I’m not sure what’s more surprising, that I’m reviewing a movie called Death Rider in the House of Vampires or that, after Verotika, somebody put up money for Glenn Danzig to make another movie. But here we are.
As the film opens Death Rider (Devon Sawa, Final Destination, The Exorcism of Molly Hartley) is riding through a desert filled with warning signs and crucified bodies. He leads another horse, with a bound, topless woman (Tasha Reign, Big Breast Nurses 7, Attack of the Unknown) on it. She is his entrance fee to Sanctuary, one female virgin. She looks like she probably couldn’t remember when she actually was a virgin but that’s beside the point.
After riding for what seems to be hours and running into some trouble from Bela Latigo (Danny Trejo, The Last Exorcist, Slasher Party) he arrives at his destination and is greeted by Count Holiday (Julian Sands, The Ghosts of Borley Rectory, Warlock).
By this point, it was already obvious Danzig hadn’t learned much if anything from Verotika. Scenes go on way too long, the camera zooms in and out like it’s having a seizure and nearly every scene ends with a fade to black. Since his video for “Crawl Across Your Killing Floor” had a nice reference to the original Django I had some hope that at least plot-wise Death Rider in the House of Vampires might get better. Unfortunately, the film really doesn’t have a plot.
Sanctuary is basically a vampire saloon with a brothel attached. Everyone there is a bloodsucker, even the hookers who have vampiric names like Mina Belle (Ashley Wisdom, Gangbang Creampie, Asshole Fever) and Carmilla Joe (Kim Director, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Deuce). Occasionally they bring in nonvampire hookers because vampires like to play with their food.
That’s all nice and bloody, but we’re nearly forty minutes in, and the only actual plot points Death Rider in the House of Vampires has given us are Rider is carrying a collection of stakes that resemble arrows and The Count doesn’t trust him.
But porn star boobs, long close-ups of necks spurting blood and some random character getting molten silver poured down their throat makes up for that, right? The film seems to confuse vampires and werewolves because silver will kill these bloodsuckers. And if Death Rider in the House of Vampires had used practical effects or at least better CGI seeing the victim burn alive from the inside out could have been impressive. As would the barroom shootout with silver bullets.
As with Verotika, Death Rider in the House of Vampires keeps the audience occupied picking out celebs making cameos to help pass the time. There’s Sean Waltman aka pro wrestler X Pac, actor/punk icon Lee Ving (Streets of Fire, Grave Secrets), Eli Roth (Hostel, The Green Inferno), James Cullen Bressack (Blood Craft, Beyond the Law), and Jen and Sylvia Soska who I’m sure were happy to find a movie that was worse than one of theirs. Danzig himself makes an appearance as Bad Barthoy in the film’s final act.
Death Rider in the House of Vampires isn’t totally without good moments. The theme song “Death Rider”, written, produced, and sung by Danzig of course, has a nice Spaghetti Western vibe to it. And there’s a nice shot of Sands illuminated by the light from two of his burning minions. Minions who are thankfully off-screen so the terrible CGI flames don’t ruin the shot.
Too often though when Danzig has an interesting idea he drags the scene out well past the point where it stops being effective. Or, as with the shootout, ruins it with terrible effects. The film’s few effective moments can’t come close to saving the film. And when, with about fifteen minutes to go, we finally find out why Rider is there, it’s nothing anyone who has seen more than a couple of Westerns can guess. This may be a good thing because one of the cast’s IMDB credits gives it away.
Slightly better than Verotika but still miles from being good, or even so bad it’s good, Death Rider in the House of Vampires is currently in limited theatrical release via Atlas Distribution. You can check the film’s website for announcements about streaming and Blu-Ray release dates.