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JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES

About The Production

"I've always wanted to do a vampire movie," states John Carpenter, director of John Carpenter's Vampires. "This book, Vampires, came along and it really did some things I'd never seen before. It's set in the American Southwest and has certain western elements to it. I decided this would be the perfect chance to do something different.

"Part of the theme is the dualistic irony of the good guys and the bad guys. It has all the classic ideas that you've seen in a vampire movie-the humans versus the vampires, the hidden sexuality, the idea of blood. All that's at work in this film. But in essence, I've always loved westerns, and one of the reasons I'm doing this movie is that this is the closest I've come to being able to do a western." "It's been said that all of John's movies are westerns," adds producer Sandy King. "If you substitute the situations-urban or period or space or, in this case, the southwest with vampires-and you instead think Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo, what you see is that John very much follows in his idol's footsteps."

"It's about hunting vampires instead of whomever the bad guys of the day were in classic western cinema," offers James Woods. "We have set pieces in this movie that are homages to the early works of Howard Hawks and Sam Peckinpah, with the Henry Fondas and John Waynes and William Holdens out braving the ultimate challenge. It's The Wild Bunch meets vampires."

"The vampire slayers are gunslingers, and the vampires are gunslingers in their own way," says Thomas Ian Griffith, the actor who won the plum role of master vampire Valek. "John's taken the western and added dark overtones we haven't seen before."

It may be hard to envision vampires clashing with slayers in a western setting, but under John Carpenter's direction, it becomes very natural and real. James Woods' description of a scene helps bring the idea into focus: "Daniel Baldwin and I come into the town of Santiago on a wide, open street," explains Woods. "There's nobody around, but there are signs that somebody was there. It's quiet. We take out our guns and look around. I signal him. He signals back to cover me when I go into this little bar. There's about a minute or so where the tension reads that our characters are going to be slaughtered right there. All of a sudden, we realized it was Rio Bravo."

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