Nick Knight (Rick Springfield) is an ancient vampire who works as a homicide detective in L.A. He drives a ’59 Cadillac, watches sunrises on TV each morning, tans three times a week in a tanning salon, and his greatest wish is to be human again. Also, he has given up killing humans, instead drinking blood that comes out of a wine bottle. He has a goblet that could make him mortal, but he has to have a matching one to do the ritual; unfortunately, his vampire maker Lacroix (Michael Nader) has stolen the other goblet from the natural history museum. Meanwhile, someone is killing the city’s homeless by draining their blood, and the security guard from the museum was also killed in a similar way. Can Nick and his new, unwanted police partner find who’s doing the killings? It’s not Nick, is it?
Nick Knight is a cheesy movie, no doubt, but it is pleasantly fast-paced and stylish in an 80s way. I enjoyed the typical smartass cop show dialogue and I always like to gaze upon Rick Springfield. I did not like the emo shit about Nick’s loneliness and desire to be human. His partner (John Kapelos) is supposed to be unlikeable, but doesn’t really deserve the hate he gets from Nick and Nick’s one friend and confidant the pathologist (Robert Harper). The love interest, Dr. Alyce Hunter (Laura Johnson), isn’t very loveable. She follows Nick into the meat packing plant for his homoerotic confrontation with his creator when she was told to stay in the car, gets caught, and as a result Lacroix forces Nick to choose between saving her and the goblet he needs. (Just ONCE I’d like to see that cliched character, the one who follows the lead into danger when they’ve been asked not to and then gets caught thereby causing the lead to lose what they were looking for, sacrificed instead of saved in a situation like that!) The first fight scene between Nick and his maker is stolen straight from The Lost Boys, as is the vampire makeup. But the eclectic 80s soundtrack is kickass and the who part of the whodunit isn’t obvious.
I wonder if the idea of a vampire who is reluctant to kill humans is a modern invention. And what does such a character represent? Is he a superhero? A god? Does the vampire act of killing represent sex, and therefore the pacifist vamp is celibate? Most people would think they’d love to have magical powers, immortality, and the wealth accumulated over centuries of living, yet we so often imagine vampires as whiny bitches. Is it a way of making ourselves feel better about being mere humans, the way poor people imagine the rich to be soulless, or the school bully’s victim imagines the bully to be a secret coward? An unrelated question: what was the deal with our cultural obsession with archaeologists in the 80s?
This is not the best or the worst TV movie I’ve ever seen, but it did spawn the popular series Forever Knight. Fans of Rick Springfield will enjoy it, as well as 80s completists, Forever Knight fans, vampire nerds, and TV movie junkies.