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Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Directed by Wes Craven Story by Vernon Lynch and Charles & Eddie Murphy Screenplay by Michael Lucker, Chris Parker & Charles Murphy
Vampire in Brooklyn may seem like a rather odd arrangement to throw together in making a movie. Craven directing Murphy as a…vampire? Apparently, this movie was only completed as a means for Murphy to have Paramount release The Nutty Professor rights, as this was his last film with the production company. As well, the fact that it’s marked as a horror romantic comedy may understandable warrant others interest from peaking at the mere suggestion of watching such.
It tells the story of Maximillian (Eddie Murphy); a vampire who has traveled all the way from South Africa to Brooklyn in hopes of finding a half vampire. Unaware of her partial hereditary in hopes of continuing his line as he is now the last. Running into Silas (John Witherspoon) and Julius Jones (Kadeem Hardison) who he later follows into an alley and turns into his ghoul. In order to follow through with his bidding’s. The woman of which he is chasing being Detective Rita Veder (Angela Bassett) who was working with Detective Justice (Allen Payne) on a case concerning a mysterious ship having gone through the building of which Julius and Silas were living in. After getting a clue pointing to Dr. Zeko, (Zakes Mokae) the two meet at a club where Rita first encounters Max at the bar. A failed attempt to get her to dance (which is supposed to do the “trick”) leads to Max chasing her around the city. All the while killing and putting himself within her surroundings so as to get close enough to take everything away. Which more or less works as he woo’s her over and convinces her to give into him, turning her into the vampire she was destined to be. Meanwhile Julius cannot stop deteriorating as Justice tries to get Rita before she’s able to make her first kill. A final fight between the main characters leaving to a final kill as Rita must choose from the confusing reality she had suffered daily. Or spend an entirety living life in the dark lane and becoming one of the hunted.
Think Coming to America meets Blackula and add in a fantastic director as a well suited cast and it doesn’t make for too bad of a time. Murphy looked quite frightful when he was in complete costume for the vampire. Greg Nicotero did the make-up as it is much similar to that of the vampires in From Dusk til Dawn. Though Murphy had stated that the wig he wore made everyone hate the film, I thought it went well with his attire and how he presented himself. I liked the accent and his appearance worked well with his comedic essence he couldn’t help but exude. Apparently Craven had insisted on his lead playing the role vulnerable but Murphy decided against it. His entrance of smoke clearing in from the background made it quite clear that they were going for the “cool vamp.” Basset was a good counter for Murphy but certainly did tend to be a bit overly dramatic in parts in which it was just unneeded. It was almost as though she couldn’t help but throw herself all over the shot while putting forth every emotion able to give. Though her make-up wasn’t too bad either, her hair seemed to be in the wrong era.
I’m usually not too fond of Witherspoon because it feels like he tries too hard to match the humor of his other peers in his films. With him not being shown as much; made him a bit more memorable, oddly. He played the uncle of Julius and together the two were quite humorous (I swear, I don’t do that on purpose). I did like the side character of Julius most but not as far as where his character ended up. It made for the “cheesy” ending which I know is usually expected but could have gone a different way all the same. It also seemed forced for the possibility of a sequel which thankfully was not made. There were some great dream sequences that Rita had throughout; an obvious knack of Craven’s. Though I must express that I wasn’t fond of Max turning into a dog and him mostly traveling as such. I know some vampire films have had that work for them in the past, I’ve just never liked that aspect. Guard dogs? Sure, but not the actual vampire (maybe just me). The ending as well went out with a howl which was something you’d expect from a werewolf movie so that was a bit upsetting. There are a couple other familiar faces that didn’t do so bad throughout and overall not a bad decision for a first or second view. But just the same, not something you should rush out to see either.