Horrortoberfest ’21 Day 27 – My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987)

Alright, I’m gonna go ahead and come right out and admit that I probably should have done a little more homework before putting this one on my list for the family friendly horror week. Seeing the title, the fact that it’s PG, and the summary was just that “a teen gets turned into a vampire and then starts to like it”; I assumed I was getting a vampire version of Teen Wolf. What I got instead was, well, not something I would exactly call kid friendly horror.

Jeremy (that kid from Dead Poets Society) is a high school teenager of indeterminate age that has been having some weird dreams about girls. His horndog, best friend, Ralph, decides that what Jeremy needs is to get laid and quit trying to have relationships. That’s when he meets the woman of his dreams, quite literally. The woman he has been dreaming of invites him back to her place and things get hot and fangy. When they get rudely interrupted by vampire hunter David Warner (no I’m not looking up his character’s name), Jeremy runs off and now he has to come to terms with the fact that he’s turning into a vampire. Luckily, Rene Auberjonois is there as his new vampire mentor, Modoc (or Mental Organism Designed Only for Chilling). Can Jeremy get the girl at his school that he likes while avoiding David Warner and that guy from Office Space that played one of the Bobs? You know, the one that isn’t John C. McGinley?

Right out the gate, I was amazed that this managed to get a PG rating. Not because there was any real amount of violence or anything but there was plenty of sex talk and a whole lot of swearing. I wonder how many times you can say “shit” and “damn” and still be a PG movie? Anyway, like most monster stories, the turning into a monster trope is just a metaphor for something. Unlike most other high school monster movies, it isn’t a metaphor for puberty or anything but instead ends up being used as both a stand in for HIV and being gay. Which might have been an interesting point of view to take if the movie wasn’t playing all of that for laughs. When he tells Ralph that he’s a vampire, the scene plays out like telling your friend you’re gay and they start going all “we can be friends but don’t try kissing me or nothing”. At least when Jeremy’s parents think their son is acting strange because he is gay, they start reading books on how to support your kid and are generally alright with it.

There’s a weird dynamic that goes on in this movie with Jeremy and his love interest, Darla. The movie continues to go out of its way to mention that the hot, blonde, cheerleader is totally into Jeremy but he isn’t interested. Instead, he has eyes for Darla, the nerdy musician and it feels like the movie wants us to applaud him for not being shallow, I guess? What it made me really wonder is what was going on with that cheerleader? She shows up in several scenes, seems to know Jeremy, but they never exchange more than a couple words. She seems real nice and I hate that she just ends up being a prop so the main character can be like “I’m not like other guys”. Also, hey, Kathy Bates shows up for like 30 seconds as Darla’s mom. Nothing to note about that except that this movie has so many people I recognized for being a movie I’d never heard of.

Overall, the movie isn’t terrible but the gay panic stuff definitely had me sighing heavily at parts. Also, to be clear, there is no horror anything in this. The closest we get is when Jeremy and Darla are making out and he pops fangs instead of, or maybe in addition to, a boner. Which he immediately tries to hide (the fangs not the boner) and drives away freaking out.

Score: 2 out of 5

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