I often hear people marvel over how Woody Allen continues to write and direct a new movie pretty much every year. For most filmmakers it’s a good two or three years between films, but there’s Woody…one a year, every year. But that’s nuthin’ compared to Fred Olen Ray. He’s directed horror films, action, comedies, kids movies, and a lot of stuff with the word “bikini” in the title. A simple look at his page at IMDB shows many years with upwards of 3 or 4 different films released. Yes, his are bargain basement productions, but the man sure stays busy. If we go far back into his filmography, we’ll find this 1989 horror comedy…Beverly Hills Vamp.
Our film focuses on three guys who have come to Hollywood determined to sell their script and make a movie. Kyle (Eddie Deezen) is the screenwriter, Russell (Tom Shell) is the director, and Brock (Tim Conway Jr), well, he’s the guy with an uncle who is a Hollywood producer. Uncle Aaron (Jay Richardson) is not exactly impressed but decides to read over the script. Meanwhile, the boys decide to make the most of their time in Hollywood by finding some ladies…the kind that place ads.
The boys show up at a mansion/brothel and quickly hook up with the lovely ladies…including Debra Lamb, Michelle Bauer and Jillian Kesner (who went on to become a film historian). However, Kyle decides that he needs to get out. See, he’s got a fiancée named Molly (Brigitte Burdine) and he wants to stay faithful. So, Kyle heads back to the hotel, but the other guys stay with Madame Cassandra (Britt Ekland…YES Britt Ekland) and her girls. Of course the girls are vampires who are more than happy to get naked before sucking your blood.
Big surprise here, the next day, the guys don’t return and Kyle starts to worry. When he heads back to the mansion, all signs of the sexy blood suckers having been there are gone. The cops are no help either. Eventually, Brock finally does show up, but he’s pale and acting very strange. Soon Kyle realizes he’s dealing with vampires. So, after getting some vampire hunting advice from a priest, Kyle heads out with Uncle Aaron to kick some vampire butt.
It is a real stretch to call Beverly Hills Vamp a “horror comedy.” On the horror front there are absolutely no scares. As for the comedy part, there is very little that even comes close to resembling a joke. Like much of Fred Olen Ray’s work, the primary concern here is coming up with reasons for the female members of the cast to remove their clothing…and they do plenty of that as the film goes on. To continue on the theme of telling you what you probably already know, the script is dumb, the cast has almost no sense of comedic timing, and the effects are cheesy.
However, and this is a big “however,” there is one thing that makes this film enjoyable on a certain level…Eddie Deezen. No matter what movies Deezen pops up in, he always ends up being interesting to watch. He’s been in big films like Grease and Wargames, as well as stuff like…well, this. Usually he is a supporting player, so it is unique to see him here in the lead role. I admit, I just love to watch Eddie Deezen! He has such a great understanding of voice and facial expressions that often reminds me of classic film comedians of the past. Yes, the script he has to deliver here is bad, very bad, but Deezen just has a way of making it fun. So while I was shaking my head in disgust at the awfulness of this material, I was also grinning because I find watching Deezen work to be such a joy.
The best Beverly Hills Vamp could hope for was for me to say that it’s so bad it’s good. It’s not…it’s so bad it’s bad. Thanks to Eddie Deezen, though, I still had a degree of fun with it.