FrightFest 2018: CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES Review – Irreverent, Gleeful Absurdity
Written by Michael Mort
Directed by Michael Mort
An elevator pitch is a very powerful concept. You have a very short amount of time to get the idea of your product across in a way that convince someone that they need to experience it. The same thing can be said about a logline. If you can throw out a summary along the lines of “H.P. Lovecraft meets The Silence of The Lambs”, you’ll be certain to get some attention. So does one do this for Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires? I honestly have no idea because it needs so much to get the point across. In an attempt to explain it to a group of friends, I said it was “Lethal Weapon meets Duke Nukem with monsters and it’s all stop-motion animated”. However, even that doesn’t seem like it’s enough to convey the heart and soul of this film.
Set in 1986, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires follows the titular character Chuck Steel as he is pitted against a horde of vampire-like beings who feast upon the blood of those who are drunk. A maverick renegade, Steel prefers to work alone, his partners – of which there are many – seemingly unable to stay alive for longer than a few hours when paired with him. Complete with vulgar one-liners, a constantly pissed off disposition, and a smorgasbord of weapons at his disposal, Steel sets off to clean the streets from these wicked creatures and figure out just how the hell they even got to town.
Featuring jaw-dropping stop-motion animation, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a visual marvel. The attention to detail throughout the film is incredible and the fluidity of the characters and environments is phenomenal. For a movie made outside of the system, this is a stunning achievement and one well worth appreciating solely for its technical aspects.
As for the content, this is certainly going to be hit-or-miss depending on your sense of humor. The film is irreverent and revels in its politically incorrect dialogue. However, there’s an obvious tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes it obvious that the creators know what they’re saying and that’s where the joke is. We’re laughing at the absurdity of movies that were once like this while at the same time delighting in its brashness.
That being said, it doesn’t always work and many jokes that are revisited throughout the movie quickly lose their luster and become repetitive. Additionally, the film’s near-90 minute run time could easily have been trimmed down to 80 minutes.
Complete with synth backdrops as well as metal-fueled montages, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a hilarious satire of 80’s macho action films with a horror twist. It’s crude, it’s childish, and damn if it’s not a good time!