Central Park Drifter (1987) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white: 

Central Park Drifter (1987) is the latest video release of a vampire piece called Graveyard Shift. Even in the mid 80's, it took two years after filming to get any release at all. It is 2% vampire film, 98% dark images. There is a lot to learn, however:

1) Best job for a vampire is driving a taxi on graveyard shift.
2) Vampires only bite people who are ready to die.
3) In a pinch, vampires can feed off each other.
4) It is even possible to survive by sucking your own blood.
5) Philandering husbands get suddenly jealous when their wife dates a vampire.
6) Male vampires bite women on the chest.
7) Female vampires slash throats with a knife before they eat.

It will take longer to explain the plot than there is plot. Head vampire drives a hack. His female victims are causing a murder spree. He falls in love. They bring in the cliched stupid cop to screw things up. Most of the film is way too dark, and all of it is either red, blue, or way over-saturated. According to the credits, they brought in voice actors for nearly everyone, probably because most of the cast was not credible delivering lines.

 The nudity report is a little better, however, with star Helen Papas and Kim Cayer showing breasts, and Jessie Taylor and Sugar Bouche (yes, I bet it is pronounced bush) showing everything in dark scenes. The DVD is appropriately bad, with a lot of grain, and no features. I say F. I can't imagine anyone being entertained by this turkey, and it is technically inept.


see Tuna's comments to the left of this box
 Scoopy's comments in yellow: 

I agree in the sense that I would certainly advise most of you to steer a wide berth around this thing, but I wouldn't say it is technically inept in all regards. The acting is certainly poor. I read what Tuna said about the dialogue being re-dubbed. Tell you what, if this is an improvement, I want to hear the original actors, because that must be something for the Hall of Fame. It stinks to high heaven now! Probably 60% of the dialogue is delivered by people who sound like they are just reading lines from cue-cards. Given that re-dubbing saga, that's probably exactly what it is! I think only one of the actors in this movie was actually a professional actor. Many had a career restricted only to this film, while others had a career restricted to this one and another film from the same director.

The imagery isn't actually inept. Worse than that. It's faux-arty, filled with extreme close-ups of noses and mouths and eyes, synthesizer music, murky faux-romanticism, mock-poetic Eurotrash dialogue, and that kind of rock video crap. And the artsy-fartsy close-ups are reinforced by truly eccentric use of indirect lighting. As Tuna noted, the scenes all seem to be illuminated with Blue or Amber lights - sometimes both - one on each side of the actors! (Other scenes seem to be tinted. Yuck.)

I think the NYC scenes were actually filmed in Canada, judging from the spelling and the wording of the signs, and the fact that everyone was really polite, and said "eh?" all the time, and asked questions "a-boat" many subjects. That and the fact that the taxi was pulled by a dog team. You don't see that many New York cops kick back and drink a bottle of Old Vienna while they fire up a Rothman's. At least they took the trouble to film the "New York" scenes in a large city of some kind, instead of in Moosejaw or Medicine Hat or Yellowknife. 

This comes from a vampire sub-sub-genre, which I have to explain with a table. This movie fits in the genre highlighted in teal

Vampire Films

/                  \

Evil Vampires

who generally enjoy killing

and feel superior to us

       Nice Vampires 

who despise their compulsion

and just want to be loved

                                                /                  \


                                                     Nice Vampires 

artsy-fartsy division



Nice Vampires

everyday guy division


This vampire movie is, in fact, a hybrid in the sense that it isn't filled with 100% nice vampires. Although the head vampire hates the whole messy thing, and he will only attack when he's really hungry, and even then will attack only those people who want to die. He can sense these things. On the other hand, his followers don't seem to have the same spirit of generosity, and they pretty much slay at will.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • dark transfer

  • no features

 When I first watched the film, I thought that he was a helluva nice guy for a vampire, but when I got to thinking about it, I realized he was actually meaner than a mean vampire. Look at it this way. He comes along and bites someone who wants to die immediately, and he makes sure that not only do they not die immediately, they never die at all! When you think about it, that's not exactly an act of kindness, is it?

I don't know what to score it. I was torn between an E and a C-, I think it might be a C-, meaning that you will find it barely viewable if you are really a vampire film buff. I had to acknowledge that reluctantly, based upon some favorable comments online. On the other hand, if you don't like vampire films (I'm with you), you'll find this unbearable, and if you hate pretentious, arty treatments of artless subject matter (I'm with you there as well), you'll despise this with every fiber of your being, as Tuna and I did. 

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.6 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is between an F (Tuna) and a C- (Scoopy).

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