Friday, August 31, 2007

Vamp or Not? Hollywood Vampyr


Before I even sat down to watch this I was in a little bit of a quandary. If you check my ‘Vamp or Not?’ Rules of the Game I accept that if a character believes they are a vampire it leads a film to be of the vampire genre. I knew that this was about the Goth vampyr scene and that there would likely be characters who believed themselves to be vampyr.

This should have made this cut and dried but when I wrote the ‘rules’, which in fairness are more guidelines than hard and fast rules, I intended that those who believed actually thought they were undead – as in the supernatural description used in folklore and then adapted in literature and the movies. The vampyr scene may contain those who believe themselves to be vampyrs, but not necessarily what we would understand as the undead.

Jeff Marchelletta as TomWhen I watched the film the issue became more confused because although the film is set in and around the vampyr scene this is more or less ignored. Yes we get some fake fang, vampyr covens and prejudice against alternative lifestyle but the film is actually about self discovery. We have scene member Fatal (Nora Zimmett) who wants out and her tutor Tom (Jeff Marchelletta) who becomes sucked into the scene as he struggles with admitting his sexuality.

Trevor Goddard as BloodHowever the scene is just a back drop against which their voyages of self discovery are held. We do get the animosity between original scene leader Anubus (Mark Irvingsen) and the new power on the scene Blood (Trevor Goddard) and their fight for control. Plus we get interesting thoughts on discrimination in the wake of Columbine.

a ghostly visitationThere are some potentially supernatural elements but they are not really supernatural, or they are little explained. There have been suicides within the scene, at the urging of Blood who is described as setting himself up as the vampyr king, and one of these suicides subsequently ‘visits’ Fatal – however this is clearly representative of Fatal’s own psyche and struggle for identity.

Anubus drinks bloodFurther to this we get a scene where a young woman called Cerberus (Liz Bell) ‘hears’ Blood talking to her, urging her to suicide. However this seems less telepathic control and more symbolic of the brain washing that Blood, as a charismatic cult leader, has subjected her to. After she slits her wrist Anubus, whom she is with, does drink her blood but there does seem little consequence to both the blood drinking and the suicide.

Blood with FatalHerein lies the rub as this is not your average Brain Damage film. This had a lot of thought and pathos that was, unfortunately, almost lost within the poor storytelling aspects. It is a shame because for such a low budget film it was well acted and intelligent in concept.

ritual suicide girlsThere is also the fact that the actual film quality is of a low quality and the DVD sound transfer is poor indeed. This could have been tightened up into a strong character drama. However, even tightened up, I doubt I could ever say that this honestly belongs on the vampire filmographies, unless the presence of members of the vampyr scene is accepted by the viewer as enough to put it there. In this case I doubt it.

The imdb page is here.

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