Director – Stephen Boyum, Teleplay – Robert Keats, Story – Lindsay Naythons, Producer – Don Schain, Photography – Michael Story, Music – Chris Brady, Visual Effects Supervisor – Craig Weiss, Visual Effects – CBS Animation, Special Effects Supervisor – Marianne Klein, Production Design – Oleg Savytski. Production Company – Disney
Matthew O’Leary (Adam Hansen), Laura Vandervoort (Chelsea Hansen), Caroline Rhea (Lynette Hansen), Charles Shaughnessy (Dimitri Dentatos), Myles Jeffrey (Taylor Hansen), Robert Carradine (Malachi Van Helsing), Jake Epstein (Duffy), J. Adam Brown (Boomer), Karl Pruner (Count Krelski)
Following her divorce, Lynette Hansen is raising her three children, Chelsea, Adam and Taylor, on her own. Lynette then grounds Adam on the weekend of a concert by his favourite band and Chelsea on the night of a date. Adam and Chelsea contrive a plan to get their mother out of the house so they can sneak out to their respective engagements. They answer a personals ad in an attempt to get their mother a date. They arrange for the man from the ad to ‘accidentally’ bump into Lynette at the supermarket. This proves to be the charming Dimitri Dentatos. He asks Lynette out to dinner. However, young Taylor sees Dimitri turn into a bat and realises that he is a vampire. As the date begins, Taylor insists on going to the restaurant to stop Dimitri. Adam contrives a ruse to ‘disprove’ that Dimitri is a vampire, only to see that Dimitri casts no reflection in a mirror. And so the three of them must combine forces to stop Dimitri from seducing their mother.
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire is tv movie made for the Disney Channel. It falls into a small fad for children’s vampire movies – see also the likes of Grampire/My Grandfather is a Vampire (1992), The Little Vampire (2000) and the tv series’ Little Dracula (1991) and Young Dracula (2006-8).
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire has an appealingly silly premise – indeed, it seems almost interchangeable in title and concept with mid-80s silliness like My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987) or My Mom’s a Werewolf (1988). There are amusing images to the film, such as the vampire’s hand reaching up out of a coffin to click a mouse and answer his e-mail. Not to mention the appealingly tongue-in-cheek personals ad: “Continental gentleman – handsome, debonair, suave, likes long strolls beneath the full moon. Enjoys travel, adventure, wild animals and romantic women who long for nights that will never end. Hates turtlenecks and Italian food.”
There are a number of similarities between Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire and Fright Night (1985) – the theme of people battling to stop a charming vampire as he seduces a loved one, with the role of Amanda Bearse’s girlfriend in Fright Night being replaced by Caroline Rhea’s mom here. There is even an identical scene where people conduct a charade to make someone disbelieve that the vampire is not a vampire, only to see that they cast no reflection in a mirror and then believe themselves. There are various vampire in-jokes with Charles Shaughnessy’s vampire tossing off familiar lines like “Children of the night” and “I never drink wine,” as well as a Renfield’s restaurant. Being a children’s film, the vampire is unable be staked and so is despatched at the end by being nailed into his coffin with a rivet gun.
All of the cast give likeable performances. There are some very cheap morphing effects. The result is amiable and bubbly enough not to wear out the silliness of a mildly amusing premise. This is a film that manages to straddle being a vampire film, children’s film and plant its tongue-in-cheek, all with an appealing balance.
Director Stephen Boyum was a former stuntman who turned director with the children’s film Meet the Deedles (1998) and then Disney genre fare such as this and Stepsister from the Planet Weird (2000), followed by Timecop: The Berlin Decision (2003) and the mini-series King Solomon’s Mines (2004).