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CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S “ASSISTANT”

"Another Vampire Sage for Teenagers"

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What You Need To Know:

CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT is very loosely based on the first two novels in a 12-part series for juvenile readers. A teenager named Darren steals the pet spider from a vampire in a bizarre freak show that includes a Wolf Man and a woman who grows back her arm after the Wolf Man bites it off. When the spider bites his best friend, Steve, Darren asks the vampire to give him the antidote so he can save Steve’s life. The vampire agrees, but only if Darren will let him turn Darren into a half vampire and become his assistant in the freak show. Darren agrees. Then, Darren and Steve become involved in a civil war in the vampire community.

THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT moves at a much faster pace than the HARRY POTTER movies. Also, it doesn’t take itself so seriously, so it’s intentionally funnier. This is another plus, as are some of the movie’s more morally uplifting elements. Even so, the movie contains strong occult content in a story about a war between “good” vampires who refuse to kill humans and evil vampires who do. This warrants extreme caution.

Content:

(PaPa, OO, BB, AB, PC, LL, VVV, S, N, A, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with strong occult content and some strong moral elements, plus a joke is made about using a cross to ward off vampires that could be taken as anti-Christian, but there is no other serious overt or implied anti-Christian content, so it’s more of a light moment rather than a pointed attack, and a school teacher makes a false politically correct comment about the Cold War and nuclear weapons; about 13 obscenities and five light profanities; brief very strong violence and plenty of strong, sometimes scary action violence includes Wolf Man bites off woman’s arm, and it grows back, vampires bite people and other creatures, vampires fight each other with their clawed fingernails, vampire snaps teenager’s neck and pitches him off roof of house, large spider bites teenager on cheek, and he is shown later in a coma at the hospital, little gnome-like creature bites teenager’s hand and tries to bite other people’s hand, evil vampires tie four people up and threaten them with death, two teenage boys turned into vampires fight, vampire nicks fingers of two teenagers, teenage vampire considers attacking his little sister but stops himself, teenage villain and vampire friends kill one of his teachers, and a cannibalism joke about two people eating a finger; no sex scenes but teenagers kiss; brief upper male nudity; brief alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes kidnapping, villains hold people hostage, vandalism, stealing, and lying.

More Detail:

CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT is very loosely based on the first two novels in a 12-part series for juvenile readers about a teenager who gets caught up in a war between “good” vampires and “bad” vampires. The book series is titled THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN, but the first two books are called CIRQUE DU FREAK and THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT.

The movie’s story, which has been changed from the books in several important ways, opens with the funeral of teenager Darren Shan. While his family and his best friend, Steve, grieve at the cemetery ceremony, the camera shows that Darren is still alive in his coffin. Darren then starts narrating how he has become part vampire.

After getting in trouble at school with Steve, Darren and Steve receive a flyer from a mysterious, bald fat man named Mr. Tiny. The flyer directs them to a performance of a freak show billed as Cirque Du Freak. Darren and Steve sneak out to attend the freak show’s first performance at a rundown theater.

Darren says he has always loved spiders while Steve has always loved vampire stories. Darren is amazed by Larten Crepsley, a funny looking but distinguished man, dressed in old-fashioned clothes, who has an act involving a large, brightly colored spider named Madam Octa. Steve recognizes the man, however, as the spitting image of a vampire in one of his vampire books. The police break up the show after a couple of the bizarre acts, which also include a man with an extremely tiny waist, a Wolf Man, and a woman who grows back her arm after the Wolf Man tears it off.

Afterwards, Darren sneaks backstage to steal Madam Octa the spider. While hiding, he overhears Crepsley talking to another man about some kind of vampire war. Then, he overhears Steve asking Crepsley to turn him into a vampire. After tasting Steve’s blood, however, Crepsley says that Steve’s blood is “bad.” He refuses to turn Steve into a vampire, and Steve goes away very angry.

The next day at their high school, Steve accidentally lets Madam Octa out of her cage in the hallway. With dozens of students screaming loudly, Steve tries to kill Octa, but she bites him instead.

That night, with Steve in a coma, Darren returns to Crepsley and asks him for an antidote to save Steve. Crepsley agrees, but only if Darren agrees to let him turn Darren into a half-vampire and become Crepsley’s daytime assistant in the freak show. To save Steve, Darren agrees, but he has to fake his own death so he can leave his parents.

Now that Darren is part vampire, Crepsley takes him to the freak show’s winter camp two states away. There, Darren learns that, years ago, Crepsley and two of his friends decided that vampires don’t need to kill their victims or turn them all into vampires to live. Instead, all they need is to drink a little human blood periodically to stay alive. Half the vampire community agreed to accept this new way, so they could avoid being harassed and killed by angry townspeople. Half the vampires did not accept this, however, and a war broke out. Now, however, a truce has been declared between the evil vampires, now called vampaneze, and the “good” vampires.

Sadly for Darren and Crepsley, the villainous Mr. Tiny (who seems to be an evil magician of some kind) has enlisted Steve’s help to re-kindle the civil war among the vampires. Mr. Tiny’s vampire henchmen turn Steve into a vampire. After killing one of Steve’s teachers, the gang threatens the lives of Darren’s parents and a teenage girl that Darren met at the freak show’s camp. They kidnap them and get a message to Darren to meet them at the rundown theater. Darren goes off on his own, but during the day while Crepsley sleeps in his coffin. Will Crepsley awake and arrive in time to help Darren?

THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN series is similar to the HARRY POTTER series, except it is set in the world of occult monsters. This first movie, however, has a tighter plot structure than the first few HARRY POTTER stories. Thus, it moves at a much faster pace. Also, it doesn’t take itself so seriously, so it’s intentionally funnier. This is a plus.

Although THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT doesn’t take itself too seriously, it still contains occult content and some very strong violence amid plenty of action violence. The worst of that violence is the Wolf Man biting the arm off the woman who can grow her limbs back. The movie also makes a joke about cannibalism and a joke about using the image of a cross to ward off vampires. Finally, it has some obscenities.

Despite the occult content, being a vampire is not viewed as a good thing by the movie, including Darren’s vampire mentor. Thus, Darren refuses to drink any blood until he is forced to do so in order to get some vampire powers to save his family and protect himself from the evil vampires. Finally, when asked why he turned Darren into part vampire, Crepsley replies that he had a hunch that Darren needed to be protected, and this was his solution. As it turns out, Darren did need protection from the vampaneze supporting Mr. Tiny’s evil scheme to end the vampire truce.

Apparently, the story in the first two books has been streamlined in significant places for this first movie. Major characters and incidents have been cut out, which seem to tone down the seemingly stronger pagan and occult elements in the 12-part series. For example, in the books, Mr. Tiny is depicted as a God-like being, vampires believe they have evolved from wolves, some creatures can be resurrected without Jesus Christ, and there is talk in the later books about going to a pagan type of vampire paradise. Thus, while this movie gets only an extreme caution from MOVIEGUIDE®, we do not recommend the book series, especially the later books, where the author creates his own false, imaginary, unbiblical, and abhorrent pagan world. The best thing for everyone would be not to make any more movies in this series.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.