Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

" White people got more in common with colored people than with rich people. "
— Warren Beatty, Bulworth

MRQE Top Critic

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

With any luck, The Sorcerer's Apprentice will conjure up a bigger audience on Blu-ray. —Matt Anderson (DVD review...)

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Dear Stephen Cafiero and Vincent Lobelle,

Bon jour dudes. I just watched your film Vampire Party and I thought it was pretty funny. But I’m wondering if the French audience thinks it is funny too. I ask only because I’m an ignorant American clod who doesn’t know his fumé blanc from a hole in his brie... but you probably knew that already.

Fact: your French vampire has 4 canines instead 2
Fact: your French vampire has 4 canines instead 2

Anyway, I do know that having word gags translate to another language is tough to do (which is why visual gags work internationally and maybe why you French think Jerry Lewis is a genius). So when your word play works for me I’ve got to wonder how that goes over in Paris. Did you write some English jokes into the script as well? Just curious.

I’ve got to say that Vampire Party has got some good material and is very well made. It’s got first-rate vampire makeup and special effects. I didn’t know that your French vampire has 4 canines instead of the English version that only has two which in turn leaves four bite holes instead of two. This is why I like foreign films... you get to learn new stuff all the time.

I liked the part where the French vampire laughs at the mere idea that he cannot eat garlic! Suck-re bleu! It is impossible! It’s a cute vampirish gag and it’s totally French. And then he when does eat a whole garlic bulb, he swells up like the Red Balloon, all the while denying it was the garlic’s fault ... ahhh ... self-depreciating irony.

And your idea that the most honored guest at a vampire party would be a human dentist? Trés bien! After all, a good dentist is like a good mechanic: once you find one, you want to hang on to them. And after the vampire orgy the cleanup crew is in haz-mat suits and the head vampire worries about disposing of the bodies (they’ll use the crooked chief of police to stage a fake airplane crash)... so practical, so adult. I smack my forehead with my palm in tribute.

Then when the jazzercise instructor blesses the moat water and turns it all into holy water... ha ha! The look on that vampire’s face of weary disbelief and acceptance as he dissolves.... Now if an American director had done that, the girl would whip out a super soaker and hose down the whole ballroom of vampires in a riot of carnage. What is it with us Americans and guns? But for you? Nothing that gauche.

I’m just guessing, but I think you two have been marinating in a stew of American film parody, stuff like Airplane, Hot Shots and the Scary Movie franchise. That’s why you’ve put little gratuitous sight gags into the background, and the action moves from one joke set-up to the next.

But what Vampire Party really emulates is Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s the Scooby Doo gang of a couple gals and a guy and a death-to-vampires dumb blonde lightheartedly muddling through to victory. You guys make one small verbal tip of the beret to the Buffster and that tells me that you must really like the series and are going to copy it more than mock it.

So Vampire Party is both a parody of the idea of vampires and a parody of other vampire films. Yet spoofs of blood-sucker films are almost a genre unto themselves and have been around for a while ( The Fearless Vampire Killers comes to mind) and this is just another one. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Let’s face it, you French took the American comic book and breathed new life into it.

Sadly I can’t say that you boys have done the same to the American movie parody. You’ve grasped the method and this is a darned good first effort but you’re not quite there yet. What’s missing is maybe just a little bit of restraint and maybe a bit more of that old French class-war sociology subtext. Consider Man Bites Dog and its dry gallows humor. OK, admittedly a Belgian film but it’s in French and from here in the States that’s all we need to know.

So let me make a suggestion. For your next film effort, take on the tired old zombie routine. Sure the Brits got there before you with Shaun of the Dead (and in fact your American DVD marketing touts Vampire Party as being the ‘Gallic answer to Shaun’... c’est what? ). But you can do them one better with this twist on the walking undead: the zombies are all American tourists! And they are invading Paris! I tell you, this thing will write itself. No need to thank me, you gave us the Statue of Liberty and we give you stuff to make fun of. Now go forth and create!

Your biggest fan in Boulder,

John Adams

p.s. Sorry about the two-and-a-half stars thing. I’m really looking forward to giving you four next time.

DVD Extras

Nope.

Picture and Sound

Excellent on both counts. This is a first rate production.

How to Use This DVD

No options... sit back and watch.