Back in 1996, Wes Craven had sparked a horror renaissance with Scream. That ripple effect caused a proliferation of slasher flicks for a new decade. Populated with attractive people from mid-level, young adult, network dramas, it captured the zeitgeist of horror in the ’90s.
Two years later, John Carpenter released Vampires, a film that didn’t fit the mold of that time at all. It hung on the framework of the classic American western, showing vampires to be feral, bloodthirsty savages, qualities that make them so terrifying once again. The unique casting choice of James Woods (Videodrome 1983, Cat’s Eye 1985 – read our retro review here), a man infamous for his opinions even before social media, made people tilt their collective head a little. There was also a major conspiracy twists about the origins of vampires and corruption in the highest of places.
The film was based on the book, Vampires, by John Steakley
This film was a palette cleanser coming completely out of left field, sharing similar themes with Blade (1998 – read our retro review here), which also released that same year. Instead of comic book origins, Vampires seems to erupt straight from the pages of a cowboy dime store novel.
Scream Factor has announced a deluxe Blu-ray edition of this Carpenter classic, which will be released upon the masses in September 2019. The specifics of the special features are as of yet unknown, but interviews with Carpenter and Producer Sandy King Carpenter are already complete. There will be new cover art from Artist Devon Whitehead featured on the front cover, with the original theatrical poster art on the reverse side.
For those not familiar with plot:
Recovering from an ambush that killed his entire team, a vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to walk in sunlight.
John Carpenter directed and Sandy King Carpenter produced the film from a screenplay written by Don Jakoby (Arachnaphobia 1990, Lifeforce 1985), which was based on the novel, Vampires, by John Steakley. Besides James Woods, the cast includes Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks), Thomas Ian Griffith (xXx 2002, The Karate Kid II 1989), Maximilian Schell (Deep Impact 1998, A Bridge Too Far 1977), Tim Guinee (Blade 1998, Iron Man 2 2010) and Daniel Baldwin (Vegas Vampires 2007, Death Kiss 2018 – read our review here). John Carpenter’s Vampires Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory releases on September 24th.