SUCKER: THE VAMPIRE (DVD)

SUCKER: THE VAMPIRE (DVD)
3 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 88 minutes
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Anthony (Yan Birch) is the lead singer of the up-and-coming rock band, Plasma, unfortunately, the group is made up of vampires and they are forced to disband so as not to have their evil ways discovered. With the perfect guise for picking up and killing unsuspecting women a thing of the past, Anthony, like many other washed up want-to-be rock stars, turns to the bar scene. With the help of his necrophiliac assistant Reed (Alex Erkiletian), who conveniently works for a hospital (The Western Tumor Medical Group), Anthony is able to easily get rid of bodies that would otherwise pile up in his basement. The night the band breaks up Vanessa Van Helsing (yes, the supposed daughter of Van Helsing Sr.), a vampire slayer who is in hot pursuit of Anthony, manages to plow a stake through the heart of Seth (Greg Fawcett), Plasma’s angry lead guitarist. It’s not long before Anthony meets Vanessa (Monica Baber) in a bar and hooks up with the slayer, she tries to stake him, but he manages to bite her first. Having all of her bases covered, Vanessa tells Anthony, as she is dying, to be sure and take a look in her purse. He follows her orders, discovers a bottle of AZT and realizes that Vanessa had AIDS.

Reed is fired from the hospital for consistent tardiness, but after promising he will continue to dispose of unwanted corpses, he manages keep his night job tending to Anthony. He takes a sample of Anthony’s blood to his doting girlfriend, Beth (Colleen Moore), who is a lab technician at the medical center; she promptly reports that Anthony is indeed HIV positive. Apparently vampires who are HIV positive are unable to digest blood and will slowly begin to fade away in agonizing pain. Fearful for his own life, Reed admits his necrophilia to Anthony who is, surprisingly, overly repulsed and banishes Reed from his house. Lenore (P.K. Phillips), who is either the devil or a head vampire of sorts, stops by to see Anthony; although her visit is brief it’s obvious that she is a troublemaker. Reed, in his usual high spirits, shows up at Anthony’s house with vitamins and insists that he become his live-in nurse. Anthony begrudgingly accepts Reed’s necrophilic ways and agrees to let him stay. Unable to dump Vanessa’s body at the hospital due to his unfortunate employment status, Reed dresses the former slayer in bondage gear and leaves her lying around the house. Lenore shows up, resurrects Vanessa and informs her that she is now a vampire. She encourages Vanessa to rid the world of Anthony (her “maker”) so she will be free of her vampire lifestyle. Taking Lenore’s advice, Vanessa arrives to battle Anthony and Reed, but is unsuccessful in her efforts and looses the fight. After Vanessa’s final demise the film takes a bit of a turn, Anthony has an emotional meltdown and shortly after becomes increasingly sentimental, he befriends Reed and they go sailing together while dramatic music swells in the background. Suddenly, but briefly, “Sucker” becomes a buddy film. Vanessa may be dead, but Anthony still has AIDS, Lenore is still snooping around and Reed is still stupid; these issues are resolved in one way or another as the film creeps to an end.

“Sucker: The Vampire” contains a good number of stupid gags, most of which revolve around Reed’s Wolfman meets the Hunchback of Notre Dame type character. If you like clowns and mimes, you’ll love Reed Buccholx; he works at a hospital but is so scared of needles that they make him shake (literally), his swift hand movements are overly silly and illustrated by comic sound effects. Several scenes are reminiscent of certain episodes of “The Cosby Show”; the one where the mute clown (Bill Irwin) guest stars or the family puts on a skit for the grandparents. Although Reed’s ridiculous slapstick antics are more than a bit annoying, most of the characters in “Sucker” are likeable and there is actually at least a hint of character development. The creepy looking Yan Birch is a much better actor than the film actually deserves.

At times the movie seems either too silly or too sentimental and there’s definitely not enough gore for the average horror fan. The beginning of the film contains quite a bit of gratuitous nudity, but the opening scenes are not indicative of the movie as a whole. Not since my intro to video class have I seen such a vast array of red and blue lighting gels, so many are used that at times images are distorted. However, thanks to a solid performance by Yan Birch and a unique script, “Sucker” is not a bad film. If you can look past amateurish lighting and the first thirty minutes or so of the movie, you might be surprised.



Posted on August 23, 2004 in Reviews by
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