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You know what the problem with Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was? The vampire didn’t fart when he died. The Night Watchmen is here to remedy that. Set in Baltimore, the feasting starts quickly after the coffin of the city’s “beloved” Blimpo the Clown is mistakenly delivered to the fictional Baltimore Gazette. When someone nosy opens the casket, Blimpo makes fast work of turning the employees undead.
Fighting these vamps are three experienced guards, a kid who just started that evening, and, according to the synopsis, “a fearless tabloid journalist.” The attractive journalist is a lesbian and one of the guards is black, paving the way for gratuitous making out/nudity (who knew that blouses ripped so easily?) and attempts at racial humor (the guy keeps getting urban slang wrong).
The dialogue is awful, with lines such as “Whoa! No need to start spinning your head around and spilling pea soup!”, which just rolls off the tongue. The action gets tedious within the opening half-hour, and—yes—the vamps pass gas when they die, a literal gag that’s repeated ad nauseum. Admittedly, however, there is a joke that hits: While discussing amongst themselves what these beings are, one of the disbelieving guards says, “Vampires are sparkly and shiny and handsome as shit!” There: I just saved you some money.
The words of another character, spoken when the group demands that a colleague dance to prove he’s OK (?), are apt for both the guy’s moves and the film itself: “I have seen some horrible things today, my friends, but this by far is the worst.”
Screens Friday, Feb. 17 at 9:30 p.m. at the Naval Heritage Center.