Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Song of the Night – review

Director: Frank Amore

Release date: 2008

Contains spoilers

The deeper you look into the vampire genre then the more unusual offerings you are going to find. La Canzone Della Notte, as it is called ion the original Italian, is right out there in the unusual stakes.

I tried to research the film before writing and it is not easy. There is no IMDb page but from what I can gather Director and star Frank Amore (the cast and crew on Amazon’s video page are wrong at the time of writing the article) featured on Italia’s Got Talent, on which he used (as he also does in this film) the gimmick of wearing gowns when performing.

Frank performing
This vehicle is, I guess, a vanity vehicle for Frank, who plays a character called Frank. At the start of the film we get some low resolution footage around and about Rome and a radio where the heat is mentioned as is an earthquake in Asia. We see Frank performing a song and this is pretty much a musical with the songs communicating aspects of the plot. Watching him, from a vantage point on stage, is Sara (Lucia Piedimonte). When he finishes she dances (and some stripping is involved – burlesque style).

telling fortunes
As this occurs the club owner Mr Altaj (Giorgio Filonzi) goes through the crowd gathering cards from the audience. The second part of Frank’s act is as a clairvoyant (and I assume these are questions to him). When all is done, Sara comes for her fortune (carrying a picture of a man). Frank warns her of him and has her stay overnight on a cot bed. As for Frank he goes out and sings a song to Selene, the moon. However, the next day she goes to meet the guy – who has her “catwalk” on the street. She panics and runs from him and Frank shows up and throttles the guy (not terminally). The inference is that she was going to end up as a human trafficking victim.

Altaj killed
Frank talks to Mr Altaj. He often sees bad things for people (such as terminal illness) but doesn’t tell them as it might upset them. Altaj tells him that he has saved a person today (Sara). Apparently Altaj found Frank wandering around the ruins of Foro Romano. Frank has no memory before that (Altaj suggests, half-jokingly we suspect, that he came from the stones). In the morning Altaj is found dead with his throat ripped open. We jump forward to the wake, the cops are there and so is Altaj’s niece and heir Alana (Yassmin Pucci). For some reason (given we hear that Altaj is from a far-away land and later establish it to be somewhere in Asia) she speaks English rather than Italian (later she masters the Italian language in short order).

Frank bitten
The cops in this aren’t too bright as, when Frank is subsequently attacked and found dying in his own blood, they suspect a self-inflicted wound, perpetrated in an imagined remorse for attacking Altaj! They never seriously pursue this however. Frank survives but can feel a darkness inside him that has robbed him of his clairvoyance. He becomes intolerant of the sun and is, of course, turning. What will he do? What will happen to Sara and Alana (and is Sara right to be jealous of the new club owner)? Who is the vampire?

the vampire
I’m not going to say but will screenshot the vampire as I was a little confused by the design. Clearly playing a demonic influence (or an alien from Star Trek) the vampire has a maw of sharp teeth but also has spines across his brow and on his chin. They are sun and holy item intolerant and this one is 300 years old. Survivors turn, those victims who are killed do not seem to come back.

Yassmin Pucci as Alana
The story is loose and the narrative patchy for what is a very thin story. Part of this is down to using songs as a narrative tool but we can’t lay the blame for the patchiness solely there. Frank Amore is simply playing himself and there isn’t much in the way of stellar performances from the rest of the cast – however, in the main they give what they can to the film and dialogue. The cops, I guess, where kind of comic relief but not that comedic. The music (as this is a feature) is kind of musical meets torch song – if you like that sort of thing.

3.5 out of 10 but carrying the caveat that it is on the unusual end of the vampire movie scale. At the time this article was written there was no IMDb page.

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