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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD. Wibbell Productions.

The Vampires of Bloody IslandDespite having received suspiciously gushing reviews elsewhere, The Vampires of Bloody Island apparently had made its way through several Strange Things Are Happening writers before I ended up with it, and it’s easy to see why. I have to confess that I too was tempted to give up on the film midway through the 108-minute running time, but in the end I persevered. Hopefully, my reward will be something good next time!

This low budget British horror comedy tells the story of hapless office worker Susan Swallows (Pamela Kempthorne) who is sent, along with workmate Kevin Smallcock (Allin Kempthorne), to a remote Cornish island, where vampire Morticia de’Ath (Pamela Kempthorne again) is waiting. It turns out that Susan is Morticia’s human daughter, and that a serum made from her blood will make vampire immune to sunlight. Soon, the pair find themselves up against an army of vampires, werewolves and demons, as Kevin fights to kill Morticia before he too becomes a vampire, having been bitten earlier in the story.

I hate to badmouth what is obviously a low-budget labour of love, but as you would have to pay money to see this, I can't ignore the fact that The Vampires of Bloody Island feels very much like on overblown home movie by the Kempthornes, who wrote, produced and directed the film, as well as starring in it. More to the point, it seems like a vanity project for Pamela, who clearly sees herself as Scream Queen material – though I think she’s sadly mistaken in that belief, as her acting leaves a lot to be desired (in the Making Of on the DVD, she refers to having worked with lots of directors, but a quick look at her IMBD credits seems to suggest her work has been mostly as an uncredited extra).

The comedy lacks any sense of subtlety, and loads of dialogue seems to be lifted / adapted from other movies, ranging from Carry On to Monty Python to Rocky Horror, but delivered in a way that robs it of any comedic value, and the performances are all deliberately over-the-top yet authentically wooden. Everyone looks as though they are having great fun, but that doesn't translate into a film that is actually funny.

To be fair, there are a couple of moments that made me chuckle – the Chinese businesswomen who all speak in broad Irish accents, for instance – but they are few and far between. Had this been a short film, it might have been more effective – but at almost two hours, it starts to feel a lot like hard work that a few boobs and a soundtrack by middling Goth bands can’t save. Still, everyone else seems to love it, so what do we know?






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