Directed by Howard R. Cohen
Written by Jeff Begun
Starring Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, and Jeffrey Tambor
The two reasons this movie is awesome.
A family inherits a haunted house. A vampire couple wants to take the house from them, because it contains a magic book of monsters that will cause the end of the world. The human couple tries to enlist the help of Van Helsing, who ends up being a bad guy or something. The wife also turns into a vampire. A bunch of wacky stuff happens, and the world doesn’t end. Not the best news, because that means we get to watch the horrible sequel.
ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I wasn’t allowed to watch real horror movies as a child, so I obsessed over the few horror-adjacent movies that I was allowed to watch. Among those: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Addams Family Values, and this film, which my parents deemed family-friendly enough for a six-year-old to watch.
They didn’t realize how terrifying Jeffrey Tambor can be.
The teenager daughter shows a lot of skin as she takes a bath with the Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Yes, it’s that kind of movie.) That’s about it, though. There aren’t any equivalent male characters.
This has as much blood and guts as you’d expect from a wacky horror-comedy called Saturday the 14th. In other words, not a lot. There are a lot of monsters, though, and the monster designs are pretty great. And only a little rip-offy.
The public domain version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
There is a surprising amount of special effects for a cheapo, early 80s horror film. I’m not saying this is a good thing. But points for effort.
The vampire couple turning into weirdly glowy bats.
OK. IS IT GAY?Maybe. It celebrates the outsider and it says some satirical stuff about family dynamics and… You know what? I’m just making stuff up now. This isn’t gay at all. It’s fun, though. In a stupid, bland kind of way.