Wednesday, August 01, 2012

DeGenerazione – review

Director: Andrea Maula (vampire segment)

Release date: 1995

Contains spoilers

DeGenerazione is an Italian anthology film that utterly shuns a portmanteau wrap-around and fires short after short that are only connected by the surreality. The films vary in subject matter from horror, to social satire, the battle of the sexes and science fiction.

The vampire segment is called “Just another Vampire Story”, which was directed by Andrea Maula. This is the only vampire segment – though the bizarre pre-credit sequence, Our Guys Are Coming, does feature a poster of “Dracula Vampiro”.

on the beach
Just Another Vampire Story begins with a voice over asking if you have ever seen a drunk vampire as a man in period styled clothing walks on a beach. I was struck as I saw this with a feeling of Jean Rollin and it was clear, if I can drift off for a brief moment, that for me the combining of beaches and vampires will now (and forever) bring Jean Rollin to mind. The narrator says that he was feeling lonely and so went to a beachside bar.

the young man
The bar has a drag act on stage, the camera skirts past the man from the beach (who is not the narrator) and reaches a young man who comes in and stands at the bar. He orders a water with ice and lemon, suggesting to the barman that he will pay at the end of the month. Clearly he is a regular. He points at the man from the beach, but the bar man does not know who he is, and so the young man has his water sent over.

He asks if he can sit with him and the man introduces himself as Boris. Time flits forward and they are at the bar. Boris comments that the young man drinks a lot and the man replies that he holds it well. Clearly he is making out that his water is alcohol. He asks Boris back to his place, saying that he has Jack. Once there Boris confides that he is a vampire, he was born in 1757. We hear that turning into a bat and fear of the cross are just legends but he does drink blood.

vampire form
They go for a walk on the beach and Boris suggests that 800 years ago a spaceship, with some of his people crashed on Earth. There were 1000 of them but mutations and pollution have killed off the numbers. His mother died giving birth to him. All this seems a prelude to him leaning in towards the man (the twist gets spoiled now by the way). He stumbles back in fear as the young man transforms – he is truly a vampire, Boris was spinning a story. The vampire’s narration finishes the section, talking of being drunk, presumably from the alcohol in Boris’ blood stream.

This was a fun little section, but it was little. The film is rare (though the fact that Asia Argento was involved, writing, acting and directing, makes me surprised that it is not more widely available). The entire film is worth seeing, but I only score the vampire segment and I liked it, despite its brevity but because of its nice little twist, playing with expectation by having the anachronistic (almost Barnabas Collins looking) man not being the vampire and the audacity of the ET source that was, of course, false. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Fra Moretta said...

This segment is a transposition of a Randall Garrett short story of the 1957 entitled Just another Vampire Story.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks for that Fra Moretta - I'll track it down