Remember all of those What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) bracelets and necklaces? Well, according to Lee Gordon Demarbe Jesus would kick the shit out of a bunch of lesbian vampires and I gotta say, I think that rules!
In “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter”, Jesus is called upon to vanquish an army of lesbian vampires, who take the skin from other lesbians and graft it over theirs so that they're able to run about in daylight, raising hell. Aiding Jesus in his battles with the undead are femme fatale Mary Magnum and legendary Mexican wrestling star (and crimefighter) El Santo. The basic premise alone is worth the price of admission for this one. Seeing Santos kicking ass again may just bring tears to your eyes…that is if you're my type of person.
Very much like Lee's short film “Harry Knuckles and the Treasure of the Aztec Mummy”, “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter” is a loving homage to exploitation flicks of the 70's – the ADR is noticeably bad, the acting laughably terrible, the situations ridiculous, the logic non-existent and the film washed out and blemished, but it all comes around to make a perfect package for anyone who likes to get into some good sleaze. The only thing keeping the viewer from completely getting pulled into the 70's is the fashion. I don't think Paul Frank t-shirts and vinyl jumpsuits quite made the scene in the 70's. And this brings me to a major point.
I think a good part of the allure of this film is that you get to watch a guy who looks like Jesus Christ kick some ass, but what happens within the first third of the film is that Jesus gets a shave and a haircut and new clothes. From then on, he battles the forces of evil looking like a normal guy (actually, looking exactly like Harry Knuckles) who goes by the name of Jesus Christ. That kinda takes the fun out of things, don't ya think? That's like going to a Halloween party in your normal clothes and telling everyone that you're Jesus or Sherri Lewis or somebody. Luckily, the film doesn't count on the Jesus aspect alone to carry the film, there're plenty of other elements to laugh and cheer at. I do think, however that they should've just made another Harry Knuckles film and left Jesus out of the whole thing because for an exploitation film, it sure doesn't exploit the Christ angle nearly enough.
Speaking of exploitation – what's an exploitation film without the perfect soundtrack? Graham Collins provides a smoking score to “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter” that switches from throbbing techno for the fight scenes to swanky sleaze for when JC is strolling down the street. This awesome score is a major character in the film.
Catch “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter” if you can and keep your eyes open for further works from Lee Gordon Demarbe and crew. These guys know what they're doing!
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