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Bruce Campbell Gives Candid View on His Forgotten Vampire-Western’s Misleading Marketing

Bruce Campbell Gives Candid View on His Forgotten Vampire-Western's Misleading Marketing


  • Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
    is a fun flick according to Bruce Campbell, even though he is not in it as much as suggested.
  • The unique horror-Western mash-up may have a perfect 100% Tomatometer score, but audience reviews are mixed.
  • Rediscovered on streaming, this forgotten gem features a vampire civil war in a Western-style backdrop.

Bruce Campbell has made his fans all nostalgic for one of his mostly forgotten movies – the 1989 release, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat. In an exchange on his X/Twitter account, Campbell responded to comments on the vampire-Western mash-up movie’s misleading poster and marketing, which suggested a much larger role for Campbell in the movie, in which he starred with veteran actor David Carradine.

Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is set in a tranquil desert town named Purgatory where a vampire civil war threatens the peace. A community of vampires striving for a normal life with the help of an artificial blood factory finds itself at odds with traditionalists who prefer the old ways of human hunting. Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989, this unique horror-Western mash-up was so obscure that it was only ever reviewed by two critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and although that isn’t enough for an official percentage, it technically means it holds a perfect 100% Tomatometer score.

However, the film didn’t score quite as well with audiences, sitting on a 53% approval rate, with several noting that Campbell’s role is “shoehorned” into the film to tap into his fan base. Campbell admitted as much in his post, saying:

Posters are often deceiving. It’s a marketing thing. I’m not in it much, but then neither is David Carradine. It’s a fun flick. Beautiful scenery. Looney cast. Not too many horror/westerns out there.

Even with this in mind, the audience score for Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is a little rough, as the film does not have many bad reviews, and seems to mostly land on middle ground for a lot of people. It is called cheesy, cheap and forgettable, but that is exactly the kind of movie Campbell has made his business for much of his career, and the reason his legions of fans love him.

Bruce Campbell’s Lost Gem Was a Unique Blend of Genres

Directed by Anthony Hickox and co-written with John Burgess, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat is an eccentric blend of genres that, at the time, was a relatively unique concept. The setting of a vampire civil war in a Western-style backdrop is a combination that has never been revisited in modern cinema, giving the film the edge of being a standout in its own sub-genre, at a time when filmmakers were not afraid of trying something new.

Like many long-forgotten movies, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat has been rediscovered thanks to its arrival on streaming – in this case, via The Roku Channel. With both the horror and Western genres being constantly popular among their respective fandoms, the addition of Campbell and Carradine – even in smaller than marketed roles – is just an extra reason for those coming across the movie to check it out.


20 Highest-Grossing Vampire Movies of All Time (Adjusted for Inflation)

These movies had all the bite at the box office.

For Campbell himself, there are plenty of things on the horizon, including a potential return to the MCU following his cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and more involvement in the future of the Evil Dead franchise, even if that is sadly not in front of the camera as Ash Williams.

Sundown: The Vampire
in Retreat is streaming now on The Roku Channel.

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