Friday, 24 July 2015

I bought a Vampire Motorcycle (4 Stars)


This film with the amusing title was made in 1989 and released in 1990. Rather than being a low budget movie, it's described as a no budget movie, because it cost, in the words of the director, as much as "four bricks and a pint of beer". The cast and crew worked for free. For props they used their own property or items and locations that they borrowed from the television series "Boon" which most of them were making at the time.

A cult are performing a ritual to summon the demon Aruman in a Birmingham car park. They're attacked by a biker gang. One of the cult members is killed by the gang just after he's possessed by Aruman, and his blood trickles onto a motorbike, passing on the possession. The bike is sold to a courier called Noddy. Unknown to him it's become a vampire. It doesn't go out in the sunlight, and at night it goes out by itself, either killing randomly or seeking revenge on the biker gang.


The Electric cinema presented this film today as part of its Shock & Gore festival. The director, the screenwriters and the lead actor Neil Morrissey (Noddy) answered questions about the film afterwards. The director Dirk Campbell (second from right with the bottle of beer) said that he hadn't watched the film for 30 years. Not quite correct, since it was made 25 years ago, but I'm amazed at this. "I bought a Vampire Motorcycle" was his only feature film; everything else he made was for television. I bought the film soon after it was released on DVD ten years ago. Doesn't Dirk own a copy? I'm not a film maker myself, so I don't understand the mentality of people who work on films. Is it something they do, then move on? Is it just a job that they do and then forget afterwards?

Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Digbeth (an area close to Birmingham's city centre). I recognise some, but not all of the streets. Digbeth was an industrial area, but it's being renovated into a trendy area, with nightclubs and expensive apartments. For the pub scenes the White Swan was used, a pub in Henley-in-Arden, south of Birmingham, that belonged to the actor who played the film's police inspector. They really trashed the place. I wonder if he regretted offering the pub to his pals.

The film's original name was "Bloodrunner", but it had to be changed because there was a comic with this name. That was fortunate. The new name was much better. It sounds ridiculous, and yes, the film is ridiculous, but it's become a cult classic. How can anyone not like this zany film?

The four men said that they would like to do a sequel. That would be good, but it's just wishful thinking. Back in 1989 they were young and crazy. They didn't mind working seven weeks for nothing, they were just having fun. If they did it today they'd have to plan responsibly. They would need a budget. I'm the first person in line clamouring for a sequel, but realistically I don't think it will happen.

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