CANNON MONTH 2: Last Rites (1980)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last Rites was not produced by Cannon but was theatrically distributed by Cannon Releasing Corporation.

You know, vampires think they’re so smart. They’ve been pulling that Alucard scam for decades and humans haven’t figured it out. Like in this small town, where a drag race leads to two injured teens. The girl is declared deceased — she isn’t — and rushed to the A. Lucard Funeral Home. Soon, A. Lucard himself(Gerald Fielding), Dr. Cummins (Victor Jorge) and an assistant drink her blood and then stake her. Yes, the most important people in town are vamps and they’re using the locals as feeding stock.

Marie (Patricia Lee Hammond) and Ted Fonda (Michael Lally) call Dr. Cummins when her mother (Mimi Weddell) gets sick. He gives her a sedative, says she’s dead and drinks up. Then he calls in Lucard to bury the body. Then Marie decides she wants a home funeral — what kind of maniacs want a dead body just sitting at home? — so mom comes home. She could turn at any minute, so Lucard sends his assistant to stop that. Well, Ted tosses him out the window and the kindly Mrs. Bradley is now walking the night.

A low budget regional New Jersey movie — made in Vineland — that spends as much time hanging with vampiric small-town politicians as it does showing that fanged bloodletting that you expect, this movie has a blue collar take on blood-drinking ghouls.

Director, writer and producer Domonic Paris was also behind the movie Splitz and a series of documentaries including Amazing Masters of Martial ArtsBad Girls of the MoviesAfros, Macks & Zodiacs and Film House Fever. Now he writes movies like A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures.

Of everyone in this movie, Mimi Weddell — who has no lines — did the most afterward. She was already 65 when this was made, but ended up being in everything from Student Bodies and The Purple Rose of Cairo to HitchThe Thomas Crown Affair and an episode of Sex and the City.

I’m all for movies having endings like this one.

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