Vampire in Vegas (2009, directed by Jim Wynorski)


In this thoroughly jumbled film, Tony Todd plays Sylvain.  Sylvain is a centuries-old vampire who now lives in a mansion in Las Vegas.  He wants to run for governor of Nevada and then he hopes to become President of the United States.  Before he can campaign, Sylvain has to find a way to spend time in the daylight without bursting into flames.  He recruits Dr. VanHelm (Delia Sheppard) to conducts experiments and develop an anti-sun serum.  When Dr. VanHelm tests a prototype of the serum on three female vampires who have been tied to stakes in the desert, the experiment is observed by a camping couple who call the police.

At the same time, Jason (Edward Spivak) is engaged to marry Rachel (Sonya Joy Sims), so his friends decide to have one last hurrah by dragging him to Vegas and throwing a party with strippers.  Unfortunately, the strippers are all vampires who work for Sylvain.  Jason and his friends become Dr. VanHelm’s latest serum guinea pigs.  When Rachel and her friend Nikki (Brandin Rackley) decide to surprise Jason in Vegas, they are also drawn into Sylvain’s web of conspiracy when it turns out that Nikki is hoping to become the newest of Sylvain’s vampiric servants.

From the minute the film opens with a lengthy exposition dump and footage of Sylvain throughout the years, Vampire in Vegas is obviously a Jim Wynorski film.  With this film, Wynorski not only recreates the nonsensical vampire politics of the Twilight movies but he combines it with the bromantic decadence of The Hangover movies.  It’s not a successful mix.  Sylvain is determined to walk in the sunlight and to run for governor of Nevada but the movie never explains why.  With his mansion and his legion of loyal followers, Sylvain has done very well as a vampire who can only come out at night.  Why would he want to potentially lose everything that he has, just so he can run for governor and eventually president?  Why would Sylvain trade everything that he has now for a job that would mostly involve renaming highways and signing whatever bills end up on his desk?  And how does Sylvain think that he’ll be able to run for governor without someone investigating his past and discovering that he’s a vampire?

That’s a lot of questions and Jim Wynorski makes no attempt to answer them.  Instead, the movie focuses on the strippers stripping and Sylvain waiting for his chance to brave the sun.  It’s a Wynorski film so no shock there.  Tony Todd plays the role with dignity, the rest of the cast is negligible in this Vegas bet that didn’t pay off.

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