Embrace Of The Vampire

1995, Movie, NR, 93 mins

Review

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More concerned with the soft-core than the supernatural, this is a tepid tale of bloodsucker eros.

Charlotte (Alyssa Milano) is a college student who was raised by nuns after her father died, which helps explain why she won't sleep with her boyfriend Chris (Harrison Pruett) until she turns 18. Three nights before her birthday, she begins receiving nocturnal visits from another suitor--a vampire (Martin Kemp) who was once a nobleman and needs her virgin blood to keep from falling into "eternal sleep." He begins to seduce Charlotte in what she at first believes are dreams, kills her friend Nicole (Rachel True) after a party, and attempts to plant seeds of doubt in Chris's mind.

Charlotte begins to have increasingly erotic dreams and hallucinations, and nearly gives in to a seduction by her dorm neighbor Sarah (Charlotte Lewis). The vampire transforms himself into a woman named Marika (Jennifer Tilly) to tempt Chris into straying, while Charlotte ends up biting Sarah's tongue when Sarah comes to apologize. The vampire kills the bitchy Eliza (Jordan Ladd) and impels Charlotte to come to the campus clock tower that night to give herself over to him. Chris follows her, however, and when Charlotte calls out his name, the vampire realizes that her heart truly belongs to Chris, and vanishes.

EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE marks the feature directing debut of Anne Goursaud, whose most pertinent previous credit would appear to be her work as an editor on BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. But the movie has a lot more in common with her stint at the helm of one of Zalman King's RED SHOE DIARIES cable series. Goursaud and the writers forego any attempts at true horror, making their vampire a sexual predator who inspires Charlotte to dream, not of blood and death, but of hedonism and orgies. The sex scenes are occasionally effective (particularly Sarah's attempted seduction of Charlotte), but the languid pace and lack of truly interesting twists in the story prevent it from building tension or holding much interest beyond the prurient.

EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE was notable for marking former "Who's the Boss?" star Milano's transition into more "adult" roles--meaning that she takes her clothes off an awful lot (especially in the unrated cassette version). She and her other young co-stars are relatively convincing, and certainly look good in their various states of undress. Kemp, however, proves to be a rather dramatically ineffective vampire. He spends entirely too much time bemoaning his plight, and even announces to Charlotte up front that he won't harm Chris because that would break her heart. It doesn't make him the most compelling menace. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity.) leave a comment

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