Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Honourable Mentions: Under the Sunset

The Others are a Gothic/Horror Metal band who hail from Binghamton, New York. Under the Sunset – a Vampire Musical Tale is a 40+ minute vampire film based on their music, directed by and starring Mark Dickinson also known as the band’s front man Marquis.

Now, as you know, I’m keen on all things vampire and thus wanted to catch this film, especially as I heard some of the music and rather liked it. One thing I find with some Gothic Metal is that it can sometimes stray towards Death Metal, and the problem I have with Death Metal is not the music but the vocalists who think that screamy, shouty vocals are good… Marquis sings – well, the music is good and the subject matter dark. Also Marquis was good enough to let me have a watch of the film.

The film, incidentally, is down for an honourable mention because it is, by design, primarily supportive of the music and I felt that the honourable mention route was the best way to look at it.

harassing the vampire
The film has a rather simple premise at its heart, boy (Mark Dickinson) meets girl (Kendra Baker), girl is vampire, boy becomes bloodsucking creature of the night. Of course things are not as simple as that. The boy meets girl when she is being hassled by three others – I assumed also vampires. She comes to him in the night and turns him but eternal love proves to be rather short in duration as he is left on his own and becomes filled with murderous blood lust and a desire for revenge.

love or hunger?
The film is purposefully grainy with imperfections built onto the imagery. It gave the film an older look but, perhaps, not so much a grindhouse type look. I was reaching, as I watched, for what it felt like in tone, because of the aging effect. Certainly something out of the late sixties/early seventies and then a cemetery scene in daylight appeared on screen and I suddenly realised that it was the work of Andy Milligan that came to mind, say something like the Body Beneath or at least the external shots of that movie. Having said that I now feel like apologising to the band whilst I explain that it was only in the tonal quality of the aged film effect and nothing else!

a broken heart
The lore, as we see it, seems to be that vampires are created through a ‘drain and feed the dying victim blood’ method. Stakes through the heart and chopping off the head seem to be the order of the day when it comes to despatching the undead. There was an aspect which suggested to the viewer that becoming a vampire offered rapid decay of the mortal remains – the man rises as a skeleton at first and when in vampiric slumber returns to such a state. It also suggests that the slumber is voluntary as we see the vampires up and about in the daytime. That said, much of the movie uses imagery to enhance the songs and the artistry honestly doesn’t need strict logic within the lore.

the pain of rebirth
For that underlines the video, a mood enhancing set of images that help tell the story born in the concept album of the same name. The images are macabre, but then so is the story and we should be thankful that bands continue to put horror into music. The band have a MySpace page here, which links to their homepage also, and the DVD and album are both available from Amazon.

As I go, I’ll say that whilst I liked Marquis’ vocals the band also have female vocals from Mistress Jessica – who was a member of the band in the past – on some of the tracks. I’ll leave you with a video from my favourite track on the DVD – though the video itself is not taken from the Under the Sunset footage. Til the Mourning Comes:


Taliesin_ttlg said...

I've just been told that the scene I assumed was shot in daylight was shot at night - however the lighting, especially with the snow, caused the scenes to seem very bright on film. However, the point I was making, with the tonal feel, remains the same and thank you to Marquis for the clarification.

Marquis said...

Thanks for the write up!!


Taliesin_ttlg said...

Marquis, my pleasure and many thanks for the opportunity.