Some critics have absolutely slated this first cinematic outing from Gavin And Stacey stars James Corden and Mathew Horne. But, while the homage to Hammer horror films of way back when is about as scary as a granny wielding a piece of Battenberg cake, it took me back to my childhood (I was brought up on a staple diet of Carry On films) and left me with what can only be described as a big measure of happy.
The opening scene of the celluloid girl-on-girl bloodsucking was reminiscent of Carry On Screaming. And the rest of the film carried on in a similar vein with cheesy lines, titles and characters.
But cheese can be good for you. In moderation. And so to the plot. Jimmy (Horne) and Fletch (Corden) are two lovelorn losers. The former has just split up with his pretty but high maintenance, play-away-from-home saucepot (Judy played by Lucy Gaskell), while the latter has just been sacked from his job as a clown due to his aversion for children and fondness for using the back of his hand as a disciplining tool.
Not really a match made in heaven. A bit predictable too. From the first few minutes the audience can tell how this is going to end: Jimmy bears an uncanny resemblance to one of his ancestors (who was responsible for slaying Carmilla, Queen of the lesbian vampires played by Silvia Colloca – eons ago), he’ll get in trouble and the chubby one who up until now has been a bit shit will save the day.
But we all knew what happened in Titanic and still went and saw it, right? Clearly there are gulf-like differences between James Cameron’s film detailing the big boat and even bigger ice cube, budget being just one of them. The end effect, however, is the same: entertainment.
Cue a dumping (Judy the dumper and Jimmy the dumped) and then a sacking (not the make-up sex kind but the end of a potential career as an understudy for Ronald MacDonald a decade or so down the line), lots of beer, a dart and a handily placed map and the hapless pair set out on an adventure.
They end up in Cragwich, which sounds more like a venereal disease than a leafy Welsh village to us (“My cragwich is giving me jip today lads, must go to the doctors again.”).
nsurprisingly, all is not what it seems in Cragwich. The local bar is devoid of a women’s touch or any birds at all for that matter, save for the bevy of scantily clad Swedish students who left – in a camper van – just as Jimmy and Fletch were arriving. The only other XX chromosomes around are in the form of the vicar’s teenage daughter.
Classic comedic lines – it’s not just what they say but how they say it – add to the laugh-out-loud mix. Lines like “It’s like a medieval gay bar.” (Fletch to Jimmy on entering the local hostelry) and “Next time he’ll have me bummed by a big gay werewolf, I swear.” (Fletch about Jimmy in response to the situation they find themselves in. NB: The werewolf makes a brief but comic appearance at the end of the film).
I could go on but you had to be there to appreciate the true magic of the humour in the film. The rest of the characters, including Paul McGann as a quirky vicar wot swears, the Swedish ladies (who are students of ancient folklore) and, of course, the obligatory lesbian vampires help bring the emmental-like proceedings to life.
Corden and Horne’s collective performance is unlikely to win the pair any Oscars or even nominations. But, let’s face it, this is their first film. And, even the Hollywood greats started somewhere (Drew Barrymore in that Burger King ad anyone?).
Their characters are convincing enough and their roles are brilliantly lifted by the afore mentioned supporting cast, including the vicar’s daughter (who appears to be wearing a nightie for what feels like the whole film) who turns 18 soon – and that’s when ladies of the area become affected by Carmilla’s curse, start batting for the other side and sucking blood instead of…
Lots of moaning, mess (when a vampire dies it spurts liquid yuck not unlike the gunge tank from Noel’s House Party), girl-on-girl writhing and kissing and we nearly reach a climax. Of the film, that is.
Jimmy is to be sacrificed together with a virgin in order to bring Carmilla back from the dead. Turns out the leader of the Swedish contingent, Lotte (MyAnna Buring) hasn’t lost her cherry so she is Jimmy’s sacrificial buddy for the evening.
Fletch then works with the vicar to save the day (killing his daughter who’s gone vamp in the meantime) by showing he’s a mean shot at wielding a sword with a big cock as its handle.
LVK has an almost infinite amount of gratuitous gunk in it as the ladies what kiss other ladies and bite die, but this is complemented by knob and poo references and childish humour in abundance. The tag line of the film (on IMDB anyway) is ‘Two no-hopers. One cursed village. One hell of a night!’ For me, it delivered what it promised.
Film goers are unlikely to be crossing their fingers and hoping for a sequel, but that said, and in spite of all the critics, Corden and Horne’s LVK is a laugh out loud 88 minutes of pure silly. And, in today’s gloomy environment we could all do with something to make us smile…