Frost: Portrait of a Vampire (2001)



Starring Jeff Manzanares, Charles Lister, Zoe Paul, and Gary Busey

Directed by Kevin VanHook


You know what happens when you die and go to Hell? Lucifer greets you and allows you to decide your eternal damnation from the three choices he gives you. The first is to spend eternity in the lake of fire. The second is to forever try in vain to push a boulder up a hill. The third is to be strapped to a chair and made to watch Frost: Portrait of a Vampire over and over until the end of time. I’ve seen Frost: Portrait of a Vampire so let me give you all some spiritual advice and you’ll be wise to heed it. If you ever find yourself having to play "Let’s Make A Deal" with the devil do not choose door number three.

Frost: Portrait of a Vampire is based on an indie comic book I’ve never heard of called Jack Frost. Fortunately, the makers of the film were smart enough to know that the last thing the world needed was yet another bad movie called Jack Frost. That doesn’t change the fact that Frost: Portrait of a Vampire is also an inappropriate title seeing as how the Jack Frost character isn’t even a vampire. I guess Nat: Portrait of a Vampire just didn’t have a good enough ring to it?

Jack Frost leads a cadre of mercenaries in Afghanistan to help the natives battle those evil invading commies. You see this part is taking place in 1989. The entire movie seems to be set back somewhere between the 1989 and the early 1990’s for some reason. The timeline of the movie is a jumbled incoherent mess. Just take my word for it.

So Jack Frost and his merry band of woefully out of shape weekend warriors have defeated a CGI Russian gunship and are meeting with some local Afghanis that want the soldiers to take into custody this guy they claim to be a demon responsible for murdering many. Well, the demon guy bites the arm of Nat, who just happens to be Jack’s best friend in the whole wide world, and Nat responds by blowing the guy’s head off. Afterwards, Nat claims he didn’t do it because the guy bit him but because he saw evil in the man’s eyes. That evil soon begins appearing in Nat’s eyes.

One year later, Nat is now leading the band of gung ho mercenaries somewhere in Central America on a mission, the specifics of which are not all that important. Nat has grown his hair long and scraggily, developed a sort of Spidey Sense, and can now move around at superhuman speed. He actively does this last part in front of an entire room of people, none of whom find it even the least bit peculiar. It turns out they’ve all been lured into a trap and are killed, except for Nat who just becomes undead. Well, completely undead. It seems actual physical death is what was needed to fully allow his vampirism to take hold.

Jack Frost was not with them since he had already retired and moved to Los Angeles in order to write art books and function as a part-time art thief, I kid you not. Nat’s wife shows up and asks Frost to find out what has happened South of the Border, which he gladly does and in the process blows everyone responsible for the set-up to hell and back. Upon returning from his killing spree siesta, Nat’s wife informs him that Nat has returned, not only from down yonder but also from the dead. Jack is forced to hunt down his undead best friend but as things progress it begins to look it may actually be the other way around. Throughout it all, Gary Busey pops up for as some blind government agent type, I think, offering Jack some banal advice.

Will Jack Frost be able to kill his best friend?

Will Vampire Nat be able to kill his best friend?

Will you give a damn?

Will the people that blackmailed Gary Busey into appearing in this film give him whatever incriminating evidence they have on him and allow him to move on with life?

The answers are - yes, no, hell no, and I hope so.

Let’s briefly discuss the acting. Oh wait...I cannot discuss what does not exist. Usually when you see a movie with acting this pathetic the scenes culminate into hardcore sex. The two leads both only have one acting credit to their names and this is it. According to IMDB, the guy playing Nat is an old high school buddy of the director so I’m guessing I know how he got the part. If ever there was an argument against not casting your friends in movies then this is it. The guy playing the Jack Frost character just murmurs his way throughout the entire movie. It appears the director forgot to tell him that the people watching the movie might want to hear what he has to say. The guy is so soft spoken you need subtitles to make out his dialogue most of the time. I’m going to take a wild guess and say he too was a friend of the director.

So basically, you have a guy that looks like the love child of Kevin Smith and radio shock jock Mancow but without the charisma or vocal capabilities of either chasing after a vampire that looks like Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump but with Rob Zombie’s hair. It’s obvious they didn’t really have much of a part for Busey so they even had him do some voiceover stuff to serve as the film’s narrator. Hey, why not?

Then there’s the plot. Wait, what plot? It seems to completely evaporate after the first 20 minutes. The majority of the movie consists of Jack Frost having conversations with another character about what’s going on or of Nat in a bar acting like a belligerent vampiric barfly. I’m not kidding. Boring doesn’t begin to describe how lifeless this production is. Hardly anything ever happens. When something does happen it is brief and poorly choreographed. Even the final showdown ends in a matter of seconds. I don’t know what kind of movie the people responsible set out to make but I assure them they failed.

The only things even remotely creative are the fact that the vampire can survive in daylight and the hero has a gun that fires wood-tipped bullets. Too bad we’ve all seen both of those things done in other movies and done better too. Oh, Jack Frost’s eyes suffered powder burn years ago so he now has to constantly wear sunglasses because his eyes are extremely sensitive to bright lights. However, this gives him the ability to see in the dark a little better. Sound familiar? And yet I don’t recall this attribute ever actually coming into play at any point in the movie.

This isn’t a movie. This is punishment.


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