John Carpenter’s track record may not be unblemished, but that still doesn’t account for the rampant cheesiness of Vampires, a suspense-free snark-fest desperate to turn its protagonist – vampire slayer Jack Crow (James Woods) – into a Snake Plisskin-style icon of supernatural-badass cool. That goal is a futile one, however, in large part because Crow’s chief distinguishing characteristics are posing like a cartoon character in a leather jacket with a shiny crossbow propped on his hip, treating women like dirt, and trash-talking vampires with homophobic slurs. Carpenter’s tale (based on John Steakley’s novel Vampire$) involves Crow’s attempts in New Mexico, alongside equally misogynistic partner Montoya (Daniel Baldwin), to prevent the first vampire, Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), from acquiring a black cross that will allow bloodsuckers to roam in the daylight. It’s a mission Crow’s Catholic Church employers fear, and which is complicated by Valek infecting a hooker (Sheryl Lee) whom Montoya loves – and by “loves,” I mean ties to a bed in the nude, and punches in the mouth. Rarely has a Carpenter film been this regressively boorish, as well as unjustifiably taken with its smart-ass sense of humor. Even more stunning still, though, is the pedestrian blandness of the director’s widescreen cinematography, which largely involves framing the hammy Woods in faux-tough-guy stances, and which – when married to mind-numbingly repetitive southern-guitar musical themes – helps render the undead action inanimate.