A thoroughly twisted comedy with more blood being splashed around than you'd find in an abbatoir, Strange Things Happen at Sundown (2003) is a vampire movie using the "Vampires blending in with modern society" approach to its characters. It's also notable in that EVERY major character save one is a vampire. There are no vampire hunters, mobs with pitch forks or modern day Van Helsings here.
The story has Jimmy "Fangs" Petruucci, a mobster who just happens to be a blood drinking undead, set to take the underworld by storm as he's just discovered that something most vampires consider a myth (Feeding a victim their blood to make them their slave) is VERY real. And so he's mixed his blood in with massive amounts of weed, ready to get every junkie who buys from his dealers as a mindless servant
One problem? Marcel, a sociopathic vampire who works for him has stolen one hundred thousand from him and gone on the run with his girlfriend Amy, who (After they kidnap a born again christian who she quickly becomes attracted to) is having second thoughts about being a vampire.
Enter the Reaper, a supposedly thousands of years old Vampire whose so far gone he is the go-to guy for blood vengeance. While in the mean time there's also the problem that one of Jimmy's underlings has turned a victim simply because he's looking to get laid.
Oh yes and through all this stalks a killer who leaves a black rose at the scene of each slaying, with a grudge against Marcel. And two assasins who were turned in the eighties and seem to think the decade never ended
Sound odd? Add a horrendously low budget, gratutious gore and nudity and more Goth imagery than you can shake a Cure CD at and you have this fantastically strange film
This movie provides examples of:
- Always Chaotic Evil: Vampirs, by their nature, not only HAVE to drink blood to live but something about the change leaves them with an inherent desire to kill along with visions of nightmarish carnage whenever they sleep. The "Black Rose Killer" notes that even the ones who keep it together remain anti social and unstable
- Personified by Smooth's gang. Even Marcel, a towering sociopath, is sickened by some of what they do.
- Ax-Crazy: Joey "The Butcher" Madone. Okay, so it's a baseball bat not an ax but when he gets going even his fellow mobsters think he's sick. And given that they EAT people that's saying a lot
- Badass Longcoat: How Christopher and Cynthia look at first.
- Berserk Button: June, Reaper's wife, is more than a bit of a Neat Freak. She throws a fit when Reaper leaves one spoon in the sink, and tries to track down and kill him when she finds one of his dirty socksnote .
- Black Comedy: The killing itself isn't played for laughs but later scenes make light of it.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Marcel's initial reaction when confronted about the day he turned the Black Rose Killer and killed her boyfriend
- Dark Action Girl: The Black Rose Killer is like a female vrsion of the Reaper: Unstoppable, implacable and vicious.
- Dracula: The Reaper IS Dracula. The REAL Dracula, aka Vlad the Impaler (Never said outright but heavily hinted at both by mention of his Romanian past and his comment when impaling someone on a spike ("Haven't done that in a LONG time"). Oh and his wife, mentioned as being a "Hungarian countess"? She's Elizabeth Bathory.
- Eats Babies: Marcel
- Even Evil Has Standards: Comes up a lot in this film. The Black Rose Killer doesn't believe in eating her victims as she doesn't feel it leads to a healthy mental state, always kills her victims so they don't have to suffer the pain of living as a vampire and at first only preyed on those deserving death. Marcel, a stone cold sociopath, is horrified by some of the things that Smooth's gang get up to. Jimmy Fangs and his gang don't like working with the Reaper because even they consider him sick. And Amy, while happy to murder and eat people, draws the line at kids or the elderly.
- Smooth's gang pretty clearly have NO standards and are perhaps the best example of pure evil in the film. While most of the deaths in the movie are so OTT as to be Black Comedy, the sequences in their hide out are genuinely horrific
- Frozen Fashion Sense: Cynthia was turned in the 80s, and hasn't updated her wardrobe since.
- Hannibal Lecture: Marcel attempts one on the Black Rose Killer. For a second it looks like it might work...long story short: it doesn't
- Historical Injoke: The Reaper is Vlad the Impaler. His wife is Elizabeth Bathory. So in other words, the two most famous "Real world" vampires are a married couple in this film. Doubles as a CMOF for the history geeks out there
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: why the Black Rose Killer is looking to track down Marcel.
- Implacable Man: The Reaper. You can't reason with him. You can't bargain with him. If you're in his way or he simply feels like killing something, that's it. Even when the man paying him to kill Marcel is dead, he finishes the contract because he honestly can't see any other way of doing business.
- The Black Rose Killer is an implacable (wo)man who kills everything in her path save for one
- Pet the Dog: The Reaper is shown as being a killing machine for nearly the entire film, a torturer and rapist who seems to have no empathy for anyone. Then, when his wife dies, he removes his ever present hood as a sign of respect and later does his best to comfort the conflicted and tormented "Black Rose Killer"
- The Black Rose Killer herself is a fairly vicious and cruel being but, after wiping out Jimmy's gang she spares the confused and frightened girl who Joey turned and even offers her advice on how to deal with the change into being a vampire.
- Stepford Smiler: June seems to be Unstable.