the harrow

Jesus christ, vampire hunter


© 2004 Jason Nolan
All rights reserved.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, 2001

Starring Phil Caracas, Mureille Varhelyi, Maria Moulton, Ian Drsicoll, Josh Grace, Tim Devries and Jeff Moffet. Directed by Lee Gordon Demarbre. Odessa Filmworks


Music by Graham Collins at Throbbing Media


I'm sitting here Sunday morning, a week after seeing "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." Yes, we saw it on a Sunday. "We" includes Elizabeth "the bloofer lady" Miller, Steph from the Toronto Dark Writers, and Salmon the sometimes queen of cheese, when she's not being a cyber poetics guru. iTunes is belting out the soundtrack, hits like "Parking Lot Seduction," "The Messiah Hop," "Lesbian Lunch," "Down and Outed," and "la Tragedia de mi Esposo". Praise the Lord for MP3 downloads, because it would only be with divine intervention that I would ever find this soundtrack in Wal-mart. Though perhaps it would appear in the Virgin Records Megastore. "The Messiah Hop" is my favourite without a second thought, or coming. Jazz backbeat with a whispered voice reading off all the books of the old and new testament "... Duteronomy, Joshua, Judged, Ruth, Samuel, Samuel, Kings, Kings, Chronicles, Chronicles, Ezra..." with a Broadway Muscial duet introducing the next scene. You get the idea.

As the film promo says, "The second coming is upon us, and Jesus has returned to earth. But before he can get down to the serious business of judging the living and the dead, he has to contend with an army of vampires that can walk in the daylight." But that's just a mere Holy Ghost of what's really going down. These vampires are after Catholic lesbians in our nation's capital... Ottawa. Father Alban, his mohawk poking through his helmet, hops on his scooter, and scoots off to the waterfront, where Jesus Christ is doing some beach baptisms. But before Alban's can get Jesus Christ to agree, they are set upon by members of the vampire hords. And only Our Savior is saved. As Jesus Christ get oriented to the scene, which is the PoMo-retro-disco-lesbo scene which is Ottawa, he is beset by friends and foes, a stranger in a strange land that doesn't really want to be saved.

Jesus Christ fights Johnny Golgotha and Maxine Shreck andtheir vampire crew, hench-people for Dr Praetorious, aided only by Mary Magnum, the masked Mexican wrestler El Santos, and a hairy good Samaritan drag queen. The rest is, as they say, a riot of dirt-bikes, junkyard wrestling, kung-fu dropkicks, and crucifix made from windshield washers. And a lot blood and lesbians. Pulp fiction theology from the pulpit, gag after gag. From the Virgin Mary's praising of her son's work helping to save the lesbians: "Oh, God love them. They get so much done in a day, don't you think?", to vanquishing vampires with extra garlic shwarma, to the divine lyrics "I was born in a manger/doomed to live in danger." Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a movie with a calling, an evangelical mission.

Oh, so what was it like? Well, it is horridly wonderful. And I cannot wait to see it again. The direction, the performance, the script, the car jumping motorcycle guy they wrote into the script at the last moment, all genre excellence. The weaknesses in the film? You know, the sort of weaknesses you want in a film like this. There's no question that the continuity assistant was the first victim. The second was the editor. But both worked extremely well from beyond the grave. Scenes running to obscene lengths just cause the lighting was right. Oh, and that special B-movie realism when Jesus Christ fights with a few dozen maniacal athiests in a park, you can see picknickers in the background ignoring what is going on. Oh, and don't miss the narrative, if you find it. It seems like the vampires need lesbian skin grafts or skin suits in order to travel around in the daylight. But they're already running about in the daylight. What gives? The plot was a mishmash of leftover thoughts and cold pizza, or better yet, it was a pile of unreturned video rentals. As my hidden film pop-culture maven reminds me, the film also lacked the standard, "forget everything you thought you knew about vampires" line that's as classic as it is necessary. That may be true, but I didn't stop laughing long enough to notice. This film's as uneven as a federal budget, but I would iron out a single wrinkle. With a film like this, you want it to be bumpy. The fact that the acting sucked was Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter being bumpy in the right places.

Theory aside, however, they could have done more with the character of Jesus and the the vampires - the death/resurrection thing, but they could have done a lot more with anything, and everything, but like, why bother. That would just mess with B-movie perfection. I just want to see the sequel, and the prequel. I already have the t-shirt and the poster.

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