02nd Jul2020

‘Vampire Dad’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Grace Fulton, Emily O’Brien, Jackson Hurst, Barak Hardley, Sarah Palmer, Juli Cuccia, Michael Naizu, Rich Cohen, Linda Nile | Written by Frankie Ingrassia, Kathryn M. Moseley | Directed by Frankie Ingrassia

Set in the early 1960s, Vampire Dad tells the story of the titular dad, Dr. Raymond Walenski – a family man-turned-vampire by Victoria, queen of the underworld. Turned into a vampire not because of some accident, being caught in the woods late a night, or being out during a full mood. No, Raymond becomes a vampire by choice – not his choice though, it’s Victoria’s choice. You see the queen of the underworld has a problem and she needs a therapist for the creatures under her rule.

Of course being a vampire isn’t as cool as it sounds, especially not in the suburbs of 1960s, which leaves Raymond struggling to keep his vampiric nature under control while his devoted wife tries to keep anyone from finding out about him, including their own teenage daughter!

Obviously inspired by US sitcoms of the 60s, Vampire Dad is a perfect pastiche of the tropes and characters of those now-classic comedies. The pacing, the comedic timing, the characterisations, the situations, everything feels spot-on. The homages don’t stop there, Vampire Dad has animated sequences, including the intro, which capture the time period perfectly, looking and feeling very much like they’ve stepped out of the pages of an old EC horror comic or an issue of Tales From the Crypt.

However Vampire Dad is also much more than mere pastiche, it’s actually a film about female empowerment. Whilst the characters feel very much like the cookie-cutter tropess of sitcom families, both Raymond’s wife Natasha (Emily O’Brien) and his daughter Susie (Grace Fulton, fresh off the back of Shazam!) are strong-willed women – the antithesis of the types of women found in the sitcoms this film emulates. Natasha holds the family together AND keeps up appearances with the neighbours when Raymond can’t control his vampiric urges; whilst Susie is a young woman who knows who she is and what she wants, with more confidence than you’d typically find in a 60s TV teenage girl.

Yet for all that Vampire Dad is also a deliciously camp slice of horror – especially when it comes to Raymond and his therapy sessions with the rest of the monsters and creatures of the night sent by Victoria (played brilliantly by Sarah Palmer) for counselling. The cast play up to the camera, play up the over-the-top nature of the script and the, frankly, ridiculousness of the entire premise. All of which means Vampire Dad is sure to become a beloved camp classic in future, in the same vein as Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop of Horrors – even moreso with THAT ending!

Vampire Dad is out now from Random Media.

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