I have to preface my review of Central Park Drifter (AKA Graveyard Shift) by saying that I’m not a fan of the 80s in general, or of 80s horror movies in particular.
The movie concerns a taxi driver who happens to be a vampire, and a film producer of really bad 80s direct-to-video movies like, well like Central Park Drifter. She catches his cab she just knows she’s made a connection with this guy. That’s because she’s dying and he can sense death. But this time he’s found more than just another dying woman to vampirise. He’s found a Love Worth Dying For. Yes folks, we’re in Vampires As Sexy Romantic Heroes territory.
This territory was first staked out in the 1977 BBC TV adaptation of Dracula, and later extended in the 1979 Dracula feature film with Frank Langella as the Count.
Michelle (the film producer) has finally found love, but Stephen Tsepes (the vampiric cab driver) just wants to die. And I can relate to that, because by the end of this movie I wanted to die as well.
There’s really not much more to the plot than that. The vampire taxi driver has a kind of coven of vampire women, just like Dracula with his brides of Dracula. Michelle has a sleazy husband.
This movie has everything. It has bad 80 hairstyles, bad 80s fashions, a bad 80s aesthetic and bad 80s music. It has atrocious acting. It has a director who is trying so hard to be hip that it’s embarrassing. He’s watched MTV so he knows how to be hip.
Part of the problem with this movie could be that the Shriek Show DVD is a bad DVD transfer from a dubious VHS source. That could explain why this movie looks so awful. Of course it’s also possible that the movie looked awful to begin with. It seems to have that worrying 1980s direct-to-video feel to it.
You might be wondering why you’ve never head of writer-director Jerry Ciccoritti. Once you’ve watched this movie you’ll understand why you’ve never head of him, and why he’s spent the rest of his career in television.
Ciccoritti tries to spice up the movie with some sex and nudity, but it just doesn’t work. Nothing can breathe life into this corpse. The undead have never been so dreary, and they’ve never had such bad hair. The 89-minute running time feels like centuries. You will know the meaning of eternity, and you will pray to be staked.
This third-rate movie gets the third-rate DVD release it deserves. Avoid.