The other problem comes in the form of the characterizations. The strippers at the Bootleg are all extraordinarily one dimensional, with important character details for one of them coming out of nowhere, for just one scene. It is pointless filler that doesn’t add anything to the recently deceased character or the plot. Sadly, aside from Burt, Todd, his new love interest June (Lucy Griffin), and Connie, such things hold true for all the other characters. This means certain scenes or moments are not all that engaging and come across as padding.
But, Roht energetically directs Vampire Burt’s Serenade, so the film moves from one catchy song to the next with gusto. And yes, all but one of the songs – “7:30” sung by Clare’s assistant, which is heinous – are really good. Maybe they wouldn’t work too well as a standalone radio single, but their rocking beats and goofy yet clever lyrics work well at delivering the movie’s infectiously charming, entirely offbeat atmosphere.
“…moves from one catchy song to the next with gusto.”
And the cast proves incredibly game to being ridiculous as well. Kevin Richardson sheds off his more serious public persona and is infinitely charming and funny as the vampire lacking remorse. While at Candyland, he demands that the assistant take him to Clare’s drug stash, because “what’s the point of being immortal if you can’t get a nice high?” (paraphrased). Richardson understands the role and the kind of movie he is in and delivers big time. Obviously, he nails his songs as well.
Heitkamp is very good as Todd. His anger over Burt turning him, despite repeated pleas not to do so, works. His chemistry with both Zappa and Griffin is strong, and his comedic timing is killer. For her part, Diva Zappa is camping it up to the nth degree and is clearly having a ball. Her enjoyment comes across the screen and allows the audience to share in her enthusiasm. Lucy Griffin’s June does not become substantial later, but she excels in the role. Her duet with Heitkamp is probably the best song in the film.
Vampire Burt’s Serenade does not explore its version of vampires enough to make sense, and most of the characters are thinner than paper. But, the songs, save for one, are all excellent, and Ken Roht brings a kinetic style and energy to the whole proceedings. Couple that with the enthusiastic and fun cast, and you are left with an unconventional and enjoyable little title.
"…Richardson sheds off his more serious public persona and is infinitely charming..."