Film Review - Sundown The Vampire in Retreat
Starring - David Carradine, Morgan Brittany, Bruce Campbell, Jim Metzler, George 'Buck' Flower | Directed by Anthony Hickox | Lionsgate DVD WS R 104min 1990
Review By Joker
Purgatory is a town filled with vampires, and their artificial blood factory is down. They call in human inventor David and his family, wife Sarah and daughters Juliet and Gwendolyn. The town treats them like celebrities, and everyone is happy that they are there to fix the machine. A stranger arrives before them, and one of the three vampire brothers who run the gas station knocks his head off! The man's friends see the act and rush to the towns police and learn that they are the ones under arrest. Robert Van Helsing is also on his way to town to kill some vampire scum! Sarah is attacked by one on the first night by her ex-boyfriend Shane, as one of the other vampires Ethan goes out to punk clubs and gets members ready to fight the town Purgatory and to take over. Van Helsing gets to town and eats at the diner were he meets a young woman named Sandy who tries to warn him of the vampire-infested town. Shane and David fight over Sarah, and the town is at war with its self as the team lead by Ethan is getting ready to clash with Jozek Mardulak and his town vampires and Van Helsing and his vampire sweet heart is on no ones side and want to stop the vampire infestation. David finds out that Sarah cheated on him with Shane while they were married and he decides its time to get his family out of this blasted town. But Juliet tells Mardulak of her dream of the vampire war and Van Helsing is tuned into a vampire by Sandy and must join the war. David and his family are stuck in town as the war goes down Shane and Ethan's team are using guns with wooden bullets to end their one time friends lives as Mardulak brings out the crossbows! Shane goes after Sarah who he wants as his bride and its up to David to save his family from the evil vampire Shane. David kills Shane and the war looks lost for the good vampires as Sandy is taken hostage and the good guys throw away their guns, but Mardulak beats Ethan in a gun fight and admits that he is in fact Count Dracula! But when he is out of bullets and about to be gunned down when David and Sarah make a huge cross and kill all the bad vampires and the good ones are un-harmed and is shown that God has forgave them. David and his family leave town as Dracula and his vampires begin to rebuild the town of Purgatory.
This is a campy vampire western. While it has some good moments, it drags in a lot of spots and is just plain goofy. The plot is great with Count Dracula changing his name and wanting to be forgiven for his sins of the past, building a town for vampires to live off fake blood with God in their hearts. While an old school vampire name Ethan wants nothing more then to bring the hunt and kill back to being a vampire. The side story of David and his family being tormented by Shane, a vampire who may be the father of Juliet (one of their children) is a little goofy but helps fluff out the plot. The fact that Dracula is seeking forgiveness is pretty epic and is a first in a Dracula film. David Carradine plays Mardulak or Dracula and does do a good job. It just seems like he has very little time to show off his chops. Bruce Campbell plays Van Helsing. While he was a good choice for the part, he also doesn't have enough screen time to show how goofy and off the wall he really is. The rest of the cast all do a great job and do seem like weird townsfolk. The sets also are great, and the 50's style diner is something that I wish was in my neighborhood. The film is not perfect by any means. But it is enjoyable and that's what films are supposed to be.
The DVD has some great extras like interviews with David Carradine, Bruce Campbell and M. Emmet Walsh, director commentary, photo gallery and a trailer for Monster Squad. The DVD cover is lame and does not hold the fun spirit of the film like the VHS cover did.
While this film was not Hickox's best film (that goes to Waxworks or Hellraiser III), this was a fun film that was a great mix of horror, comedy and western. It has blood, guts and laughs. If you're looking for a fun vampire action comedy, then check out