Rockabilly Vampire (2001)
By: Devon B. on April 27, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0 Mono 91 minutes
The Movie
Director: Lee Bennett Sobel
Starring: Stephen Blackehart, Paul Stevenson, Margaret Lancaster, Valentine Miele
Screenplay: Lee Bennett Sobel, Paul Gambino
Country: USA
AKA: Burnin' Love; Rockabilly Vampire: Burnin' Love

Rockabilly Vampire was originally called Burnin' Love. Troma re-christened the film Rockabilly Vampire: Burnin' Love, but on the DVD sleeve left out the Burnin' Love bit. And this sort of pointless info is EXACTLY why you read this review, isn't it?

The Rockabilly Vampire DVD begins with an intro by Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger. Lloyd claims the two bands with live footage in the extras are 'many bands.' Lloyd also refers to one of the bands as the 'Amazing Crowns,' which is also what they're called on the DVD menu. A discrepancy arises when you actually select their live video, where they appear to be the Royal Crowns.

Anyway, Rockabilly Vampire is the story of a young man who was turned into a nosferatu by his brother in the 50s. This leaves him saying things like 'make like an Eskimo Pie and cool it,' because evidently vampirism freezes your vocabulary as well as your physical appearance at the time of the bite. So, Mr. Rockabilly meets his soul mate, a bookworm lady stuck in the 50s (despite being too young to have lived in them). She is an investigative author wanting to prove that Elvis is alive, yet doesn't seem to realise that the biggest proof is that his name is an anagram for 'lives.' She initially falls for Mr. Rockabilly because he looks like Elvis, and immediately accepts he's a vampire. Unfortunately for the would-be happy couple, Mr. Rockabilly's bro is still tracking him down, and traces him to the lady somehow.

An obvious comparison for this film is Rockula, but I'm not sure which film comes out ahead. While there are some oddly funny things, like menacing toenail clippings, the general storyline isn't ludicrous enough to be humorous, or even engaging, on its own. This leaves Rockabilly Vampire as just a slow movie where not much happens. The film tries to be funny, but the pacing is off, and the film is just too slow. The dialog can be trying, even more so than the Eskimo Pie line, and the acting, well, actually the acting isn't bad at all for the budget.

If you like rockabilly music, though, this movie has some.
Rockabilly Vampire is presented full frame. The film was shot on 16mm, and looks it. The film is grainy as hell, and has specks and scratches.
The audio is a two channel English track. The track suffers distortion, and the volume levels can fluctuate a bit between people speaking in a scene. The dialogue can be hard to understand at times. The commentary track mentions the dodgy sound, explaining the plan was for the sound to be fixed, but it was never done.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with a fair smattering of extras. There's a commentary with director and co-writer Lee Sobel. He's a talkative guy, providing the usual info and anecdotes, but I just didn't care much. The best extra is Blond Fury, a 44-minute shot-on-video Sobel film, starring the female lead from Rockabilly Vampire. Blond Fury is much funnier than the feature film, but the score is much, much worse. The plot concerns two husbands faking their own kidnapping and the subsequent attempt of their wives to rescue them. The DVD also has live footage from two of the bands from Rockabilly Vampire's soundtrack, Atomics and Royal (Amazing) Crowns, with the later given an intro by Sobel. A few rockabilly bands are interviewed in a separate extra, but this lasts less than one minute. Rockabilly Vampire's trailer is included, under its original title, but the other Troma trailers are blocked. Perhaps best of all, the DVD includes an ad for Rue Morgue and an ad for a NY swing website, which is supposedly where the Easter egg is. It didn't work for me, but here's the info from the Troma site: 'Go to the Rock N' Roll extras. Once you get on the extras screen click on WWW.NYC-SWING.COM. When that screen comes up press "down" on your remote and it will take you to men calling a guy with a "Burnin' Love" tattoo a girly man because he has "girly" arms.'
The Verdict
Rockabilly Vampire is a generally uninteresting film that is rarely funny. The closest thing to excitement it provides is the brief nudity near the end, and that's just not worth the wait.
Movie Score
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