Frost: Portrait of a Vampire (2001)
By: Trist Jones on August 2, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
MRA (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 86 minutes
The Movie
Director: Kevin VanHook
Starring: Gary Busey, Jeff Manzanares, Charles Lister, Amy Angelowicz
Screenplay: Kevin VanHook
Music: William Richter
Tagline: Fear the light...
Country: USA

You know a movie is bad when you are unable to summate said atrociousness with words – relying solely on loud, animalistic groans that say more than words ever could. That said though, I will endeavour to express how truly awful Frost: Portrait of a Vampire is…

Usually when I watch these films, no matter how bad they are, I will always try to find something positive, something that will allow me to give the film some sort of clemency so that people don't feel completely jaded by my own negative opinion of what could be a favourite of theirs. Not here my friends, not today. Today I present to you a film with no redeeming value whatsoever. How this film got made is beyond me.

Frost: Portrait of a Vampire is the horrifyingly disjointed story of two ex-military buddies who become mortal enemies when one was bitten by a Russian vampire in Afghanistan in 1989. That's essentially all the story there is. It'd be pretty standard vampire fare if it weren't for the colossal amount of needless back story and excessive side garbage that goes on in this film - apparently it takes eleven or so years from when you're bitten by a vampire for you to actually become one yourself, so there's a new one for you vampire fans to add to your book of vampire lore. If you take all the unnecessary padding out of this eighty six minute travesty you'd probably have a primetime safe, half-hour T.V. show with less production values than an episode of Passions.

The film has more clichés crammed into it than a soap opera and acting of roughly the same calibre. Gary Busey turns in an equally hilarious and repellent performance as the blind, psychic art connoisseur slash gunrunner who "helps" Jack Frost (yep, that's his name) as he hunts down his vampire buddy Nat. Both Jeff Manzanares and Charles Lister who play Frost and Nat respectively are two of the worst actors I've ever laid eyes on to the point where I actually felt embarrassed watching them (kind of like when you watch the Australian Idol auditions). Jack Frost is this unbelievably versatile character who's a champion at pretty much everything he does (shit – the guy can even recite sections from obscure books on the occult without even reading them!) yet the actor who plays him is this monotonous Kevin Smith look-alike who would undoubtedly turn in a better performance as a corpse. The guy wears the same pair of aviator sunglasses throughout the entire film – including night scenes - with no explanation as to why he does so (and if it was at some point mentioned it was so brief it went completely undetected). Charles Lister turns in an embarrassingly over the top performance, and he's quite possibly the most non-threatening vampire to ever hit the screen. Even Count Duckula sits above this guy as a more imposing vampire. The rest of the performances aren't even worth mentioning, as the whole cast feels like barrel scraping.

On the subject of barrel scraping, the special effects are the worst effects I've ever seen and the production values are vomit inducing. Troma is better than this. The vampire's lair looks like something put together for a high school production, and the make-up used to make what appear to be those of Italian descent look Afghani is hilarious. The CGI helicopters and bats will actually hurt your eyes to look at them, and the practical effects are so glaringly obvious it's borderline ridiculous. When Jack fires his rocket launcher at one of the helicopters, you can actually see the rocket drop down before moving forwards, as though whoever was suspending it from above missed their cue and hoped they got away with it (which they obviously did). It's just careless, completely careless – but the big problem is, it tries to cover it all up.

The script is really pretentious. It's based on "the best selling vampire comic book: Jack Frost" which was also written by Vanhook back in 1987 (no surprise that the comic is every bit as terrible as the film and only lasted two issues). Fact is, it's a nasty pile of garbage, and Kevin Vanhook (who also directed and produced the film) tries to make it sound smart and awesome by putting in dialogue that may read like some sort of cool on paper, but comes off as garbled crap when spoken – especially by the no-hopers cast in Frost. It jumps needlessly from one redundant location to another (I think we were in Mexico for all of two minutes) before settling down towards the end, where it's already too late to undo the damage. Ultimately it's just a terribly uninspiring script and the downfalls of the script have become monstrous on screen.
Most films that go the direct to video route are pretty clean in terms of image, and the same applies here. There's no damage or grain, or any kind of digital artefacts you sometimes get on releases like this. It's a 4x3 transfer but I sincerely doubt you're missing anything that would be cut off from a 16x9 image. It doesn't really look like a film either, more like a T.V. show, so if you were hoping for some sort of upper level standards you can forget it.
Standard stereo sound here. Not that you're missing out on much though; the score is terrible, the dialogue is terrible, the sound effects have been repetitiously yanked from the same B-movie 'scary-noises' library most generic horror films tend to raid.
Extra Features
Hahahah! Yeah, right.
The Verdict
At roughly seven dollars a pop, I'm sure there's some poor sap out there who actually bought this film without knowing what the Hell it was, which is why I am telling you now: your life is better without this film. Seven dollars is cheap, but Frost: Portrait of a Vampire isn't worth dirt. If you see it anywhere, don't even look twice at it and forget you ever looked at it once. Avoid it like the fucking plague. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and kill the brain cells harbouring the memory of this atrocity.
Movie Score
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