I never thought I'd live to describe a film as a cross between Serenity and Blade, but hey -- life's full of surprises. And in the case of Matthew Hastings' Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe, the surprises are exceedingly gory, enthusiastically campy, and (one more than one occasion) outrageously, unintentionally hilarious.
The year is 2210 and the universe has become pretty well colonized. Well, except for all the planets that are, oddly, populated by all sorts of crazy vampires! Our heroic crew of vampire killers consists of a square-jawed muscle-head, an inexperienced yet brilliant lieutenant, a big goofball who wears a cowboy hat, an angry Asian woman with a pink hairdo, and a cleavage-baring she-vampire who sides with the humans for some strange reason.
Tragedy (in the form of super-stellar bloodsuckers) strikes the crew while they're on a routine mission, which leads to the rescue of a helpless young lass who also happens to be the clandestine leader of an activist group that aims to help vampires wipe out humanity, and...
All you really need to know about Vampire Wars are the following things: The creatures are called "Voorhees," "Leatherfaces," and "Nosferati." The villain is played by Michael Ironside. It premiered on The Sci-Fi Network. 'Nuff said?
Hastings is prone to putting the "plot" on hold so his paper-thin caricatures can wander through their spaceship while incongruous rock music fills the soundtrack and we all start wondering if ... are we supposed to be taking any of this seriously?? For a movie that deals with interstellar vampires, Battle for the Universe sure does spend an inordinate amount of time mired in hilariously bad dialogue scenes. (And don't even get me started on the vampiress who can dole out extra-sensory dream-sex with dead spouses.)
But for the most part, Hastings seems more than well-aware that's he mounting a mega-buffet of "all you can eat" sci-fi / horror components. It's all so very broad and derivative and frequently moronic that you can choose to laugh at Vampire Wars -- or laugh with it. And since I choose to believe that camp this cheesy has been fermented that way on purpose, I can mildly recommend the flick to fans of bad, bad, awesomely bad cinema. It's dumb, it's cheap, and it's cobbled together from sections of about 43 other movies, but it's also quite humorously inept -- and sometimes it's actually a little bit entertaining on purpose.
Video: It's a surprisingly clean widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, which only serves to show off how much "distant planets" look like "Canadian landfills."
Audio: Echo Bridge pulls out all the stops for Vampire Wars! Choose between Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0, or DTS!
Extras: Just a typical 14-minute Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, in which I suspect some of the filmmakers may be taking the flick a bit too seriously. (Even a little would be too much.) Also included is the Vampire Wars trailer.
Chock full of bad acting, ridiculously pulpy dialogue, and tons of sloppily satisfying gore, Vampire Wars is by all conceivable measures a pretty awful movie. But that doesn't mean I didn't have some fun with it!
If you're a true connoisseur of cinematic cheese, you should absolutely Rent It.