I wrote about Vamp as part of As Much as I Can, As Black as I Am: The Queer History of Grace Jones by Barry Walters.
Grace Jones fascinated me at a young age (seeing her as a kid while watching Conan the Destroyer with my dad both scared and excited me), but I didn’t become obsessed with her until seeing the movie Vamp at a sleepover in 1986. In the film, Jones plays Queen Katrina, a wicked vampiress running a strip club somewhere in Kansas (naturally). She makes her first on-screen appearance nude, save for a red bob wig and full body paint, doing a seductive dance that is as bizarre as it is weirdly erotic. At the time I didn’t really know much about her music (I was 11 years old and lived on a farm) nor could I appreciate that her body paint and the chair upon which she writhes were done by Keith Haring. The film is glorious ‘80s trash of the highest order, but Jones manages to transform the whole thing into high art by virtue of simply being there and, even though she’s playing the undead, sort of just being herself—beautiful, artful, exotic, and frighteningly wild.