or Ygor in quite the same light again after watching this movie. Later, after his vampire employer gets sick, the two realize they are each other's only friends... and that's when the movie gets strangely touching. There's a scene on Reed's boat that's very nicely done. The slip of the vampire from mean-spirited predator to suffering victim is also well executed from both a writing and acting perspective.

Speaking of acting, the leads and primary supporting players in the film all do fine jobs, with Birch making a fine straight man to Erkelitian's antics. Baber also does a good job as the driven vampire killer... and those outfits! She can come around looking for vampires at my house any day, so long as she dresses like she does in "Sucker"!

Although it won't spawn any sequels, "Sucker: The Vampire" does for the vampire genre what "The Toxic Avenger Part III" did for superhero flicks. It's one of the strangest, funniest vampire movies ever made.

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