Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Blood Story – review

Director: Joe Hollow

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

Here’s the thing, you can be watching a film aware of its budget restrictions and the fact that it shouldn’t be that entertaining and still be thoroughly entertained. Perhaps it is the low expectation but as I settled down to watch A Blood Story I was expecting little and found myself drawn into the film.

We are in the realm of Erzsébet Báthory (Debra Lamb, Beverley Hills Vamp) , Anglicised in this to Elizabeth, though the character does not appear that much in the film. However, as you can guess, this means that we get some bathing in blood.

Madison and Carter
However the film starts with a voice talking about the search for the Fountain of Youth. It is the 6th October 2013 and the speaker is Francis (Camden Toy, Kiss of the Vampire (2006), Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel). He is addressing three blindfolded guests (the blindfolds to keep the house’s location secret). Wade (Tim Hays) has attended these events before, for Carter (Mark Hanson, From Dusk Till Dawn: the Series) and Madison (Mindy Robinson, the Impaler & Bloodsucka Jones) it is the first time they have attended. Also in the house are the co-host Anna (Melanie Robel) and the servants Kira (Janine King) and Istvan (Luc Bernier).

Camden Toy as Francis
I have left out one person; brutalised by Istvan’s whip is a victim and she is on the menu in more ways than one. Her virgin blood will be used for bathing in (do not think too hard over the blood bathing, there wouldn’t be enough in one victim for the three guests, the bath we see seems watered down but the effect of blood clinging to the bather, when they stand, indicates otherwise) and then her flesh will be used as the primary food in their dinner party. Francis has claimed that the bathing in blood and eating of flesh is the fountain of youth. The film makes use of its budget by concentrating on the guests in limited locations – we do not see the dinner party. Wade manages to piss Madison off early, asking how a bikini model becomes a writer. Francis suggests that Wade is an acquired taste but shares his birthday, 6th October.

Madison bathing in blood
Madison herself is drawn to Carter and is trying to carve out a writing career. Her chest has been scarred after she was attacked by her husband, Eric (Chris Losicco), who she then killed in self-defence. ‘Strangely’ it is Madison we see bathing in blood – rather than one of the male guests. Afterwards she sleeps and a hideous, bandaged thing (Elizabeth) spectrally appears to her asking “Do you think I’m Beautiful”. Madison walks through the house and sees Francis and Anna, from behind a curtain. It becomes clear that they are not only lovers but father and daughter, and they wish to bring mother back.

Mindy Robinson as Madison
Wade is brought in, he has been caught trying to steal gold coins and is killed for his trouble. A coin falls through the curtain and Madison puts it in her bra. Francis catches her and then she awakens in Carter’s bed – he claims he found her under the bed and they end up drinking (and we discover some of his background). Ten months later Madison is sure that it wasn’t a dream as the coin was still with her and it is worth a million dollars. She is also convinced that the “Fountain of Youth” is real as her scars have all but vanished. She tracks down Carter and convinces him that they should return and steal any more coins that may be there…

Elizabeth visits Madison
So that covers off pretty much the first part of the film. Madison works out that Francis is actually Ferenc Nadasdy, Elizabeth’s husband, and indeed the filmmakers did use Ferenc’s birth date. As the story progresses we discover that Elizabeth died as did Ferenc. It was their daughter, Anna, who discovered the secrets and brought Ferenc back. It takes a thousand virgin hearts to bring one person back. Should they consume or bath in the living blood of a family member it will kill them. This is the primary lore used.

daughter and father
There are holes, of course, if virgin blood is the Fountain of Youth then why didn’t the returned Ferenc become younger. If it has restorative powers – making Madison’s scars disappear – then why didn’t her impressive back piece tattoo vanish as well? Yet, as I said at the head I was struck by this. It was interesting to have the film concentrate on Ferenc and Anna and it was the assured presence of Camden Toy that carried much of the film. Further to this there was a genuine aim to build up characters, in an offbeat sense to be fair but built they were.There was a clever use of location to hide the restrictions of budget. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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