Vampire Vermont (2000)

Rating:

USA. 2000.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Chris Mack, Photography – William Sanchez & Angel L. Vazquez Jr, Music – Christopher Bowen, Steve Davis & David Torn, Special Effects – Paul Mapuz. Production Company – Jelmack

Cast

Kirsten Mitchell (Maggie), Padraig Nash (Summers), Oswaldo Garducci (Swill), Lorraine Pope (Lana), Julia Prud’homme (Amanda), P. Spencer Cox (Kenny), Tony Koplin (Bobby), Sara Roucloux (Diana), Nate Mooney (Dave)


Plot

A group of friends are gathered at a large house. While walking in the woods, Maggie is frightened by the appearance of a bald man. Later the man turns up at the house where she learns that he is Summers, a friend of her late brother. It appears that Summers may also be a vampire and he soon preys on her friends in the house. Soon people are on the run from one another, not sure who in the house is a vampire or not.


Vampire Vermont is one of the low-budget films distributed by Brimstone Productions. Brimstone, headed by director-writer Kevin J. Lindenmuth, acts as both production company and in this case distributor for other low-budget genre filmmakers’ films. Brimstone also produced the Alien Agenda, Addicted to Murder and Creaturealm series – see respectively Addicted to Murder (1995), The Alien Agenda: Out of the Darkness (1996) and Creaturealm: Demons Wake (1998) – among others.

Vampire Vermont is one Brimstone effort that fails to come off. The film is contained almost entirely in a single house. There director/writer Chris Mack sets up an ensemble of characters. These are passably well cast and the film then hangs a good deal of ambiguity on people not knowing who is and isn’t a vampire and whether people should be staking their friends. It is all played just between comedy and seriousness. Mack generates some occasionally offbeat images – particularly with the stoner character (Oswaldo Garducci) nonchalantly filling a glass bong pipe with blood or sampling the blood coming from the veins of two people at once.

There is nothing wrong with what the film is trying to do – classic films such as Night of the Living Dead (1968) have worked successfully by pinning a group of characters inside a house facing a menace that is transforming their numbers, and The Evil Dead (1981) did the same as horror comedy. In theory there is no reason why Vampire Vermont should not work similarly. However, despite occasional moments, Chris Mack never creates a sense of dramatic intensity. The film never rises above being more than a lot of running around or the sense that it is merely a home movie shooting in the director’s living room. Certainly, Padraig Nash is effectively intense and his not easily settling smiles make for an initially interesting threat, but by the time of his slaverings and pawings over Kristen Mitchell the performance starts to get fairly silly.

Vampire Vermont is just over an hour long. It is also never made clear who or what the Vermont in the title is meant to refer to – the US state or what?


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