The 90’s sure were a strange time. After finishing up his involvement with the Nightmare on Elm Street series, but before Scream, Wes Craven directed a romantic vampire comedy starring a post-Beverly Hills Cop, pre-Shrek Eddie Murphy.
Yes, that really happened, and the result is a very bizarre film, that’s quite fun if you’re in the right mood for it. So in honor of its 25th anniversary today, let’s take a look at 25 fun facts about Vampire in Brooklyn!
1. In addition to starring, Eddie Murphy also produced the film and helped co-write it.
2. As producer, Murphy sought out Wes Craven to direct, as he was a fan of Craven’s horror films.
3. His original goal was to play the role more serious and sympathetic, however Wes Craven (and Paramount) wanted a more comedic tone.
4. According to screenwriter Chris Parker, Paramount even told them “We want this movie to be funny. Eddie Murphy does not want to be funny. It’s your job to trick him into being funny.”
5. According to Murphy, he only agreed to do the film in exchange for Paramount giving him the rights to The Nutty Professor.
6. It wound up being his last movie with the studio, as The Nutty Professor was distributed by Universal one year later.
7. Initially Murphy wanted Jada Pinkett Smith to play the role of Rita, but she turned it down. The two would work together soon after on the aforementioned Nutty Professor.
8. Angela Basset’s stunt double Sonja Davis tragically passed away during a stunt gone wrong in the movie. It involved a backwards fall over 40 feet.
9. Davis’ family filed a wrongful death suit against Paramount and Eddie Murphy’s production company alleging that proper safety protocols were not met, and that Davis herself was hesitant about doing the stunt.
10. Eventually, California’s Division of OSHA issued 4 citations to Paramount and fined them $29,000. However the plaintiff in the wrongful death suit passed away in 1996, and there’s no information about the case after that (presumably it was dropped).
11. Despite its title, only 3 out of the 55 days of production were shot in New York City. The rest was done in Los Angeles.
12. A few cast/crew pointed out Eddie Murphy’s odd behavior on set, including never coming out of his trailer, and having “spies” all over to see if people were talking about him.
13. Shot by director of photography Mark Irwin, who previously worked with Wes Craven on New Nightmare, and would do so again with Scream.
14. Some have pointed out that in many ways, Vampire in Brooklyn is a “horror remake” of Coming to America. Both films feature Eddie Murphy playing a foreigner who arrives in the US and attempts to find a women.
15. On the last day of shooting, Eddie Murphy allegedly gave an Irish goodbye and just took off in a limo when there were still several hours left of shooting.
16. Vampire in Brooklyn was the final film appearance of Ray Combs, who passed away 8 months after it was released.
17. Grossed $19.8 million on a $14 million budget. While it wasn’t a flop by any means, it was considered a disappointment and failure by Paramount, especially considering Eddie Murphy’s star power and Wes Craven’s name recognition in horror.
18. It also came out to a slew of negative reviews, receiving only 1 out of 4 stars from Roger Ebert.
19. Even now, it currently holds a 12% tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
20. In the years since, many critics have reassessed the movie and it has thus become something of a cult classic.
21. Eddie Murphy blames the film’s failure on his long hair wig, which he felt people were repulsed by.
22. The wig itself proved very troublesome, as they had a hard time not seeing Murphy’s hairline during close up shots. Today, it would be easy to remove it via CGI, but in 1995 it wasn’t possible.
23. Wes Craven puts the blame on Eddie Murphy, whom he says was difficult to work with.
24. Only two months later, in December 1995, another vampire comedy was release, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (which also flopped critically and financially).
25. It remains of two movies to feature “vampire” and a NYC borough in the title, the other being 2020’s Vampires vs. The Bronx (check out our full review here).
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
Vampire in Brooklyn is currently streaming on Tubi