A Comic Tale of Horror and Seduction
Year of Release: 1995
Runtime: 100 mins.
Studio(s): Eddie Murphy Productions, Paramount Pictures
Producer(s): Eddie Murphy, Mark Lipsky
Director: Wes Craven
Eddie Murphy as Maximillian / Preacher Pauly / Guido
Angela Bassett as Detective Rita Veder
Allen Payne as Detective Justice
Kadeem Hardison as Julius Jones
John Witherspoon as Silas Green
Zakes Mokae as Dr. Zeko
Joanna Cassidy as Captain Dewey
Simi Kali as Nikki
An abandoned ship crashes into a dockyard in Brooklyn, New York, and the ship inspector, Silas Green, finds it full of corpses. Elsewhere, Julius Jones, Silas’s nephew, has a run-in with some mobsters. Just as the two goons are about to kill Julius, Maximillian, a vampire who arrived on the ship, intervenes and kills them. Maximillian infects Julius with his vampiric blood, thereby turning Julius into a decaying ghoul, and explains that he has come to Brooklyn in search of the Dhampir daughter of a vampire from his native Caribbean island in order to live beyond the night of the next full moon.
Dhampir is NYPD Detective Rita Veder, who is still dealing with the death of her mentally ill mother (a paranormal researcher) some months before. As she and her partner, Detective Justice, investigate the murders on the ship, Rita begins having visions about a woman who looks like her, and starts asking questions about her mother’s past. Rita is completely unaware of her vampire heritage, and believes she is losing her mind like her mother.
Maximillian initiates a series of sinister methods to pull Rita into his thrall, including seducing and murdering her roommate Nikki, as well as disguising himself as her preacher and a lowlife crook. Max, in these disguises, misleads Rita into thinking Justice slept with Nikki, making her jealous and angry with him. After saving Rita from being run down by a taxicab, Maximillian takes her to dinner. Rita is taken with Maximillian’s suave charm, and while dancing with her, he bites her.
The next day, Justice finds Rita in her apartment, having slept all day. Justice informs Rita about Nikki’s murder, and vows to help understand her visions, as one correctly foretold Nikki’s fate. Rita forgives Justice, but she almost bites him in the neck during a passionate kiss before catching her disappearing reflection in a mirror, and realizes she is becoming a vampire. She confronts Max about the changes occurring within her, and deduces he is also responsible for the murders she and Justice are investigating. Rita further finds out that Maximillian was sent to her by her father; his death at the hands of vampire hunters was what drove Rita’s mother insane.
Max tries to convince Rita that she will be happier as a vampire instead of remaining in the human world. Justice plans to rescue Rita from Max, and seeks advice from Dr. Zeko, a vampire expert they visited earlier in the murder investigation. Zeko explains that he knew Rita’s mother while she did her research on the vampires of the Caribbean islands, and she surrendered to evil by falling in love with Rita’s father. To avoid becoming a vampire, Rita must refrain from drinking the blood of an innocent human victim; also, Maximillian must die before the next full moon. Zeko gives Justice an ancient dagger with instructions to either kill Maximillian or risk being killed by Rita.
When Justice reaches her, Rita is lying inside Max’s coffin, almost completely changed into a vampire, and threatens to bite Justice. Justice and Maximillian fight, at which time Justice loses Zeko’s dagger. Maximillian encourages Rita to kill Justice and complete the transformation, but she rejects life as a vampire and drives the dagger through Maximillian’s heart, causing him to disintegrate. Rita and Justice then embrace with a passionate kiss.
Meanwhile, Julius, now completely decayed, enters his master’s limousine. He finds Maximillian’s ring and puts it on, instantly transforming him into a fully intact member of the undead. Overjoyed, he tells Silas, “There’s a new vampire in Brooklyn, and his name is Julius Jones!”, as both of them drive off into the night to parts unknown.
Stunt performer Sonja Davis was fatally injured performing a 42-foot backward fall. Source: Wikipedia; Giphy.com; syfywire.