SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT (1989)
Yes, that's Bruce Campbell and yes, he plays a goofball in Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat. To be specific, he plays the least heroic vampire slayer in cinematic history. Ash groupies will flock to this screwy b-flick, but they should be forewarned that their scream king is not the main character. All told, there are too many characters. The first act introduces supplementary cast-offs (pun intended) with the tenor of an apocalypse epic, but as it turns out, the bulk of these folks are likeable. I wanted the good guys to win. I guess you need a frame of reference, huh? The plot follows the denizens of Purgatory, a small town tucked away in the scrotum of a fetid, sweltering desert.
We find out that Purgatory is populated with vampires. Simple enough, but there is a conflict of interest afoot. The regnant majority of the municipality's inhabitants slurp down synthetic blood in an effort to co-exist with humans. However, a revolt is taking shape, one that is content to revert back to the old ways (y'know, biting necks and stuff). The film climaxes with interspecies warfare, for lack of a better term. Of course, an innocuous all-American family is caught up in the middle of this scuffle. I haven't mentioned Bruce's role, but I hesitate to spoil his identity. This is a fearless horror/comedy hybrid, and it wears its intentions on its sleeve. It doesn't waste any time getting to the sight gags.
Normally, that would turn me off, but director Anthony Hickox keeps the laughs in check. I totally dug Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat. It's far more engaging than I expected. By the way, Hickox is quickly becoming a favorite filmmaker of mine. Do Waxwork, Full Eclipse and Warlock: The Armageddon ring any bells?