Monday, October 3, 2011

Night of Terror #3: 'The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire'

Last night I said I was going to write about a Val Lewton or Mario Bava horror movie today, but I decided to do the exact opposite of that and watch a Sherlock Holmes movie made for the Hallmark Channel in 2002. It's called The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, and it stars professional overactor Matt Frewer as Holmes and Kenneth Welsh as Watson.

I don't really know what to say about this, other than it's kind of interesting to see "scary" imagery play out in such a benign and family-friendly way. This is a movie about monks in a monastery in Whitechapel getting picked off by either a demon/vampire or some kind of psycho killer (the monks have one theory, Holmes has another. I'll let you guess which is which). There's also lots of bats, but it's not really scary so much as atmospheric and fun.

I'd also like to take the time to single out Kenneth Welsh. I've never seen him in anything but this and one other Holmes movie in this series (I got the DVD with three movies for a dollar at Target), but he's like the Platonic Ideal of the TV Actor. He remembers his lines, he nods when he's supposed to, and he never lets too much acting get in the way of his character. For some reason I couldn't stop laughing at his reaction shots in this movie, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only human being who this applies to.

One more thing: The production company that put out these movies on DVD is called "Echo Bridge Entertainment." Their modus operandi is putting out cheap copies of big movies and TV shows that are popular now - in this case, Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. Here's the funny part: Their slogan is literally "The Entertainment Alternative for What the World Wants to See!" I find that pretty funny too.

Anyway, this movie might be a good selection if you're looking for a horror movie to watch with your Mom, especially if you have a really lame Mom. I give it 3 3/4 Watson nods out of a possible 5.

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