Vampirella (1996)

Rating: *
Review Date: 2/19/06
Director: Jim Wynorski
Music: Joel Goldsmith
Cast: Talisa Soto, Roger Daltrey, cameo by John Landis

Ugh. How did this movie ever get made? From the acclaimed director of such cinematic gems as "Sorority House Massacre 2" (1992) and "Hard To Die" (1993) comes the film adaptation of Harris Comics' iconic Vampirella character. Only this isn't the Vampi that we've come to know and love. No, this Vampirella comes from the planet Drakulon, and has been travelling across the stars for the last thirty thousand years on a quest to avenge her father's murder at the hands of... Roger Daltrey?!? Inexplicably, the legendary frontman of The Who is an evil vampire lord who is hiding out on Earth disguised as... wait for it... a rock star. Dear god, who writes this crap?!? Vampirella (lovely Talisa Soto) comes to Earth in search of Vlad (Roger Daltrey) and his minions, armed with only a red vinyl bikini and go-go boots. As is often the case with comic book adaptations, they don't even try to get the costume right, and Vampi's outfit looks like it came from a mix-and-match thrift store bargain bin. Come on, even amateur cos-players do better work than this. Adam Van Helsing heads up an anti-vampire task force called Purge, and Vampi enters an uneasy alliance with them to stop Vlad's nefarious plans for Judgement Night and world domination.

This movie is an embarrassment for everyone involved and is physically painful to watch. The writing is mind-blowingly awful and the acting is atrocious. Talisa Soto is unquestionably beautiful, but her delivery is painfully wooden. Roger Daltrey, on the other hand, is completely ridiculous and over-the-top, but I must give him credit for his misguided and unabashed enthusiasm. The budget was obviously very small and the production values are dreadful. The sets, effects, and stuntwork are pitiful, and the flying bat sequences look like they were drawn directly onto the film with a black marker. Saying that this is the best Jim Wynorski film I've seen isn't much of a compliment at all, but at least it doesn't look like it was shot and edited over the course of a weekend in someone's backyard. All told, the only notable features in the film are Joel Goldsmith's competent music score, and one nicely realized car crash. Everything else is just plain BAD. Harris Comics is especially protective of their licenses, so it's baffling to comprehend how they could let this happen to their leading lady. Yet another franchise with considerable potential squandered and defiled. *sigh* And taking a gamble that the movie would be a success, they even added an advertisement for a yet to be made sequel at the end of the credits. We can only hope that never happens.