You don’t see a lot of films made nowadays that purposely go for the cheese and actually try to define themselves as just a fun ol’ b-movie. Well that’s exactly what Planet of the Vampire Women does. Did it succeed? Well first let me tell you what it’s about.
The film starts out with a Vegas style space station, and opens in a section called Lord Baldwin’s Opium Den. It has girls dancing topless, people drinking, gambling, etc…. Soon however, the fun and debauchery is interrupted when Captain Richards (Paquita Estrada) and her band of space pirates raid the place, steal a bunch of money and kill some of the patrons. As they leave however, they’re pursued through space by the police, led by officer Val Falco (Jawara Duncan), who’s vowed to bring them all to justice. During the pursuit, they end up trying to lose the police on a moon, and as they fly through a freak electrical storm, an intelligent entity made of pure energy appears and transfers itself into Captain Richards, who is instantly killed…or so they thought. Soon enough, she’s back as a vampire, and starts taking out the other women in her crew one by one, turning them into vampires as well. Unfortunately, they crashed on the moon, the ship needs repairs and in the midst of trying to repair the ship, they also have to try to avoid being arrested, being killed by mutants and being turned into vampires themselves. Eventually, out of necessity, Falco teams up with the remaining crew and together they try to survive and get off the moon alive. Unfortunately, the former inhabitants of the moon have other ideas. They left a self destruct device activated that was indended to destroy the moon so that the evil that had taken over could never escape and spread to other worlds. Will they be able to survive against all odds? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
This movie, while it has some problems, also has a lot going for it. I want to mention the problems first and get those out of the way, so I can finish up by telling you all what was so great about it.
One big problem I had with the film, especially early on, was the music. It was way over used and mixed in way too loud. As a prime example of this, during the scene where they’re introducing all of the space pirates via a police APB that describes each of them, the music is so loud that it makes the voice over hard to understand. It really walks all over it. I had to rewind and listen to the description of each person numerous times to really catch everything. This is one of the cardinal sins in film making. Never let the music walk over your dialog. It’s a film trying to tell a story, not a concert.
Another problem was the fighting. It was all very slow, choreographed and fake, which made it rather boring. I would have liked to have seen more effort put into the fight scenes. It would have added a lot of excitement to the film.
Lastly, the story itself could have used some work. Parts of it really dragged, and other aspects of it were rather boring. Yet, this wasn’t a consistent issue. Parts of the story and some of the characters were really great and entertaining. With a few more script revisions, some of this issue could have probably been resolved. I’m not at all saying it’s a bad story, just that it could have used a bit more work before it went into production.
Now, let’s move on to what the film got right.
First off, the look of the film is excellent, except for the CGI scenes, which are just ok, but still better than what you’d see in many indie films. I love the set design, the costumes, and most particularly, the mutants. If you watch this film for no other reason, watch it for the mutants. There are two types of mutants in this film. There are these big, lumbering things that I can’t really describe, but they look great and are totally fun. They’re kind of like a cross between a mini Godzilla and Barney. Then there are these mutant flying insect parasite things. Again, they looked great, and when you kill one, they splat blood everywhere, which is way awesome! These things are exactly the kind of monsters you want to see in a cheesy b-movie.
Something else I really dug was Stephanie Hyden’s portrayal of Astrid Corvar, pleasure clone turned space pirate. She could change appearance at will, and to paraphrase Dr. McCoy, brother did she have a lot of will. I mean, this girl was hot to start with, but the constant changes into various sexy outfits…man, it’s enough to give any guy happy pants. She was also very funny, having some of the best lines in the film. For me, she was really the stand out character, though the whole cast played their roles quite well.
Mostly, the film is just fun, and in my opinion, there aren’t enough of these types of films made nowadays. I love seeing films that go out of their way to be cheesy, and this one did a great job in being exactly what it was intended to be. Despite any problems it may have, what’s great about this film makes it a really fun ride, and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it, and I think most of our readers will as well. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recommend it to anyone who loves a good dose of cheese.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.planetofthevampirewomen.com.