There are many different approaches and techniques in editing a film and certain choices are made that greatly affect the presentation of the material. Lesbian Vampire Killers is a quirky and comedic play on a classic horror concept. Through the use of stylized cutting, sound effects, and pacing, this film takes on a new form as a slapstick version of a vampire thriller. Even without the comedic dialogue it would be pretty clear to an audience that this movie is not supposed to elicit real fear, anxiety, or suspense based on how it was edited. Cartoon-like sound effects accent the already exaggerated actions of the characters and the use of deadpan reveals is successful in evoking big laughs. Also, another characteristic of this film that sets it apart from the genre it is parodying is its transitions and comic-book location titles. All of these choices make this film create a sense of humor in an otherwise life threatening and terrifying circumstance.
One instance in which sound effects created a comedic play on action was the use of the “punch” noise when Fletch gestures while telling his story in reference to hitting a small child and losing his job as a clown. The sound effect takes an already absurd moment and frames it in a way that we are meant to believe the character is still quite harmless. Fletch’s pantomimed punch removes from his story, the dark truth of the crime, and replaces it with a very cartoon-like recollection of the story. Sound effects find there way into nearly every scene of this movie to exaggerate action and suspend disbelief. There are plenty of wooshing noises that signify Jimmy’s girlfriend, Judy, is in fact a vampire. The woosh we hear every time she moves is quite obviously hinting toward this.
This film does a lot of playing with cinematic time. The edit of many of the scenes affects the way we interpret a character. For instance, the priest is usually shown with a lot of sped up action because this presents him as a pro-active character. One example is when he is in his office and loads up the crossbow, his motion is accelerated to create a heightened sense of determination and immediacy of his action. This scene is presented as a call to arms moment. Another time that cinematic time is altered is for the sake of suspense. When the vampire queen, Carmilla, is being resurrected everything around the ritual is shown in slow motion with operatic gestures from the lesbian vampires and as our protagonist’s blood is being drained and mixed with that of the virgin, Lotte, music and slow-motion takes are effective in creating a boosted tension or suspense. This sequence is also intercut with fast paced shots of Fletch and the priest rushing through thick woods to come to their rescue.
Cutting is an important element in this movie as specific choices are made clear based on the reactions of the characters and hopefully the audience. Deadpan is a popular comedic editing technique. Holding on a character or characters’ reactions as they are faced with some new or strange sight before them makes the audience even more invested in what they are about to see. Prolonging this reveal and finally presenting something unexpected and out of place usually evokes laughter. For instance when Ms. Rossi is sitting on her desk, sternly addressing Fletch and we only hear his rebuttal and only see Ms. Rossi the pay off is that we’re given a hard cut to Fletch sitting, dressed in a clown suit and make up. It spins this employee-employer scene from a serious firing to reveal an absurd pretense to the entire situation. Also another important element in regards to cutting in this film is that during every fight scene we see lots of fast cutting to add more excitement and a frantic feel to these high-tension moments.
All in all, Lesbian Vampire Killers, though a genre-parody and comedic romp, is very successful at employing certain cinematic editing techniques that alter the perception and substance of the material. Everything that is funny about this film is exaggerated and played up to be even funnier because of its editing.