A very cute, entertaining, young adult film was on Syfy yesterday. This movie was based off of a young adults book series that I read when I was younger, named Cirque du Freak, A Living Nightmare: The Sega of Darren Shan. I was fond of the creepy, scary novels when I was younger and was pretty excited when the movie adaptation came out in 2009. I never got to see the entire film until yesterday though.
It’s upsetting that it’s taken me five years to see the quirky film, because looking at it now, it’s much better than what I originally thought it was. The movie is based around a 16 year old boy and his best friend. Fate has given them a flyer for the Cirque du Freak, a 21st century Freak Show that has been running for hundreds of years.
Darren (Chris Massoglia) and Steve (Josh Hutcherson) decide to sneak out to see the show filled with mutant like people with amazing talents. There’s Mr. Tall the Ring Leader, Evra the Snake Boy who has reptilian skin and a knack for playing an electric guitar, Rebecca the Monkey Girl (Darren’s eventual love interest), Madame Turska (played by the beautiful Salma Hayek), Rhamus Twobellies a man with quite literally two bellies, Gertha Teeth (by the hilarious Kristen Schaal), Corma Limbs (Jane Krakowski), a Wolfman, and of course Vampire Crepsley (John C. Reilly) with his exotic, trainable tarantula.
As you can tell the movie is chock full of amazing freaks and the opening act with them all is breathtaking. The Director Paul Weitz does a great job of making you feel like you’re in the theater with Darren and Steve watching the Freak Show with them.
So eventually Steve, the friend who happens to be a terrible influence, corners Crepsley and asks him if he would turn him into a vampire. Now elder vampires don’t usual turn children, but for some reason, Crepsley samples Steve’s blood anyways, and realizes that he cannot become a vampire. He has bad blood, and if he were turned to a vampire he would be one evil son of a bitch. Oh wait, sorry, I didn’t tell you that Crepsley is kind of a a good vampire. There are vampires who are “little piggies” and drain their mortal dinners of all their blood (these are the bad vampires), and then their are good vampires who take only pints from mortals, and feed on more than one person in a night, so nobody dies.
Okay, so he refuses to turn Steve, but after this conversation happens, Darren goes off and “borrows” Crepsley’s spider, because duh, Darren loves spiders and has a death wish. But the tarantula can be trained to spin amazing webs while playing a flute. So Darren just wants to play with the exotic, completely toxic insect for just a little while.
Well the predictable happens, and Steve, being the ass hole he is, ends up letting the spider loose while at school the next day, and boom, gets bitten. Darren goes to Crepsley to get the antidote while Steve is on his death bed in a hospital. Crepsley agrees to save Steve’s life if Darren will become his assistant. (Cough, hence the name sake of the movie cough.) And Darren being the best friend he is, complies.
The rest of the movie is about the struggles he faces leaving his family, faking his death, learning to live with the freaks, flitting (running really fast in short bursts of time, because vampires don’t fly you dumb shit) and eventually a climatic fighting scene with Darren’s family and new girlfriend in great danger.
For this movie being an adaption of 2 books in a 12 book series, it’s pretty good, and it’ll keep you entertained as well. The opening credits were much more interesting than I would have thought, and the acting isn’t the best I’ve seen, but it’s tolerable on your palate. I originally thought the comedic John C. Reilly as a vampire would be terrible, but he isn’t, he’s one of the best actors in the movie. But I will say he is not what I imagined when I read the book when I was 12.
If the movie comes up on SyFy again, I suggest you watch it. The Vampire’s Assistant is not only entertaining, but a funny and strange, yet alluring movie for anyone. Although, I’m still boggled upon why it was playing on that station to begin with. It screened DayBreakers right before that, both of which I think are classified under “scary/horror” and not scifi. But those two movies did have something in common, Willem Dafoe is in both of them, lol. On a side note, can anyone tell me what the fuck “SyFy” stands for now? I know they went about rebranding and bullshit, but SciFi used to stand for Science Fiction, what the hell is Sy?
Anyways, The Vampire’s Assistant is a family friendly movie that people of all ages could enjoy, and will Halloween right around the corner, I’d keep it in mind.