A Zappa and a Backstreet Boy walk into a bar… the press release practically writes itself. Vampire Burt’s Serenade opens in a great way with a slow motion chase and a crescendo of music.
You gotta catch up fast and keep up in Vampire Burt’s Serenade. Writer and director Ken Roht has created a low budget movie that takes its cues from classic cult films. Absurdist humor is the name of the game here. Oh, and did I mention it is also a musical? Title character Vampire Burt, played by Backstreet Boy Kevin Scott Richardson, comes out of the gate swinging, belting a song while stalking and biting his friend Todd.
Vampire Burt’s Serenade is posing as a stripper-vampire-zombie musical that is actually a love letter to the underground art fringe in Any Big City, USA. The burlesque performers and audience featured at Los Angeles’s “Bootleg Theatre” are authentic. Watching them, we could be in Chicago, New Orleans or Houston. Diva Zappa’s Connie is the friend many of us have. I picture Connie working on her burlesque costume at home in her studio apartment. The other burlesque performers, including two B-Boy dancers are friends you might have in, say, Silver Lake. Pick your favorite hipster urban neighborhood, where surrealism and irony are built into the landscape. Sharon Ferguson nails it as photographer and avant garde performance artist Claire Dare Human. There are truisms in this movie.
Wearing street clothes, sans cape or any of the usual vampire garb, Kevin Scott Richardson is committed 100 percent to his performance and he does a remarkable job portraying remorseless douchey Hollywood vampire Burt.
In this world humans and vampires live together in an uneasy truce. And Vampire Burt seems to live strictly in the id of the Vampire Life, attacking any humans for his blood lust, no matter the consequences. This sets off a chain of events after he bites his friend Todd, who then goes on to bite stripper Connie, who is subsequently turned into a zombie. Yes. Her Squad of vengeful stripper friends vow bloody retribution, determined to kill Burt. Sex, blood, rock n’ roll, vampires, zombies, strippers… settle in and break out the popcorn.