Emo vamps, IKEA, and Sapphic fencing: “Embrace of the Vampire”

October 28, 2013


I’m going to apologize in advance for this post, since it’s a bit, er…adult in nature and not the family-friendly G-rated (maybe PG…like 1980s PG) norm of this blog. So think of this post as Gunmonkey After Dark. And imagine me lounging in a silk smoking jacket cradling a snifter of brandy (if it helps, I look like a cross between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, so now you don’t have to wonder). See, this post concerns the remake of 1995’s Embrace of the Vampire—a movie that answered the question that burned in the minds of most guys (and some women, I imagine) who came of age in the ‘80s: What does Alyssa Milano look like naked? And that answer was, pretty damn amazing! Okay if you’re looking for a modicum of taste, you might as well check out right here. Anybody still here? Great, now let’s talk about the remake…


Embrace of the Vampire became famous for precisely one reason: it features a lot of Alyssa Milano nudity. Anyway, now, 18 years later, we have a remake of Embrace, only without Alyssa (probably for the best—she’d have a tough time pulling off the college freshman thing), and, amazingly enough, it even surpasses the original. I mean, on the original’s merits that is. Which means a lot of nude, nubile women (the original didn’t have many merits). 

This new Embrace of the Vampire differs a bit from the original, as that film was basically about a creepazoid stalker-vampire who lusts after Alyssa’s virginal self, but can’t bring himself to approach her. He’s like 90% of the high school Bauhaus fans who ever lived and manages to be even more lame than Edward Cullen. Yes, such of thing is possible, but it could have only happened in the ‘90s, and I don’t recommend you look directly at it.

"C'mon, baby! I have the new Joy Division album."

“C’mon, baby! I have the new Joy Division album.”

The new Embrace puts a little more meat on its bones, establishing our main characters as being somewhat off. Charlotte Hawthorn (Shannon Hinnendael—hot, but no Alyssa Milano) is an orphan just starting college at a small liberal arts college that looks like a it was constructed whole out of the contents of an IKEA catalog in the mountains of…someplace that has mountains. Charlotte is fresh out of a sheltered Catholic girls school (please, please tell me this film is getting a prequel!), and has only been admitted to IKEA U. on a fencing scholarship. So, despite being super-hawt, she’s kind of a misfit.

All this was constructed with a single hex wrench.

All this was constructed with a single hex wrench.

Timid and standoffish, we follow Charlotte as she tries to fit in at college, all while being plagued by nightmarish visions that mostly include blood. Also, people start getting dead around the place. See, like the original Embrace, there is a vampire waiting in the wings. This time, however, he isn’t skulking around in the shadows like a teenage Morissey fan at a pep rally, but instead is manipulating events for his nefarious scheme.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of nudity.

Yeah, sorry, but 1995’s Embrace wasn’t scary, and neither is this one. But the 1995 film was pure, trashy fun, using a overheated, underdeveloped plot to showcase a lot of Alyssa Milano skin. I mean, it was basically one Tanya Roberts cameo away from being a Jim Wynorski direct-to-video sleazefest (instead, it was someone else’s direct-to-video sleazefest). Only while that film pretty much flatlined once Alyssa has a semi-nude makeout scene with Charlotte Lewis’ 30 year-old freshman photography student (admittedly, the movie would have had a tough time topping that), this movie actually keeps delivering. Delivering naked chicks, that is. Look, I didn’t say I had a refined film-palate.

I don't know how this got overlooked at Oscar time.

I don’t know how this got overlooked at Oscar time.

In the new film’s most bravura moment, Charlotte undergoes a vaguely BDSM hazing for her fencing team, as her bitchy team captain makes the new members slam shots, get undressed and spanks them with a foil when they can’t answer her trivia questions. Naturally it ends as it only can: with Charlotte and another girl hooking up. Unfortunately, Charlotte blows off her new biggest fan the next day, which is too bad, because the movie could have just abandoned the whole vampire plot right there and concentrated on the fencing team. I mean, vampire movie are a dime-a-dozen, but how many movies are there about Sapphic fencing teams? None that I know of. Do you know of any? Please tell me if you do.

"Seriously. We finish all our practices with a lingerie tickle-fight. It builds agility."

“Seriously. We finish all our practices with a lingerie tickle-fight. It builds agility.”

Finally, the vampire makes his move, and he turns out to be Charlotte’s pervy fencing coach who needs her blood to become human again because of…history and curses and bloodlines and whatever. The important thing is that the movie keeps giving us nudity through to its final act—which is important if you’re making a sleazy direct-to-streaming movie.

So, yeah, that’s Embrace of the vampire. As a horror movie, no, it is not scary, creepy, or surprising. As an exercise in soft-core vampire erotica, man it knocked it out of the park. Want another brandy? It sometimes helps.

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