The plot takes the generic Dracula story and alters it to suit its ends. Craven's good at this, and the plot flows quite well. It's main fault being, however, that this genre is overflowing and it's been done better before and since.
Maximillian (Eddie Murphy) is a master vampire who lands by boat (full of snacks and by snacks I of course mean, crew members) in New York. Murphy plays the part well, showing that although he's become more well-known as voicing smart-ass (see what I did there?) donkeys and OTT family movies with a one-man cast, he actually is two things 1) funny 2) a good character actor. He also looks good in the part.
Being an Eddie Murphy movie, he of course has to play several different characters in increasingly silly costume. However, at least in this movie, he is a master vampire, transforming into different people to confront the female character. So there's a bit more of a reason for him to keep doing this!
Maximillian is a vampire from the Caribbean. He has been living in the Bermuda Triangle, Craven's explanation for the missing people in this infamous spot being that vampires are eating them. He has come to realise that he will perish before the end of the next full moon, and has come to NY to find a specific woman; a half-vampire daughter of a Caribbean vampire. Unfortunately, said woman is a NYPD cop called Rita (Angela Bassett. Who was also in "Critters 4" might I add!). Rita doesn't know her origins and her mother, who was mentally ill (probably caused by vampire mind tricks. I'm just saying!), has recently died, affecting Rita greatly. Rita also gets visions and paints them. So, just your typical troubled horror maiden, really.
Max finds himself a 'ghoul' (a Renfield character) to be his man-servant. The ghoul selected is a down-on-his-luck NY man called Julius (Kadeem Hardison), who's in trouble with some of the local Mafia. Julius acts as comedic foil to Murphy's straight man. Julius' uncle Silas (John Witherspoon) is also a funny character, bouncing off of the Julius character as a bit of a double act. He's all too aware that his nephew is in league with the undead (apparent as he is not surprised or overly concerned when Julius begins to decay at a rapid rate, despite still being 'alive'!).
With some vampire trickery, aforementioned transformations and other comedy-horror plot turns, Max attempts to woo Rita. Despite the chemistry between Rita and her work partner Justice (Allen Payne).
Traditional vampire lore applies:
- Wolf transformations
- Blood drinking
- No reflections
- Renfield-esque assistant
- A Mina character
- A dislike of garlic
- Mind tricks
- yadda yadda
Not a horror in the true sense of the word, but a nice family film from the great Wes Craven. And a typical family-comedy movie happy ending for at least 2 of the characters.
Special effects are typical 90s, and my main annoyance was being able to see where Eddie Murphy's wig was glued to his scalp!
90s comedy horror. What more can I say?
[Picture: Paramount Pictures]