Movie Name: I, Desire
Studio: Columbia Pictures Television
Release Date(s): November 15, 1982
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
A vampire is stalking the streets of Los Angeles and student David Balsiger (David Naughton) seems to be the only one who believes it. Patrolling the streets at night for the mysterious killer, David finds his life turning upside down. The vampire, however, might be closer than David ever believed.
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, I, Desire was retitled Desire, the Vampire after it aired in 1982. The made-for-TV movie originally aired on ABC on November 13, 1982.
I saw this movie when I was pretty young and it terrified me. I can remember the ending of the film in particular which has the showdown with the vampire…and when combined with Salem’s Lot, it did put a fear of vampires in me. Watching the movie now, I still tense up a bit near the ending but also see that the movie isn’t as scary as I remember.
The story actually is quite dull and the movie really doesn’t pick up until the ending sequence. Most of the early scenes just have David trying to find the vampire among prostitutes and talking to the police. The last sequence however in the penthouse does have some fun moments of tension, but they are undercut by a vampire that just doesn’t have much screen presence.
David Naughton was an up-and-coming actor at the time. He had made a name for himself as the “Dr. Pepper Guy” in the “I’m a Pepper” commercials and had just made An American Werewolf in London. He’s paired with Oscar nominated Brad Dourif who also believes in the vampire and spars with Dorian Harewood who’s playing a detective on the case. Barbara Stock plays the seductive vamp and Marilyn Jones plays David’s fiancée.
The movie looks like a TV movie. In the late ’70s and early ’80s there was a real horror boom on made-for-TV movies. These movies often were better at building suspense due to the lack of gore they could show. I, Desire does a decent job at times building the suspense through the visuals, but it does look very cheap (and it also doesn’t help that mostly only bootleg copies are available).
I, Desire comes off as a bit of a rip off of something like Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The movie has its moments and will scare younger viewers. I still can enjoy the movie but I also recognize that it isn’t the best of the made-for-TV horror. Still if you are a fan of the genre, you might seek it out be it called I, Desire or Desire, the Vampire.