It is a truth universally acknowledged that if one spends enough time at the Prince Charles Cinema, one eventually sees Tommy Wiseau. Even so, I didn’t expect to, since I wasn’t there to see The Room, but a different amateur movie featuring a vampire. Presumably they programmed it for people who didn’t get into the sold-out Wiseau event.
Instead of The Room, I found myself wandering into Netflix, specifically a British horror film that seemed more like a daytime soap, not least because half the cast had been in BBC’s Doctors. It follows Isabelle (Katie Goldfinch, who can’t act any more than she can pronounce the word “preliminary”), who’s an archaeologist and also an assistant, which I guess makes her Clara Croft. She’s sent, Jonathan Harker style, to a country house in Shropshire where an eccentric old man (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans‘ Larry Rew) has found an evil cauldron.
She soon meets vampish daughter Scarlet (Florence Cady), bartender Veronica (Angela Carter, not that one but probably there to lend the thing some genre credibility) and gardener Robert (Neil Morrissey, challenging Morrissey for the title of Worst Morrissey), who tells her that the home’s previous gardener died in “some sort of mysterious accident.” I should stress that I don’t think this was a comedy, but if it was aiming for The Room-level incompetence then job well done.
The ineffectual directing, amateur acting (I’m actually a bit worried there’ll be people I went to school with reading this who were in the film) and student-grade production values make for a movie as pants as the underwear Scarlet sniffs in one scene. Crucible of the Vampire is exactly as good as it sounds, so when you see the DVD in Poundland, leave it there. Unless you’re Tommy Wiseau, or you have the memory of a Goldfinch.