1 out of 5 – Would Recommend: Vampirella

TitlesWelcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where no movie is too obscure to be found! Today we’re examining an oft-forgotten comic book adaptation, 1996’s straight-to-video Vampirella feature!

What’s The Plot?

The evil Vlad and his gang of barbarian rebels murder the Elders of Drakulon, their home world, and head off to Earth – a planet they can rule unopposed. The High Elder’s beautiful young step-daughter, Ella, takes off after them seeking vengeance and becomes humanity’s nocturnal protector Vampirellla!

Not every costume translates well onto the screen...

Not every costume translates well onto the screen…

Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?

Roger Corman, the undisputed king of the low budget! This is actually the second comic book adaptation Corman produced (of which we are aware, dude’s filmography is prolific), the first being The Fantastic Four – legendarily the cinematic equivalent of an ashcan comic and a future feature for this column.

Five Reasons to See It

  1. Roger Daltrey, legendary lead singer of The Who, plays the villain! As Vlad of Drakulon (just guess what one of his many aliases on Earth was, go on) he hams it up to the nth degree and is just perfect for the movie.
  2. Vampirella’s vengeance for the murder of her step-father comes thirty centuries (3,000 years) after the crime. She spends most of that time stuck in hypersleep on Mars with no way to reach Earth. If not for a conveniently timed manned mission to Mars, she’d have slept through his conquest of humanity.
  3. Angus Scrimm, the legendary Tall Man of the Phantasm franchise and all around horror movie “that guy!”, has a small role as Vampirella’s step-dad. He’s undoubtedly one of the best actors present, too bad his death kicks off the plot.

    ...Please don't tell Pete I was in this.

    “…Please don’t tell Pete I was in this.”

  4. One of Vlad’s Drakulonian henchmen has left the evil vampire mafia, settled down with a family, and become a college professor in the 3000 years since he last saw Vampirella. When confronted, he genuinely apologizes for his actions on Drakulon. Naturally our heroine threatens his family, kills him, and leaves his corpse on campus for his students to find.
  5. “Ella, daughter don’t destroy your soul trying to avenge this act of madness. You’re better than that. Stronger than all of us.” – Ella promptly leaves home forever to murder her way through Vlad’s crew.

Recommendation

Vampirellla is pure direct-to-video megacheese and it is eminently enjoyable for it. The acting is either wooden or hammy with no in-betweens, the props and sets make Space Mutiny look good, it’s simply a joy to watch. Check it out!

And for some reason, John Landis cameos as an astronaut.

And for some reason, John Landis cameos as an astronaut.

NEXT WEEK: In celebration of the imminent release of Jurassic World, we’ll examine the other mid-90’s big budget genetically engineered dinosaur movie, 1995’s Theodore Rex.

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past's social media lackey. He's all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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