Razor Blade Smile (1998) poster

Razor Blade Smile (1998)


UK. 1998.


Director/Screenplay – Jake West, Producers – Jake West & Robert Mercer, Photography (colour + b&w) – James Solan, Music – Richard Wells, Digital Effects – Cinesite (Europe), CG Sequences – Wonderland Images, Production Design – Neil Jenkins. Production Company – Palm Pictures/Manga Live/Eye Deal Image/Beatnik Films.


Eileen Daly (Lilith Silver), Jonathan Coote (Detective-Inspector Ray Price), Christopher Adamson (Sethune Blake), Keith Howarth (Platinum), Heidi James (Ariauna), Jennifer Guy (Cindy Arnold), Graham Wood (Student Photographer), David Warbeck (The Horror Movie Man)


Lilith Silver is a vampire living in modern day London, although she dispels many of the myths regarding vampirism. She is hired as an assassin to kill people who belong to a secret organisation. At the same time, the organisation, The Illuminati, which is headed by Lilith’s sire Sethune Blake, pushes police detective Ray Price onto Lilith’s trail, where he rapidly becomes obsessed with exposing her as a vampire.

Razor Blade Smile is a vampire film that attained a small cult on the festival and arthouse circuit. As with a number of other modern vampire films – The Hunger (1983), Nadja (1994), Modern Vampires (1998) – it interprets vampirism through a chic modern sophistication.

The film feels like it has been made by an MTV director. It is conducted with a great deal of visual energy – cutup editing, scenes shot in black-and-white, red emphasised visuals, flashes of scenes from a mock horror film – an effect copied from Martin (1976). Indeed, the film readily co-opts imagery without concern for originality – the use of the Bauhaus song Bela Lugosi’s Dead (1979) in the first few moments has been copied direct from The Hunger, for instance. The opening credits are modelled on the James Bond films – silhouettes of women shooting and dancing against flaming backgrounds and, in one silly effect, having razor blades shoot out of their mouths. It is all shot through with a chic sexuality, including a maximum amount of leather and vinyl (the lead heroine comes across like a vampiric Emma Peel) and Goth makeup.

Lilith Silver (Eileen Daly) goes to behead Sethune Blake (Christopher Adamson) in Razor Blade Smile (1998)
Lilith Silver (Eileen Daly) goes to behead Sethune Blake (Christopher Adamson)

That aside, there is much silliness to Razor Blade Smile. It befalls the pitfall of the modern vampire film – all the chic sophistication falls into camp with characters archly purring insults at one another. Worse, all the sophistication is revealed as being a pose via the not-quite-adequate budget and a sparse plot. The plot makes a major mistake at the end where it reveals everything that happened to just be an elaborate game played between two bored people. It is an infuriating ending on the order of revealing everything to be a dream or a Virtual Reality illusion, that renders everything that has happened throughout irrelevant.

Director Jake West subsequently went onto make the gore comedy Evil Aliens (2005), Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006), Doghouse (2009) about zombie women and the S is for Speed segment of The ABCs of Death (2012), while he has also directed extras documentaries for a dvd re-releases of classic horror movies.

Trailer here

Film available in several parts beginning here:-

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