Reviews | Written by John Higgins 29/08/2018

CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES [FRIGHTFEST 2018]

If there are any filmmakers wondering if they are ever going to get that ever elusive break with their dream project, then this little number will create eternal hope.

One of the picks of this year's London FrightFest and a fan favourite ever since the early experimental shorts were screened in previous years, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is one of the most extraordinary achievements by an independent animation studio.

Considering that the whole thing took about five years to finish, more so as a labour of love (and at a cost of around £20 million, according to co-producer, writer, and director Michael Mort and co-producer Randhir Singh, who introduced the screening to a very eager and enthusiastic FrightFest crowd), this latest addition to the Chuck Steel universe has got great potential in the international market. Mort and Singh also told of positive reaction from sales agents and appear to be close at this point to that all-important US deal.

Provided it gets the right push and backing, the film will certainly hit the right note amongst those fans who enthused over Team America: World Police, to whom this has more than a passing resemblance in tone and humour. It's not the most PC offering, but it will give considerable amusement if you buy into the concept.

It's 1985 - sorry, 1986!  - and the best LA cop in the business, Chuck Steel (also voiced by Mort, who holds a number of hats with the voices à la Seth McFarlane's Family Guy) is having lots of problems. You get the picture (it's a 1980s cop thriller after all!), but his biggest challenge is about to face him head on, as a deadly hybrid of tramp-cum-vampire (Trampires) are about to run rampant. Will he save the city? Will he be able to recover from the trauma of his wife's death by Ninja? Tune in and watch it all unfold.

The plot and idea are simple and predictable and if - like this writer - you have seen any number of those classic Joel Silver and Steven Seagal (back in the day when he did modest, but effective martial arts actioners) flicks, then this is right up your dark alley.

The point is not the story and plot, but the sheer magnificence of the animation techniques, which pay homage not only to the aforementioned Silver, but the odd Tim Burton Batman film with classic 1980s camera angles (and end credits like the Lethal Weapon series).

One has eternal hope that this animation team will get a good deal across the pond. They deserve it thoroughly.

CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: MICHAEL MORT / STARRING: MICHAEL MORT, JENNIFER SAUNDERS, PAUL WHITEHOUSE, DAN RUSSELL, SAMANTHA COUGHLAN / RELEASE DATE: TBC

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