Sunday, November 23, 2008

Honourable Mention – Night Angel

“From the dawn of history, she has plagued mankind. Many a mother has wept for a baby found dead in its cradle. Many a man has spurned true love for an eternity in her hell. The Babylonians built statues to honour her. The Jews carved amulets for protection from her evil. By many names is she known, from Kali in India, to Pele in Hawaii. She was created from dust when Adam was created, but no restful peace in dust will she find. She is Lilith: the temptress, seducer and destroyer, harlot of demons and enemy of love. And she shall stalk us forever, walking in the shadows, sowing the seeds of discontent, reaping a harvest of souls for her caller of hell.”

So begins the 1990, Dominique Othenin-Girard directed, flick. Now there isn't really a vampire aspect to this film – though there is a little lore correlation – but the quote helps indicate why I have given this an honourable mention. Lilith, as an archetype, is strongly tied into the vampiric mythology – indeed Montague Summers mentions her in his work. The Lilith myth can be varied but we shall look at it in more detail as we explore the film. Incidentally this was viewed via VHS so apologies for the screenshots.

The film itself starts off with Lilith (Isa Jank) rising from the earth as there is a lunar eclipse, at the same time her re-birth fills dreams. At one point she lifts up her hand and it is a claw – this seemed bird-like and I wondered if that was deliberate as Lilith is often connected with the screech owl. She cries and bangs it down and it takes human form. The next day at Siren fashion magazine we see that art director Craig (Linden Ashby) had dreamt of her re-birth when he flashes back to the dream.

A car pulls up outside a house, driven by Lilith. There is a man, Joseph (Sam Hennings), in the car with her – it is his house (he thought they might go to hers) and she reveals that she knows he is married but harbours dark sexual fantasies. She wants to be on the cover of Siren – which he owns. She drives off but, when he is in his bedroom, she appears again and comes on to him as his wife (Tedra Gabriel) sleeps. She slices his chest with her nail, as she rides him, and tastes his blood, when his wife wakes she slits her throat and when the son (Ben Ryan Ganger) enters the room she chases him away with power.

The next day and the magazine is shocked to hear of the triple murder. Sub-editor Rita (Karen Black) tries to keep the show on the road. As there was to be a party for the magazine, involving advertisers, it is to go ahead. Craig is there with Ken (Doug Jones) and their co-worker Rod (Gary Hudson) is there with a date. Rita introduces Craig to her sister Kirstie (Debra Feuer) then Lilith walks in. She makes a bee-line for Craig, licks around a bottle top and acts flirtatious. Kirstie draws Craig back and Lilith uses her powers to make her glass explode.

Ken ends up dancing with Lilith but Rod interjects and they almost fight over her. She leaves with Rod (who has abandoned his date) and Ken follows. He watches through a glass door as they get it on, breaking through and slicing his leg open. Ken follows her into a glowing elevator and falls down the shaft – dying. Craig sees all this in his dreams.

What we get is a relationship blossoming between Craig and Kirstie as Rita is seduced by Lilith and the magazine staff fall under her thrall. She will spread her evil by being on the cover of the magazine, inspiring destructive lust in all who see the picture (indeed at one point Craig becomes hypnotised by the picture as it comes to life). What she also wants is to take the soul of a man in love – in other words Craig – but it is that very love which may protect him.

We get the involvement of a voodoo type woman called Sadie (Helen Martin), who lost her man to Lilith years before and she is our main source of lore but, before Craig speaks to her, he ends up being dragged into Hell in a sequence that features genre favourite Phil Fondarcaro.

He is nearly lost at that point, Lilith going for the heart, but a piece of silver and amethyst jewellery that Kirstie made protects him, causing Lilith to reveal her demonic face. Sadie later suggests that it is the meaning of the jewellery and not what it is made of that is important but we also see Lilith react to a random piece of silver jewellery – the problem vampires have with silver is a well established piece of lore.

Sadie tells them that she was Adam’s first wife but one man was not enough for her – a little different to the myth I'm familiar with, in which she refuses to be dominated by Adam and wishes for equality thus insists that she goes on top during sex, but hey… She also says that to dispel Lilith she must be stabbed in the heart – Sadie has a specific ritual dagger for the task.

At the head of the film we get a monstrous face, brought on when Craig admits his love for Kirstie and this morphs further into a winged form and there was definitely something bat like in the modelling they used.

Not a vampire movie, as I mentioned, this has the elements I listed and also some more succubus type elements in the lust aspects – plus I guess we can safely say that she was a vamp whilst not a vampire. But it features Lilith and this is of genre interest. The imdb page is here.