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Eclectic DVD presents
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2002)

"The First Testament says: 'An Eye For an Eye.' The Second Testament says: 'Love Thy Neighbor.' The Third Testament...Kicks Ass."
- promotional tagline

Review By: Dan Lopez  
Published: January 29, 2003

Stars: Phil Caracas, Muirelle Varhelyi, Ian Driscoll, Jeff Moffet
Other Stars: Josh Grace, Jason McMaster, Tim Devries
Director: Lee Demarbre

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, some gore, some nudity)
Run Time: 01h:21m:54s
Release Date: January 28, 2003
UPC: 022891102892
Genre: black comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BC-C B-

DVD Review

In all the great biblical epics, Jesus Christ is typically portrayed as the calm, unflappable soul of all things good and great. Heck, in a few of those epics, you never even get to see Jesus, lest his holy visage melt the very film onto which he is being portrayed. Tired of the boring, old portrayals of Jesus? Look no further than Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, a loveable little modern fable about how Christ returns to Earth to flatten the souls of some evil vampires intent on robbing our cities of all the lesbians they can find! Actually, that requires a little explanation. Set in modern day Canada, this film begins with the premise that Ottawa is being drained of its lesbian population by some mysterious force. When a certain Catholic priest suspects the truth is a vampire invasion, he calls upon the big guns to deal with it. Jesus Christ, busy trying to re-insert himself into society so he can bring about another religious uprising, is called forth to help to battle with the undead, using not only his inner spirit but his ability at kung-fu as well.

Jesus tries to rally all the people of Earth to help him, but when they find out he's battling vampires (through an elaborate musical number), he's only left with a few allies, one of whom is famous Mexican wrestler-slash-superhero, El Santo! He modernizes himself a bit (complete with ear piercings) and sets forth on his quest with additional ally, Mary Magnum. The problem is, these vampires can walk around in the daytime thanks to skin grafts given to them by a mad scientist. What's a deity to do? Kick some serious vampire butt, that's what. Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, at first glance, might appear to just be a simple parody of those badly dubbed, 1970s-era kung-fu flicks you may have seen on nighttime theater as a kid, but it actually has a lot more to it. To begin with, rather than just taking the easy route and using Jesus Christ as a big, never-ending gag character, the film wisely doesn't rely on him for all of the jokes. In fact, rather than offending people, the humor here is very firmly rooted in the serious portrayal of Jesus and his order of fellow vampire-knowledgeable friends.

Having fun with its '70s exploitation-style influences, the movie also wears its low budget proudly on its sleeve, and adds only more levels to the charm of the project; no one should ever say a bad word about this film just because it's appallingly low budget. In fact, it's probably the best "homemade" project I've seen in some time. It's a satire, but not so much so that it makes you gag, and it's not some amazingly pretentious film that serves only its creator's purpose. Instead, it's a big joke that, admittedly might not work for everyone, but is just a blast to watch. It does have one teensy flaw, though: it's a little too long in places. Other than that, you can look forward to a thoroughly entertaining, goofy, and often stupid (and I mean that lovingly) vampire flick that's better than anything a certain stake-wielding cheerleader can come up with. Got Jesus?

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Shot on home cameras and what looks to be 8mm or 16mm filmstock, the movie obviously is not of the best quality. There is a lot of source damage and a few scenes where the developing did not go as planned. This really didn't bother me, and actually added to the charm of the film, but unfortunately the disc encoding doesn't make the issue any better. There's massive amounts of artifacting in many of the scenes, especially those with wild camera work. The compression could have been done much better, in my opinion.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio has its share of problems, much as one might expect from the source material, but thankfully it doesn't hurt the film much as the music was mastered well and the dialogue, purposefully dubbed, is easy to hear and understand. That said, expect what you might from something made on a home film camera.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Lee Demarbre, writer Ian Driscoll, actors Phil Caracas, Josh Grace, and Josh Moffet.
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interviews
  2. Outtake reel.
Extras Review: Extra features kick-off with a great audio commentary during the film by most of its central cast and crew. The commentary isn't very serious or focused on filmmaking details, but is more a very funny remembrance of making the movie and how it effected their lives at the time. It's very enjoyable. The accompanying outtakes reel is also worth a look for the serious Vampire Hunter fan, as it showcases a number of dropped shots, test material, and first-day-shoot footage ruined by improper developing. The footage is accompanied by some commentary from the director and a few others. Some of the bloopers are pretty funny, but most of the reel is focused on cut footage and alternate takes. There is a series of interviews with most of the cast and crew conducted for the DVD, which is compressed into a mini-documentary where the director (and others) appear in locations used in the film. As they re-visit their work on the film, we get to hear numerous, humorous diversions on the making of the whole project. The disc rounds off with a trailer or two for the film (all of which are rather badly artifacted and horribly compressed). On a side-note, the menu interface for the disc is, unfortunately, extremely slow and clumsy, making it very hard to maneuver around. The 40 chapter stops kinda make up for this, though.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter easily joins the ranks of such classic , low-budget 'cult' films as Basket Case and Night of the Living Dead as a fun little horror movie designed to be anything but serious. It showcases some real filmmaking talent, though, and I anxiously look forward to the next project these guys turn out.

 


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