Director/Screenplay – Andy Ruben, Producer – Darin Spellman, Photography – Steve Gainer, Music – Michael Elliott, Music Supervisor – Paul di Franco, Special Effects – Albert Lanutti, Makeup Effects – Almost Human (Supervisor – Robert Hall), Production Design – Mark Harper. Production Company – Concorde.
John Savage (Zero), Starr Andreeff (Corri), Marriam Parris (Alko), Michael J. Anderson (Kiddo), Diana Frank (Laura), Ross Malinger (Max)
Zero is one of an exclusive group of vampires who keep their existence a secret from the world. However, he has lost his passion for killing. One of the other women in the group partially infects the stripper Corri with her vampire bite and Zero is ordered to kill Corri to protect their existence. He cannot bring himself to do so. Instead, he and Corri find themselves falling for one another. They decide to run away but in so doing incur the wrath of the other vampires.
If there is ever a poll held for the worst vampire film of all time, then Club Vampire would probably be a strong contender. [Although the popular favourite would probably be Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971)]. Club Vampire was made by director Andy Ruben at Concorde under Roger Corman. Ruben was previously married to Katt Shea who directed the likes of Stripped to Kill (1987), Streets (1990) Poison Ivy (1992) and The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) where he wrote and produced most of her films until their split-up. Notedly, Andy Ruben had previously written Club Vampire for Shea and Corman under the title Dance of the Damned (1985).
Club Vampire is an auspicious debut for Andy Ruben in that the lack of talent on display has condemned it as his first and last film. It is an abysmally directed, edited and acted film. There are frequently times when one is unsure whether the film is being played as farce or just badly acted – in particular, whenever the three members of the vampire club appear on screen. One scene where Marriam Parris rips out John Savage’s tongue is played as comedy and the tone, thanks to the atrocious acting and flat direction, comes out akin to the forced attempts at conversational banter that occur in a porn film.
Andy Ruben occasionally throws in wry lines that in a better directed film could have made for a good running flip undercurrent. Unfortunately, most of these are being uttered by John Savage who gives an unbelievably bad performance. Savage is usually a solid if unremarkable trouper in B action films. The part here needed to be played either as something gloomily haunted or dark and magnetically sympathetic but John Savage plays it a with a bizarre series of facial grimaces and craven whimpers that make you think the character is imbecilic.
This was Andy Ruben’s one and only directorial outing. He has subsequently become a film school teacher.
(Winner in this site’s Worst Films of 1997 list).