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VAMPIRES

By Tom Meek | October 31, 2001

Scare master John Carpenter (“Halloween” and “The Thing”), retools the “Wild Bunch” as a supernatural, vampire versus mortal showdown. James Woods is magnetic as the mercurial vamp slayer in the service of the Catholic church — though he’s no altar boy. In the rolling, Western-like hills of California, Woods tackles the mother of all bloodsuckers (Thomas Ian Griffith basically as Count Dracula with a rescripted mythos) who’s out to find the coveted artifact that will enable him to walk in the sunlight without becoming a “crispy critter.” There’s plenty of gore and swanky babes (Sheryl Lee filling the Lucy role) in slinky outfits, but the languorous plot is a bore. Carpenter oscillates between high horror and lowbrow camp, which is more unsettling than the scenes of decapitation and dismemberment, and drives a steak through the heart of Woods’ fine performance in the process.

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