Two decades ago, a grown adult man like myself would be shamed for consuming as many animated television shows and movies as I do. But thanks to the efforts of people like Matt Groening, or Matt Stone and Trey Parker, there is now an entire market of cartoons for a mature audience. And that’s why I’m happy that I can shamelessly proclaim my love for a movie like Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires; the result of shoving a stick of dynamite into the ass of an Aardman claymation and slapping it across the face with an issue of Penthouse.
Chuck Steel is a self-described “maverick, renegade, loose-cannon, lone-wolf cop on edge.” Constantly scowling and flipping everyone the bird, Chuck Steel works alone. The only person he ever loved was his wife, but ever since losing her, he won’t let anyone get close (though that doesn’t stop him from hitting on every woman he sees). Every rookie cop he’s paired up with ends up dead, so it’s best not to get attached. He has a strong dislike of clowns (enough to shoot the television every time a clown appears on-screen), and he’s convinced that every politician is an inter-dimensional lizard-person in disguise. His wild ideas and disregard for the rules keeps landing him in hot water with the police captain Jack Schitt. And yet, he’s still the best goddamn cop on the force.
The year is 1986. The puritanical governor wants to discourage alcoholism among the homeless by cracking down on liquor licenses and closing bars early. It might be a good idea, considering the recent string of disappearances late at night. There’s no sign of where they could have disappeared to, only a puddle of blood at the scene. Luckily, they have a witness recovering in the hospital. But when Chuck Steel goes to probe the witness, he discovers an old man standing over the victim, about to drive a wooden stake into her.
The old man, identified as Abraham Van Rental, is detained and interrogated by Steel. Abraham warns of an invasion of “trampires,” homeless vampires who feast on the blood of drunk people. He explains that the woman in the hospital is about to turn, and the only way to kill a trampire is to pierce its liver. Sure enough, the woman turns into a bloodthirsty fiend, only to melt in the sunlight. Steel has no proof of the coming invasion. Worse yet, the entire police force has gone soft thanks to the anger management counselor encouraging them to get in touch with their inner feelings. Fortunately, like any overly macho meathead, Chuck Steel has no connection to his emotions, so it’s up to him and Abraham to fight the trampires themselves. Their wild adventure across the city leads to an epic final battle scene that increasingly becomes more and more ridiculous and gory.
“The characters are foul-mouthed, the humor is raunchy and every moment is pumped with testosterone.”
If you haven’t figured it out already, this movie is not for kids. The characters are foul-mouthed, the humor is raunchy and every moment is pumped with testosterone. Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a love letter to 80s action movies, complete with explosions, badass one-liners and hair metal blasting in the background. And like a lot of movies from the 1980s, many of jokes come off as sexist or homophobic. But to cry political incorrectness would be missing the point of Chuck Steel’s persona.
A lot of work went into this project over the past four years. Production started after the release of the short Chuck Steel: Raging Balls of Steel Justice in 2014, and that the animators took their sweet time with the feature. There’s so much going on in the background of every scene. I need to purchase this once it becomes available, just to see if I can pick up on any jokes I missed in the first viewing. I’m glad that the best gags from the short were recycled, and new recurring jokes were thrown in for good measure. From start to finish, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is absurdly entertaining, and is sure to generate gut-busting laughter from immature adults for years to come. I look forward to any future adventures featuring Chuck Steel. It all depends on the success of its worldwide release.
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires had its North American premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.
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