Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
I love vampire films. From the bloody sexy kind to the terrifying and unsettling, vampire films are my jam. And yet, the coming of age vampire film is probably the one that I love the best. Maybe it’s because I was vampire crazy as a teen? It was the 90’s, Anne Rice had cast a spell over all of us.
A vampire seems like the most relatable monster to a teen. All those physical changes, hormones, and primal urges speak to the trials of self discovery and the quest for identity. This week’s strange and fantastic tale is one of a sillier nature as we look at Jimmy Huston’s 1987 comedy My Best Friend is a Vampire.
Robert Sean Leonard plays the affable Jeremy Capello, a hormonal teen plagued by nightmares of girls pulling off his pants in the locker room. Candy Andrews has a crush on him, but he is beguiled by the charms of Darla Blake, a saxophone player with an affinity for giant hats. Despite his crush on Darla, he finds himself drawn to an older woman named Nora (her cat has the same name) who lives in a mansion that has been abandoned for some time.
One day, as he is delivering groceries, Nora offers to have sex with him if he returns in the evening. After some debate with his best friend Ralph, and a crowd of girls chanting “do it, nerd,” he decides to go for it.
Jeremy has his first sexual encounter and Nora bites him, kicking off a series of really silly events. Jeremy does not suspect Nora is a vampire. After their sex session is interrupted by two screaming men, Jeremy assumes one of them is her husband and makes a hasty escape.
Jeremy can’t make sense of why he’s turned so pale, needs sunglasses, and thinks his mirror is broken when it won’t cast his reflection. Jeremy’s parents are even more confused when they see him hanging out with an older man in a BMW. They immediately jump to the conclusion that he is a homosexual, and they are surprisingly pretty supportive for 80’s parents.
The best thing about My Best Friend is a Vampire is that Jeremy fully embraces his new identity. He’s a little freaked out at first, but Modoc, played by Rene Auberjonois, helps him see that his new lifestyle is far from a curse and that no killing is required. Jeremy learns to love himself in a really positive way. He is more confident and this helps him stand up for himself and win the love of Darla. He does not become arrogant like some teenage werewolf.
My Best Friend is a Vampire is a fun movie with charming characters. This movie has vampire hunters, vampire mistresses, and even a cameo by Kathy Bates as Darla’s mom. Throw on some sunglasses, open up a cold can of blood, and watch My Best Friend is a Vampire.
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