Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Scab – review

dvd

Director: Thomas Jason Davis

First released: 2005

Contains spoilers

Scab is a gay interest vampire movie that, despite its independent nature and obviously low budget, does much right. Unfortunately it also does a few key things wrong, as we’ll see.

The film begins with two men together. One of the things the film did do wrong (and it is a failing in quite a few films) was it failed to clearly introduce the close encountercharacters by name. We discover that one of the men is Ajay (Sean Galuszka) and the other we never discover. He was a pick up that Ajay made in a club. They are going to get down to it when Ajay stops proceedings for protection. He passes the man a condom and puts a picture of him and his friend Teague (Richard Alan Brown) face down.

Sean Galuszka as AjayThe man throws the condom aside and proceeds without protection. Ajay brings things to a complete halt and tells him to get out. The man tries to force himself on Ajay, who punches, causing the man to reveal fangs. He punches Ajay’s face. When Ajay comes round we see the bite marks on his neck. He phones 911 to report the rape but cannot, ultimately, bring himself to do so.

Richard Alan Brown as TeagueInterspersed with these scenes we get scenes of Kelvin (Josh Evans) and Briar (Natalie Avital). They had been in a relationship and have made it casual for the last 7 months. After giving each other relief in a storeroom in a club she dumps him but he can’t seem to take the hint and turns up in her apartment in the Los Vegas motel she manages. We also meet Teague, who is with Floor (Dan Glenn, Live Evil). Floor is straight and it seems that Teague has an unrequited crush on him as well as wanting Ajay, who treats Teague like a doormat – indeed when Ajay got off with the vampire, he left Teague in a club holding his drink.

mice smoothieAjay, however, is not having a great time. We have seen him on the toilet, in pain, and then seen him feel around and pull something brown with blood on it from his bottom. Now, as I thought about this I realised it was a scab (probably the scab of the title). We discover later that vampires do not pee and their anuses seal over. They use what they consume, and ejaculate what they don’t need (the sperm is pink) – how such would work with female vampires is not explored. He gets himself some mice and blends them, then strains them and drinks the juice – he throws this up. Eventually he hunts down a prostitute – taking a chunk out of her thigh. Ajay’s pain is palpable but it seems like the film jumped ahead, getting to the mice (trying a non-human blood) quicker than we would anticipate as a viewer.

Ajay is temptedTeague and Floor visit Ajay, who explains that he is ill and that he thinks it came from the guy he was with, but doesn’t explain more than that. He asks a favour, a road trip to Los Vegas – both men go with him. They end up at the motel run by Briar (who manages to trap Ajay’s finger, as she is nervous when they arrive, probably thinking it was Kelvin). As Floor books them in, Ajay and Teague kiss. Teague laughs, he got Ajay’s mint and then they realise it is a tooth (not explained further but obviously the teeth drop out to make room for the fangs.) Later, as Teague sleeps Ajay looks at him, and is clearly tempted.

attack in the toiletThe next night Ajay has vanished off in Teague’s car. All the vampiric action takes place at night but there is no real indication that sunlight is a problem. He goes to a video store and is giving a guy the eye. The guy goes to a toilet, strips, thinks he has been stood up, redresses and then Ajay attacks him, rapes him and bites him. Incidentally this victim is played by Dylan Vox, the vampire victim a little before he became a bleached blonde vampire in The Lair.

Briar meets AjayNow there is a scene with Ajay, upset, rehearsing talking to his mother (who he can’t, ultimately, phone) and then smashing the phone up and the scene underlines all that is wrong with the film. You see the scene is powerfully done, down to Sean Galuszka’s performance, but whilst it introduces Ajay and Briar properly the scene goes nowhere really, the script throws in detail about Ajay and then fails to capitalise fully on it. Later Kelvin will reveal he knows about vampires (and knows Ajay is one) but it is a pointless moment – he gives us very little more lore than we already had (he does hint about a vampire society that comes to nothing in the story), never explains how he knows and he then vanishes from the story making him a cipher and a crudely used one at that.

Anyway Ajay and Briar do become close, close enough that he reveals his secret to her and she seems unfazed by this – though later it seems she only half believes him or maybe it is the Quaaludes she habitually takes that makes her so cool about the idea. A couple of girls, Sarah (Susan Spano) and Tia (Linda Pine) also book into the motel and become embroiled in the vampirism.

vampire biteLore wise we discover very little more than we already have. These vampires clearly have a reflection and the presence of a Mary statue does not phase Ajay and so religious items are not a factor. He referred to himself as dead but it seemed that vampirism was more like an infection – that was until we see vampires come back from the grave. They are not immortal, just very longed lived (according to Kelvin anyway). A stake through the heart will kill a vampire.

The stakings were a bone of contention to a degree. I watched this not long after Skeleton Key and we get a stake by mop – actually not as well done as in Skeleton Key, but you wait for a staking by mop, they never seem to arrive and then two come at once! However, there are a lot of stakings going around at the end and it seemed a little too much, indeed we actually get a staking that was more than a little ironic (and, in context, that was not a good thing). It seemed like a rash of loose ends were tied up by some all too convenient stakes. One stake is discounted by the staked vampire as it is metal not wood, but that proves to be a false hope and the vampire dies anyway.

So, the cinematography was amateurish and the pacing was really quiet poor. There is some unusual lore but the lore is thin on the ground. The script takes shortcuts and fails to capitalise on the better aspects. On the other hand I have seen much worse films and one cannot take away from the performances of both Sean Galuszka and Natalie Avital who gave much more than the script deserved.

All in all, 4 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

4 comments:

Sarah from Scare Sarah said...

Sounds like one serious fetish film! You don't often hear about male gay vampire led stories (although traiditionally vampires seem to be at least bi!). Great review. Love your blog.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Sarah - there are a few, but few and far between.

This one was limited, a lot of it down to budget, but as i said it had a couple of excellent performances and it was also so much better than the stuff like I've Been Watching You (must dig that one out for review soon).

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand what happened with the straight guy? How was he suddenly a vampire?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

He was attacked by Ajay (off screen) after his time in the club with Briar. When he awakens in the morning he is ill and has been bitten and Teague tells him that he asked him not to.