Wednesday, October 19, 2011

HALLOWEENAGE #11: COLD HEARTS (1999)

 
That is Amy Jo Johnson, mostly known as the Pink Power Ranger (one of the US boxes also says, "Star of Felicity!").  It's tempting to think of COLD HEARTS as part of the whole slew of films made by former child stars when they wanted to shed their innocent images.  Like Drew Barrymore slutting her way through POISON IVY or Alyssa Milano in the Cinemax naked vampire thing EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE.  Maybe that was Amy Jo's motivation for doing this film, but, if so, she chose unwisely.  Because: her character is basically the Pink Ranger, only a vampire; she's a pretty minor character in the film, no matter what the box says; and COLD HEARTS is so bereft of adult content that it could have aired a few hours after POWER RANGERS if you cut some of the swears out of it.

Good vampires vs. bad vampires on the Jersey shore sounds ridiculous now, of course, but it's hard to imagine a time when such an idea would have been considered not laughable.  Essentially, COLD HEARTS takes LOST BOYS and moves it to the East Coast and enlists even less menacing vampires, the leader of which is named Chaz, for real.  White Hanes shirt and leather jacket Chaz.  Opposing Chaz are the tandem of Viki, a tough-girl-with-a-good-vampire-heart; Alicia, the most Emily Dickinsonian of the vamps; and Darius, who is blatantly identified as gay, but does not act human-torch flaming like the current crop of gay caricatures on cable TV.  So bonus points for that.

Very little in this film will surprise anyone who has seen a movie before, but there are a few highlights.  Johnson's Alicia isn't that compelling of a character (she's kind of a Mary Jane), but the part she plays in the plot is pretty entertaining.  I also enjoyed the massacre at the waterpark, including a choice waterslide vampire stalk.  Some of the camerawork is also enjoyable.

Unfortunately for me, COLD HEARTS has pretty unimpressive effects and keeps the vampire mayhem restrained enough for its probable intended audience of young teens to endure.  Even the "massacre" feels tepid, though I did enjoy the bloody wet T-shirt.  Overall, this feels more like MELROSE PLACE or 90210, only with vampires, and not really any sort of horror movie.  You would also be stunned at how much this anticipates many things about TWILIGHT.  It's not godawful and if this is the worst thing I see this month, I will count myself lucky, but I wouldn't go out of your way to see it unless you're a huge Amy Jo Johnson fan or something.

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