Film Reviews

Vampire Dad: A Retro-Style Horror Comedy

A comic book illustration of the vampire dad.

This movie is funny time to time but the retro style and the mash up of the live action with the comic book illustrations are actually more interesting. The film is a low budget independent vampire movie that was released for viewing on digital platforms like Google Play in spring of 2020. The comedy has a easy to follow plot and understandable premise. The small knit cast mash well together which shows up on screen.

The movie’s premise is about a father is turned into a vampire by the Goddess of the Underworld in this early 1960’s retro setting. The father is a therapist and his services are needed for the creatures of the underworld for their neurosis and past traumas discussing all things a werewolf, a zombie, vampires and other ghouls could say to a therapist if they had the chance. The tagline of the film is “Vampires have feels too!” The film also goes through how this vampire therapist who is also a father transitioned into vampire life with his brother-in-law and wife. Everyone knows his secret but his daughter and his neighbours.

Raymond counseling a werewolf about his mid-life transition to darkness.

Jackson Hurst plays Dr. Raymond Walenski, the doctor who turned into a vampire. He is funny and plain like how a 1950’s/1960’s father who be like. Almost like a Leave it to Beaver or The Brady Bunch kind father-knows-best of style. It’s funny to see a character like this get out of his comfort zones so that he could embrace his new responsibilities. His some of his vampire characteristics beyond the need and craving of blood are an allergy to sunlight and the inability to take photos which is played to hilarity.

Raymond sneaking in with a corpse behind his daughter’s back.

His wife played by Emily O’Brien is his mid-century styled party hosting wife. She’s his Harriet to his Ozzie (reference to the 1950’s show, Ozzie and Harriet.) His brother-in-law Bob, Barack Hardley, is the Tiki-shirt quirky guy vampire helper delivering fresh blood in bags for Raymond who also lives with the family. Victoria, The Goddess of the Underworld, is played by a pinup model in her one of her first feature film roles has this vampire queen who funny and in has the ability to freeze people. The character of Victoria seems like it’s inspired by Endora from Bewitched and previous film vixens from ’50s to ’60s horror movies.

The films is set in 1962 after Halloween. They are dressed in retro fashion and the interior design is late ’50’s/early ’60s inspired. The style is offbeat but kitschy at the same time which works really well for the film. Since this is a vampire movie, the set is completely indoors the majority of the time. The windows have daylight blocking curtains which is funny, also how a vampire would style their home to block the light from the outside but if there were any people walking around outside as well. It might of been a built set with how the living room/ gaming room is set up. The bright colour fashion in some of the scenes just brightens up the scenes.

When the film is about to show something that involved going to another set, blood or an action scene an animation who be used. It was in a 1960’s print comic book style with the eyes, mouths and sometimes the bodies moving in the scenes with a voice over. It usually explained the plot and moved the story forward/ The short animated inserts were illustrated to look like the horror comics of that time period. The other special effects when Victoria is casting her spells looks like an After Effects fire effect but is charming and not something that takes away from the movie.

Victoria freezing Bob and Raymond on entry.

The direction of the film was by the co-writer of the script Frank Ingrassia. This was her first directorial feature film. Before this film she is an actor in various films and TV spots throughout the 90’s and 2000’s.

It’s a kitschy funny film that focus on scenarios and characters than an event that brings them together to act and defeat something. The film is more fun and not that grim or moody like most vampire films. It’s a film that discusses more about adjustments to a new modern time and internal growth for a character that will always remain eternally young.

This is the official website for the film:

Trailer to Vampire Dad (2020)

Genre: Horror/Comedy
Year: 2020
Duration: 80 minutes

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Three out of five stars

All screenshots are from the film.
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