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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Vampires Suck’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


Ah, it must be August…

Does anyone understand what the word satire means anymore? Or does it just not matter? Enough people are willing to pay for the stupidest, crassest kind of “humor,” so there’s no point in bothering to make the humor actually funny… or for it to actually have anything to say?

Somewhere, the Three Stooges are smiling. Or maybe they’re angry. If only they’d waited a few decades, they’d be considered the main event at the movies, not some sort of slapstick sideshow.

Vampires Suck opens today in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. on October 15.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • Keith

    And since it didn’t screen for critics, we have to assume that vampires aren’t the only thing that sucks about this movie.

  • Keith

    Hehe, so does my grammar. In my defense I just walked over 2 miles in heat and stifling humidity and have a headache.

  • Nate

    I had hoped after Disaster Movie tanked that these morons were finished, but I guess Fox didn’t mind shitting out another $20 million with James Cameron printing money for them.

  • MaryAnn

    Even *Disaster Movie* earned $34 million worldwide, even before DVD. These movies do turn a profit. That’s what’s so depressing.

  • Actually, this movie did screen for critics. I can’t fathom why, but it did. I did not go. In fact, I’m actually relieved I haven’t even been subjected to the trailer on this page.

    The main thing that went wrong with spoof movies like this one somewhere between Airplane! and now is that the people making them stopped poking fun at the conventions of a genre and just started literally recreating scenes. Movies like The Naked Gun had plenty of funny jokes you could understand without having seen all of the popular films from the previous year. It also used to be about how straight-faced you could remain while pushing the convention to absurdity, but now everyone just makes goofy faces and double-takes at every joke.

    I think someone (not Friedberg/Seltzer, obviously, or even Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker, whose wit has dulled over the years) could still do a really good Oscar Bait Movie if they tried, but they’d be fighting an uphill battle against crap like Vampires Suck, which have scared away anyone with an IQ of five or more from parody flicks forever.

  • Dear movie goers:

    Instead of seeing obvious dreck like Vampires Suck, why not waste money viewing a far more ambitious and way more enjoyable movie called Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World?

    Thank you.

  • Scott Pilgrim recommendation aside, the really depressing thing is that based on reports of packed, enthusiastic preview screenings, the fact that this movie is parodying Twilight will be enough to sucker in legions of Twihards. Not even the fact that this movie is making fun of their beloved series is relevant; just that it is about Twilight.

  • I’ll admit I laughed a few times during the trailer. Even though they usually aren’t as good as say, the Naked Gun series. They really are just stupid fart and dick joke gross out comedies, the creators know this and don’t try to hide it.

  • Alli

    I’ll stick to Cleolinda’s Movies in 15 Minutes for my Twilight parodies. Not only are the funnier, but they’re free.

  • Dart

    ARRRRRGH What a missed opportunity!!!! I hoped for a second that they would make fun of the conventions of vampire movies / shows, etc., instead of plugging Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, and other new things in pop culture. One person should’ve been carrying an iPod touch or something.

  • Chuck

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I think the stupid “humor” of these types of movies is actually a strategy for the world-wide market. Sophisticated humor is usually either cultural specific or language specific, or both. So if you want to appeal to a world wide audience then you need the dumbest toilet humor, sexual humor, and physical humor because these are the basic things that humans everywhere find funny. Or at least the lowest common denominator of humans everywhere.

    An example is that the Japanese have a term called the “American Joke” which is not a joke about Americans, but rather any joke that they don’t understand the humor of. This includes knock-knock jokes, you-might-be-a-redneck-if jokes, jokes about chickens crossing roads, etc… The Japanese humor for example generally revolves around the social embarrassment of a person or puns. They simply would not understand the humor of say, “The Prairie Home Companion” for example. Even if it were flawlessly translated into Japanese. It just does not track for them.

    So assuming that this is a similar situation all over the world the kind of movies that we all rail against do better overseas simply because while the “humor” is crude and dumb, at least it makes sense to other audiences.

    That’s the conclusion I’ve come to anyway. I don’t know if that’s what way the studios come at it, but simply doing the math would lead them to make more if they do well overseas even if they don’t know why.

  • It’s depressing enough to suspect we’ll never again see movies like Bringing Up Baby and Sullivan’s Travels made in this country because they’re just too sophisticated for today’s audiences to appreciate. But to suspect we’ll never again see something as clever as Airplane! or The Naked Gun series released because that kind of humor is just too cerebral for foreign audiences to appreciate–is enough to get one to craving hemlock.

  • Shadowen

    I would like to repeat my call for someone to adapt The Producers into a similar story regarding movies and use it to take shots at these douchebags.

  • RogerBW

    I feel sorry for the actors in this; even they don’t look as though they’re enjoying it.

    To appreciate Airplane! fully, I strongly recommend watching Zero Hour. A great many things in the later film are direct lifts from the original disaster movie, with just a slight shift in emphasis…

  • @RogerBW: Don’t feel sorry for the actors. They’re getting paid, and getting exposure in a film that’s going to have a wide theatrical release. Plenty of actors would give a kidney for that kind of opportunity.

  • Chuck

    But to suspect we’ll never again see something as clever as Airplane! or The Naked Gun series released because that kind of humor is just too cerebral for foreign audiences to appreciate–is enough to get one to craving hemlock.

    I don’t think that it’s a case of being too cerebral, just a case of having a completely different set of social ques and language. For example, “and don’t call me Shirley” would make no sense at all to someone who is not absolutely fluent in English and Western culture. (They need to know that “surely” and “Shirley” are different words that sound the same, but also need to know that Shirley is a name and particularly one that is used only for females. Further, they would need to understand that in macho Western cultures men would be upset to be referred to with a female’s name.) Unfortunately this not only applies to foreign audiences but also a distressing proportion of domestic ones as well. So while the domestic audience that fails to catch this joke we can dismiss as dumb, foreign audiences are not necessarily so, just not native English speakers who understand the nuances of Western culture.

  • [Japanese] simply would not understand the humor of say, “The Prairie Home Companion” for example. Even if it were flawlessly translated into Japanese. It just does not track for them.

    Keep in mind that translators do not necessarily translate all the jokes in a film literally. If a joke is inappropriate for the target culture, the translator(s) may replace the joke entirely with one that works in that culture. I talked about this once to a German acquaintance, and he gave me the following example from Austin Powers.

    During the casino scene, the following exchange occurs between Austin and Number Two at the blackjack table.

    ‘So what is your business, Mr. Number Two?’
    ‘My business is my business.’

    Now, as you pointed out, one would have to be conversant in English and have some familiarity with American cultural norms to understand the joke: that Austin is asking about Number Two’s employment and that Number Two is making a pun on two meanings of the phrase ‘my business’. I never found this joke very funny. (I much prefer ‘Please allow myself to introduce…myself’ or ‘Excuse me, have you seen…anything at all?’) Note, though, that the pun would not work in German, which doesn’t have both meanings for its equivalent of ‘business’. This renders the joke nonsensical, since Number Two would use two different words. Rather than ignore the joke, the translator re-cast it as:

    ‘So, how do you earn money?’
    ‘With my job.’

    According to my acquaintance, ‘how do you earn money?’ is a roughly literal translation of the German equivalent of ‘What do you do [for a living]?’ So you can see that Number Two’s reply retains the smart-ass feeling of the original (though it is no longer a pun). I can even see how you could make it work with Korean (for which, again, the ‘business’ pun wouldn’t work).

    So it’s certainly possible to translate a more sophisticated comedy for a world audience successfully. The problem is that it takes more effort than shitting out a bunch of poop jokes and pratfalls and pratfalls into poop, and we can see exactly how much effort has been put into Vampires Suck.

  • Chuck

    Keep in mind that translators do not necessarily translate all the jokes in a film literally.

    That’s certainly true, but it does not work in all cases and in the cases where it does work it requires a good comedic writer who is fluent in both the original and target culture/language. Sadly, I think this combination is rare enough to make it not worth the effort for the studios, because as you mentioned crapping out movies like this is just easier and apparently the profit margin is good enough.

    Austin Powers works in translation because it isn’t much further up the food chain than Vampires Suck (higher certainly but not that much higher) and relies on a lot of the same toilet humor, sexual humor, physical humor, and visual humor that we decry in other movies. I don’t think other more subtle types of humor translate as well across cultural and language barriers, and if you end up having to completely re-write the movie in order for it to track for the world-wide audience (and in fact have to do so for each language and culture that you want to release it in) I can see why the studios just crap out the “comedy” movies that they do.

  • Jurgan

    Keep in mind that translators do not necessarily translate all the jokes in a film literally. If a joke is inappropriate for the target culture, the translator(s) may replace the joke entirely with one that works in that culture.

    Interesting anecdote. A similar thing happened with the jokes in the anime El-Hazard. For instance, the villain had a group of bug monsters as his henchmen that were named after a Japanese comedy group. Probably no one would have gotten the joke, so in English they used the names Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Gummo.

    While we’re on the subject of translations, I want to mention a story I heard about the worst translation ever. Apparently for French screenings of Inglorious Basterds, they actually dubbed the entire movie into French. What was the point? The thing’s in four languages already- why not just change the subtitles? Instead, you kill all of the terrific jokes (“Bon-jerno”) and the authentic feel of the movie.

  • DaveTM

    Just saying that if you want to see a vampire comedy you should rent “The Fearless Vampire Killers: or pardon me but your teeth are in my neck” I think I can guarantee it will be better than this.

  • I don’t know. As much as I liked the glimpses of the late Sharon Tate, the YouTube clips from TFVK movie have never impressed me much.

    Then again I would hardly argue that the film is worse than VS. At best, it’s on the same comic level as Love at First Bite–but with better sets and more Hammer-like production values.*

    However, my personal recommendations would be to rent a DVD of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. Not every episode of those two series was angst, angst, angst and I always found Joss Whedon’s ability to poke fun at vampire cliches a lot more entertaining than a similar attempt made by the X-Files crew on the “Bad Blood” episode. However, YMMV.

    * That’s Hammer as in Hammer studios, the British film company that produced so many of Christopher Lee’s vampire flicks. Not Hammer as in–er–never mind…

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