Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)
One Heaven of a good vampire flick
Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to watch only the spookiest of films. There have been many scary villains in the history of cinema – Freddy Krueger, the Wolf Man, Leatherface, just to name a few. But no villain has ever been as frightening as Nosferatu, or the vampire.
Over the years, many a hero has stepped up to the plate to battle these nasty bloodsuckers, most notable Gabriel Van Helsing, and of course Buffy Summers. They both did a fine job, but they certainly don’t compare to the hero featured in this week’s film – Jesus Christ.
Yes, that Jesus Christ.
This week I’ll be taking a look at the Canadian cult classic Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.
In Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, the Son of God is called into action by two priests who have been investigating the mysterious deaths of lesbians in their city. We learn that vampires are sucking the blood of lesbians, and then grafting the slaughtered lesbian skin onto their own so they can be out in the sunlight during the day.
Jesus is at first reluctant to join the fight, as you would expect from someone who told us to turn the other cheek. He prefers to spend his time baptizing people at the beach, and turning water into lemonade. However, after he sees the vampires up close, and barely escapes thanks to his superior karate/wrestling repertoire, Jesus heads to the city and prepares for battle.
The first thing he does is shave off his trademark long hair and beard. Now this is a fantastic film, but this part really bothered me. Call me old fashioned, but I like my beer cold, my chocolate hot, and my Jesus bearded.
Jesus may not have his Twelve Apostles to help him out in this quest, but he does find a willing partner in Mary Magnum, a saucy brunette whose first order of business is to give Jesus a makeover, so that he will better blend in. Which means it is time for a wacky montage with Jesus trying on lots of funny shirts. I cannot get enough of clothes shopping montages. The world would be a better place if every film featured at least one.
Unfortunately, once again Jesus is forsaken by a friend, after Ms. Magnum is assaulted by the vampires, becoming one herself. Down and out, Jesus receives hope from an odd messenger – a bowl of ice cream and cherries. God, speaking through the delectable desert, tells his son to seek the help of famous Mexican pro wrestler El Santo.
Once El Santo arrives, it is time to get down to business. By that I mean the two visit a jazz club. As is often the case when a celebrity is in attendance, Christ is asked to take a bow, and come up on stage. He then proceeds to perform an atrocious vocal and drum performance, before trashing the club and laying a whipping on the audience full of vampires in disguise. This goes to show you – never invite Jesus over to your home to play Rock Band. You’re not going to get this kind of advice anywhere else. I guarantee you Roger Ebert isn’t writing about Jesus playing rhythm based videogames this week.
There are certain images in film that resonate throughout the ages. The boat sinking in Titanic. The tornado in The Wizard of Oz. King Kong climbing the Empire State Building. Well, I will never forget the site of Jesus driving a plunger through the heart of a vampire, in just one of the classic moments from this film. While He is portrayed as a skilled fighter in the vein of another JC (Jean-Claude Van Damme), Jesus is also shown to be the same compassionate, loyal and forgiving deity that Christians have come to know and love.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a truly remarkable cinematic achievement. While other filmmakers such as Mel Gibson (Passion of the Christ), Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ) and Franco Zeffirelli (Jesus of Nazareth) have brought their vision of Christ to the silver screen, I always felt that there was something lacking in their work. Thanks to director Lee Demarbre and writer Ian Driscoll, I now know what that something was – lesbians, vampires, masked Mexican wrestlers and talking desserts. If you are still on the fence about whether you should run out and purchase this DVD, and thinking about just illegally downloading it off of the Internet instead, ask yourself – what would Jesus do?