Film / John Carpenter's Vampires
aka: Vampires Los Muertos

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John Carpenter's Vampires is a 1998 film by John Carpenter loosely based on the novel Vampires. It is about a group of vampire hunters out to prevent the original master vampire from getting the Cross of Berziers which will allow him to walk in the sunlight.

It has two direct-to-DVD sequels, Vampires: Los Muertos (2002) and Vampires: The Turning (2005).


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: The Big Bad vampire cuts a human cleanly in two with just his claws.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Montoya is bitten by the vampirized hooker and turns into a vampire himself.
  • Anti-Hero: Jack Crow. He's a Vampire Hunter, but he's not above beating down priests if it helps him achieve his goals.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Other than sunlight, the only way to kill a vampire for good is to drive a stake through its heart.
  • Ax-Crazy: Valek thoroughly enjoys killing humans and feasting on their blood.
  • Big Bad: Valek, the original vampire.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Katrina enters a motel room unaware that Valek is waiting for her on the ceiling. She's terrified when he descends on her, but afterward she's shaking in ecstasy as he feeds between her legs.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: During Valek's massacre at the motel, he grabs one of the hookers to have her soak up some bullets. Subverted in that he's not even doing this for protection but purely out of sadism, as he's actually immune to gunfire.
  • Canis Latinicus: While mocking the myths of vampire hunting, Jack says that if you try and ward a vampire off with garlic, he will take a walk up your "strata chocolata" whilst sucking your blood. This is dog Latin for "Hershey highway".
  • Ceiling Cling: Master vampire Valek does this before attacking Katrina.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Granted, it's hard to imagine another branch of Christianity with the money, connections, or influence to secretly fund and equip teams of vampire hunters around the world.
  • Church Militant: The vampire hunting teams were sponsored by the Catholic Church.
  • Clean Cut: Valek slices somebody in half vertically using his hand.
  • Complete Immortality: Valek wants to use the Cross of Berzier to become immune to sunlight, effectively achieving this. And that wouldn't be good.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Catholic Church is to blame for Valek's vampirism, and by extension, for the existence of vampires as a whole. See Gone Horribly Wrong below.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The vampire hunters are all funded by the Catholic Church, so they can collectively be called a single organization.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Just bursting into flames isn't enough of a sendoff for Valek; he flat out explodes.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Played straight with the prostitutes at the motel whom Valek slaughters. Subverted with the one Valek actually feeds on; he doesn't finish her off and she becomes the heroes' main connection to tracking him down. She could also have been The Mole, due to Valek's influence over her.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Valek and the rest of vampires.
  • Evil Overlooker: On the posters Valek is shown as a face in the clouds overlooking the heroes.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: The Catholic Church funds and controls paramilitary squads of vampire hunters all over the world.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The first vampire Valek was a priest in medieval Prague who led a peasant revolt. When he was captured, the church thought he was possessed and performed an exorcism for him. Because he wasn't possessed however, instead of driving out a demon from him, the exorcism PUT ONE in him, turning him in the first vampire.
  • Gorn: Special mention given to the fountain filled with monks' blood.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Jack usually refers to the team priest as "Padre".
  • Heal It with Fire: Montoya does this pretty much every time he's wounded, once with a lighter, and once by firing his sub-machine gun into the air then holding the hot barrel to the wound.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Jack Crow is never seen without his leather jacket.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Averted. Jack makes a point of telling Father Adam that crosses do nothing against vampires.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Katrina, at least before she turns into a vampire.
  • Immortality Seeker: An interesting variation with vampire lord Valek, who is already immortal and has walked the earth for centuries. However, he can still be destroyed by sunlight. Acquiring the Berzier Cross (and completing the original ritual) will make him truly invulnerable and achieve something close to Complete Immortality. Also, Cardinal Alba's reason for allying with Valek.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Jack Crow does this to Father Adam in order to know what Valek and his minions are searching.
  • Jerkass: Jack Crow is very aggressive and violent to the second priest of his team. Justified in that he recently witnessed most of his original team being slaughtered by Valek and that second priest was withholding information. He later becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: The prostitute bitten by the Master vampire certainly seems to be enjoying herself when Valek is between her legs.
  • MacGuffin: The holy relic the vampire lord Valek is searching in order to become immune to sunlight.
  • Mercy Lead: At the end of the film, Jack gives his friend Montoya a two day head start after learning he was bitten earlier in the film and is slowly turning.
  • Monster Progenitor: Valek is the first vampire, accidentally created during a botched exorcism. He is the strongest, as the only thing that can hurt him is sunlight. He lacks every other vampire weakness. His goal in the movie is to complete the exorcism in order to become truly immortal. This would also allow him to make other vampires without weaknesses.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Averted. Valek's death does not kill or cure any remaining vampires.
  • No-Sell: Valek is immune to everything that would normally kill a vampire except sunlight.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are feral monsters that bleed black blood and can take a stake to the skull with no ill effect. Vampires while feral seem to be sentient though, especially Valek.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The vampire hunters throw one after killing a group of vampires. Then Valek pays an unexpected visit and starts a massacre.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Jack Crow is sexist, though the only woman we see him interact with in the movie is a hooker, so that may have something to do with it.
  • Private Military Contractors: The vampire hunters are professional mercenaries hired by the Vatican (as in the original Swiss Guard).
  • Rated M for Manly: Gore and scantily clad women are common in this movie.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: Valek at one point uses his bare hand to first jam it into a human's chest, then swings the arm in an upward motion to completely rip the poor victim in half.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Jack Crow. Half of his dialogue consists on "fuck" or some variation of the word.
  • Spiteful Spit: Jack Crow does this to Cardinal Alba after he reveals himself as an ally to Valek.
  • Staking the Loved One: Crow killed his own father after he turned into a vampire.
  • Transhuman Treachery:
    • Cardinal Alba has secretly joined with Valek in order to become immortal.
    • Likewise the hooker who Valek bit. Through the film she's slowly turning, losing more and more of her humanity. Eventually during the botch raid, she fully turns and feeds on Montoya. Before walking back to the town to join Valek's group
  • Unflinching Walk: Jack Crow does one when he blows up a building to bury the evidence of a vampire massacre.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Vampires don't suck blood so much as tear a hole in your carotid and lap at the fountain.
  • Weapon of Choice: Jack Crow has his trusty crossbow.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Whenever the Church recieves reports of of vampiric activity, they dispatch Vampire Hunter squads such as the one led by Jack Crow.
  • Your Vampires Suck: The movie makes fun of anything but stakes and sunlight working against the undead.
  • Zombie Infectee: Montoya hides his own vampire bite. His subterfuge does not really matter, as he gets bitten again later in a less discreet place.

Vampires: Los Muertos provides examples of:

  • Chill of Undeath: Shows the vampire's body as being blue through a heat sensing goggles-type thing.
  • Book Ends: In the earlier portions of the movie, Derek Bliss rants how his superiors task him to go after the vampiress when he was supposed to go surfing in San Diego. In the end, after the villainess has been killed, Derek and Zoe travel to San Diego.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Una is killed.
  • Cool Guns: Derek Bliss' custom spike gun.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Zoe thanks to his pills. Una, briefly, after she steals Zoe's pills.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: see Book Ends above
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The vampiress Una. Apparently all the masters vampires are this.
  • Genre Blindness: Despite being a vampire hunter, Ray isn't suspicious at all when a mysterious woman comes on to him during his guard shift at night.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Several points throughout the film.
    • Una slashes all the throats of the customers and the employees in the diner, save for Bliss who was in the bathroom at that time. When Derek comes out of the bathroom, he is greeted by sight of the victims still clutching their bleeding wounds. One of the waitress manages to ring the police alarm before collapsing due to blood loss.
    • Derek Bliss finds a person who committed suicide by way of blowing his head off with a shotgun. The congealed blood is splattered in the nearby wall.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Zoe is actually a vampiress.
  • I Call It "Vera": Ray calls his shotgun "Miss P".
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Derek's primary weapon is a katana which he keeps hidden in a surf board.
  • The Mole: Ray becomes one after Una sedueces him to Zoe's pills, causing Una to be immune to the sunlight's effects.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Vampire-turned Ray apologizes to Bliss for "fucking up" (i.e. stealing Zoe's pills and giving it to Una). While Bliss accepts his apology, he stabs a stake through his heart to end Ray's misery.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: An alternative way to kill vampires besides the tradition stake-to-the-heart method. See Boom, Headshot above.
  • Riding into the Sunset: After the battle with Una the vampire princess, Derek and Zoe ride off towards the sunset on their way to San Diego.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Ray Collins is armed with a shotgun with custom-made 12 gauge slugs meant to instantly kill vampires. After Ray's death, Derek takes the weapon and uses it to blow Una's head off.
  • Shout-Out: Derek Bliss' surfboard armory of anti-vampire weaponry is a direct nod to Film/Desperado.
  • South of the Border: Takes place in Mexico.
  • Super Speed: Una is able to kill a whole diner full of people by the time it takes for a paper towel thrown by Bliss to land in a bin.
  • The Undead: Well, it's a vampire movie after all.

Vampires: The Turning provides examples of:

  • The Atoner: Sang, for unintentionally siring the jai tham vampires.
  • Betty and Veronica: Amanda and Sang respectively for Connor. The former is his actual girlfriend who was captured by the Big Bad and the other is a sexy female vampire whom he falls in love with over the course of the movie.
  • Holiday in Cambodia: The movie takes place entirely on Thailand and follows a Muay Thay fighter and his girlfriend vacationing there.
  • In-Name-Only: This third entry in the series has no relation whatsoever with previous movies.
  • Only in It for the Money: The local vampire hunters are driven mostly by monetary gain rather than personal reasons or any sense of justice like previous slayers. At the end, they double cross the heroes and attempt to prevent them from ending the curse so they wouldn't be out of the vampire business.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: There are two types of them in the movie - the good phi song neng vs the evil jai tham. They don't appear to be related to Valek and other vampires in any way.
  • Race Against the Clock: Connor must slay the vampire lord before his girlfriend is turned.


Alternative Title(s): Vampires, Vampires Los Muertos, Vampires The Turning

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