Strange Things Happen at Sundown

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Strange Things Happen at Sundown is a 2003 horror comedy, centering on the lives of a handful of New York vampires. It was directed by Marc Fratto and produced by Insane-o-rama Productions, and picked up for distribution by Brain Damage Films. The film won the audience choice award at the 2003 New York City Horror Film Festival and has received generally favorable reviews.


The movie tells several vampire stories, interwoven together, and clashing in a violent finale. The first story involves two vampires, Marcel (J. Scott Green) and Amy (Jocasta Bryan) on the run with $100,000 of the mobs money. Unfortunately, they can't spend any of it, because it's all in thousand dollar bills, so Marcel plans on meeting an old vampire friend named Smooth (Kenny Kauderer) who specializes in money laundering. Along the way, they pick up a hostage, a born again Christian named Annabelle (Shannon Moore). Having already fed on her husband, they kidnap her, "rationing" her for the next feeding in a few days. In that time, Annabelle manages to strike up a friendship with Amy, who is the more caring and compassionate of the two. Marcel, who is cold and brutal, is unnerved by this friendship and tries to squash it early. Amy's interest in Annabelle is peaked by both lesbian curiosity (furthered by Marcels disinterest in sex) and her failure at being a good vampire and her desire to be a good person (since she is unable to do even the most basic vampire tricks, like make her fangs extract). Ultimately, Amy and Annabelle run off together, stranding Marcel without a car, a hostage, or a girlfriend.

The second story deals with a group of gangsters who also happen to be vampires. Led by Jimmy "Fangs" Petrucci (Joseph Devito), his posse includes his violent bodyguard Joey "the Butcher" Mandone (Joshua Nelson), and his lackeys Pauly "Hands" (Mike Massimino) and Nicky "the Tooth" (Giovanni DeMarco) who got that name because he can only make one fang come out (which he refers to as his "disability"). Jimmy's "legitimate" business is that he owns a recording studio and manages bands, however, on the side, he is involved in theft, racketeering and drugs. In the films opening scene, they hijack the drug dealing business of a human rival, and begin a plan to create an army of living-dead slaves by poisoning the drugs with Jimmy's own blood. (In the films mythology, a human ingesting the blood of a vampire will make one become a zombie-like slave to that particular vampire). However, they cannot get their business off the ground until they recover $100,000 that was stolen by Marcel and Amy.

To get their money back, they hire the most feared vampire of all, The Reaper (Steve Gonzalez/voice of Robert M. Lemkowitz) who always wears his cloak, even around his modest, pastel decorated home. The Reaper is said to be the most powerful of all vampires, with unmatched powers. However, the Reaper fears only one person: his psychotic neat freak vampire bride, a bloodsucking duchess turned home-maker named June (Livia Llewellyn).

The third story involves a woman known only as the Narrator (Masha Sapron). She is one of the deadliest vampires known, yet surprisingly young. She's only been a vampire for a year, and yet is able to lay waste to hundred year old vampires with surprising ease. The Narrator is not happy to be a vampire, but is addicted to its power and the almost orgasmic bloodlust of feeding. She feels her humanity slipping away, to the point where she doesn't remember what it was like to be anything but a vampire. When first bitten, she would only feed on criminals, but has now become just like the rest, stalking and feeding on common everyday people. At the open of the film, she appears to be on a mission, killing members of Jimmy Fangs crew, one by one, until she works her way up to Fangs himself. Each time, she flashes an unseen photograph to her victim before finishing them off, and asks "Where is he?" The identity of the person on the photograph is not revealed until late in the film.

Eventually all of these stories collide. The Narrator ultimately kills Jimmy Fangs and his crew (including two outside bodyguards he hired for protection). The only survivor is a young woman named Vicky (Melissa Bacelar) who was bitten by one of Jimmy's guys and has been locked away in a room enduring the agonizing three day turn into a vampire. The picture she has been showing these guys is a picture of Marcel. She explains that Marcel is the one who bit her and turned her into a vampire, and now she wants revenge. She performs a mind-reading trick on Jimmy Fangs before he dies and it reveals to her that the Reaper has been hired to follow and kill Marcel.

The Narrator then stakes out the Reapers house. She follows June (who leaves the house in a tirade, after finding one of the Reapers socks on the bedroom floor), as June drives upstate to find her husband and chastise him for his sloppiness. The Reaper is on the trail of Amy who is crashing at Annabelle's house. Annabelle is bitten by Amy after Annabelle shuns Amy's advances and suggests that Amy turn herself over to the police for killing Annabelle's husband. Marcel is on his way to Annabelle's after winning Amy back on the phone. Ultimately, all the parties wind up arriving at the house at the same time and a final, bloody confrontation takes place. The Reaper hides and waits for Marcel with a jar of holy water. Just as The Reaper attempts to splash the holy water onto Marcel's face, his wife steps in the way. She becomes horribly scarred and is left writhing on the floor. The Reaper and the Narrator wind up in a Mexican standoff in the basement, while Marcel is lying on the floor blinded, after being shot in the eye. After a tense moment, they lower their weapons and the Reaper kills Marcel, despite the protests of the Narrator (who prefers to do it herself). The Reaper assures her that her unease at being a vampire will fade as her humanity fades, but it doesn't have to if she doesn't want it to. The Reaper vanishes off into the sunset, leaving the Narrator alone with Marcel's corpse.

With most of the cast dead, the film's epilogue follows the trail of Jimmy's mysterious, blood-laced marijuana, which has found its way into a rock concert inside a nightclub. After the joints are passed around liberally among the concert-goers (with second hand smoke filling the air), the patrons of the club are overcome and fall to the floor in a pile of writhing bodies, only to rise up as zombies and tear the band to pieces.