Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Again

Hello to you all, I’m back from the Bram Stoker International Film Festival and I had a great time. It was great to meet up with some online friends and watch some good movies. I have to thank the organisers for their efforts and they tell me that the festival will definitely be on again next year, bigger and better than ever.

However, let’s talk vampire movies. Unfortunately we missed the festival opener, the documentary Dracula, the Vampire and the Voivode, due to travelling but I have seen it before. Thus the first vampire film I saw was Nightlife, a 2008 movie by Timothy Sanderson. This is a comedy in the form of a mockumentary and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had a great cast and fantastic dialogue and the audience all seemed to find that it hit the funny bone.

Next up was Orlok 3D – a 3D rendering of Nosferatu. Now, on a technical level this was very clever, they had treated the film in such a way that key areas were in 3D but it failed all over the place. Key scenes were edited down, such as the shadows on the stairs, and other scenes were missing. The captions were too often and too jokey and human body noises (such as laughter) were unnecessary. The film was relocated (via caption) to London for no good reason and the music was totally rubbish. All in all they made Nosferatu a chore to sit through... but the 3D was clever.

However, immediately following this was the short How My Dad Killed Dracula and this was wonderful. A genuinely funny little movie directed by Sky Soleil that had the audience laughing away. In look (not content) I was perhaps reminded of the Monster Squad, the thing had a little bit of an eighties vibe going on, but more than anything it was fun.

Fun was not a word I would use to describe Temptation directed by Catherine Taylor. I really struggled with this. For a start off there were continuity errors, which I could have lived with if the story was any good but the story was derivative and anything but original. Worse still was the acting... the best you could say about it was that it was stagey, however, actors emoting seemed to be a thing for other films. This is getting a DVD release next year, according to posters at the festival, and like any of the other vampire films at the festival a review will be done when I get hold of the DVD.

Blood on the Highway, directed by Barak Epstein and Blair Rowan, was another comedy and, whilst not as funny or clever as Nightlife, had me laughing away and was definitely worth viewing. A redneck-ploitation film that did careen into base humour territory, it was carried by the personable (if utterly flawed) characters played by Deva George and Robin Gierhart and had a worthwhile cameo by Nicholas Brendon.

For me, the best vampire movie experience at the event was the screening of Thicker than Water. Those who have read my review will know how much I enjoy Phil Messerer’s film. It isn’t technically perfect in all places – certainly there were a couple of sound issues that I noticed more in the theatre than I did at home – but it had a great story, some fantastic performances and heart. This was my pick of the vampire films and the last pure vampire movie screened at the event.

However, things go not end there in the vampire stakes, as there was also a screening of the Glenn McQuaid directed I Sell the Dead. I really enjoyed this as a fantasy piece and there is a vampire in the film. For those who don’t know, the film follows two grave robbers who discover the undead (of all varieties) and realise that they are worth more than standard cadavers. The vampire is the first they discover and an honourable mention will be done at some point in the future.

Of course there were also non vampire films at the festival and the two I enjoyed the most were the pure sexploitation of Bitch Slap directed by Rick Jacobson – a film that had cameo roles for all four primaries from Hercules and Xena – and the wonderful Korean flick The Fox Family directed by Hyung-gon Lee. Based on the myth of the fox, this was a comedy with singing and dancing and moments of drama. Certainly one of the stranger films at the festival but also one of the most engaging, I actually picked this up on DVD during the festival as I was that impressed with it.


The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

Hey Andy,

I'm glad you had a wonderful time! We really don't have events like that down under, but it's great to see people still making an effort to run events like these for horror fans.

Next time I visit The British Isles I'll definately visit Whitby. We did all of Southern England last time: Salisbury, Glastonbury, Bath, Tintagel, Boscastle etc...and London of course.

Hope to see some photos (of Whitby :P) up on your page soon?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! We missed you, but thank you for the great movie reviews! I'll be looking out for Thicker Than Water now.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks guys.

Gabe - not a lot of photo opportunities in a movie theatre - they frown on that sort of thing nowadays ;)

However, jumping back through time: http://taliesinttlg.blogspot.com/2007/07/im-back.html

there are 1 or 2 photos I took there a couple of years ago.

Nicole, do try and catch Thicker than Water.

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...


Cool saw your old photos. Man what an awesome place to have a honeymoon!

Besides the Abbey I thought there was a cemetery there overlooking the sea, which paritally inspired Stoker in some scenes? I think the new BBC Dracula tv movie shot some scenes there? That's part of the photos I was pondering about.

Whitby is still on the list, but where there is a will, there is a way. soon!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

In front of the Abbey is St Marys and its graveyard (which is actually where the events occured in the novel). I did have some photos of that but don't know what I did with them - they're probably on a cd somewhere!

Uranium Willy said...

I like this sort of post, with multiple short reviews. As is often the case with your films I have hardly seen any of these. I did think of you the other night when I saw Near Dark for the first time and am about to see if you have an archive on it.I would be surprised if you do not. I rather enjoyed it.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Bill, great to hear from you sir