Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honourable Mention: Vampz!

Whilst Vampz! Is available as a just over an hour piece via video on demand, it did start life as a web series and it is still available to view for free on YouTube (you can find the channel here) and so I decided to look at this as an Honourable Mention.

The Ramsey Attia directed series was the focus of a successful kickstarter campaign and starts off with a group of people, intercut for comedic value, talking to the unseen Simone (Lilly Lumière) as she interviews potential roommates. The three we see are Marcus (Ark Octavian), who believes in conspiracies about reptoids, vampires and werewolves, (and the credited as) Spunky Chick (Simi Richardson) and Pervert (Gerard Michael). By the end they all suggest Simone looks like a vampire; “I am a vampire” is her reply.

Lilly Lumière as Simone
Simone is a Goth and vampire wannabe. Her (paternal) twin brother Sam (Louis Bacigalupo) despairs of her. Simone wants to watch Bloodlust but it is on hiatus and Twilight is on in its place. There is someone at the door but when Simone sees cheerleader outfit and sparkly pom-poms she is going to shut the door in the girl’s face. The girl in question is Ashley (Christal Renee) and she is there about the room; Sam is smitten. The best way to describe Simone’s reaction is bitchy. However, Sam points out that she has turned down 32 roommates and the rent is due.

Marcus means business
As soon as her new roommate moves in Simone has a run in with her, taking umbrage at her Twilight poster (Simone has the Lost Boys and 30 Days of Night posters). Within dialogue we suspect that her issues come down to being left behind when friends join cliques but she really does come across as unfriendly. Ashley, on the other hand, whilst ditsy seems to just want to be friends. Meanwhile Marcus, our conspiracy nut, has decided that Simone is a real vampire and, given that he has been hunting them (and other creatures) for years unsuccessfully, decides he will take the Hell spawn out. He gets his very laid back friend Vin (Guy N. Ease) to give him a lift!

vamp face
Simone wakes from a dream of Ashley crawling over the bed to her – believing it to signify that she is becoming lesbian. She hears something and investigates. It is Marcus, replete with stake. He looks to attack her and she cries out that she isn’t a vampire when Ashley comes in to the room and states she is, giving vamp face and attacking the hunter. Of course what they have done is turn the stereotyped characters on their heads and, whilst it was fairly obvious that such a twist was what was going to happen, it still works nicely.

blood on chin
The reactions are interesting, Simone is terrified and then horrified that her “specialness” (the vampire persona she developed) is not so special. When Ashley spaces out (Marcus had taken cocaine and she is affected by the drug in his blood) Simone actually comes around and offers Ashley her own blood (essentially looking to be turned). Ashley is freaked out, not only because of the drug but because she hasn’t bit a person before (it appears she was biting dogs). She doesn’t know much about her condition but is certain that Marcus won’t turn as she has not fed him her blood – that was what happened to her.

Louis Bacigalupo as Sam
The appearance of a drunken Sam complicates matters further. As does the fact that Marcus isn’t actually dead and escapes the house, kidnapping Sam for good measure. He wants Simone to hand over Ashley but the girls then manage to take Van – and Van’s friend Dr Wu (Andrew Chien) – hostage and wants Sam back in return. If that sounds a tad absurd, at the point it happens it works and that is what can be said for the series as a whole. It works.

vampire eyes
That said it isn’t perfect and I felt, when watching it cut into a single feature, that it probably worked better episodically – that perhaps it needed a tad more editing in its long form. The dialogue interaction between Simone and Ashley was also a tad overworked and needed some subtlety adding. However the actors – one and all – did a great job, especially given it’s the first IMDb credit for all of them. I was impressed with the photography, it really showed an awareness of budget restrictions and worked around them.

unflattering picture
One thing I felt was lacking was some exposition. Dr Wu has argyrosis but I never really felt I understood how that came to be – something that, given it meant he had a blue face, should have been more explicit (argyrosis is caused by exposure to silver dust or chemical compounds of silver, however many in the audience would not necessarily know this). Without spoiling too much there is a “puppet master” behind the events (apparently) and this is foreshadowed by Marcus’ dialogue but the reasons why, how it was manipulated and what the person may be isn’t expanded upon. Perhaps that has been saved for a second season but it is frustrating as things stand.

That said, given the low budget and the inexperience of the filmmakers I was impressed with what I saw. The imdb page is here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

3 to murder – review

Director: Jeff Kirkendall

Release date: 1999

Contains spoilers

When I reviewed the Temptress I mentioned that this prequel short (which comes in at 40 minutes) was on the special edition DVD. I purposefully watched this second and there was no loss to the main feature by doing so.

The film seemed to be lower budget than the feature and, in its favour, the events – which display what happened before the immediate “present day” section of the feature – not only fit but had the same cast and even continuity for the costuming. It showed us why Ronnie (Tim Hatch) and David (James Carolus, Bloodlust (2004)) where in the house with Tina (Jennifer Lescovich) and Karen (Jennifer Birn) and the fate of the victim in there.

James Carolus as David
It begins with an alarm waking Ronnie. His special magazines have been taken by his mom (Ellen Williams) and a note left to that effect – incidentally if his mom was meant to be a comedy character, in her latter appearance, it just didn’t work for me. David is checking a haul of stolen jewellery and stabs a mirror with a knife (why, we don’t know, probably to show us he is badass and able to attack mirrors), Ronnie pops round to see him and mention is made that Ronnie is single. David suggests they go meet the three women who have just moved into a long abandoned house near Ronnie’s home. David has only seen them at night so they will go the night after, that night David is “working”.

poor lighting
Working consists of him and two friends – JoJo (Jason Palmer) and Cruze (Jeff Kirkendall, also Bloodlust) – doing a home invasion, handcuffing the woman (Mary Kay Hilko) and then killing her at the end of the robbery. We then cut to the next night, and Ronnie and David spying on and subsequently meeting the girls. The girls are sat outside as though it is day and I have to say that, although the lighting was inconsistent (a scene with Ronnie and David dramatically shifts in lighting quality depending on camera angle), there were none of the poor day for night scenes that the later film had. Karen and Tina want to go out on the town with the young men but Rachael (Eileen McCashion) blows them off.

Ronnie and Karen
Another night and Ronnie manages to get them an invite over to the house from Karen. We discover David is using the opportunity to case the house for a robbery but there is no honour amongst thieves and his criminal friends decide to case it themselves – JoJo then falling into Karen’s hands (off screen) and being the victim who then turns in the following film. Of course the girls are not all they seem and, having seen the next film, we know they are vampires. This is revealed right at the end through Karen.

Karen eats JoJo
The only additional lore we get is that the vampires do have reflections that vanish when they “vamp out”. For Tina, vamping out consists of dipping her finger in blood and then zoning out in a dreamy way. The film itself didn’t have the ambitious storyline of the next one, indeed the story was fairly hidden and I wouldn’t have been surprised to have found out that this had been filmed (or at least written) after the latter film or as part of it and subsequently edited out. The characterisation was nominal, leaving the characters two dimensional, and the dialogue delivery was amateurish. I don’t really see this one standing up in its own right, which is how I am scoring it. 2 out of 10.

At the time of writing the review there is no IMDb page.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Honourable Mention: Christmas at Draculas: Montage

Christmas at Draculas is, at the time of publishing this article, a forthcoming comedy written and directed by Simon Mckeon. The film is a no-budget production and yet the comedy has certainly got my attention firstly through the trailer and also through the sneak peak I managed to get of the prelude.

The prelude is just over 6 minutes and cleverly has been done in the form of a black and white silent film, replete with intertitles. It essentially tells the story of Dracula’s downfall – Dracula is played, in this, by Conor Dwane (and I’ll come to him in a minute).

witnessing purity
The idea is that for centuries Dracula was evil personified, terrorising mortals until he happened to look into the soul of Mina Harker (Mary Pappin). The scene where he looks deep into her eyes and sees this was reminiscent of Nosferatu and the idea that a woman with a pure heart would be the undoing of the vampire.

Conor Dwane as Dracula
Unable to attack her, Dracula ends up watching her, Jonathon (Colin Patrick Kelleher) and their daughter through the years. As he leaves Mina’s grave the montage seeps into colour for a brief moment. My understanding is that the full film sees Dracula at rock bottom and throwing a Christmas party for the various monsters and ghouls – so is pretty much a monster mash.

Now I said I’d come to Connor Dwane and I am struck by how much, at times, he reminded me of the great Bela Lugosi. Indeed the scene at the grave actually made me recall the test footage that Ed Wood shot of Bela, just before his death, for Plan 9 From Outer Space (though those shots are actually very different). What the prelude doesn’t offer you, being silent, is his vocal performance – but the trailer (at the foot of this article) offers a very good Lugosi-esque voice and delivery.

a mob
I have been asked to mention that the film will premiere 21st April 2015 at a special charity event for Saint Vincent DePaul UCC at University College Cork. Keep an eye on the film’s Facebook Page for more information.

The imdb page for the full film is here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vamp or Not? The Mysterious Lodger

When looking at the work of J Sheridan Le Fanu, specifically for vampire tales, there are three primary pieces. The obvious one is Carmilla, the classic tale of Styrian vampirism. The other two primary stories are Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter and Spalatro, from the notes of Fra Giacomo.

However I was reading Open Graves, open minds and the essay “Sheridan Le Fanu’s Vampires and Ireland’s Invited Invasion” by Julieann Ulin suggested that Le Fanu’s 1850 tale The Mysterious Lodger was a vampire tale. It wasn’t a story I was familiar with and so I dutifully checked it out.

The story is narrated by a man named Richard. He has a(n unnamed) wife, a daughter called Fanny who is 9 years old and a son simply known as baby who is 4, the family live in London. He makes great effort to point out that he was, as the events began, a secularist (despite his wife’s faith and the fact that his father had been a clergyman) and the story is very much one of faith and entities that seem to be agents of the infernal and the divine.

As the story begins he admits to being in debt and, so as to get out of said debt, the family decide to rent a room to a lodger. They do not have much luck getting a lodger until Fanny comes home and says she met an elderly gentleman (said to be fat, using a crutch and frightful looking) who gave her a sovereign and said he had a lodger ideal for her father. This lodger was said to be asthmatic but was prepared to pay a large sum and so, through the child, the tenancy of Mr Smith is arranged. If that all sounds a little odd, it is because it is.

Smith arrives late in the evening – after dark – and from the window Richard can see no more than a shadow. Opening the door he is faced with a man who wearing a long black coat and wide brimmed hat, a muffler across his mouth and leather rimmed, green googles. When he removes the muffler he has a cravat below it and wears a respirator over his mouth. The little amount of skin that shows is yellow.

Smith keeps himself to himself, but his arrival also marks the arrival of “a great, big-headed, buff-coloured cat.” I’ll remind readers, at this point, that Le Fanu tied cats and vampirism together in Carmilla as the titular vampire could transform into a cat. The servants say that they can often hear a second person (with a crutch) walking in the lodger’s room and there is an insinuation that this person (who remains unseen) is the elderly gentleman and is also the cat. Smith speaks to the wife and whatever he says (it isn’t recorded) rocks her faith so much that she is unable to pray. The household becomes more and more depressed in atmosphere. Richard tries to get Smith to leave but he refuses – having paid six months’ rent in advance. Indeed he even refuses when he is offered all his money back.

The wife dreams of her children being taken from her in a carriage. Smith is involved and when Fanny steps towards the carriage he insists “No, the baby first”. There is a man in the carriage that the wife describes as “full of beautiful tenderness and compassion” who suggests the baby is safe with him and will be delivered back to the wife when she comes. Fanny becomes ill but her illness breaks after she cries out in delirium about taking the baby first. Later Fanny describes Smith with the baby, though it seems to be a dream, “…He’s untying his handkerchief Oh! baby, baby; he'll kill baby! and he's lifting up those green things from his eyes; don't you see him doing it? Mamma, mamma, why does he come here? Oh, mamma, poor baby—poor little baby!"

When they check on him, the baby seems hotter than normal, his pulse elevated. When he dies it is suggested that he had suppressed small-pox or typhus. Later Richard actually catches the man with Fanny. “The respirator had been removed from his mouth, and… …the odious green googles raised. He was sitting, as it seemed, absolutely without motion, and his face was advanced close to that of the child.” She is described as being white and as rigid as a corpse, with her eyes dilated. She too eventually dies but the horror does not end there.

Richard catches Smith by her coffin, tapping on the wood whilst the cat perched on the child’s corpse. There is an altercation and Smith leaves but, after the funeral, tells Richard that the girl was buried alive. This would have been a telling twist to the story when it was published as the Irish Great Famine was still ongoing (1845-52) and there were known cases of people (and children) being buried alive in the mass graves. “There was the corpse—but not the tranquil statue I had seen it last. Its knees were both raised, and one of its little hands drawn up and clenched near its throat, as if in a feeble but agonised struggle to force up the superincumbent mass. The eyes, that I had last seen closed, were now open, and the face no longer serenely pale, but livid and distorted.

The events end when a kindly man who had befriended Richard is seen by the wife and she recognises the man in the carriage from her dream. He tells Richard to call to Smith, “in the name of the Most Holy”, and he will leave. So via this we see that the lodger and the cat/old man are agents of the infernal and the man an agent of the divine. In fact the wife likens herself to Margaret from Faust and this seems to be a Faustian bargain – monies given and torments received. We should remember that 5 to 6 years later Paul Féval would connect Faust and vampirism in the pages of the Vampire Countess. However, the Faustian connection plays no part in this “Vamp or Not?”

The description of Smith, his respirator and goggles, is astounding. Today we might say steampunk but for the time this really marked him as alien looking, very much the outsider – as the vampire archetypally is. What we do not know is whether he was feeding upon the children or not? It seems certain (whether viewed in a dream or physically) that he was the cause of the children’s deaths. If it was feeding then he is an energy vampire – but that is a supposition on the reader’s part. The vampire is known to spread disease and the idea of the vampire being an agent of the devil seems to fit. What Smith and the cat were trying to do with Fanny’s corpse is unknown. I doubt it was healthy resuscitation and we know that cat’s are tied in, in some traditions, to creation of a vampire. Where they trying to make her the living dead? We’ll never know.

The big problem for the ‘Vamp or Not?’ is deciding whether Smith was feeding. We can’t say and there is a chance that I am looking at this with too modern eyes but I am tempted to buy into the supposition. As such I’m going Vamp but fully appreciate if folks disagree.

The story can be found in J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 4, here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Honourable Mention: Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead

When I originally looked at Dead Snow I did so on the basis that, whilst it looked like a zombie film, it really wasn’t. The Z word was used once all film and these intelligent, tool using creatures appeared to be draugr. In the Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology, Bane suggests that “A draugr jealously guards its treasures and viciously attacks anyone who enters its tomb” and the Nazi restless dead came after the folks of the first film because they had taken the Nazi’s gold.

attacking Martin
This film, released in 2014 and directed by Tommy Wirkola, gives us a brief recap of the previous film and we see survivor Martin (Vegar Hoel) lose an arm – he is bitten and, not knowing that bites do not infect, he cuts it off at the elbow with a chainsaw. Martin is allowed to leave as he returns the gold but when he gets to his car there is one gold coin unreturned... The new story starts here as this causes a renewed attack. Martin manages to drive off with the Nazi commander, Herzog (Ørjan Gamst), clinging to the side of his car. A brush with a truck pulls the Nazi off the car – but he leaves an arm behind. Martin throws the coin onto the road and speeds off.

Herzog and his men
The truck stops and, whilst trying to give cpr, the trucker (Lars Sundsbø) gets his lips bitten off. Herzog retrieves the coin but the truck has the name of the town Tolvik written on it. As the film develops we discover that, before they were killed, Herzog and his troop had been given orders to kill all the residents of the town by Hitler in revenge for the sinking of a German destroyer. So the name of the game in this film is revenge, rather than greed.

the Zombie Squad
Martin crashes the car and wakes up in hospital, handcuffed as the police believe he killed his friends. The good news, he is told, is that they have reattached his arm – actually Herzog’s arm. At first this arm has a will of its own, for instance killing people, but eventually Martin gets control of it. He ends up escaping and in contact with a US anti-zombie group, the zombie squad – actually a group of well-meaning nerds who manage to get the fastest flight from the US to Norway ever (it would seem) and with them Martin looks to stop Herzog.

a new arm
The Z word is used lots in this film but, I will say again, they are not zombies (at one point the zombie squad’s Daniel (Martin Starr) suggests Martin has created “a whole new genre” of zombies). Herzog has Martin’s arm attached to his body by a Nazi doctor and it attaches through supernatural means. His men are depleted but he is able to raise further draugr. When he tries this in a German war grave it fails (the area is too warm and the bodies have rotted) and so he raises victims found en route – who all obey him. Martin later discovers that his new arm can both kill draugr and also raise the dead (and so he raises a troop of Soviet POWS killed by Herzog, hence the Red Vs Dead in the title). So we have necromantic, speaking, tool using, tank driving dead creatures – really not zombies.

weeping blood
But nor are they vampires, either. The reason for including this is more out of genre interest as draugr are often conflated with vampires in a mythology sense. I do wish the Norwegian characters had called them draugr and left the zombie descriptor to the American characters, as that is what they would seem to be. There is an interesting moment when Herzog enters a church and all the stained glass icons begin to weep blood – but nothing further was done with this. However there is plenty of gore and a streak of black humour a mile wide. Recommended.

The imdb page is here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Beverly Hills Vamp – review

Director: Fred Olen Ray

Release date: 1989

Contains spoilers

You’ve got to hand it to Fred Olen Ray, he kept pumping those films out (at the time of writing this review IMDb listed 136 directing credits) and this was probably the best known of his vampire films.

Unfortunately this one doesn’t have a DVD release (it is on instant video via Amazon US) but when Alex alerted me to its presence on YouTube then the time had come for it to receive the TMtV treatment.

the Big Book of Vampires
Where it starts ahead of some of Fred’s other efforts is that it is unashamedly a comedy and that actually excuses the worst excesses. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest comedy but bits work well and the cameo I’ll reveal later was just superb. It starts, however, with an intro piece by Professor Somerset (Pat McCormick) who asks us, “Vampires! Fact or lurid dime novel fiction?” He tells us that vampires benefit from us not believing in them and that this story comes from the Big Book of Vampires. An intercard has Fred telling us that the story is essentially factual.

Jay Richardson as Aaron
The opening scene of the story has a couple of cops checking out – and sampling – a whore house in Beverley Hills, of course the prostitutes are vampires and the cops become dinner. The actual main film itself follows three guys, Kyle (Eddie Deezen, A Polish Vampire in Burbank), Brock (Tim Conway Jr.) and Russell (Tom Shell). Have come to LA to break into movies. Kyle is the scriptwriter, Brock the director and Russell the cameraman and their one advantage is that Brock’s uncle, Aaron Pendleton (Jay Richardson, Tomb of the Werewolf & Haunting Desires), is a producer. He seems more interested in getting them to do crewing work on his next project, Motor Cycle Sluts in Heat (Fred Olen Ray is dying to direct it!)

the Vamps
Kyle has a girl back home, Molly (Brigitte Burdine), and gives her a ring. He is therefore reticent when the guys decide to buy some entertainment for the night (Brock has his Dad’s charge card with him). However he does go along and, after a daft condom buying gag, they get to the house in Beverly Hills. The butler Balthazar (Ralph Lucas) lets them in and soon they meet the three ladies of the house Jessica (Debra Lamb), Claudia (Jillian Kesner) and Kristina (Michelle Bauer, also Tomb of the Werewolf, Morgana, Evil Toons , Red Lips & Vampire Vixens from Venus). Kyle is taken along but changes his mind. The mistress of the house, Madame Cassandra (Britt Ekland, the Monster Club) tries to prevent him from leaving but he gets away despite her efforts.

bitten Brock
The next day, when the lads haven't returned, Kyle goes to the cops (who aren’t really interested), phones Molly for advice and then goes and sees Aaron. As they talk Brock comes in sporting a rather nasty looking hickey and a very pale complexion. His mind is a blank regarding the events of the night before but Kyle quickly realises that he is a vampire (with no reflection) and Kyle and Aaron go to get advice from a priest who was an advisor on an exorcism movie. The question of how Brock got to Aaron’s office during the day is glossed over with a suggestion that it might be because he is newly bitten.

cross on forehead
Now for the cameo I mentioned – Father Ferraro is played by none other than Robert Quarry (Count Yorga, Vampire, the Return of Count Yorga, Deathmaster & Madhouse). Quarry even gets to yell out, theatrically, “Begone Count Yorga”. Ferraro offers us our lore (and it’s all fairly standard) including the idea that killing the head vampire will free those newly bitten. Stakes (or other sharp objects, an umbrella is used later), holy water and crucifixes are good to kill vampires – Ferraro suggests slipping a cross into a female vampire’s cleavage will work a treat. So it’s off to save Kyle’s friends, meanwhile Molly is heading to LA…

holy water burns
This wasn’t bad, all things considered. As I said at the head of the review, the fact that it is a comedy rather than a straight film works in its favour. The in jokes (especially at Fred Olen Ray’s own expense) are knowing and the Robert Quarry cameo wonderful – he is phoned later to go over his advice and it sounds like he is conducting an orgy! It is not the greatest comedy, sure, but it is still amusing. The girls all look great, which is a bonus, and special credit to Ralph Lucas for his wonderfully campy performance as Balthazar.

The effects leave a lot to be desired, each dying vampire expelling shades of light before glowing and vanishing into nothing (and taking the offending stake or cross with them). An injured vampire bleeds green, by the way. The story is almost painfully simple but that also works in the film’s favour as it then relies on the larger than life characters to carry it, which they do. Overall this deserves a strong 5 out of 10 – it is well deserving of being the best known of Fred Olen Ray’s vampire flicks, as it actually is probably his best.

The imdb page is here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Temptress – review

Director: Jeff Kirkendall

Release date: 2002*

Contains spoilers

*IMDb gives the release date as 2003, the DVD box states 2002.

It is sometimes difficult, when watching a low budget independent movie. Clearly you are not going to get the professional effects of a higher budget piece and the acting might be of a lower standard but there are often things that make the film stand out as worthwhile – even if it is only heart.

There were some serious issues with the Temptress – in narrative and photography primarily. However you can see that writer, director and actor Kirkendall really believed in what he was doing. The DVD I used for review is the special edition, this included the short film 3 to Murder, a prelude to this film. I watched Tempress first and wrote the review before watching the prequel (which will be subject to a further article).

felt overexposed
The film starts with a garage and Eric (Matt Kennedy, Bloodlust (2004)) is getting ready to go camping (though the full amount of gear he and his girlfriend, Tina (Jennifer Lescovich), take seems to amount to a cool box, wine and glasses, two lanterns and two sleeping bags). The car journey takes us through the credits – the music seems odd and ill placed, though a change of theme later in the credits suits the film better. The photography sometimes becomes way too exposed, perhaps indicating that Kirkendall was not au fait with the digital camera that he was shooting with for the first time (according to sleeve notes included with the DVD).

Amy Naple as Angelique
The couple get to their spot and Tina informs him that it is meant to be haunted. The story goes that, some time before, a man was tempted through the woods by a beautiful woman but then woke up back at the camp – as ghost stories go it is pretty darn lame. Night falls; we can tell as the lanterns are on because the day for night shot doesn’t even bother with a filter to try and disguise the technique… it is broad daylight but let’s all simply pretend it’s not. A woman, Angelique (Amy Naple), steals a lantern after waking Eric and draws him through the woods. She wears a sharp finger sheath ring.

Eric with lantern
They get to a building and she makes him sleep, and then awakens him straddling him. Why she had the finger sheath is unknown as she sprouts long black nails and fangs. He struggles and (at times) she appears to be Tina. Then she calls herself Tina and vanishes. It is a diversion. Tina is being fed upon and turned by Angelique and another vampire, Rose (Mary Kay Hilko). By the time Eric gets back to the camp site Tina is gone. This is followed by a scene, presumably some time later, with Karen (Jennifer Birn) being kicked out of a car (for not putting out). The previous day for night shot technique is abandoned for actual night shots (the lighting is heavy handed but the value of shooting night shots at night has to be stated). Karen is mugged, and the mugger is then killed by the vampiric Tina who has happened along (but he accidentally shoots Karen during the struggle) and so the dying Karen is saved by Tina.

Cut to the modern day and Karen, Tina and Rachael (Eileen McCashion) have taken up residence in a house. As we start Karen is talking to Ronnie (Tim Hatch) whilst Tina is getting it on with David (James Carolus, also Bloodlust). David is intent on robbing them but Karen has left a male victim to turn by accident and it all goes wrong. We then get a convoluted story of Angelique trying to get Rachael back (as a lover presumably), other female vampires vying for power off Angelique (or trying to get back into her grace and favour) and the main girls (bar Rachael who is mostly not in the film) trying to lead a life away from the head vampire.

Ronnie with stake
It’s actually an ambitiously convoluted plot but, with a 67 minute running time (some of that mis-paced with certain scenes lingering too damn long – such as Tina dancing with David) and poor narrative structure, the story loses itself and ambition falls over I’m afraid. As for lore a stake through the heart (or a vampire draining another vampire) kills – though why David stakes one vampire (Heather Blossom Brown, also Bloodlust) in the stomach, causes her to collapse, drops the stake, leaves her to get up as he hides, eventually follows her for some distance... and then he stakes her with a branch (rather than staking her when she was down) was beyond me. The vampires lack reflections, the awful day for night shots confuse us when it comes to the impact of the sun on the vampires and Angelique is a pureblood, born a vampire.

clowning around?
Effects were sparse but the staking was effective. I do have to say that, when Tina ate the mugger near the start of the proceedings, the blood round her mouth made her look like she was wearing clown makeup – a shame, but mostly the blood effects were quite good. All in all this was poor but I appreciate that Kirkendall really was doing something he believed in and that is worth mentioning as there is an honesty present, even if the quality falters badly. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.