Embrace of the Vampire (1995)
starring Alyssa Milano, Martin Kemp, Harold Pruett, Rachel True
written by Nicole Coady, Rick Bitzelberger and Halle Eaton
directed by Anne Goursaud
All this talk of Twilight lately has left a bad taste in my mouth. Quite frankly, the Vampire genre disgusts me right now. In an attempt to rekindle my appreciation for Bloodsuckers, I sought comfort from the erotic side of the fang. I rented two classics and one not-so-classic that promised hot, naked vamps engaging in (mostly) lesbian sex. The problem with horror-erotica is, the erotica almost always takes a back seat to the horror, and I find nothing sexy about gore. Historically, the vampire genre has been able to mix the two effectively, because of all that romanticism associated with the tragedy in being a vampire. But there is more than a fine line between a trickle of blood dripping slowly down past the bosom of a beautiful damsel, and smearing blood all over the place like a kindergarten finger-painting session. I might be the minority here, but I have a hard time maintaining wood when I see a lot of blood.
The three flicks I watched were, 1970’s Vampyros Lesbos (which made no sense), 1974’s Vampyres (aka Dracula’s Daughters, which made even less sense) and 1994’s Embrace of the Vampire. It is the latter that chose discretion as the better part of valor with blood spillage and the one I chose to review, despite the other two being considered classics in three separate sub-genres, uniformly (Vampires, Erotica and 70’s Exploitation Cinema). Ironically, it’s also the worst of the bunch.
Embrace is essentially a watered-down retelling of Bram Stoker’s epic. A man (Martin Kemp) is forced to abandon his love for a princess (Rebecca Ferratti) after he’s turned into a vampire by three naked, nymph-like woodland bloodsuckers as he sleeps in the forest (?). Our poor tragic figure (who never gets named, by the way) aimlessly wanders the planet miserably for hundreds of years until he stumbles across what he believes to be the reincarnated soul of his princess in virginal, college freshman Charlotte (Alyssa Milano). So Mr. Vampire spends the bulk of the film trying to create distrust between Charlotte and her horny but patient boyfriend, Chris (Harold Pruett) so they’ll break up and Charlotte will willingly give up her cherry to the vamp. And that’s about it. Sound familiar?
Embrace is not the typical erotica illustration, so maybe it’s not fair to lump it with those other films, but Embrace of the Vampire does offer one unique element that I wish more films would implement; Alyssa Milano nekkid. Quite often, in fact, thus fulfilling a fantasy I’ve had since the early 1980’s. Now that that’s out of my system, on with the review.
Not that there’s much to say except, this movie stinks. The main plot is as simple as stated above, and Milano is unconvincing as a sainty, “I won’t screw till I’m married” type of girl. The outfit is stereotypical, with knee high socks, conservative sweater, and cross on a necklace. The only thing missing is a rosary. Milano just doesn’t sell it. I suppose one can argue she’s been typecast, I mean has she played anything close to innocent since Who’s the Boss? Nothing comes to mind.
The biggest disappointment in this film is the titular fang-face. To be blunt, Martin Kemp plays the most uninteresting, uninspiring vampire I’ve ever seen. For a guy who’s finally found his long lost love after a few centuries, his attempts to bag her can best be described as “lazy.” He doesn’t do anything to so much as seduce or trick Charlotte as he does to simply annoy the piss out of her. When she’s asleep, Mr. Vampire comes in, strips her and begins to rape her until she wakes, where he disappears, leading her to believe she was dreaming. And when she’s awake, he’ll just show up and start talking. When she responds, he disappears just in time for others around to turn, see her talking out loud, and wonder who the hell she’s talking to. Real smooth you undead shithead.
To round up the rest of the players, Chris the boyfriend is a poorly written moron, and Charlotte’s two best girlfriends are stereotypes stolen verbatim from a thousand other scripts; the good friend (Rachel True) and the bitchy friend (Jordan Ladd).
The subplot involving a photographer (Charlotte Lewis) who entices Charlotte into lesbian experimentation (just like all cross-bearing, knee-bending, God-fearing, Jesus-freaky saints are prone to do) makes absolutely no sense. It contradicts the character the film makers are purporting Charlotte to be and serves little purpose other than padding out the run time to a tortoise-like 93 minutes and excuses Alyssa Milano to take her top off again (yay!).
Now, because it’s mildly important, I take this time to mention that Embrace of the Vampire was written by Nicole Coady, Rick Bitzelberger and Halle Eaton, and directed by Anne Goursaud.
Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "At least this movie has a true vampire, unlike Dracula's Daughters where the ladies are not only NOT related to Dracula, but are not even vampires. They're just ghosts that haunt a particular castle and like to drink blood."
Gold-digging hussie REDSEXGODDESS says, "So what if Alyssa Milano takes her clothes off? I'll take my clothes off if you give me some money."
And on a completely unrelated note, enjoy Billy Joel performing "I Go to Extremes" LIVE from Yankee Stadium.
And from the Girls I really really wanna have sex with, but who wouldn't files, Kyla Cole.