Vampire in Brooklyn Preview

Jamie stares, mouth agape, as Santa recounts his gritty origin story. Long ago the Coca-Cola Corporation devised an advertising scheme around a jolly man in a red suit. Unbeknownst to them this was the final stage of a dark prophecy that brought him forth from Hell into this world. However, a family of elves took pity on the vile creature and decided to use him for good instead of evil. While Santa has struggled with why he was preserved and let loose on the other monsters of the realm, using his well-oiled muscles to rip them to shreds, he has come to terms with his terrible power… with that Santa takes a long satisfying sip of a Coca-Cola and looks at Jamie, who is weeping uncontrollably. Suddenly Patrick has an idea, “wait, Santa. Did you say that the Coca-Cola Corporation created you in this world using an advertising scheme in our world?” Santa nods, “and it was a truly terrible advertising scheme at that. Craven capitalist cynicism,” he says with a look of disgust on his face. Disgust that can only be washed away by the refreshing taste of a delicious Coke. Patrick shakes Jamie out of his stupor, “Don’t you see? It was within us the whole time.” Jamie nods, “You mean love?” Patrick shakes his head, “no, not love. Something even better. Bad movies. Rich and Poe aren’t here yet because our first film was a wild critical success.” Jamie’s eyes alight, “My god, a sequel… but how do we get back home so we can write it?” Patrick ponders for a second and remembers the great power he tapped into in order to save Santa. He reaches for it again, but this time the query fails. “You try,” he tells Jamie, but within him there is no light… he can only see the one in Patrick. He reaches for that and *pop* they are back in their apartment. They stare in wonder and clap hands in a manly bro hand hug. Time to get to work. They don their cable-knit sweaters, hop in their Volvo and head to Brooklyn. That’s right! We’re transitioning from the Worst Films Ever Rejects into a cycle consisting of films that Siskel and Ebert put on one of their end of year worst films lists. These leads us right to another Eddie Murphy special with Vampire in Brooklyn, his attempt to cash in on that sweet vampire money. This is also the second film where Murphy played multiple roles. In this case Maximilian, Preacher Pauly, and Guido… well that already sounds offensive. Let’s go!

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) – BMeTric: 68.5

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(Very consistent across the years, and impressively low. Heartening. While I knew of this film obviously, it is nice to see it have a bit of cred among the people.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Sleek Caribbean vampire Murphy, to perpetuate his race, needs to persuade Brooklyn cop Bassett that she’s his soul mate. Oddball film has Murphy cracking jokes, but he’s thoroughly evil; on the other hand, it’s not scary enough to work as a horror film … and it’s overlong, to boot.

(Ah classic. This is my problem with almost all multi-genre films. It seems like it isn’t a good comedy, or a good horror film. I find that a lot of these types of films are graded on a curve as a good-for-what-it-is in that much smaller (and worse) sub-genre. There are exceptions though, like Shaun of the Dead.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qzFuLGeVGI/

(Yeah doesn’t seem very funny. Just a bunch of corny vampire jokes. And Maltin seems to be correct, it seems kind of too true to vampire lore to be anything but a horror film in spirit.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Scream 2; Red Eye; The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes; The People Under the Stairs; Swamp Thing; Paris, je t’aime; New Nightmare; The Serpent and the Rainbow; Music of the Heart; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Cursed; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Scream 3; Shocker; Deadly Blessing; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Deadly Friend; Notes: An original of the slasher genre, and is credited with bringing it back with the self-referential Scream series. Died in 2015.)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (story) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. It actually does seem like Coming 2 America is happening. So maybe Beverly Hills Cop 4 will as well.)

Vernon Lynch (story) – (BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Half-brother of Eddie Murphy. This was a truly a family affair.)

Charlie Murphy (story) (as Charles Murphy & screenplay) (as Charles Murphy) – (BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: We did it. Interestingly it feels like whenever Murphy is looking to be on the ropes he dusts off a script he and his brother wrote. This was the end of a long fall which ended with a tack to family friendly films with the Nutty Professor. Norbit kind of marks the end of Murphy’s second leading man career.)

Michael Lucker (screenplay) – (Known For: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Home on the Range; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Wrote a bunch of those direct-to-video sequels to Disney films back in the days. Seems to produce now.)

Chris Parker (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) – (Known For: Heaven Is for Real; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Battle of the Year; Notes: Appears to maybe be doing uncredited writing for animated films. There is little about him online.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Trading Places; Shrek; Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek 2; Doctor Dolittle; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Beverly Hills Cop II; The Nutty Professor; Life; Dreamgirls; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Apparently Pete Davidson bought a vintage magazine featuring Eddie Murphy for $45 the other day … fun.)

Angela Bassett – (Known For: Bumblebee; Black Panther; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Contact; Kindergarten Cop; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Meet the Robinsons; Olympus Has Fallen; Boyz n the Hood; Malcolm X; Strange Days; What’s Love Got to Do with It; The Score; Notorious; White Bird in a Blizzard; Chi-Raq; Waiting to Exhale; Akeelah and the Bee; F/X; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Future BMT: Supernova; Meet the Browns; Green Lantern; Survivor; Masked and Anonymous; Innocent Blood; Gospel Hill; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; London Has Fallen; This Means War; Notes: She’s done some voice work for Bojack Horseman. Nominated for Best Actress for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Allen Payne – (Known For: The Perfect Storm; New Jack City; Jason’s Lyric; CB4; A Price Above Rubies; 30 Years to Life; Future BMT: Crossover; Cookie; The Walking Dead; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Vegan. One of the star of House of Payne, appearing in 170 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $19,751,736

(That seems really low. I imagine Eddie Murphy was getting paid multiple millions of dollars to appear in it, so almost definitely a bomb.)

#30 for the Horror Comedy genre

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(This is what I mean, I don’t really get why they are trying to make horror-comedies happen. Blank-comedy as a genre is a cool idea. When done right it is brilliant as it is able to skewer the non-comedy genre like nothing else can (see Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz). But they are obviously really hard to make. Making a horror film is hard. Making a comedy is really hard. Doing both at the same time is double hard. I literally think Cabin in the Woods is the last good one from that Box Office Mojo list.)

#35 for the Vampire genre

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(We might as well ignore that graph, the giant bump is just Twilight and the copycats there. Interesting nonetheless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/29): Neither scary nor very funny, this misguided effort never lives up to its premise.

(Yeah, see. The double genre ploy almost never works … except for Marvel films which manage to be not very funny comedies and just ok action films, but people kind of accept those as “good” action-comedies.)

Poster – I’m a Vampire This Time (B+)

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(I think my favorite genre of film poster is the “I’m a giant star poster.” Best recent example was The Mummy, which made it seem like Tom Cruise was the titular mummy. Here we get more a story with the moon and the cityscape, but let’s not get it twisted. It’s the Eddie Murphy show and I’m excited.)

Tagline(s) – A comic tale of horror and seduction. (D)

(A lot of genres being thrown around. So it’s a comedy-horror-romance? Cool cool cool. In fact we don’t learn much about the film other than three very broad genres. Also as bland as you can make it.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 81.8 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.8 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.5 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 64.1 Dudley Do-Right (1999); 63.9 Dracula 2000 (2000);

(Wowza. We need to up our vampire game … although to be fair I’ve seen all of the Twilight films in my free time (my life!) so it really is just a matter of doing a re-watch.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Vampire in Brooklyn and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Sonja Davis, Angela Bassett’s stunt double, died in an accident on the set. (Oh no, I forgot about this. Very sad).

On The Directors (1997), Wes Craven suggested that Eddie Murphy ignored his requests to play the character vulnerable, and felt compelled to showcase his comedic talents. (Wait a second! Later on in an interview Charlie Murphy claimed Wes Craven wanted it to be a comedy!)

Final film of Ray Combs. He died soon after.

In a November 2011 interview with “Rolling Stone”, Eddie Murphy stated that he made this movie for one reason: Paramount agreed to release The Nutty Professor (1996)’s rights in exchange for finishing his deal with the studio. Murphy also said that the wig his character wore was so awful it immediately made people despise the film. (Huh, interesting. So Murphy had the idea to basically reinvent his career prior to making the film. And then probably used his script to finish things off, see the next note).

Eddie Murphy wouldn’t write another story until Norbit (2007), twelve years later. Interestingly, his co-writer of both movies was his brother Charlie Murphy. (Yeah, again, I think they write scripts and then just leave them aside until the point where they are desperate to get something going. Murphy had had a few bad misses leading up to this).

According to Charlie Murphy, the movie was meant to be a straight horror movie with no laughs but Wes Craven brought a different focus to the film. (This contradicts the above note. I’m not sure which one I believe. This might seem unlikely, but Craven would use humor in Scream to satirize the slasher genre in Scream only a few years later)

This is Angela Bassett’s second vampire movie. She previously starred in Innocent Blood (1992). Bassett would also play a vampire many years later in season 5 of American Horror Story (2011). (That is actually kind of a fun fact)

First horror-comedy for Eddie Murphy. He would star in The Haunted Mansion (2003) eight years later. (Ooooooof, neither of those were particularly good).

“Veder” loosely translates to “Vater”, which means “Father”, in German, foreshadowing Ritas father was a vampire. (Darth Vader)

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Critters 2: The Main Course Preview

OK, well time to move onto this week’s film. This is another replacement film of sorts. While we never officially placed Unaccompanied Minors in Kansas, we certainly watched it with that state in mind (why else would we have stooped so low?). But it turned out that there wasn’t just an unacceptable level of Kansas-ness in the film, it didn’t take place in Kansas at all. It just didn’t. So we had to scramble to get a new one. After a painstaking search we landed on Critters 2: The Main Course. While the first one is generally liked by viewers for its humor, the second one wasn’t as accepted. Hard to tell how poorly it was received, but it did make Ebert’s list of his least favorite films of all time. Felt like that was enough to qualify it for BMT. Not gonna update the map this week. Next week maybe. Let’s go!


Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) – 36.3 BMeTric (July 2, 6016)

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(This is honestly kind of a weird trajectory. While you’ll often see a movie’s rating rise substantially with votes this is usually just regression to the mean (it rises because we watch bad movies which are often rated very poorly when they rise come out). But 1.2 points from 4.0 is quite a bit more that you’d expect. Otherwise the only shocking thing is that such a small barely released movie could garner 10,000 votes on IMDb. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – The big-mouthed, quill-shooting nasties take on an entire town. Nothing special. Followed by two video sequels.

(Wow. Love the short and sweet. I’ll follow the lead. Nothing special with this comment either.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVyfEgnA678

(That’s not really as bad as it could have been I think. Considering that I kinda liked the original this kind of gets me excited to watch this one. Uh oh.)

Director(s) – Mick Garris – (BMT: Riding the Bullet; Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a writer (Hocus Pocus, Fly II, etc.) and obviously best known for directing the TV movie smash hit Fuzzbucket.)

Writer(s) – David Twohy (written by) – (Known For: The Fugitive; Pitch Black; Waterworld; Riddick; G.I. Jane; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock. BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Impostor; Terminal Velocity; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Best known as the writer and director of the Riddick series of films. Long been rumored for a third AvP film. Fingers crossed.)

Mick Garris (written by) – (Known For: *batteries not included.  BMT: Hocus Pocus; The Fly II; Riding the Bullet; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Kind of a historical figure in Hollywood and in particular in the SciFi genre. Early on directed a series of making of documentaries of horror and SciFi films including a really good one about the film The Thing which I’ve seen. It’s awesome.)

Actors – Scott Grimes – (Known For: Robin Hood; Critters; Crimson Tide. BMT: Winter’s Tale; Mystery Alaska; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a singer. Released several albums but his biggest hit came relatively recently with Sunset Blvd in 2005. Never heard of it.)

Also stars Don Keith Opper and Liane Curtis

Budget/Gross: N/A / $3,813,293

(The first film was a wild success ($13 million gross on a microbudget). This one not so much. Not surprisingly the rest of the sequels were not released to theaters. It actually had the second worst box office for a wide release creature feature of all time. The worst? BMT classic A Sound of Thunder (A Sound of Thundahhhhhhh))

#66 for Creature Feature

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(The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. NOTE: Analysis written on July 2, 2016)

#57 for Horror Comedy

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(Personally once of my least favorite sub-genres, because honestly they are rarely either good comedies or good horror films. They make relatively little money it seems, and one would think that they would thrive a bit more on VOD, so I really don’t understand why this genre keeps chugging along (in the past three years none of the theater releases were very impressive). Kind of interesting that Critters 2 kind of came during the 80’s heyday just as the genre was going back into a slumber once again. The 2010’s resurgence is probably 30-year-old directors who grew up on things like Critters 2 making passion projects. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Rotten Tomatoes: 33% (3/9), No consensus yet.

(Yeah, so as mentioned at the top there was some question on whether this actually qualified. What put it over the top (besides taking place in Kansas) was Ebert’s hatred of it. He gave it 1 star and said it had “no reason for existence” and all but considered a sign of the end of movies as he knew it. It ended up later on his list of most hated films of all time. So I think that qualifies it.)

Poster – Critters 2: The Main Sklog (C-)

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(We get it. It’s a sequel. Could there be any more two’s on this poster? Sheesh. And what color am I going to use for this state? Hate you Critters 2. Though I kinda dig the critters illustration.)

Tagline(s) – Get ready for seconds… they’re back! (C-)

The most illegal aliens of all are back — and they’re hungrier than ever. (weird)

(I have lately been trying to only use the poster tagline for this section, but I could resist with that second one. Pretty crazy. Not sure it would fly today. Must have been in the zeitgeist at the time given the 1986 immigration reform act. I hate the first one. Not as bad as it could have been since it’s references the Critters insatiable hunger, but still lazy like most sequel taglines are.)

Keyword – egg; Top ten by BMeTric: 85.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 68.0 The Flintstones (1994); 62.6 Eragon (2006); 59.3 Meet Dave (2008); 57.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 56.8 Godzilla (I) (1998); 56.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 51.0 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995); 50.3 The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990); 46.5 Dreamcatcher (2003);

(huh … what a bizarre keyword, and what a amazingly excellent list for such a strange keyword. I saw Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie in theaters. That is all)