Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Honourable Mentions: Blood Moon Rising

dvdThis is a 2009 flick that was directed by Brian Skiba and has a little bit of everything thrown in; werewolves, zombies, vampires, demons, devils and aliens… yes it has the veritable kitchen sink.

It also has a grindhouse mentality going on with schlock horror, visual pops and whistles (Hell, the film even looks like it was shot in the 60s at certain points) and cruddy sound – so lets get to that first. I understand that a batch of DVDs were released with a problem on the sound front. This was quickly cleared up, however I don’t think that the DVD I watched was one of these. The sound does vanish occasionally – but it feels purposeful, especially given the potential content of that dialogue in those scenes. It is a crap grindhouse soundtrack. At times the sound seems recorded post production – again, it is meant to be like this. Whatever, given what they were doing with the film, it works. I will return to the grindhouse aspect later.

party like its 1969The film starts with a groovy party (it is 1969). A band plays funky music, Sadie (Laurie Love, who co-wrote the flick with Brian Skiba) dances as Sam (Kent Welbourne) kisses her friend Becky (Davina Joy) rather enthusiastically. Something watches them from the woods, something hairy, and a cowboy/hunter (aaron Ginn-forsberg) watches the watcher. Becky needs a pee and gets Sadie to go into the woods with her, leaving Sam listening to the band.

look ma, a zombieThey are in the woods, Sadie smokes a joint as Becky urinates and out of the woods comes the werewolf – into the party and attacks a dancer. All hell breaks loose as the werewolf goes on a killing spree but, bizarrely, those killed then rise as zombies and attack their former friends. The zombies propagate other zombies (as is the zombie tradition). The hunter takes shots at the zombies.

zombie horde attacksSam finds the girls and they are running for it. He gets bitten on the hand by the werewolf, but not killed, the werewolf then takes down Becky. Sam and Sadie get to the Pork Shop Diner. Inside is Darrel (Neal Trout) and a co-worker. Sam seems ill and goes to the bathroom. Sadie is trying to get a car when Sam returns, fanged, and attacks the co-worker. Now Sam is not a vampire, though he looks like it, but a werewolf – however there seems little difference as we will get to. Darrel shoots him.

the disembodied handDarrel is a comic book fanatic and has been reading a comic strip about an attack of alien zombies – he accuses Sadie of being an alien. When he sees zombies at the door he suddenly declares that he has been waiting his whole life for this and tools up. He and Sadie go for the car but the hunter appears and, apparently, he is a vampire. Sadie ends up in a trailer whilst Darrell is fighting zombies. He is, eventually, attacked by a disembodied zombie hand.

Tristan is a vampireMeanwhile Sadie has been collared by the vampire, who turns out to be called Tristan and her Great Grandfather. He lived in Despair and was married to Lucy (Laurie Love), the daughter of the devil (Lanny Rethaber), and had a daughter Sarah (Taylor Hogue) with her. He had also found a pendant (the amulet of Job) which could close the gates to Hell. When he discovered that Lucy was writing a book that could bring about Hell on Earth he realised she had to be stopped.

Rachel beneath the blood moonShe was also upset as he had a new love, Rachel (Brittney Hendricks) the preacher’s daughter. He gave the amulet to Sarah and he and Rachel ended up being strung up by Lucy, cut and cursed. He became a vampire, she a werewolf. It was part of the curse that anyone Rachel killed would become the living dead and anyone bitten, who survived, would be a werewolf. She could only be killed by a silver bullet through the heart and her blood would resurrect Lucy – who was promptly shot and buried beyond the town. Tristan and Rachel now only see each other in human form during the eclipse of the blood moon (that night).

road trip to DespairThe problem now is that Rachel has been told by the Devil that killing Lucy’s descendants will end the curse – a lie. She attacks Sadie again and Darrel shoots her – he happens to pack silver bullets – and her death brings about the resurrection of Lucy. Tristan vanishes off with her body and Sadie and Darrel must take a road trip to Despair to destroy Lucy’s book.

zombie Ron JeremyOf course, there are now zombies wandering around. Sam didn’t die and spreads the werewolf curse amongst a local bike gang. Lucy is resurrected and wants to destroy the world. Despair is now a film lot and a crew are shooting their own zombie movie. Incidentally the producer of the in film zombie movie, Phil, is a cameo part for Ron Jeremy – who ends up as a zombie. I should also point out that the zombies are brighter than many, and will deliberately hide and lay in wait for victims.

vampire SadieThe reason this is an honourable mention is that Tristan does not reappear until the end of the movie, and so the vampiric input is rather low. Sadie eventually is turned into a vampire (not a real big spoiler) but the vampires may as well have not been there for the impact they had and the only differences I can see between the vampires and werewolves is that the vampires can vanish in a CGI blur, otherwise the werewolves have fangs, are immortal and seem more vampiric than anything. All in all the film was rather fun, the grindhouse chic adding a lot in the film’s favour and yet that was not as ‘all that’ as perhaps it might have been and there are a couple of reasons.

grindhouse chic, but it isn't originalFirstly there are some CGI moments that are glaring. CGI gunshots in one scene, CGI monsters and even a crap CGI spaceship. It doesn’t work in a grindhouse sense because we are watching a film shot in 60s crap B movie style and, of course, they did not have CGI – crap or otherwise. The other reason is that it isn’t that original, in style, as Tarantino/Rodriguez have already done it. Broken film and lost reel moments were used in Planet Terror, for instance. That doesn’t mean to say this fails, just that it isn’t as original as it might have been and thus doesn’t succeed as well as it might of.

Neal Trout as DarrelHowever, both our leads are fun. Neal Trout as the geeky virgin (which leads him into all sorts of trouble) with a comic book fixation and a neat line in weapons is great fun. Laurie Love is all kinds of Sassy as Sadie and makes for an evil villain as Lucy. Some scenes with Sadie and Lucy together have an obvious stand in that is fun in a grindhouse way and I loved the shotgun shell dispenser that was her cleavage!

killing in the nameI enjoyed this for all the reasons it was meant to be enjoyed; it was a shame about the CGI moments because they, above anything else, marred a film that revelled in badness, slightly wrong coloured blood and red liquorice laces.

The imdb page is here.


Uranium Willy said...

Ron Jeremy as a zombie deserves a viewing by true film students.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Too true Bill