Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)

Rating: B-

Dir: Phil Claydon
Star: James Corden, Mathew Horne, MyAnna Buring, Paul McGann

It’s a perfectly valid criticism to say this is, very blatantly, mimicking Shaun of the Dead. Two guys – one semi-serious, the other a lovable loser – suddenly find themselves plunged into horror cliche, and have to cope with the resulting issues, as well as more prosaic relationship problems, such as a girlfriend who has just broken up with the serious one. About the only difference in basic plot is that, rather than zombies, it’s vampires the two heroes have to face, after they go off on a hiking trip. This brings Shaun Jimmy (Horne) and Ed Fletch (Corden) to the town of Cragwich, where a curse from the vampire queen Carmilla means that all the women in the town become lesbian bloodsuckers when they turn 18.

Fortunately, Jimmy is the last descendant of the knight who slayed Carmilla in her previous incarnation: unfortunately, his return to Cragwich sets in motion Carmilla’s resurrection. Can our unwilling warrior do so again and save the hot Swedish virgin (Buring) who has fallen for him? Yes, it’s crass, borderline offensive and nowhere near as good as Shaun – and that’s just comparing the movies’ titles. Needless to say, the more liberal areas of the British press were distinctly unimpressed, calling it both homophobic and misogynistic. Really: it’s called Lesbian Vampire Killers. [Though, amusingly, in the US, they had to call it Vampire Killers, reminding me of the way Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers lost the “chainsaw” in the UK]

Taking it at all seriously is the mistake, and assuming you’re not that stupid, this does more or less exactly what it says on the tin. It looks surprisingly slick, the characters are fun to be around, and despite its obviously-derivative approach, I enjoyed much of this spoof, mostly aimed at the Hammer sex-horror films of the early 70’s – though the nudity here is much more restrained, being far more cleavage- than nipple-oriented. It feels a bit like a foul-mouthed and updated version of the old Abbott and Costello flicks, with the fat idiot and the straight sidekick going up against reliable standbys of horror: the end teases a sequel involving gay werewolves. Can’t wait.