It’s around 1989 and I’m making my umpteenth trip to my local video shop . I always visit the same one as they’re kind enough to keep any posters I might want; usually of the horror variety, though I’m not adverse to other genres (I’m a teenager, not a snob). Besides, they’ve just handed me a poster for Less Than Zero and Jami Gertz is on the cover, so…
Anyway, I’m perusing the cramped isles of VHS delights in the tiny but packed shop (I wish I could remember the name) and I’m always drawn back to four films that never fail to entertain me. Summer School (absolute gold for Dave and Chainsaw alone!), The Lost Boys, Fright Night and a little oddity called My Best Friend is a Vampire (or I Was a Teenage Vampire, depending upon which title your video shop kept).
Picking the box up and reading the blurb on the back – as if I haven’t read it before! – I add it to my other picks for the night: actually, if I remember correctly rentals were for two nights, so I was all set. The lady behind the counter smiles and seeks out the numbered VHS cassettes, pops them in boxes emblazoned with the video shop logo – nope, still can’t remember the name – and looks at me quizzically while holding up My Best Friend is a Vampire. “You know this is a B-Movie, right?” I reply in the affirmative, a big grin on my face. Inwardly, I’m thinking, ”So what, it’s brilliant!” I pay for my rentals and race home to my waiting monolithic VHS player.
You’ve probably never heard of My Best Friend is a Vampire unless, like me, you discovered it by accident or you’re a David Warner completist. But I am here to tell you that you’re missing out. If, like me, you were an avid daydreamer and horror fan then pondering the subject of vampirism came pretty natural. Also, following my initiation into the vampire film via The Lost Boys I was perpetually on the lookout for new fang-based movies to obsess over. I’d covered off Near Dark, the aforementioned Fright Night, and a number of others, but I wasn’t quite ready for The Hunger (I was still ensconced in more relatable teen material) and Fright Night Part 2 hadn’t yet found its way to my local video shop.
What My Best Friend is a Vampire gave me was an awkward teen, just like myself, in extraordinary circumstances, which I clearly wasn’t – living amid the humdrum of southern England – but it offered me the escapism I desired. Also, it flirted with some interesting themes, such as sex, death, homosexuality, sexually transmitted disease, etc., but not in any great depth – I was a teenager, I didn’t need a lesson I needed entertainment!
Also, let’s not forget, the film starred an absolute plethora of interesting actors, from horror film royalty in David Warner, to Gregory Peck (ok, his daughter). Then there was Robert Sean Leonard as the titular vampire, Jeremy, whose star was about to shine brightly, albeit briefly, in Dead Poet’s Society. The more eagle-eyed of you may even notice Evan Mirand as who plays Jeremy’s best friend. Mirand also starred in the ace Brat Pack ensemble TV movie The Brotherhood of Justice and had a couple of small roles in David Fincher’s Seven and Fight Club. Hell, even Kathy Bates shows up in a small role. It’s a veritable who’s who!
Eventually, with the monstrous all-encompassing rise of Blockbuster Video, my little treasure trove of a shop shut down, taking My Best Friend is a Vampire with it. I tried my local Blockbuster but to no avail and eventually, reluctantly moved on. What snapped the film back into my consciousness last week after almost twenty years, I have no idea, but I’m determined to get hold of a copy. It’s only available in DVD form at present and looks out-of-print, but surely its time for the likes of Scream Factory to give My Best Friend is a Vampire its overdue…um….due.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a scene from the film in all its 80s glory. Enjoy….