Vampire Dog

Vampire Dog (2012)

Vampire Dog’s bark, bite equally good

Vampire Dog

Halloween is upon us. As an avid cinema fan, this is one of my favourite times of year. There are so many spooktacular films to watch, about chainsaw-wielding maniacs, brain-munching zombies and, of course, 600-year old vampire dogs. And that last genre is celebrated in the film I will be taking a look at this week, Vampire Dog.

For the slim minority of Interrobang readers who have yet to see Vampire Dog, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. A teenage boy named Ace and his mother move to a new town after the mother lands a job as a music teacher. Moving and starting at a new school are generally big adjustments, but even more so in this case. Despite being a talented drummer, Ace cannot perform in front of others, and ends up making a fool of himself the first day at his new school when he tries to show off his percussion skills. Lesson to the kids out there: don’t try.

Ace’s abilities could sure come in handy, as the school is earmarked to be closed, unless they finish first in a battle of the bands competition. There is a school on my street that has been fighting off closure for years. Instead of holding rallies and getting people to sign petitions, maybe they should just teach the kids there to play some damn instruments.

But this movie isn’t called Vampire Teen Drummer. It’s Vampire Dog, so I should mention something about Ace’s fourlegged friend Fang, voiced by Norm Macdonald. Fang, originally from Transylvania, is passed down to Ace from a distant relative. Unlike most dogs that can simply sniff other dog’s hindquarters, this one has some incredible skills, including the ability to talk. We learn that one of his previous owners fought the legendary vampire Vlad the Impaler, and while trying to save his master, Fang himself was bitten.

Now if a 600-year-old talking dog can’t inspire you, I don’t know what else will. And that’s just what Fang does for young Ace, giving him the confidence to stand up and shine. Norm Macdonald is famous for his ability to make even the most mundane material humourous with his delivery, so you can only imagine how funny he is in this one when given A+ material.

Macdonald is one of my all-time favourite celebrities. However, as brilliant as he his, his career has not soared to the heights it should have. It has been one setback after another. In the mid-1990s, he was in the midst of a terrific run as the Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live when he was unceremoniously canned. He went on to star in some very funny television programs, The Norm Show, A Minute With Stan Hooper and Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, all of which were axed in short order. But the darkest hour is just before dawn, and after landing the role of the voice of a vampire dog in a direct-to-home-video film, Norm’s career is sure to reach new heights.

The creative team behind Vampire Dog combined the best elements of The Twilight series, School of Rock and Citizen Kane. The result is a treat that does the trick for anyone looking for a film the whole family can watch together this Halloween season.

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KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park

KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park (1978)

Movie starring KISS is a can’t miss

There are a lot of people fretting these days about global warming, terrorists and deadly viruses that have the ability to wipe out millions of lives. I myself am not particularly worried. Why am I not worried, I’m going to assume you just asked? I’m not afraid because I know there is a bigger problem – evil inventors.

This global warming could cause some serious damage 100 years from now, but any day now some perverse scientist could unleash an army of killer robots or an evil weather machine. These are things that pose an immediate threat.

Thankfully there are heroes out there to protect us. No, I’m not referring to the politicians. I’m not referring to the police. I’m not even referring to The Police. I’m referring to a far more powerful band – KISS!

KISS Meets The Phantom of the ParkIn the 1978 film KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss team up to take on Abner Deveraux, the engineer at a theme park called Magic Mountain. Abner has secretly created a procedure to turn humans into robots that will do his bidding. Clearly this film was a major influence on Robocop, which was released a decade later.

When the owner of the theme park notices that Abner is acting erratically, he decides to cut some of Abner’s funding, and use the extra money to bring KISS in to perform a concert. Abner is eventually fired altogether when the owner blames him after some hooligans take over the park.

Abner is none to pleased by any of this, and puts his evil cyborgs to work in an attempt to put the kibosh on the KISS concert. He creates his own robotic version of KISS, kidnaps the real band and programs the fake band to perform instead. This leads to rioting in the park. This is all very similar to the situation that took place about five years ago when Axel Rose unleashed a new version of Guns ‘n’ Roses.

Unfortunately for Abner, he’s not just facing a bunch of ordinary musicians. He’s facing a rockin’ group of superheroes. Each member of the band has an alter ego that possesses great abilities, which allow him to battle the forces of evil.

Gene Simmons’ alter ego is The Demon, who has great strength and the ability to breath fire. Paul Stanley, a.k.a Starchild, can shoot lasers out of his eyes. These lasers give him the ability to control minds and hear distant conversations, much like the Whisper 2000. Ace Frehley, who goes by the moniker Space Ace, also can shoot lasers, and has the ability to teleport himself to another location. Finally Peter Criss has incredible leaping ability, thus earning himself the name Cat Man. Criss accomplishes a rare feat in this film, despite the fact that he speaks English, they had another actor dub in his lines. Allegedly they had to stick peanut butter on the roof of his mouth to get it to look as though he was speaking.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but KISS does triumph over Abner and put an end to his robot making ways. I guess I did kind of give away the ending. Don’t let that deter you from seeking out a copy. Unfortunately it has never been released on DVD, and was only released on VHS for a short time in the 1980s. If you don’t happen to have access to a De Lorean, you can watch it on Youtube. It is cut into several parts, and the great thing is that it really doesn’t matter what order you watch them in.

I think this is such a great film that I am going to SHOUT IT OUT LOUD!!! If you want to rock and roll all night, and also party everyday, then I cannot think of a better way to get the festivities started then by watching this film.