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Shaun of the Dead is a classic British comedy. It features two smart, likeable leads, a richly fleshed out supporting cast, finely observed and brilliantly executed jokes and a sincere love of the horror genre that it pastiches. Now, imagine taking all of that away, and replacing it with tits, tits, more tits, and James Corden. This is essentially the M.O. of the painfully unfunny Lesbian Vampire Killers.
Fresh off the success of their beloved BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, Lesbian Vampire Killers was obviously conceived as a vehicle for Corden and co-star Matthew Horne to break into feature films, following the career path laid out some years before by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who, along with writer-director Edgar Wright, used their cult sitcom success with Spaced as a springboard to global box office success.
Needless to say, things didn’t quite pan out that way. Where Shaun of the Dead was an instant cult classic, Lesbian Vampire Killers was a notorious flop. Eviscerated by critics and a complete failure at the box office, the film is held in such low regard that for the past few years Corden himself has been moved to publicly apologise for it on multiple occasions.
Surely it can’t actually be that bad though? Having now sat through the film, we can unfortunately confirm that yes, it is. Not only is the film transparently aping every aspect of Shaun of the Dead to an embarrassingly inferior degree, it’s also rife with sexism, homophobia and a near total absence of jokes. Watching it is akin to viewing a softcore porn movie written and directed by sexually frustrated fourteen year olds.
The plot, such as it is, finds sad sack fletch (Matthew Horden) embarking on a hiking trip in the English countryside with his obnoxious drinking buddy Jimmy (Corden). After being directed to an abandoned cottage in the woods by some obligatory nefarious locals, the duo run into a quartet of scantily-clad European exchange students and find themselves targeted by a sapphic vampire cult intent on raising an ancient warrior queen known as Carmilla from the dead.
None of this actually goes anywhere though, as the film prefers to take a sledgehammer to any notion of plot development in favour of endless tedious sex talk, sweaty-palmed close-ups of exposed breasts and such sophisticated physical comedy as a sword shaped like a dildo and Vampires who explode in showers of spunk rather than the traditional blood and dust.
If it sounds like we’re taking a snobbish attitude towards an unpretentious gross-out comedy then believe us, we’re not. This isn’t Dumb and Dumber. It isn’t even Freddie Got Fingered. There is literally nothing in this movie that even remotely passes for a constructed joke, and the physical effects are ugly, lazily conceived and routinely beaten into the ground through endless repetition.
Tune into this week’s episode to hear our full and thorough post-mortem of the movie, including slumming character actors, a creepy fixation on young girls and virginity, Matthew Horne’s palpable embarrassment and many, many drinking games.
It won’t surprise you that we believe no sequel to this movie could or should be brought into existence, but true to our format we have to give it a go – so you can also find out how we managed to pitch some vaguely tolerable ideas to bring Lesbian Vampire Killers back to the big screen. May the Gods of cinema have mercy on us…
You can download or stream our Lesbian Vampire Killers podcast absolutely free of charge by using any of the links at the top of this blog post, or by searching for Beyond The Box Set on your preferred app. If you enjoy the show, please hit subscribe to receive a new episode every Friday morning, and consider leaving us a rating or a review to help us build our audience and keep the show alive.
Next week, our Halloween season continues with a movie that exists in the public consciousness now mainly as a popular internet meme – but is it worthy of a re-evaluation? Tune in next week to find out, and until then – happy listening!