Comedians can bring in big bucks for film and T.V. companies, creating relatable and profitable concepts, and drawing huge audiences, Eddie Murphy had such a deal with Paramount that resulted in blockbuster successes like 48 and Beverly Hills Cop. This lucrative deal with comedian Eddie Murphy was coming to a close and Murphy made a daring move to make horror film twined with a love story (with ample humour) In 1995, that film was released onto audiences like the titular Vampire in Brooklyn.
An apparent ghost ship floats into Brooklyn Harbour, bringing with it a tonne of bodies, and Maximillian, a certain undead shapeshifter from Bermuda. Fresh victims start turning up in the streets of Brooklyn, and it is up to detective Rita Veder, and her partner Justice, to investigate. It becomes apparent that she happens to be a Dhampir or a half-vampire hybrid and the key to Maximillian to restore his bloodline and live beyond the next full moon, and the reason he came from Bermuda to Brooklyn. Will Veder be tempted by her bloodline, or will she survive to see the light of day?
It was apparently Wes Craven who helped the film transition from straight horror into the delightful blend that it is, This does allow the film to play to Murphy’s strengths as he plays multiple comedic characters competently, yet the film is a lot more daring than your conventional comedies of the era. Giving the film a feeling of being ahead of its time. The cannon of the vampire is played with here, with some classic elements borrowed from what has come before, the realm of the half vampiric Dhampir is a nice plot point, and I liked the revamp of classic characters, such as Julius a street-tough turned a Renfield inspired comical, half-dead servant. But Vampire brings fresh innovation with the island of Bermuda substituting for Transylvania, the location change, despite only having minor consequences offers great boon.
Vampires are somewhat of a rarity in the African American community (at least before 1995) making the casting of this film a treat. With flourishes of comedy to keep him afloat, Eddie Murphy is a surprising natural in this vampire flick, alongside playing our titular vampire, stakes claim to an assortment of comic characters. The chemistry expectedly hits the target with Maximillian’s relationship with detective Veder captured well by Angela Bassett. The story becomes more about her, being tempted by her vampiric heritage and I felt that Bassett explored this part of her character well.
Vampire in Brooklyn takes on some bold choices to stand firmly against its rivals. A cool curiosity, it is creatively refreshing, experimenting often with conventions and audiences’ expectations to create a novel, yet comfortable event. A love story with added extra as the comedy of the Murphy brothers works on multiple layers yet does not get in the way of the film’s darker qualities. Vampire in Brooklyn a good import that translates well across from the Atlantic, to its new home in New York.
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