Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires (15) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Mike Mort, UK, 2021, 90 mins

Cast: Mike Mort, Jennifer Saunders, Paul Whitehouse, Samantha Coughlan

Review by Colin Dibben

Chuck Steel is a pumped up and maxed out stop motion animation comedy homage to 80s action films. It is packed with gory horror fun that’s just right for Halloween.

After busting one too many sets of balls, cop Chuck Steel (Mort) is sent to see psychiatrist Dr Alex Cular (Saunders) by his cross-dressing chief Jack Schitt (Mort). As well as his testosterone issues, Steel is also still grieving for his wife, Lucy (Coughlan), who died at the hands of ninja terrorists some time back.

Meanwhile, out on the streets, a wealthy industrialist goes missing after a night out. Prime suspect is elderly, tweed-wearing Van Rental (Mort), who has a crazy story to tell: the disappearance is first strike in a vampire takeover of the world. This time, the undead are using tramps as their vessels.

Before long, Steel and Van Rental have teamed up to save the world and discover the truth about what happened to Lucy.

Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a real labour of love. BAFTA-winning writer-director-producer-actor Mort and his Animortal Studio team spent 3 years creating the film, which required double the normal shots per second for its action detail and gore.

The animators have previously worked on the likes of Chicken Run, ParaNorman and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Apparently, one animation unit spent almost the entire 3 years on the early car chase sequence – so yes, an intensive labour of love.

You may have caught the 2015 Chuck Steel short, Raging Balls of Steel Justice, on Film4 over the years. If so, you know what to expect: every cliché in the action/ cop film book turned into an outrageous animated gag. What’s new to the feature length is the horror aspect, which takes off in the second half. The timing seems about right – and what’s not to like about animated gore?

For me, the most disturbing animated sequence involves the Paul Whitehouse voiced character The Wise One (imagine a stunted Captain Caveman with a bulbous nose – or perhaps it is a knob end? – and a lit candle on top of his head). Just thinking about the hot wax drips make me wince, even now.

Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires. If this particular lantern-jawed, beefcake, maverick, renegade, loose-cannon, lone wolf, cop on the edge, who doesn’t play by the rules, is kicking ass and taking names at your local cinema this week he is well worth searching out.


Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is out at selected cinemas on 29 October 2021.