One part Wishbone and one part Saturday morning cartoon, Entertainment One’s new straight-to-DVD movie, Vampire Dog, is a fun family friendly movie that is great for any family with young children. This family friendly movie is a perfect fit for any young child’s Halloween party. The story centers on five hundred year old vampire dog named Fang (voiced by SNL alum Norm MacDonald). Macdonald’s voice work gives fang the same personality as Wishbone. For those who don’t know, Wishbone was a little Jack Russell Terrier who promoted literacy in his own show on PBS during the 90’s. He was voiced by Larry Brantley. While Fang might not be a Jack Russell, his small stature and attitude imbued by MacDonald make him just as much a joy to watch as Wishbone.
Vampire Dog has a lot of good for parents and kids alike. Parents will like the central themes of believing in oneself and overcoming bullies. Sure, Vampire Dog is a Halloween movie on the surface. But being that bullying is such a hot button issue right now, it’s nice to still be able to get these positive messages in there, at the same time without being too preachy. Parents will also appreciate the theme of friendship exemplified by Fang and his young owner and friend, Ace Cunningham. Fang and Ace meet after Ace and his mother move to a new town and Ace’s mother takes a job as the new music teacher at Lugosi Public School. Yes, that’s Lugosi as in the famed horror actor, Bela Lugosi. There’s also reference made late in the movie to the classic, The Wizard of Oz. Parents and movie buffs will especially appreciate these references to Hollywood’s old guard. And of course there are just enough fart jokes to make any young audiences laugh riotously. Most of those jokes come from Fang. Even more family friendly is that instead of drinking blood, Fang eats red jello. Just like Garfield despises the thought of eating mice, Fang explains to Ace and his young love interest, Skylar, why he prefers jello to blood. That explanation is worth its own share of laughs, too.
Vampire Dog offers a lot of enjoyment both for kids and parents alike. For all the positive messages, fart jokes and other great elements, there’s no denying that the two sub-stories contained within the main plot have more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese. A school can’t just be shut down on one person’s whim, for example. And that the school’s principal would be involved in such a scheme would get him not only fired, but arrested too, for accepting bribes. That’s just a couple in a handful of issues that come up in the near ninety minute feature. But those holes can be forgiven considering the laughs that families will have throughout the movie. Along with all the jokes, there is also plenty of physical comedy on the part of Frank (Ron Pederson). Frank is the bumbling assistant to the evil Cruella DeVille style villain, Dr. Warhol (Amy Matysio). Frank constantly has to do Dr. Warhol’s bidding in her attempts to trap Fang and get the secret of immortality hidden in his blood. She wants to trap him as she is trying to come up with a new anti-aging cream that will make her rich. Fang constantly gets the better of both Frank and Warhol every time though. And each time, Frank ends up the butt of the jokes. Many times, he even ends up on his butt, too.
Vampire Dog isn’t meant to be one of those movies that audiences watch every year. Audiences need to keep in mind that it wasn’t meant to be a ground breaking epic for young audiences. Being that Halloween comes not that long after the start of the new school year, the anti-bullying and pro friendship messages are nice tie-ins with the general Halloween theme of the story since most schools across the country have just gotten back into session for the new year. And with any luck, the references to Hollywood’s old guard will get younger audiences interested in the film industry’s golden era, reminding them of what used to make Hollywood truly great. All combined, everything put into Vampire Dog may not make it the most memorable Halloween movie ever written. But it is still one that families will enjoy every year. It’s available now in stores and online.
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.