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Lesbian Vampire Killers
Apple treated us to twelve days of freebies from their iTunes Store over Christmas and New Year. One of the freebies was the recent 'comedy horror' film, Lesbian Vampire Killers. Starring James Corden and Mathew Horne, it is a low-budget British film that received pretty dire reviews on its release in March 2009. As the film was free, and I had time to kill, I settled down to watch it on my iPhone on the train back from Carlisle on Monday.

Having not seen the sitcom "Gavin and Stacy", my only previous experience of Corden and Horne was their dire performance hosting last year's Brit Awards. Based on this, and on the bad reviews, I didn't have high hopes of 'Lesbian Vampire Killers', but I'm always happy to give a cheap horror film a chance, in the hope of finding splatty gore and hammy overacting.

Mathew Horne was reasonably effective as a somewhat-bewildered reluctant hero. His performance was fine, and his character worked in the plot. He looked and sounded a little uncomfortable with some of the dialogue, but otherwise acquitted himself well. James Corden, on the other hand, was dire. Based on this film, my conclusion is that he can't act. His performance was appalling, and the character he was playing was no better - coarse, unpleasant, bullying, and juvenile. He swore too much, to no comic or dramatic effect, and at times appeared to improvise bad dialogue (as I can't imagine it could have been scripted). Other cast members included MyAnna Buring showing some acting talent as the female lead (and at times looking disconcertingly like Glynis Barber in 'Dempsey & Makepeace'), and a thankfully hammy performance from Paul McGann as the local vicar.

It turned out that the director was trying to be trendy, with odd cuts and camera tricks that didn't impress much; by the end of the film I was dreading another page-turn-style cut between shots.

The vampire design and behaviour was uninspiring, but other aspects of the production design were effective with a cheap Hammer-ish look. The vampires splatted when killed, but the goo was white and not particularly plentiful, so not as much fun as it could have been. Part of the excitement of a typical vampire story is that there is a sexually seductive element in the threat from a predatory attacker to a more innocent victim; unfortunately this was lost with the lesbian vampires attacking our male heroes.

The plot was weak but reasonably coherent; it was let down by the script and the performances. As a 'horror comedy' it lacked both horror and comedy. The film looked as though it had been more fun to make than it was to watch. However I am happy to say that it wasn't quite as bad as many of the reviews suggested.

As I watched the film on my iPhone, it was a distinctly 'small screen' presentation, and I found it hard to judge how it would look on a larger screen. However, listening to the soundtrack through headphones was very effective (something I seldom do for films), and the orchestral music worked well.