My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987)

my best friend is a vampire

“This blood’s for you.”

The Scoop: 1987 PG, directed by Jimmy Huston and starring Robert Sean Leonard, Rene Auberjonois and Cheryl Pollak

Tagline: No tagline

Summary Capsule: A teen boy loses his virginity to a vampire and becomes a partial vamp himself. He then has to juggle high school, girls, learning how not to become a murderous monster and avoiding pointy objects that are hurtling towards his vital organs.

Heather’s rating: There’s a joke about using protection in here somewhere…

Heather’s review: I watched this in October for the first time since I was a child. Many of my most vivid youthful memories of movie-watching involve the creepy: My first exposure to Jason Vorhees, my intense fear of and refusal to watch the Chuckie saga, staying up late and watching anything by Alfred Hitchock…and of course there were vampires. I would ravenously devour any media related to the creatures. I’ve long since grown out of the majority of this obsession, if only because of crap like Van Helsing and my husband playing the Underworld series at our house ad nauseum.

I got disinterested just in time, because there’s been a pop culture phenomenon floating around (and pouting  in underage girls’ bedrooms) that makes it really embarrassing to be a fan of vampires these days. For a while now America has treated vampires like its own version of Japan’s bishonen, at least since Anne Rice came onto the scene; but they sparkle now and I just might not get past that.

Well enough about that depressing stuff.  There are two VHS tapes that I can recall wearing out to the point of blurry incoherence: The Mask and, what was easily my first cult love, My Best Friend is a Vampire.

The latter had everything I wanted as a kid. It was kind of creepy, had just a little naughty, plenty of comedy, and an Ultra Montage in the form of Timbuk 3’s “Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”. My little kid brain couldn’t process that much awesome.

Sadly, my childhood self finished this movie last year in complete disappointment and confusion. I loved this movie so much before, but now I was less than impressed and even a little embarrassed to have loved it. I want to chalk it all up to that unfair standard of living up to fond memories, but my husband watched it with me for the first time and the look on his face said it all: This was kind of lame.

Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson from House) stars as Jeremy Capello, a horny teen-aged grocery delivery boy who falls for a vampiric customer on his route.  Moments after walking through her front door he proceeds to get down with the sickness, if you know what I mean. Things get interrupted when a wacky stake-wielding nut job (Warner) and his dim assistant  burst through the door, screaming. Misunderstanding the entire scenario, Jeremy grabs his stuff and bolts from what he suspects is a jilted husband/boyfriend.  Turns out the men are vampire hunters who dispose of the temptress and burn her house to the ground. This is a serious problem for Jeremy, who is completely oblivious to the fact that his love nibbles partially turned him into a vampire and now the vampire hunters are after him as well. He meets up with a vampire mentor who helps him learn the way of the undead, figure out how to deal with his pursuers, and deal with his “alternative lifestyle”. Yes, they use that term. It’s a running joke.

So we watch (and listen!) as Jeremy montages his way through pig’s blood, vampire textbooks, sunglasses and awkward attempts at romancing the one woman (Darla) in the school more androgynous than him. Bad jokes are made, mostly by the overly sexed (or overly un-sexed), bemuletted best friend. Terrible slapstick is attempted by Professor Leopold (Warner) and his assistant Grymsdyke. The “romance” between Jeremy and his band girl is VERY awkward and stiff and darned uncomfortable. To top it all off there’s an ending that, while interesting in theory, was just a double lame burger with extra cheesy fries.

This is a movie that I almost couldn’t review because I’m so torn about it. It’s not awful, not bad, not good or anything beyond that. When I was a kid I promised I would love it more than I could  love any movie, but now I’m kind of embarrassed to have even been its friend. It’s everything you expect from the eighties in terms of style and sexuality and humor, but somehow the movie just can’t make it work enough for me to want to watch it again. It tries to be charming, tries to poke fun at vampires with the whole “alternative lifestyle” thing, and tries to make us care about what’s happening, but it fell flat of doing all but one of those things. I’ll let you guess which one it succeeds at.

It’s culty and offbeat to be sure, and I’m always happy to see Robert Sean Leonard (androgynous though he may have been), but this one you can take or leave. Don’t feel bad about not calling it the next day.

It’s really hard to defend vampires as a menacing creature when this sort thing keeps happening.

Intermission!

  • Kathy Bates played Darla’s mom!
  • I regret nominating RSL as a “babe” in this movie for that AMA category a couple years back. My memories were a bit off.
  • The license plate on Ralph’s car reads “BVR HUNT”.
  • Seriously. That’s just pathetic.

Groovy Quotes:

Jeremy Capello: This blood’s for you.

Jeremy Capello: [after ordering lots of meat and then a pint of pig’s blood] Uh.. how much for just the blood…?
Butcher: [grinning] First time, eh, kid?

Modoc: The best way to vanquish an enemy is to make him an ally.

Ralph: She sucked your what?

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Teen Wolf
  • Porky’s
  • Once Bitten

15 comments

  1. Oh hey, I remember this one! It was one of several teenage monster-comedy flicks that the ’80’s spawned. I don’t remember it as being too bad, but then I have a tendency to be forgiving about such things. (Anyway, count yourself lucky – one of MY favorite movies as a kid was the ‘Felix the Cat’ movie. I still don’t think it’s BAD, but man, it ain’t good.)
    Also:

    “…my intense fear of and refusal to watch the Chuckie saga…”

    COMRADE!

    • I loved Felix, too. I’m afraid to watch that one now that I’m an adult.

      So let me ask you this: What was your opinion of those “My Buddy” horrors? ‘Cause, as for me and my household, that thing wasn’t getting as far as our yard, much less anywhere near me.

    • GAAAAH! No, I can safely say I would not have approved of Mr. Buddy. I have a pretty intense doll-o-phobia all around – except for rag dolls and the like, for some reason. I’m OK with those, but baby dolls? Good grief, get those things away from me.

      • I think we found one of the My Buddy brainwashing victims….don’t do anything to excite him, it could activate his homicidal programming.

  2. I was going to point you in the direction of a really funny Nostalgia Critic Halloween Special where his Teddy Ruxpin comes to life, but I don’t want you to end up in an asylum. I used to own Teddy and Grubby and that video, while sending me into fits of laughter, creeped me out well enough.

    • It’s more the human-type dolls I have a problem with, but yeah, toys coming to life in general is a concept I find very disturbing.

  3. Some movies are so tied into their time it is impossible to rewatch. If you like this, you should watch Terrorvision, Fright Night, and The Wraith for more eighties cheese.

    • Out of those you mentioned, Fright Night is the only one I’ve seen. Holy crap, was that ever awful! I was going to do a review, but I felt that the one already done by my MRFH colleagues was sufficient. Terrorvision and The Wraith I will check out, though. I’m always down for 80’s schlock.

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