Director: J R Bookwalter
Starring: Matthew Jason Walsh, Barbara Katz-Norrod, Thomas Brown, Cherie Petry, Shannon Doyle. USA. 1h 10m
Jeff (Walsh) works in a dead end job, working the night shift in a gas station. The lonely young man doesn’t have any friends and no prospect at anything more lavish in his working life than mopping floors and stacking shelves, but his home life is worse. Each morning Jeff returns home to a domineering mother, a woman.. a vampire hell bent on making her son into a cold blooded killer like herself as she feasts on neighbourhood kids and beats him into submission.
Suburb is her kingdom and death is her domain!
For a long time Kingdom of the Vampire was nothing more than a guilty pleasure, it’s got terrible sound, the overacting can be comical and the story has moments of b movie drive in antics, but somewhere deep down it feels like it’s come from a good place. There’s not a lot in the way of any effects, just good ole fashioned by movie acting and a story just quirky enough to work.
Jeff, with his white t-shirts, and dark floppy hair, is the cool 90’s teen version of Norman Bates, except this kid is destined to be the king of the Vampire underworld, a young man stepped on by his mothers dominance and yet is fiercely protective and loyal to her. His mother (Patry) on the other hand is a pint sized Ming the Merciless, it’s unclear what her makeup was trying to achieve but she generally just looks like she’s been picking potatoes all night.
“you only have one opportunity to lie to me and it better be worth dying for..”-jeff’s mother
After eating a few kids, the Halloween season creeps up on Jeff’s sleepy town, surprisingly he and his mother dress up as a Witch and Vampire and she makes the mistake of eating relatives to the local sheriff who knows a lot about the history of the town and the idea of hidden vampires is one he strangely entertains. While the witch hunt is going down, Jeff is also falling in love with the one beautiful girl in town who also catches feelings for him and their romance blossoms but will they ever find a way to love each other in the impossible circumstances?
Kingdom of the Vampire is a perfect balance of doing what you can with a limited budget and just having fun making a movie, there’s a lot of cringe but it maintains a steady pace and with a short run time there’s a full and intricate tale being told. There’s some genuine chemistry built up between Jeff and the love interest, but his mother’s role, I can’t work out if it’s genius budget Lynn Shae or just an actually crazy cat lady, Cherie Patry out acts her make up at least and her one liners about loving her son while beating him won’t be forgotten, hey at least no one glitters in this flick!
Related: City of the Vampires (1993) , Zombie Cop (1991) , Robot Ninja(1989), Bloodletting (1977), Psycho (1960)
Lists: Vampire A-Z Volume 1, 1991 B Movies