31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 27 – Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

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Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison, John Witherspoon, Zakes Mokae, Joanna Cassidy

Screenplay: Charlie Murphy, Michael Lucker, Chris Parker

100 mins. Rated R.

 

Many horror directors attempt to cross with comedy at some point, and for me, there are two infamous examples of note: John Carpenter’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn. I actually really enjoyed Carpenter’s film, and when I originally saw Vampire in Brooklyn several years back, I liked it too. Sadly, on my most recent viewing, my opinion has shifted drastically.

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Maximillian (Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop, A Thousand Words) is the last of a line of vampires from the Caribbean. In order to save his bloodline, he needs to find a female born from a native vampire he knew. Detective Rita Veder (Angela Bassett, TV’s American Horror Story, Meet the Robinsons) is that woman, working for the NYPD in Brooklyn. After siring Julius Jones (Kadeem Hardison, White Men Can’t Jump, Made of Honor) to be his personal servant, Maximillian sets out to find his destined love in the urban jungle.

Wes Craven (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Eddie Murphy famously fought on set about the tone of the film, and it is the paramount reason why this movie failed so much. Craven wanted a horror film with comedic elements, and Murphy wanted a comedy with horror elements. The clash was the downfall of the film.

Murphy’s Maximillian didn’t have great voicework, and the choice to do his signature multiple roles thing by playing a few other characters that Maximillian disguises himself as didn’t work nearly as well on second viewing.

Craven’s abilities as a director were really called into question during the making of this film, and his work suffered tremendously from studio interference and the uneasy set. It’s sad, because the overall idea seems like a lot of fun. I really like Kadeem Hardison’s portrayal of the decrepit Julius Jones.

I also don’t think the casting of Bassett works in the film. She has the ability to act, but this just isn’t the movie for her.

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I’m happy to see that Craven was able to recover from a film like Vampire in Brooklyn with solid works like Scream and Red Eye, but Eddie Murphy, who blamed everyone else for making a film he knowingly wrote and acted in disappoints me. He claimed that he only did the film was so that he could finish his contract with the studio and focus on other works. I call bullshit, Eddie. You failed but you couldn’t just accept it.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

Horror Maestro Wes Craven Dead at 76

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In sad news for horror fans, Sunday revealed the shocking news of true legend writer/director Wes Craven’s passing after battling brain cancer. Craven, the man behind such iconic horror characters like Freddy Krueger and Ghostface (from Scream), recently celebrated his 76th birthday this month.

One need only look around at the major news websites to see the many fans mourning the passing of the macabre master filmmaker, and while I didn’t always agree with his image, I always had tremendous respect for his versatility as an artist.

Craven’s Freddy Krueger is so much an iconic piece of our collective culture that I have no memory of being introduced to the character (I was that young) in film, but almost knowing of his existence from birth.

I do remember seeing Last House on the Left only just a few years back, and I recall the stomach-churning and shocking film still resides in the recesses of my mind.

Of course Craven’s name became household with the release of Scream (written by regular collaborator Kevin Williamson). Craven also directed the three sequels and was an executive producer of the new MTV television incarnation.

Rest in Peace, Wes. Thanks for the nightmares.

 

Selected Filmography:

  • The Last House on the Left (1972)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
  • Deadly Blessing (1981)
  • Swamp Thing (1982)
  • The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1985)
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
  • Shocker (1989)
  • The People Under the Stairs (1991)
  • New Nightmare (1994)
  • Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Scream 2 (1997)
  • Music of the Heart (1999)
  • Scream 3 (2000)
  • Red Eye (2005)
  • Cursed (2005)
  • Pulse (2006)
  • Paris, je t’aime (2006)
  • The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
  • My Soul to Take (2010)
  • Scream 4 (2011)

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

@almightygoatman

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