OOM #15 – The Vampyr: A Soap Opera (1992)


So, moving forward from the horror anime, and since Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness has decided once again to feature a film I had already seen, and now that I’ve completed my list of to-watch horror films from 1991 to the present (at least), I decided to watch a film from the next year, 1992, and see what would happen. This was what came out. Let’s see what we have in store today for the October Overlook Madness.

A curiosity, if there ever was one, and something truly confounding and beautiful to watch: an opera based on the famous short story by Polidori, adapted to the current time of the 1990’s, with a vampire that’s a businessman who when confronted by Satan, must kill three women in three days before he gets a chance to live another year. This absolutely bananas concept is executed through a TV movie for the BBC, which includes copious amounts of blood, nudity, sex, digital transformations and full-open opera singing performances. I also understand why this was deemed a “soap” opera, of all things, because this works more like camp, because it’s played straight, the main vampire, Ripley, roars and bites his victims in a melodramatic fashion while planned weddings, business meetings and happy hours happen from time to time.

The overall production feels expensive, but it’s standard TV work, with lots of fixed cameras and on sliders to make a sort of encompassing look at what is happening, only to disturb them in certain minimal ways when it comes to the violence. In many ways, it has the visual approach of a soap opera, even if it has the grandiloquence of an opera, and it even ends on a wedding, like most soap operas do, so there’s a level of intent there that’s absolutely conscious regarding the style and the overall presentation, but it’s still weird to see how these two worlds mash together to make, above all, a vampire story.

There are some interesting visual choices here and there, but it’s mostly just to look at bewilderment at how strange everything is. It’s certainly recommended to those who have an inkling for horror, it’s one of the most strange pieces of entertainment made for TV that I’ve seen, and the fact that it’s played straight, makes it even more glorious. But, you know, it’s still quite long and shot like a standard soap opera, so it can get grating at times.


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