AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, TV PERSONALITY
Midnight Kiss, aka Vampire Cop, is a 90s exploitation flick with real mean qualities and two leads that sadly dropped off the face of the earth, which is a real shame!
With our continued quest for 80s and early 90s nostalgia showing no sign of slowing down I decided it was about time to revisit High Fliers Vampire Cop, aka Midnight Kiss, released on VHS 13 April 1994 in the United Kingdom.
Directed by Joel Bender (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers), Vampire Cop follows the escapades of Carrie Blass (Michelle Owens), a ball-busting detective, who offers herself as bait to ensnare a serial killer that’s stalking the mean streets of LA, draining his victims dry. Blass soon discovers that her prime suspect (Gregory A. Greer) is a vampire, and once bitten she begins to undergo a dramatic transformation into the ultimate femme fatale, who will stop at nothing to bring down the vamp that condemned her to a life of pain, suffering and an unhealthy lust for human blood.
Vampire Cop certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste due to being populated with characters as unpleasant as its sleazy rape sub-plot, yet the low-budget, low-brow proceedings hold together thanks to its provocative exploration of fearless detective Carrie Blass (Michelle Owens) and Gregory A. Greer. Greer, whose title role is simply billed as ‘The Vampire’, walks a fine line between being a vampire and a stalker with Ted Bundy tendencies. He obsesses over his victims, in particular Blass, who he was meant to suck dry like a slush puppy. Instead he forms a deadly Fatal Attraction with her, and it’s those dynamics that produce the film’s winning results.
Greer’s multiple costume changes prior to his killing spree is an interesting take on the tired formula of vamp bites victim, victim seeks out vamp, vamp gets staked, blah, blah, blah. One minute Greer’s a man of the cloth and the next a milkman. Each new look comes with an all-new phrase, “shouldn’t f*#k with a man of God!” Sure, they are cheesier than a bag of Cheetos but Greer somehow manages to pull off each one liner with ease or, as he puts it, “good to the last f*#king drop!”
Bender’s direction is clumsy at times and feels more suited for his soapy cable aesthetics where he began (Sweet Valley High), but his set-ups are nicely executed and he even pulls off a few memorable scenes that have stuck with me since my first viewing in the late 90s.
Greer, rising at the stroke of midnight from his body bag, chills; a drive-through attendant (Elexa Williams, Gang Land) yanked from her station through her service window is deviously disturbing and the opening scene sets the film up as it means to go on. A lone female (Celeste Yarnall, The Velvet Vampire) is drinking at a run-down seedy LA bar, aggressively pursued by a suited and booted sleaze (Gino Dentie, To The Limit), only for Greer to come to the rescue as a priest, or so she thinks. Greer’s long blonde hair is
scraped back into a ponytail showing off his Abercrombie and Fitch model good looks, finished off with a silver cross earring. The scene quickly descends into a bloodbath, Greer finishing off the sleaze (as billed in the credits) then turning the bar owner’s (Warren Farina, The Landing) shotgun on him and wasting him before finally getting around to feasting upon our first onscreen victim.
Sure, Vampire Cop has its problems, partly down to its budget restrictions and yes, its overall look feels more suited to the erotic thriller market than a gory vampire movie, but there is a certain grubby charm to the film that has become better with age, much like a fine wine. There are some really nice touches, such as the double set of fangs worn by the film’s merciless killer and a neon sign that comes into focus as our lead villain walks into frame spelling out ‘wacko’, a nod to the way Greer portrays his character, I’m sure. There is even a scene that really sets the heart racing where Greer punches through the hood of a victim’s car, ripping out the alarm to avoid detection. The lack of back story to Greer’s character makes his actions that much more threatening.
Yes, Vampire Cop panders to several sub-genres and tosses in a vigilante (female) vampire cop, a vampire serial killer and is rammed to the rafters with characters that are portrayed as misogynistic and unsympathetic pricks, but overall I still got a kick out of it. Vampire Cop won’t be winning any Nobel prizes for originality but it sure as hell gives vampires of the 90s and early millennium a run for their money, and yes, I am talking about John Carpenter’s Vampires and Wes Craven’s Dracula 2001. Vampire Cop is a fun, dirty low budget movie and I thoroughly recommend checking it out for Greer’s performance alone.
Vampire Cop A.K.A Midnight Kiss is available on DVD now.
Review / Published 28 July 2018 @ 20:00 PM
Vampire Cop A.K.A Midnight Kiss
13 April 1994
High Fliers Films
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