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  Vampire Hookers Dine With Carradine
Year: 1978
Director: Cirio H. Santiago
Stars: John Carradine, Bruce Fairbairn, Trey Wilson, Karen Stride, Lenka Novak, Katie Dolan, Lex Winter, Leo Martinez, Vic Diaz
Genre: Horror, Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the dead of night in Manila and the centuries-old vampire Richmond Reed (John Carradine) awakens in his crypt to recite some Shakespeare to the three bloodsucking brides who reside with him. Their modus operandi is to set off into the city and entice some hapless men back with them, all the better to drink their blood in a literal Bloody Mary cocktail. Two likely lads who may be their next victims are Tom (Bruce Fairbairn) and Terry (Trey Wilson), a pair of sailors fresh off the ship and on shore leave, seeking an evening's entertainment. They first meet the C.P.O. (Lex Winter) who has his own personal taxi driver (Leo Martinez) to show him around, but he leaves them at the mercy of the nightlife...

Nightlife which included a gang of locals who invite them to eat duck embryos! What's more revolting, that or the bloodsucking? On this evidence, it was the embryo, as that genuinely appeared to be happening whereas nobody was draining the cast of their precious bodily fluids for the sake of their film. So who was the brains behind this misbegotten little item? If it wasn't Eddie Romero, it would be the Philippines' most prolific director, Cirio H. Santiago, making one of his plethora of exploitation flicks in the seventies before the next decade where he changed his tune and concentrated on Mad Max rip-offs and war movies that took advantage of the nearby jungles.

In this case, you got to see Manila by night, as Santiago didn't bother with a studio and used actual locations, though not exactly the most tourist-friendly ones, more the sort you would see if you had gotten lost and found yourself wandering the back streets, especially if you stumbled upon a ladyboy bar. There was that cemetery where the pertinently-named Richmond Reed stayed (those being Carradine's first two names), which did appear to be a real crypt used as a set, with silk-lined coffins apparently borrowed from a local undertaker's for the four vampires, though the inevitable Vic Diaz as Pavu, their Renfield-like familiar, slept in a packing crate. Not only that, but in an indication this was intended as a comedy, he spent half of his screen time thunderously farting.

If there's anything guaranteed to get the audience chuckling it was that, right? Or maybe not, no matter how they tried to dress it up the thought of Diaz letting rip when he has such scenes as Pavu sleeping with a plastic hose in his mouth so he can get some air from outside the makeshift coffin were more likely to make the gorge rise. But look what it was contrasted with: Carradine quoting Shakespeare (and Walt Whitman) at every opportunity, which was by all accounts how he was in reality, having memorised long passages of plays and poetry, so you could surmise he had thrown out his script and instead started speaking dialogue he could truly relish, no offence to Santiago intended. It did offer the proceedings a bizarre quality, but it still wasn't funny.

Though with a title like Vampire Hookers there was another source of entertainment the potential audience would be rubbing their trousers - sorry, rubbing their hands in anticipation about, and that would be the sex scenes. Well, there was not so much a selection of those and more one great big dollop of softcore in the last half after Tom and Jerry, er, Terry are drawn to the cemetery and Tom goes in, following lead vampire lady Karen Stride as Cherish. Terry (an early role for the talented but tragically shortlived Wilson who would be best known nowadays for Raising Arizona) stays outside, being scared of graveyards, which lends him the hero status when he has to rescue his pal. That pal nevertheless gets a foursome with the presumably rather cold ladies, though everyone keeps their underpants on, but the sequence lasts for ten minutes of surprisingly mild coupling. Then it's back to the classic quotations and Wilson doing his best to wring some amusement out of sub-Lou Costello behaviour before they spring a twist on us. Not good, no, but memorable. Music by Jaime Mendoza-Nava.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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