Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Vampire (1979), In Short

It's time to delve back into TV movies for some more early 80's horror. And what better to mess with than more vampires.

And, hey, this time it is perfectly named movie, with no confusion whatsoever.

Vampire.


But not to worry, when it was first shown in October of 1979 (Hey, what a great time for a movie like this!) it had an ad and opening that helped make it look like a torrid romance...Oh, ad people.







The film opens with the ceremony celebrating the start of work on a new church in San Francisco. St. Sebastian.


The parish is pleased at the progress and they also thank the team that has been working on this and the larger area project, John Rawlins (Jason Miller, of The Exorcist and The Exorcist III). Leslie Rawlins (Kathryn Harrold).


Also present is a retired cop, Harry Kilcoyne (E. G. Marshall, he played the president in Superman II).


He notes an odd geographic feature. Where the shadow of the cross put up fell, the ground is scorched. Weird.


And then that night our vampire (Richard Lynch, of way too many movies and TV shows to list. But he plays a great and menacing villain.) rises. It's been awakened by the work done.


Later, the Rawlins are throwing a party. Their old friend Nicole DeCamp (Jessica Walker of...Wait, she voiced Fran on Dinosaurs? How am I just noticing that now...) comes by and raves about her new boyfriend, who is both mysterious and amazing. Anton Voytek (Richard Lynch again.).


She introduced Leslie to him, and he is alluring at first meet. He then talks about a rare sketch they own, and the history behind it. He is quite knowledgeable about the period in time.


Anton then greets John, and asks if he can talk to him. He has an amazing opportunity. And wants John to work on it with him.


Nicole later explains to the couple that, decades back, Anton's family bought the land the church is using now. They had shipped over a trove of art treasures, then had a vault built on the land to secure them. But WWII kept them from traveling over. So the trove has been lost for a generation. Anton just wants the trove back. Money is no object.

She has a list of items, and many are rare or lost works that have historic value.


It takes time, but finally the spot to access the art is found. And they begin pulling it out to catalog. But Leslie and her friends begin noting a pattern. All these works were at some point stolen in history.


The couple doesn't know what to so, but the police step in. And they detain Anton. And Anton blames John Rawlins.


He's looked in a cell, and starts scaring his cellmates. Then he starts tearing the bars open, in a panic. But Nicole arrives to pay his bail.


He has no time to talk, with the sun rises. He runs across town to get home to his coffin.


Now Anton is pissed. Nicole insists to John that the trove is so amazing that the law and government are overreacting, and it will all be smoothed over. But Anton is pissed.


Soon Leslie is found dead, drained of all her blood. ...Anton is a vampire, if you haven't worked it out yet.

John Rawlins is distraught. He knows Anton targeted them, but he also has an alibi. So he tracks and tries to figure out Anton. His obsession only alienates him.


Finally, his actions get him sent to a hospital. And then Anton comes for him, full vampire.

Oh, hey. Dracula cape. Vampires love to don that Dracula cape, even if it's only for one scene in the movie.


He gloats to John, and readies to rip his throat out. But Harry, the retired cop, arrives just in time. He pulls a crucifix and Anton flees.


The old cop gets John out of the hospital and explains what is happening.


Back in 1946, a series of murders occurred. People drained of all their blood. He couldn't work it out. ut a priest and good friend was sure it was a vampire. He even moved to the area near where the new church is being built, sure it was living near there. Harry went off to war, and when he returned the priest was missing. He now believes, as evidence of the priest was found at the dig, that the priest went after Anton. He nearly killed him, and drove Anton into retreat. But the priest died, and the house came down around them. Anton was trapped. But work on the church has now awakened Anton.

Harry wants to end this finally. He believes now.

"I'm thinking of calling it Pet Wood. You think it'll catch on?"

And the battle is on. The recently killed must be dealt with. Anton's new lair needs to be found. And those close to them, that are left, need to be protected.

Death to the vampire!

...And then we get an open ending.


With this being made by Steven Bochco and being a TV movie, I can't help thinking this was a failed pilot. Vampire. That's exactly the title this would have had as a show on 1980's TV.

But that doesn't matter to me.

This is a fun little film. You get some Jason Miller, shortly after The Exorcist. And we get some vintage Richard Lynch's creepy villainy.

This is a solid vampire hunting tale, that would be a good addition to any horror marathon.

Try it out.



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