Lesbian Vampire Killers -- Film Review

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HONG KONG -- Armed with a comic book tone and lightning pace, the willfully silly "Lesbian Vampires Killers" demands viewers to leave their brains at the door. Flawed, offensive and juvenile, it is just those qualities that will make it popular with fans of the form.

Though it's not pure horror and has only the barest hint of nudity, "LVK" will be a hit with specialty festivals and could find the same word-of-mouth cult success of films like "Mutant Chronicles" on DVD. A limited release in urban markets is a possibility with a careful and targeted marketing plan.

Fletch and Jimmy (James Corden and Mathew Horne, stars of BBC's "Gavin & Stacey") are sad-sack buddies with girlfriend and job problems. Unable to afford a hedonistic vacation in Ibiza, they opt to go hiking in Cragwich.

Fletch is disgruntled with the area's lack of available girls until he sees a group of Swedish exchange students (via a Van Halen music video) emerge from a local pub. The duo is directed to a nearby cottage -- the same one the Swedes are going to -- and the party begins. Sadly, the legend Lotte (Myanna Buring) is researching turns out to be true: Cragwich has been cursed by the lesbian vampire queen Carmilla (Silvia Colloca), and all its daughters turn into lesbian vampires on their 18th birthdays. The Vicar (Paul McGann) informs the gang that Jimmy and Lotte are the key to lifting the curse, and they set out to destroy Carmilla forever.

There's a feminist treatise in here somewhere, and it could go either way. The film channels "An American Werewolf in London," Sam Raimi's horror oeuvre and many of the best of the recent wave of Brit-horror, and personal taste will decide whether director Phil Claydon and writers Stewart Williams and Paul Hupfield are sending up modern trends or uselessly wallowing in them.

However, Claydon and company do find room to tweak a number of the genre's cliches. Some of the best are Fletch's utter lack of respect for the Vicar and his quest and the sapphic fantasy material title. There are phallic sight gags galore, and the vampires spurt a white, viscous goo when they're killed. But "LVK" never quite tips over into true satire, remaining firmly rooted in the film's more puerile corners. Amusing yes, but ultimately a missed opportunity.

Production companies: AV Pictures, Alliance, Velvet Bite

Cast: James Corden, Mathew Horne, Myanna Buring, Paul McGann, Silvia Colloca, Lucy Gaskell

Director: Phil Claydon
Screenwriter: Stewart Williams, Paul Hupfield
Executive producer: Steffen Aumueller, Vic Bateman, Xavier Marchand, Glenn M. Stewart, Claus Clausen, Charles Layton
Producer: Steve Clark-Hill
Director of photography: David Higgs
Production designer: Keith Maxwell
Music: Debbie Wiseman
Costume designer: Diana Mosley
Editor: James Herbert
Sales: AV Pictures
No rating, 88 minutes