Vampire Camp (2012) – By Cary Conley

Professor Bartholomew Dubbs comes from a long and ancient line of vampire killers. He’s spent a lifetime tracking and killing the murderous vermin and has made a lucrative career educating others about the dangers of vampires as well. He has a weekly blog site, several books, and is announcing a DVD release at his latest vampire camp, where several lucky campers will learn how to fend off even the most foul and fearsome vampire foes. However, unbeknownst to Professor Dubbs and his happy campers, an evil vampire clan has infiltrated his camp, led by Camelia Bumbescu, a 400-year-old vampire seeking vengeance for the death of her vampire husband at the hands of Dubbs’ ancestor. Will the vampires succeed in knocking off all the campers? Will the Dubbs family line end with the fantastically inept Bartholomew Dubbs? Or will good triumph over evil yet again? To find out, you must see this 78-minute (very) low budget comedy.

The title of the film says it all. Filled with vampires and vampire jokes, the film is 100% camp. It’s totally silly and inane, but painless fun nonetheless. Co-writer and director Ray Nomoto Robison clearly has a fondness for cheesy in-jokes and one-liners as well as a love for borderline slapstick comedy. Sure, there isn’t much to the story and some of the acting is dubious at best, but if you enjoy the Keystone Kops or The Three Stooges, then you’ll have a good time with Vampire Camp.

The comedy isn’t as physical as the Stooges, but it certainly is goofy. And Robison has a deadly accurate timing in the placement of funny sound effects and silly music scores to augment the goofiness. There are plenty of funny one-liners and Robison manages to poke fun at everything from vampires and summer camp to the nouveau "grindhouse" trend in movies as well as those cool television ghouls of yesteryear such as Zacherly. There are musical numbers and even an homage to Night of the Living Dead towards the end. And while it’s a low-budget, shot-on-video film, it comes with relatively high production values. The principal actors are solid and the cinematography and editing are well-done, too. Robison inserts several fun transitions like side swipes that keep the story moving right along. The only complaint I had was with the sometimes low sound that had me constantly adjusting the volume of the television; a better sound mix would certainly help the film.

The film won’t appeal to everyone; it’s more of a niche film than a film made for the masses. So if you like your horror on the light side and with a heaping helping of comedy to go along, you might be interested in this silly but ultimately fun and painless film. Vampire Camp has been making the rounds on the festival circuit, even taking top honors at the Los Angeles Vampire Film Festival last year. For more information about the film, go to https://sites.google.com/site/vampirecampmovie.