Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vamp or Not? Traitement de Choc

dvd set

The appearance of this film within the (almost) indispensable tome by David Pirie “The Vampire Cinema” was enough to have me look at Alain Jessua’s 1973 thriller. However, being in “The Vampire Cinema” is not, necessarily, evidence that a film is a vampire film – Pirie does add some questionable entries, primarily around the zombie genre.

This French film was released in Britain as “Doctor in the Nude” – not an inaccurate title as there is a naked frolicking in the sea scene, with the main Doctor, Devilers (Alain Delon), and his rich patients. Be that as it may, the title does distract from the concept of a film that (other than the frolic) is mainly thriller.

Hélène (Annie Girardot) is a fashion house director who feels overworked and exhausted. She goes, at the suggestion of her friend Gérôme (Robert Hirsch), to Dr Deviliers institute – a health farm for the very rich on the Brittany coast. On route she notices a truck full of young men – she later learns from Portugal, who have been imported to work at the institute.

Hélène and GérômeAt first all seems fine, Hélène undergoes standard beauty/health treatment whilst the gruff Dr Bernard (Michel Duchaussoy) runs tests and they await the return of Deviliers from Paris. Gérôme leaves the institute as he has business to attend to and Hélène finally meets Deviliers. She admits that the reason she has gone there was because her lover jilted her for a younger model. She can see the march of time and wants to do something before it is too late.

the treatmentHaving signed a permission form she undergoes the first treatment. The treatments always take place at night, the guest is injected, knocked out and wakes feeling rejuvenated – bring on the naked sea frolics. Of course, we just know that all is not as it should be… or I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it!

Things start to go off kilter when Gérôme arrives back at the institute and Hélène realises that he is being booted out as he is broke. He spends the night with her (not in that way, get your mind out of the gutter… they are friends and he is gay) and he suggests that she get away, and that the treatments are addictive. In the morning he is gone.

Alain Delon as DeviliersHe is found on nearby cliffs, quite dead, apparently a suicide. We never do get to the bottom of this but can assume that he wasn’t a suicide and that there is something creepy going on. Upset, Hélène decides that leaving is an option. Deviliers tries to dissuade her and states that they cannot be held accountable for an interruption in treatment.

fainted workerShe is still going to leave but one of the Portuguese workers asks her to take him with her. Instead of agreeing she decides to stay and, at this point I felt that the film lost its way a little. The worker later faints and is taken off by Doctors, Hélène has a tantrum at this and is told that it is because her treatment has been interrupted, is injected again and feels great. She is told that the worker has been sent home but is suspicious.

However, what I couldn’t see was her motivation. She wasn’t a detective or journalist, she was a fashion designer who stumbles onto oddity and yet stays to investigate it as though driven to do so, even sleeping with Deviliers to get closer to the answers. I couldn’t see why someone asking to leave with her would spark her curiosity and cause her to stay. The motivation seemed non-existent.

taking a little bloodBe that as it may, she discovers that the treatment she and the other wealthy guests receive is meant to have something to do with sheep stem cells but, in truth, has more to do with blood being drawn from the foreign workers. Here the film begins to fail us again. The little blood we see drawn doesn’t seem enough to cause the illness within the workers that we see – though I am no expert. We do not know exactly what it is about the blood that rejuvenates the guests either.

the whole body is eventually usedWe see some processing through test tubes and we also discover that eventually the whole of the worker’s flesh is harvested to go into the treatment but none of that answers the whys and wherefores. Indeed the film doesn’t even hit us with pseudo-science. It simply remains silent.

Candomblé sacrifice?Could there be a supernatural element? We hear that Deviliers had been in Brazil for some time. Whenever we see something in film that is related directly to the mystery we hear rhythmic drumbeats. We see a picture of a human sacrifice in a book. Was there some sort of hint at a dark form of Candomblé? If there was it was subtle and not well explored.

This is the main frustration of the film. I didn’t think there was as much tension as there could be but also we know they are doing something bad but we do not know why exactly, or how the treatment works. We do not know why Hélène remains. The film simply does not explain itself very well?

Is it vampire? Vampires are mentioned, a policeman actually states that Hélène is talking about vampires when she tries to explain the situation. These would be modern, scientific vampires however – using blood to rejuvenate the rich in ways unexplored. The parasitical nature of the rich and the exploitation by the bourgeoisie of the proletariat is a clear message within the film. The film itself, deserves a mention within the genre but these are not your supernatural vampires and strictly speaking it is of genre interest and little more.

The imdb page is here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Film: Highgate Vampire

Paul W is being a powerhouse when it comes to links. He sent me this link to a trailer for Highgate Vampire.

The synopsis is as follows: “Highgate Vampire tells the story of four American teenagers Cathy, Amy, Salem* and Alex - who all meet on the Internet, and decide to get together for a weekend of fun in London's Gothic Camden Town.

“As they take a guided tour around one of London' s Victorian cemeteries they hide amongst the ancient graves and are locked in for the night. Darkness falls, and mysterious things start to happen as the spirit of the Highgate Vampire takes them over.

“Being a vampire has its challenges, and through the film we watch the characters battle with good and evil, love and hate, and with what it means to have been granted the ultimate power to kill. Be the hunter or the hunted? Now you must decide.”

The trailer looks good – the use of Tool for the music an excellent choice in my book. However nip on over to the official site and you can watch a 4 ½ minute preview that looks very classy indeed.

This is also meant to be a multiplatform event, both as a film and as an online game. More details as they emerge.


*As an aside, and no disrespect to the film, but I find the name Salem amusing as our rather large, rather wolf-like Utonagan puppy is called Salem... so there you go.

Honourable mentions: The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror: Hoodoo Voodoo Brouhaha


Some of you will be aware that the Treehouse of Horrors episodes number amongst my favourite Simpsons’ episodes. The Hoodoo Voodoo Brouhaha is the Treehouse of Horror in comic book form and does, in parts, mention vampires.

However, vampires do not feature in the main stories, which have a Poe based theme, a Jack the Ripper retelling and a Lord of the Rings parody amongst their number. There is a little sub-section entitled “Bart and Lisa’s tips for when Dracula moves next door.” A vampire also features as V in an alphabetic run of horror limericks.

That feature underlines perhaps the issue with the volume. It is stylistically aimed at a children’s market – no bad thing necessarily. It does contain content that is perhaps a little too gory/horror based for younger kids. The older kids, however, will love it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two New Movies

Picked up post-Cannes by Big Screen Entertainment, Paul W sent me a link to the Quiet Earth article about French vampire movie Sodium Babies. Some checking around found a MySpace page and Dread Central carried the following synopsis:

Sodium Babies is the story of Maurice, who in 1973 is very happy to be getting out of the Army and back to his lady. He’s not able to rest for long, however, as Max, an evil ghoul, forces him to enlist in The Fellowship. Maurice is then sucked into 30 years of servitude, just waiting for his chance to get back at those who wronged him

Check the trailer below:



Also just announced is the concept that Bollywood is to launch the career of Aditya Narayan as the star of a vampire movie named Shapit – which translates as Cursed – details are sketchy, but it seems he will be “playing a cursed fella who turns a blood sucking vampire all thanks to some curse given to him by a jilted lover. The curse is given to ensure that he never gets intimate with the gal he loves… if he gets intimate with any girl then he would end up killing her by sucking her neck blood

I find the article interesting as it states “to debut as a Dracula” and it really does seem that the name Dracula is becoming, more and more, a generic name for vampire rather than the name of one individual, but highly influential, character.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Romance of the Vampires – review

dvd

Director: Ricky Lau

Release date: 1994

Contains spoilers

An odd Hong Kong movie, in that the vampire premise is entirely Western – though the lore is a little odd in places – but sub-genre wise Romance of the Vampire really doesn’t know what it wants to be.

It is clear that Ricky Lau wanted to try something different to the more traditional, kyonsi based, vampire films he had previously made. Its just I don’t think he quite knew what. Is this a romance, it certainly has aspects of unrequited love and a love through lifetimes’ theme that owes a debt to Dan Curtis. It drips with melodrama in places and yet it has that slightly off-kilter, rude Chinese humour and a softcore sex drama aspect.

impractical coffinThe story sees vampires Moon (Mondi Yau) and Fung (Ben Lam) move to Hong Kong. As I mentioned these are very much Western vampires. They have retractable fangs, avoid sunlight and have a coffin – okay it is a glass coffin, which wouldn’t offer much protection from the sun, but it is a coffin.

They start to use an escort Agency where Cheung (Louie Yuen) works as a guard for the escorts. One of the escorts is Rainbow (Yvonne Yung Hung). She works as an escort as she is blind and is saving for an operation that will hopefully restore her sight.

Ben Lam as FungFung sees a picture of Rainbow and she looks just like his lost love – lost when his vampiric urges overcame him and he ate her. He meets Rainbow when her ex-boyfriend Kwai Chung (Billy Chow) kidnaps her. Kwai Chung took her sight and has spent five years in jail as a result – he wants compensating for the jail time! Fung saves her.

He woos the girl, much to the disgust of Cheung who is in love with her also. Worse than having a jealous mortal is having a jealous vampire and Moon is envious of the romance as well. Of course Rainbow doesn’t know what Fung actually is.

walking into the sunThe lore, as I said, was a little odd. It seems that Fung’s hands can glow and this glow can heal wounds (though not eyesight) and create diamond necklaces. When Rainbow’s operation fails Feng decides to sacrifice himself to save her sight. He walks into the sun – which seems to cause lightning to course up and down his body.

staked by crucifixSuddenly he is crispy and crying blood tears that are gathered and used to restore her sight. Other than that things are fairly standard, it looked like garlic worked against the vampires and a crucifix in the heart seemed to work as a weapon – the crucifix glows when used.

a healing potion for vampiresWe also discover that the vampires must be careful as to the blood they drink. Moon drinks from a man with the flu and becomes ill herself – describing it as drinking dirty blood. Fung saves her by feeding her some green smoking liquid, details of what the liquid was were not offered by the film.

Mondi Yau as MoonThe main problem with the film is the melodrama. This drips, as I mentioned, and not in a good way. It was weighed down with the stuff and the film seemed to go – softcore sex scene, roughly unfunny comedy moment, melodrama, softcore sex scene and so on, in a cycle.

There were some nice individual moments but, as a whole, I thought this to be fairly weak. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Updates and news

Keen eyed visitors might have noticed the link for “the Blog: the T-Shirt” on the right hand side-bar. You can now get Taliesin Meets the Vampires T-Shirts from Café Press.

My internet access is not back to normal but is now a lot better than it was, so normal posting has resumed. I do have to say my thanks to those visitors who take time to contact me with vampire related news. One such visitor is Paul W who e-mailed me with details of new Spanish language series Gabriel.

Also mentioned in the article is the alleged Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration on Dark Shadows – which is exciting. As a complete, and non-vampire, aside I finally saw Sweeney Todd last weekend and was very, very impressed.

Other exciting news I stumbled across was a proposed series of vampire novels by none other than top director Guillermo Del Toro. Whether this will prove a good move on his part time will tell, after all he is known more for the visual media of film. Nevertheless I am looking forward to the Strain. More details here.

Finally, thanks to Crabstix who sent me this link to an interview with Corey Feldman.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vampire wars – review


Author: Steven Saville

First published: 2008 (omnibus)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “The Von Carnsteins are the most infamous vampires to stalk the Warhammer Old World. Their very names – Vlad, Konrad and Mannfred – conjure up images of doom, death and destruction. This omnibus edition collects all three of Steven Saville’s Von Carnstein novels – Inheritance, Dominion and Retribution – into one gore drenched volume that plumbs the very depths of evil.”

The Review: I’m not too familiar with Warhammer. I’ve never played the games (either tabletop or computer) and the only books set in the Warhammer world I had read prior to these were Jack Yeovil’s four Vampire Genevieve books (incidentally these are excellent reads, as one would expect as Yeovil was a pen name for Kim Newman).

However, being unfamiliar with an elsewhere established world shouldn’t be an issue. I knew that this was a fantasy level setting, swords and sorcery if you like, and a good author should be able to explain aspects that would be familiar to a new audience but without sounding preachy to an existing audience. Saville does this but, before I go into the book proper, there was an aspect that really bugged me. It might only be a small thing but it really got under my skin. It was surrounding dating.

The three novels are included in this but so is a short, set in the same world, called “Death’s cold kiss” – which examines Vlad Von Carnstein gaining control of the lands of Sylvanian. It is dated 1797. Then we have the first events in book 1 dated 2009. There is commentary that the people, who at that point do not know their Count to be a vampire, remember the cruel rule of his predecessor. Well the dating is all wrong here, over 200 years have passed. Long enough for people to be suspicious of the Count, I’d say! So long that no one would remember his predecessor.

Between book 1 and 2 is an original piece “The Court of the Crimson Queen” – which examines Vlad turning his bride Isabella. This is dated as 1808, reasonable dating to the 1797 date but unreasonable given that in 2009 people are talking of the miracle of her recent recovery. The main stories, through the first two novels, are set around 2050 onwards and there is some very minor question mark over the date of the second novel – but this wouldn’t have come to mind if it hadn’t been for the other dating issues. Saville avoids this in the third novel by not having dates.

All that seems very picky but it irked as I read and, thus, detracted from the novel. However, when we ignore that we get a wide vista of undead armies, led by vampire Lords, laying waste to the world of ‘civilised’ man. We get three very different vampire Counts, Vlad and his two ‘sons’ Konrad and Mannfred, and the differences prevent this becoming stale from novel to novel.

We also have a juxtaposition against mortal characters – with a willingness on Saville’s part to sacrifice a character as necessary – that allows us to watch this drama unfold on both a micro and macrocosmic level, plus the lesser vampire characters – Skellan, a twisted, evil character, and Jerek, a vampire looking for redemption – who become a constant through the tale.

The vampire lore is very familiar, we are talking undead creatures, whose hearts should be destroyed or who should be beheaded if one wishes to slay them. Holy objects will hurt a vampire but faith seems to be needed and silver burns them. Sunlight is an issue for most but, by force of will, a stronger vampire can withstand the sun.

There are other bloodlines of vampires and we do come across an all female, seductive clan of vampires who act as courtesans.

All in all this was good sword and sorcery material, despite dating issues. I felt it perhaps lost itself within minutia at times and at others glossed over areas – but these were occasional issues in an otherwise pretty well drawn set of novels. 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monkey! – Vampire Master – TV episode

dvd

Directed by: Jun Fukuda & Michael Bakewell (English dub)

First aired: 1979

Contains spoilers

Oh what a joy! For anyone who grew up with this series it will hold a special place in your heart, I am sure. ‘Monkey!’ was a Japanese production based on the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West” and the English dub was a cult hit in both the UK and Australia. Okay, men of around my age, be honest… you had a Monkey fighting staff didn’t you, a broom stick probably – if you were artistic you even painted it. I even know someone who, as the stick in the show could shrink and grow, had a full size one and a matchstick one!

Masako Natsume as TripitakaI watched this episode in a haze of sweet remembrance, misty eyed when the opening voiceover began, bopping along as it segued into the funky theme tune and then sporting a big old grin on my face through the entire episode. However, for those who do not know the show… It followed Tripitaka (Masako Natsume, dubbed by Maria Warburg) a Buddhist priest as he journeyed to India to fetch Holy Scripture. It must be pointed out that Tripitaka was played by a female actress as the real monk that the character in the book is based on, Hs En Tsang, was said to be good looking – akin to a woman – and thus Masako Matsume’s appearance was said to be like Tsang.

Toshiyuki Nishida as PigsyJourneying with him, as guards if you like, were the water monster and ex-cannibal Sandy (Shiro Kishibe, dubbed by Gareth Armstrong), the lustful Pigsy (Toshiyuki Nishida, dubbed by Peter Woodthorpe) and of course the irrepressible Monkey (Masaaki Sakai, dubbed by David Collings). I say Monkey was irrepressible (as that is what the opening voiceover stated) but Tripitaka could control him by saying a sutra that caused him pain. Contextually Monkey was, to me, a Chinese version of the Trickster God.

Masaaki Sakai as MonkeyIn this episode Tripitaka takes the journey through the Kingdom of Buddhist Law, an entirely Buddhist nation, to teach Monkey a lesson of why they are on their journey. On entering the land they are attacked by bandits and then almost arrested as aggressors – until the guards realise who Tripitaka is. Having feasted Tripitaka wishes to leave as the lesson has failed, his companions only wished to feast, drink and look at pretty girls.

blood on Tripitaka's robeHowever Tripitaka becomes ill – a fever recognised as Tibetan Fever – and they are stuck in the city. One night a waitress is walking home and is attacked. We see the attacker in robes like those worn by Tripitaka. Monkey goes to see his master and notices blood on his robes.

fang marks on victimThe next day the girl is found. She has fang marks in her neck and has been drained and killed. The King, the Chamberlain and the Prime Minister are concerned, obviously, as there has been a murder in the city. They mention that it was probably a shape-changer, those who lead the bandits, one who has become a vampire. Pigsy volunteers to become a Captain of the Guard in order that he might catch the monster.

a fanged TripitakaWhilst he drills his men through the city a girl is attacked… but it is no girl; it is Monkey who has shape shifted to trap the vampire. He chases it through the streets and he and Pigsy corner the beast. It is a fanged Tripitaka. They get back to their master, who still seems ill and feverish. Monkey seems convinced his master has become a vampire, but Pigsy and Sandy are not convinced. Tripitaka, however, is arrested and sentenced to be executed as, at the behest of the Queen, the King has outlawed Buddhism and the Buddhist peaceful laws have been repealed.

vampiresOf course Tripitaka is not the vampire – the show gave us the clue early on as to what was going on. There are more than one and they are shape-changers and they have learnt to stand sunlight. There is a great passage that answers an inability to talk whilst wearing fangs, amusing as the vocals were dubbed anyway but even more amusing as an inability to speak with fangs is a recurring problem in the vampire genre. “People say that I lisp. I say let them all learn to fear it, learn terror of all who talk like this. I will make this vow – our teeth will eat the world.”

Shiro Kishibe as SandyThere is no way that I am going to be rational or balanced about this episode. The show is part of my youth; it was part of growing up. This specific episode has vampires in it, which of course is a bonus for me. More than that though, it has Monkey fighting, plus flying clouds as personal transportation and is only missing pulling chest hairs and blowing on them to create monkey warriors (which happened often through the series). 7.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Immortal – review

dvd

Directors: Walt Bost & Steven D. White

First Released: 1995

Contains spoilers

I really don’t know where to start with this one – though some might say with a synopsis might be an idea – but to be fair a synopsis is going to prove the easiest part of this as there is little story wise to it. That isn’t the problem with the film, which definitely had some good points but… Well, what the heck, let us get on with a synopsis…

The film begins with a voice over by Dex Draggs (Andrew Taylor) where he talks about the taste, the need, the addiction, the quest to be immortal… all regarding music. He is a member of a band but many of his fellow band members are not happy with him as he tends to be unreliable. They are playing a bar that night and he is late. They do the gig anyway.

Afterwards Dex is backstage and a groupie approaches him. Despite the fact that the bar is run by his girlfriend, Linda (Meredith Leigh Sause), he lets her approach. There is some corny dialogue – which becomes important later – and then they kiss. The kiss becomes a bite and there is blood on his hand.

stacking ketchupDex turns up at a diner just as the rest of the band are leaving. Only one remains behind, Mike (Mike Shaw). Dex plays with a pocket watch as he looks at two ketchup bottles one on top of the other, in an hourglass effect. He tells Mike it has started again and he doesn’t know what to do.

Linda and DexYes, Dex is a vampire and it is something he hides from everyone bar Mike, who we later discover goes around hiding bodies for him… as you do. However the act of hiding the condition is putting a strain on his band position and his relationship with Linda, who believes that he is involved in drugs.

delusion moment?The problem is we don’t get a huge amount of lore handed over and much of what is happening could be delusion. I mentioned the dialogue with the groupie, well we hear exactly the same dialogue spoken in a film that Dex and Linda go to see. There are certainly hallucinatory moments, paranoid tendencies and vivid nightmares.

attacking a muggerLet us run with the concept that he is a vampire however, thus the fact that we do not get much in the way of vampiric lore becomes our frustration in respect of the experience. We see Dex mugged and shot, but he seems to reabsorb his own blood into his body (we see another example of that later) and he kills both muggers – one by ripping the head away. From what Mike and Dex say the need to take blood is rhythmic, occurring every so often.

the watchWe know that his vampirism has something to do with the pocket watch (that has the initials WW scratched inside) and a train wreck. The inference is that Dex’ parents were on that train. He later discovers that there was one person who walked away from the wreck – Wiley Wresting (Frank J Aard) and thus Dex goes to find him.

Frank J Aard as Wiley WrestingThings became more frustrating here and not only because Aard was, for some reason, badly dubbed. Aard maintains he was a vampire but has cured himself – by sheer force of will. He then suggests that the condition is perhaps hereditary by saying that it skipped Dex’s mother and father. That doesn’t then explain the almost mystic significance of the pocket watch which, in itself, is never fully explored.

puking bloodDex does try to bring himself off blood and this seems very much junky, cold turkey territory with plenty of blood puking, collapsing and hallucinating. The film seems to vacillate between being a drugs film and being a supernatural film. This is tied into it not having that much story (despite a 106 minute running time).

attacking a PR manThe acting seems natural enough, when it comes to Dex at least, and the grainy shot of the film works (bar some unfortunate boom mike moments). The soundtrack is really quite good. The film has a feel of Romero’s Martin, to a degree, as well as The Addiction and perhaps even a small degree of I Pass for Human. The trouble is the film isn’t anywhere near close to being as good as any of them.

Lack of narrative story I could have handled so long as there was a decent lore in the movie. This was lacking in both. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vamp or Not? The Claws of Axos

dvd

A friend of mine, Vannevar, suggested a couple of Doctor Who adventures, from the Jon Pertwee era of the show, that might be of genre interest – to the point of a ‘Vamp or Not?’ More than that, he lent me the DVDs.

We have looked at Dr Who before and there is a rich vampiric strain going through the show. In State of Decay we saw giant planet sucking vampires who created humanoid vampire minions. In Curse of Fenric we saw more traditional vampires that reacted to objects of faith and could be staked. We have honourably mentioned Smith and Jones from the more contemporary Who and even had a ‘Vamp or Not?’ in the form of the Stones of Blood.

inferno - not vamp at allVannevar did warn me that the connection was tenuous in these episodes I found that whilst the story of Inferno was good it didn’t warrant a ‘Vamp or Not?’ really. The Claws of Axos, on the other hand, did.

This was aired in 1971 and directed by Michael Ferguson and, we should note, that probably for budgetary reasons the Doctor was stranded on Earth by the Time Lord High Council. He worked with UNIT (which was around long before the concept of Torchwood) and his companion at this point was Jo Grant (Katy Manning). Regular at this point in the series was UNIT commander, the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney).

front of the shipOut in space a rather large something is being tracked by UNIT. At first they believe it to be a comet but then it changes course and heads straight for Earth. When we get to see it I was struck by the front of the ship and how it looked leech like. This impression was even stronger when we got to see more of the ship. It certainly was organic.

a formless AxonWe got to see, on board, vine like creatures. Meanwhile the ship entered Earth’s atmosphere and headed straight for Britain. Britain launched ICBMs but it seemed to vanish. The missiles had to be self destructed. It crashed near Britain’s main power station and buried most of itself below ground. Before UNIT and the army got there a derelict was drawn into the ship by a long tentacle.

a golden axonThe derelict is scanned and deemed harmless but also useless, the order is given to “absorb, process and eject”. Bill Filer (Paul Grist), a US agent, arrives and is drawn onto the ship as well; the aliens keep him alive. When UNIT and the Doctor arrive they board the ship with MoD representative Chinn (Peter Bathurst) and are greeted by golden creatures who offer them axonite – an intelligent element that could solve world hunger – in return for nutrition for the organic ship.

disintergratingOutside the soldiers find the derelict but he disintegrates to the touch – he is not the only one to suffer this fate either. Unbeknown to the Doctor, his nemesis the Master (Roger Delago) is a prisoner on the ship. So what is going on?

Jon Pertwee as the DoctorThe formless Axons and the golden ones are one and the same. In fact ship, crew and axonite are all parts of the same organic whole. The axonite is being distributed around the world so that the axos can feed. In its own words the “Earth will be sucked dry.” It absorbs all energy and nutrient substance from an entire planet.

In many respects this is similar to the giant bat like vampires from State of Decay. It is able to make replicas of people and form its crew members to communicate with the humans and access areas remotely. In this respect there was no need to create humanoid vampires, as in the later story, but it shows a level of shapeshifting.

a galactic leechThe fact that it can suck the life from a person (it can make them age rapidly and reverse the process it seems) and such a victim disintegrates is reminiscent of the genre also. This is an intelligent vampire on a planetary level, a galactic leech that relies on its host to distribute the elements necessary for its own feeding. Certainly not an undead vampire but of genre interest and on the fringes of vampirism for those who are not traditional in their interpretation of the genre. Incidentally, the ship wasn’t like that in lifeforce but was (very) vaguely reminiscent of it for some reason, probably due to the very organic design.

The imdb page for the first episode is here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Dracula

Not, by any stretch, the sort of film that would normally float across my awareness – the trailers of the 2008 vehicle seem much to RomCom for my tastes – this has suddenly become another evidential example of the theorem that vampires get everywhere.

Firstly I must thank Derek, who emailed me and mentioned that, during the film, there is a vampire puppet show. He gave a link to YouTube, where some wag had put the full clip. I’m not going to link to it as the chances are that the clip will be vanished, as I doubt it was licensed!

Van HelsingNevertheless, it offered me the opportunity to watch probably the only part of the film I’m interested in and, as Derek pointed out, it is a shame that we can’t get the full puppet show! The scene we see is the finale, with Dracula and Van Helsing.

stakingA battle between the Count and his nemesis, ending with a spectacular (foam rubber) leap and a burying of the cross into Dracula’s chest as the maiden – and I think we can safely assume she is Mina and that the vampire bride calling for his extermination was Lucy – falls to his side, devastated by his imminent death.

MinaHowever, this is more than it seems as she confesses to the Count that… she is pregnant. Leading to the fall of a litter of bat winged babies from her loins – I kid you not. The whole scene is excellently written, which bodes well for the rest of the film – if it is your sort of movie – Derek mentions that the scene is a crucial one in the main film. Indeed elsewhere in the film the character Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) sings Dracula’s Lament, also from the puppet show musical.

A brief vampiric appearance, which leads to further evidence that vampires get everywhere and, thus, an honourable mention. Finally apologies for the screenshots which were from the YouTube embed.

The imdb page is here.