Picks and Pans Review: Nightlife

updated 08/28/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/28/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

USA (Wed., Aug. 23, 9 P.M. ET)

B

This campy, hex-rated vampire flick is set in modern day Mexico City. The beautiful Maryam (Living Daylights) d'Abo stars as a vampy vampire named Angelique who comes to life after having buried herself inside a coffin for the past 100 years. The reason she decided to keep such a low profile was to get away from her handsome, jealous lover, Vlad, played by Ben (Chariots of Fire) Cross, who is a vampire too. (A 15th-century Romanian nobleman nicknamed Vlad "the Impaler" by his none-too-admiring subjects, is believed to be the model for the fictional Count Dracula.)

Despite Angelique's days in the underground, Vlad tracks her down. He wants her for his bride. She's not Vlad to see him, though, because she has fallen in love with a nerdy hematologist, Dr. David Zuckerman, played by Keith (The Equalizer) Szarabajka. Zuckerman somehow doesn't realize she's a vampire, even though she has retractable fangs and sleeps in a casket all day in her high-rise condo. Thinking she has a mysterious blood disease (yes, the movie does have overtones of AIDS), he gives her transfusions to keep her energized.

Poor Angelique. She has decided drinking blood is immoral and wants to quit. Alas, compulsive bloodsucking is an addiction even the Betty Ford Center has yet to tackle.

What saves this shlocky movie from anemia is the biting dialogue by Anne Bates and director Dan (Soldier Boys) Taplitz. When Dr. Zuckerman is handed a cross to ward off vampires, he proclaims: "This won't work. I'm Jewish!" Stealing the film is Angelique's hot-tempered, salsa-stomping maid, Rosa Mercedes, played by Camille (Baby Boom) Saviola. Rosa is accepting and protective of Angelique, despite her eccentricities. Someone should give Saviola her own sitcom. She's a scream.

Since Angelique, Vlad and Dr. Zuckerman aren't Mexican, and since hardly anyone in this film speaks Spanish, the Latin setting seems odd. But who cares? Where in Transylvania can you get a margarita and dance the rumba?

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