STUDIO: Level 33 Entertainment
MSRP: $16.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

  • Blooper reel
  • Composer commentary
  • Trailers

The Pitch

A movie in which someone’s dad is a freakin’ vampire.

The Humans

Lahcen Anajjar plays Rusty, the stepson of a freakin’ vampire; Larry Peterson plays his step-dad, a freakin’ vampire; and Brandon Martin as Travis, a good freakin’ friend.

The Nutshell

My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire is about as creative as its title, poster, and story.

The Lowdown

My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire.

Think about that for a second.

My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire.

Ok. One more time.

My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire.

Deep breaths.

Aside from assuming that writer/director David Matheny isn’t that creative, what could possibly bring someone to settle on that as the title*? But we can give him more credit than that. My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire isn’t the worst movie ever. Nor does it come close to it. It’s actually a pretty harmless horror-comedy with an unfortunately low budget that Matheny cannot overcome–though you could say he set the proper expectations when bestowing an even more unfortunate title upon his film.

Written in the first person, the film’s title gives away a lot. Not in the same way a film, like, say, Batman gives away a lot of the film, but rather in the way a film called My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire gives away a lot of the film. First and foremost, this is a movie that follows a foul mouthed stepson, as alluded to by the cheeky, though not entirely offensive, “freakin,” who not only has to deal with a new stepfather, but also one who is, apparently, a blood-sucking vampire. It’s a title that fails to live up to the subtlety we take for granted in a title as lame as Twilight. There’s no artistry, conviction, or effort here. The film is ostensibly about a kid who’s stepfather is a freakin’ vampire. Ok?

Devil-lock always means vampire, Rusty!

Wouldn’t you know it, the film follows suit. Rusty (Lahcen Anajjar) plays the role of a slacker version of Buffy the Vamire Slayer, who likes magic and hates school. Yet, when forced with the realization that his father might be looking to enslave his mother as the human vampire queen and raise an army of the undead, because what else do vampires do, he overcomes the obstacles of not really being that good at magic and attempts to fight back.

The film thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously and infuses this ridiculous premise with a reflexive sense of humor that’s never particularly funny, but also not offensive. In fact, the film’s jokes aren’t even necessarily bad; they’re just poorly delivered, mainly because the acting, sound design, and direction are pretty weak. Metheny will hold an awkwardly framed shot long enough for his actor’s to poorly overdub lines and wait for the laugh track that’s never going to come. It’s all pretty sad, because it’d probably work better with the laugh track. His script is decent, but his approach fails it.

"Whatever, teach. I'm gonna be a famous magician one day. You'll see."

Unlike, ThanksKilling–whose ravenous cult berades me at every turn–My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire doesn’t set out to make a bad movie, it sets out to make an entertaining one. Metheny wants Rusty to be his Ash or, at the very least, his Charlie Brewster, and Anajjar is happy to oblige, delivering a snarky performance that’s strong enough to hold the film together.

With such a low budget, practical effects, one’s that, with a little ingenuity, can end up stitching together a low-budget production, are preferred; Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead being the prime example of this. Yet, while Methany’s practical effects look great, his insistence on using computer generated ones do not. He even goes a step further, favoring green screen, which the crew must have been certain would look better than it does, instead of an actual suburban location. It’s a confusing move, and one that brings an already teetering production over the edge.

When a real cemetery just won't do.

The tight budgeting and poor production decisions make for an ultimately unsatisfying film. It’s not that surprising, but there’s always the hope that a movie like My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire might make for some so-bad-it’s-good fun or, at the very least, some mindless entertainment. Sadly, it’s neither of these. Rather, it’s a series of loosely connected shots that scream for another take. At its core, there’s a decent vampire movie, one that appropriately plays with its ridiculous premise. But not much makes sense superficially with My Stepdad’s a Freakin’ Vampire. Like, for example, its title.

The Package

The film comes with a blooper reel filled with plenty of you-had-to-be-there moments, which sadly we weren’t there for, proving that the director didn’t just use the first take. There’s also commentary with the film’s composer Douglas Edward, who had the same reaction to the title as I did. So, Edward has a lot a to say about a score that just isn’t that great but is available for download on Amazon. If you have to see this film, the DVD is worthwhile, but I can’t think of too many who are going to be drawn to the special features after looking at the DVD’s cover art.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars

Possible explanations:

Its translation in whatever language the title was actually written for was far more interesting.

Matheny wanted to pay homage to his favorite Dan Aykroyd-Kim Basinger-Jon Lovitz vehicle, My Stepmother is an Alien.

The film’s stingy producer’s jumped the gun a bit, thinking that they wouldn’t be able to afford ink for the DVD jacket’s plot synopsis.