This throwback vampire Western wastes the talent of James Woods, and revels in mean-spirited gore, gratuitous female nudity and repellent violence against women. Derived from John Steakley's novel Vampire$, it pitches Vatican-backed vampire slayer Jack Crow (Woods), his portly sidekick Tony Montoya (Baldwin) and naive young priest Adam Guiteau (Guinee) against Valek (Griffith). The 600-year-old bloodsucker is seeking the legendary Berziers Cross, a religious relic that will allow his nocturnal cohorts to stalk the Earth in broad daylight. Eschewing what Crow characterises as the 'Eurotrash fag' approach to vampire mythology, Carpenter opts for a tough, macho beat-'em-up style. The bloodthirsty creatures get staked, decapitated and torched, the last accomplished by dragging them into the New Mexico sunlight to spontaneously and spectacularly combust. Only one scene, in which Valek and his followers emerge from beneath the desert sand at dawn, hints at the stylish genre film-making with which Carpenter established his reputation.