Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I, Desire (1982)

AKA: Desire the Vampire
Network: ABC
Original Air Date: November 15th, 1982

Is it just mere coincidence that David Naughton’s first film after An American Werewolf in London was I, Desire? I mean, we’re talkin’ a sexy male werewolf vs. a beautiful lady vampire eons before Underworld made it all chic! I think the casting agent had both an eye for talent and a great sense of horror humor.

My kind of machismo!

David Naughton is David Balsiger, a law student who works at the local morgue to make ends meet. He’s just moved his sweet-natured girlfriend Cheryl Gillen (Marilyn Jones) into his apartment and life is Jim-dandy. Then a creepy priest (Brad Dourif) shows up to ID a dead body. David lets him into the morgue and goes back to his studies. When he goes back, the priest has disappeared and creepy shenanigans ensue. Enter Detective Jerry Van Ness (Dorian Harewood), who thinks he’s hot on the heels of a female serial killer who also likes lifting blood from the local hospital bank! No one wants to cry vampire, because you know, that would make you nuts, but the more David gets involved, the more he begins to believe the wanted femme fatale is a bloodsucker.

The horror! The horror!

Aside from a few obvious twists, I, Desire is a great little movie. I have loved David Naughton since he was a werewolf in sheep’s clothing and he doesn’t let me down as the hunky vampire hunter. He’s got a very innocent way about his performances which makes him an incredibly likable lead. Oh, and he’s hot. The supporting cast is just as good (Marilyn, where have you gone?) with Dourif stealing the diner scene with so much scenery chewing you’d think he was bulimic. While re-watching I, Desire I wondered if Dourif had taken the part just for that monologue.

Creepy, sexy, cool!

There’s also some signature TV movie-ness to be found. The foley went nuts with the vampire’s distinct cougar attack growl, which makes the actual assaults a little less than they should have been. But I love the idea of a female vampire luring her prey under the guise she’s a hooker. There’s something to be said for paying for your sins!

The master gives it his all!

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, director John Llewellyn Moxey is one of the greats! With one or two exceptions, his films remain the strongest of the era. Here, he’s added a very dreamlike quality to David’s dissent into the lurid world of streetwalking vampires (what a small world that must be!), giving the tale a heavy dose of atmosphere. I love the scenes on the seedy Hollywood Boulevard, which sort of captures a PG version of Angel. The writer Robert Foster also wrote a TV movie I’ve been dying to see called Computercide! C’mon, that just has to be good!

Harewood/Moxey Trivia: This dynamic duo worked together on two other TV movies:

Foster and Laurie (1975)
Panic in Echo Park (1977)

Read more about I, Desire at Kindertrauma


Joanna said...

You make this sound so great--your passion for movies is infectious! I LOVE Brad Dourif and now I'm looking out for more John Llewellyn Moxey movies. Thanks for sharing this.

VoyagerG said...

I have to agree with the above comment. You put so much heart into your posts, and you truly know your stuff. I laughed aloud on this blog and I agree about David Naughton! Hey, I have 2 disco versions of his song' Makin' it..totally awesome they are. From when he starred in the short lived tv show based off Saturday Night Fever. If you want it, let me know. :)

Amanda By Night said...

Ha! Ginger, I do have Makin' It on CD, but not sure what version I have (it's not very long). How I adore David Naughton, and actually I'm watching him on $100,000 right now. Yummy!

Joanna, I think you'll enjoy this movie. It's surreal and different from a lot of the regular TV movie fare!

Thanks for stopping by guys!

Frederick said...

This is another I remember vividly from the early 80's, and have looked for it somewhere ever since.

Wish I could find someone with it on DVD, I'd pay for a copy! ;)

Amanda By Night said...

If only I could burn you a copy. We are sans burner at the moment. Might I suggest Ioffer, or maybe just keeping a heads up for a reairing on Encore Mystery, which is where I got my copy from...

Thanks for commenting! :)

kindertrauma said...

I, Desire is one of the greats. How can you beat having Naughton and Dourif in one movie?! You make me want to watch this one again asap.-Unk

kindertrauma said...

I, Desire is one of the greats. How can you beat having Naughton and Dourif in one movie?! You make me want to watch this one again asap.-Unk

Anonymous said...

Awesome movie, I can remember as a kid. I love the cougar sound, I love Barbara Stock, she is gorgeous. I love this movie, I finally bought a DVD copy of it on eBay. It looked like it had been recorded off of Encore Mystery, but still glad to get. I finally found another childhood classic with Robert Urich and Susan Lucci, " Invitation To Help ".

CMG said...

It really is a shame I, DESIRE has never been released on any homevideo medium. I'd have gladly bought it! Cool movie! The one thing I recall about I, DESIRE was that it was played 'straight' as opposed to the Horror +plus+ Humor angle of Naughton's film AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.