It began with a Reddit post on r/Ottawa: “Are there any good films set in Ottawa that you can really see the city?” A logical question for anyone wanting to see their hometown on the big screen. But the answer Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is anything but logical.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a cult film, for a reason. The editing, camera work, acting, and sound quality are far away from a box office hit. But it’s the plot that puts this movie well outside the mainstream: in Ottawa in 2001, the local Catholic priests are concerned about the worrying loss of lesbians in the city, all victims of vampire attacks. The worried priests team up with the literal Jesus Christ to karate-chop vampires and save Ottawa’s lesbians.
The film was directed by Lee Demarbre for his Ottawa-based Odessa Filmworks, and stars Phil Carecas as Jesus. To give the movie credit, it’s got some amazing cheeky humour: at the 5:53 second mark, the punk priest is seen reading an issue of the Ottawa Express with the sensational headline “NCC reports critical lesbian shortage: Fringe festival in jeopardy.” This gag alone makes the hour-and-a-half long film worth it, but then at the 8-minute mark you get to see Jesus offer two priests a swig of lemonade, and the jokes keep coming. At the 11-minute mark, the movie briefly turns into a musical romp down Sparks Street. I could go on, but you get the gist.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is definitely a cult film, but if you’ve ever gone to a midnight screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, then I’d highly recommend you make this Ottawa cult classic the subject of your next movie night.