Movie Monday: Lessons on Writing from “The Horrible Sexy Vampire”

Horrible Sexy Vampire

The movie starts with an invisible murderer killing a man in the shower. Alright, not bad. Then what happens?


Well then, what can we gain from watching The Horrible Sexy Vampire? It teaches a lot about how not to write dialogue—NEVER EVER write like this*. (Lines appearing one after the other are as spoken in conversation. I’ve tried to interpret the punctuation so you can “hear” it in all its glory.) Enjoy.

Unlikely characterization: “In my opinion, we cannot prove nor disprove the existence of vampires.” A pathologist, presumably a man of science, arguing with a logical police investigator.

Exhaustive exposition: I was going to transcribe the pathologist’s statement of how we “know” it’s a vampire going around murdering these people (including math equations!), but it’s just paragraph after paragraph of blather. The characters just stand there, static, while one talks at the other.

Awkward delays in plot: “That baron should be buried downstairs in the cellar, and so should his wife. We may be able to open their tombs.” “…What do you suppose they’ll hold, other than their crumbling bones?” “First we’ll have to find the door.” “Of course.”

“Explaining is stupid; why should I bother?” Yeah, I have nothing to say about that one.

“Written” language rather than realistic speech: “I dislike idle conjectures.”

Lack of editing-slash-logic: “…the last owner had no children.” “Are you referring to my mother?”

Characters don’t really talk to each other, they just talk: “Pardon my indiscretion, but what is it you do in London?” “Well, I’m not actually forced to do anything. I have a steady source of income and devote myself to my hobby of taxidermy. I should say I spend a huge amount of my time doing that.” “How interesting. You’re really most kind. Many thanks again.”

Throwaway dialogue: “What’s the time?” “It’s three past midnight go to bed.” “Tomorrow then bye.” (two barmaids)

Major lessons to take away: watch pacing and dialogue. Eliminate lengthy walking sequences where nothing happens. Make sure characters actually communicate instead of just blurting dialogue at each other. Also, edit for realism: I doubt a real cop would go on at length about intimate murder-case details to a perfect stranger (who, by the way, is also a suspect).

Runners-up for awfulness: One character literally rubs at his eyes in disbelief, on two separate occasions. Also, surprise vampire necrophilia.

Kudos, though, to the invisible vampire: a trait somewhat underused in vampire stories. That’s the only compliment I can give this one.

*This movie was originally in Spanish; but my argument stands. Someone still made these horrible dialogue choices when the screenplay was translated. And the plot speaks the universal language of suck.

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