DIRECTED BY: Lee Demarbre
FEATURING: Phil Caracas, Maria Moulton, Murielle Varhelyi
PLOT: The Son of God recruits retired Mexican wrestler “Santos” to help him defeat the
vampires who are preying on Ottawa’s lesbian population.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s defiantly odd, but not consistently funny or entertaining enough to rank among the all-time greats. If you saw any two-minute stretch of JCVH selected at random, you might be convinced that this was a work of camp genius; but string 45 such segments together, and the comedy value runs a little thin. It’s a hard movie to peg: in its own way, given its low budget, its a sort of masterpiece, and at the same time it’s sort of a disaster. I think that if it had offered us one less overlong kung fu battle, and one more song and dance number, it might have had a shot at exalted weirdness. Ultimately, though, just as the tone is more irreverent than blasphemous, the style is more zany than weird, and that should keep it off this particular List.
COMMENTS: Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a stew of pop-cinema leftovers, mixing kung fu with horror, Mexican wrestling and even scraps of blaxploitation, all seasoned with a hint of sacrilege. Like all peasant cuisine, it will be comfort food for many, but offend some refined palates—it’s definitely an acquired taste. The technical aspects effectively evoke the feel of late seventies/early eighties exploitation movies, with drab urban cinematography, sound obviously added in post-production, and even a cheesy “waka-waka” funk theme as the heroes cruise down the highway. The action scenes are a problem here: for one thing, there are too many, and they’re too long. They’re just competent enough to remind us that they’re not quite up to snuff; Phil Caracas’ Jesus shows reasonable high-kicking athleticism, but he’s no action hero, and it would have been funnier and more endearing if he’d been clumsier. At any rate, the movie can’t be accused of false advertising. The campy/sacrilegious title scares off the squares and the fundies (though it’s obvious the filmmakers are clearly fans of JC’s philosophy of love and tolerance, if not proponents of his divinity). More to the Continue reading CAPSULE: JESUS CHRIST VAMPIRE HUNTER (2001)