Co-directed by Stephen Cafiero and Vincent Lobelle, Vampire Party (an odd retitling from its original French title, Teeth Of The Night) isn't nearly as gag-tastic as the cover art would have you believe. The marketing behind this release is obviously catering to the Scary Movie crowd, but aside from a few bits, this film really doesn't even try to work on that level at all.
After some awesome opening credits that bring to mind Fearless Vampire Killers with healthy dashes of Edward Gory and maybe some early Tim Burton thrown in, we meet three friends - a party hard goof named Sam Polisatokoniminsky (Patrick Mille), a pretty blonde aerobics instructor named Alice (Frederique Bel) and a no-nonsense business woman named Prune (Julie Fournier). The three find themselves invited to a strange party being held in a creaky old castle way out in the empty part of the French countryside after meeting a mysterious stranger at a bar. They head to the shindig, a nerdy guy named Edouard (Vincent Desagnat) who collects clown figures towing along with them, and upon their arrival are instantly impressed with what they see. Whoever has thrown this party has gone all out - there are beautiful female dancers all over the place, lots of booze, and a fantastic castle to explore. The only thing they can't do is get into the V.I.P. room, which is reserved for only a select few.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that those select few are vampires and that they've invited all of these people to the party so that they can feed off of them. Our group of friends soon figure this out on their own and wind up teaming with a dentist and a local police officer who are in attendance to try and figure out how to make it back to civilization without being drained of their blood.
Vampire Party has no problems getting goofy when it feels the need. While most of the humor comes from some clever and often times very witty dialogue, there are plenty of sight gags to entertain those who appreciate that type of humor. At one point Edouard finds himself in the midst of a fight with a vampire wielding a sword, so he breaks the forth wall and grabs the boom microphone while the film crew all react. In another scene, a couple of werewolves are about to get it on, but one feels the need to mark its territory before it all begins to he pees on the bed. There's plenty of goofy moments like that in the movie but not so many that it overshadows some of the solid writing in the script. A few moments in the film will likely make you cringe - one character starts break dancing as awkwardly as humanly possible and a recurring Titanic parody both fall flat and feel out of place - but more often than not the picture works. The cast deserve much of the credit for this as well, as most involved are able to deliver their lines with solid timing and the right sort of physical presence to make it all work.
The film is also nicely shot with some obvious effort put into getting the right mood on camera. The lighting in the castle and the production values and little details evident throughout the sets are both impressive and help to set the scene for what's to come. The movie also makes use of an interesting mix of music on the soundtrack, with tracks from The Eagles Of Death Metal, Goldfrapp, Scratch Massive and others all featured prominently. This helps the party scene feel a little more real, as the people there are actually listening to music that people attending a party might listen to in real life.
Vampire Party may not be a new classic and it won't ever usurp the crown from the Polsanski film that had to have influenced it, but it's an entertaining and amusing movie that fans of vampire films should be able to easily appreciate. It's not perfect, but it is pretty funny.
Dark Sky's 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer presents the source material in decent quality. There aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts or heavy edge enhancement. Some light aliasing is present but aside from that the movie looks quite good here. Color reproduction is natural when it's supposed to be and intentionally quirky when it's not. Flesh tones fare well, never too pink or hot looking, while black levels stay consistent and strong. Some shots look softer than others, but there's little to complain about here, the movie looks good.
Audio options are available in French language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and French language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Both of are of nice quality with the 5.1 track getting the edge for some really nice moments of surround activity and channel separation, particularly where the score is concerned. Levels are properly balanced throughout and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. The optional English subtitles are clean, clear, easy to read and free of any typographical errors.
Dark Sky has pulled out all the stops here and provided us with.... a trailer. That's it, aside from the standard menus and chapter selection options, which is rather disappointing as it would have been fun to see some behind the scenes bits here or maybe some interviews with the people who made the movie.
An amusing horror-comedy, with the emphasis on comedy, Vampire Party is a fun time killer that wears its staked heart proudly on its sleeve. An entertaining mix of spoof and parody, it's well made, well paced, and pretty damn entertaining. Dark Sky's DVD doesn't feature much at all in the way of extras but it looks and sounds pretty good, making this one worth at least one watch. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.