The UKHS Ecstasy & Agony Showcase #8:
The Agony of AVIA – VAMPIRE HUNTER (2005)
When I was first approached about doing this Ecstasy & Agony thing, I did think about ranting about a few films I abhor such as… No, let’s not go there. Anyway, I mulled over all the films I hate and decided I’d go with the worst film I have ever seen. The key word is ‘Agony’ after all, so ladies and gentlemen I give you Avia – Vampire Hunter (2005).
I first came across Avia through an online group where we discussed the joys of low budget horror. A few of the members used to screen films online too which meant we could all watch along at the same time and comment whilst viewing. We had the joys of rubbish like Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), HobGoblins (1988) , Zombeak (2006) and many more. The film that really stuck out though was Avia.
Avia starts with something I have never seen before and that is a trailer for itself. Yes, before the film starts we are treated to a trailer for the film we are about to see! Anyway onwards as two cops are examining a murder scene in the woods , when Avia [Allison Valentino] arrives and shows her hand made badge proving that she is secret service military. So she joins the two detectives as they try and find the killer. They track a man to a house where they discover a vampire in the attic, but luckily Avia is now carrying a 4 foot samurai sword and dispatches said vampire with chilling ease. Next and without any reason, Avia [Allison Valentino] and Detective Guy [Rodney ‘Jamal’ Jackson] move in together, leading to probably the worst sex scene in cinema history as they lie on the bed and ‘love’ each other whilst both being completely fully clothed. You can really feel the passion as Guy caresses Avia’s breasts through her white t-shirt and bra. Cut thirty minutes and some inspiring dream sequences and Guy finds out Avia used to be in a mental and is possibly just a nutter who is wanted for murder.
I don’t really need to go into anymore details about the plot because it doesn’t matter; you won’t be focusing on any part of the strained storyline, with the possible exception of the MAJOR TWIST at the end. Anyway, so what is my problem with Avia? Well, let me start…
Montages. Avia is full of montages – they are everywhere! We have a Samurai practice montage where as Avia trains alone in the woods, swinging her sword to an accompanying sound of metal on metal. But wait… She is just slicing thin air!? There’s mental institution montage, the boat montage, the walking through the forest and up and down steps montage and lets not forget the shadow boxing in the backyard montage. And they’re all as horrendous as the last.
Avia is full of the use of multi camera angles to add dramatic effect; in the first scene alone we’re treat to about twelve different shots of her face as Avia kills the vampire.
The music is totally inappropriate too and is basically made up of fast funky beats, mainly played as Avia walks through the woods doing fuck all (about forty-five minutes of footage then). The only change in the soundtrack is when Rodney ‘Jamal’ Jackson gets a song of his played in the background; it truly is a rapper’s delight…
It’s Jackson who is the definite star of the film. He’s a great, bucktoothed Wesley Snipes wannabe and comes out with one-liners that are never truly meant. So cool is he in fact, Avia’s makers actually spell his name wrong in the opening credits.
The vampires that Avia encounters in the woods are probably as bad a job at making vampires as I have ever seen. They have what looks like breadsticks for fingers, badly fitting wigs and a piece of cloth over their eyes, which is probably used to keep the wigs on. But this is nothing compared to the head vampire who is a guy in a mask, and no-one could even be bothered to put any make-up from his neck down.
It’s this kind of attention to detail that is non-existent. In one scene, Avia is fighting and her top changes colour. On more than one occasion, the films sound is so appalling that the actor closest to camera is deafeningly loud yet the one further back in the frame are painfully quiet; they have to shout to be heard! Aforementioned fully clothed sex scene aside, the films highlight is when Avia is in full ninja gear and carrying a samurai sword and manages to hail a cab, which then takes her to a vampires house. There’s no questions asked or even an eyebrow raised.
Avia Vampire Hunter is truly a horrible film. It runs for ninety minutes that, after you’ve removed the endless montages, dream sequences and general forest meanderings, is actually only twenty minutes of real fucking film. Even that is too long! When I decided to watch it again for this article I made the wife sit with me. I was howling through various scenes; I mean even in the first minute when the cops are examining the body you can see Rodney ‘Jamal’ Jackson struggling to put on his latex gloves . But the wife walked out after less than an hour saying “this really is the worst film I have ever seen”, and I really must agree with her. It is agony to watch but – and this is a big BUT – I’ve perversely begun to enjoy it after my multiple re-viewings.
It’s a laugh, and a groaner and moaner; if you’re in the mood for that, you should track Avia down (no easy feat). Watch it with a few friends and beers and marvel at how one person (yes, you, director Leon Hunter) can completely fuck up everything – and I do mean everything – when it comes to making a film.
Read all the previous Ecstasy & Agony pieces by clicking them: