The Rideau river runs red in “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter,” a cheeseball spoof proving that there’s life in Ottawa, even if the undead do stalk the halls of Parliament. Grainy 16mm pic, which got an honorable mention at this year’s Slamdance fest and will be offered in the Cannes market, is now being self-distribbed on alt-arthouse circuit, where it should build a small-but-religious following.
Canada’s own Ed Wood, the multi-hatted Lee Gordon Demarbre, previously delivered campy “Harry Knuckles and the Treasure of the Aztec Mummy.” Here, he sends up Bible epics, Hammer horror pics, rock musicals and chopsocky cheapies in a tale that poses the Second Coming as an occasion for some serious ass-kicking. Jesus makes his comeback when some punked-out priests plead for help in warding off vampires that are draining the capital city of its finest lesbians.
The Son of God (Phil Caracas) survives an attack by snaggle-toothed suckers, including the svelte Maxine Shreck (Murielle Varhelyi), but his beard-and-sandals look doesn’t: A red-suited Emma Peel type (Maria Moulton) assists in a makeover that leaves him looking like Scott Bakula on casual Friday. He then goes after the evildoers, eventually calling upon a masked Mexican-wrestling star to make things right.
Fundamentalists may be offended by the plot description of a kick-ass Jesus who uses kung-fu to wipe out lesbian vampires. But for most others, including religious people, the film is too silly to offend.
Although pic contains virtually no religious or social commentary, Demarbre is nothing if not ambitious; his big musical numbers feature actual choreography, and he goes in for the occasional gory spectacle and slapstick gag — all done on a budget that would barely buy matzos for a Passover party.