Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Blood Let – review

Director: J.R. McGarrity

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

Opening with a quote from Rickles’ the Vampire Lectures is probably not the best way to open a vampire film. Whilst I have time for the book (as you’ll see if you nip over to my review of it) it can be a tad impenetrable.

Therefore the quote that opens this – concerning the murder of the Other – may prove itself to be an impenetrable opening for a budget end movie – an indication, perhaps, of ideas above its station. However, it is those very ideas that made this so watchable to me. The film had issues but the fact that it looked behind the veil of the tropes/myth and announced its thoughts belied the perhaps less stellar cinematography and perhaps some crass aspects also.

Clint Jung as Mr Wang
So, as the film starts we meet Gus (Rollin Blanton) an apartment manager doing some plumbing for tenant Tiffany (Cassandra Leach). Music blasts from downstairs as Bob (Ken MacFarlane) cross dresses and Tiffany has plenty to say about the noises from Bob’s apartment. Gus can see at crotch height and Tiffany is barely wearing her panties. When he stands he realises her blouse has fallen open exposing a breast, goes to fix her blouse and is accused of touching her nipple. She complains to his boss, Mr Wang (Clint Jung, the Revenant, Aleta: Vampire Mistress & Teeth and Blood)

Rollin Blanton as Gus
Mr Wang, an old gentleman on inhalers and oxygen, is less than happy. Not just over Tiffany’s complaint but because a tenant committed suicide and Wang wants the apartment emptying and re-letting. When Gus found the deceased tenant hanging in the attic he put his foot through the ceiling of a Mrs Ezell (Angele Caron) and Wang wants that fixing. Gus is an ex-cop who “retired” when he killed a kid (in a clown suit), who killed Gus’ partner Loretta (Tia Bean) and Gus himself was shot in the head. As a result, he is under psychiatric care and is prone to bad dreams.

quiet zompire
His dream, this time around, is of finding the hanging tenant and then seeing Mrs Ezell in an animalistic, Evil Dead sort of configuration. She comes across as quite zompire to be fair with a definitely dead complexion but with sharp teeth that she uses on rats. Before he awakens the hanging tenant says, “don’t let them in.” Gus awakens because his phone is going off and it is a couple, Connor (David Landry, also Teeth and Blood & True Blood) and Star (Elise Jackson), at the front of the apartment asking to be let in as they want the (as yet unadvertised) apartment. As it is three in the morning he refuses.

Connor and Star
Of course, they are vampires and his does let them in eventually. They are responsible for the deaths of the tenant and also Mrs Ezell (it transpires that Gus’ dreams are more real than he knew). What I found interesting was that they were identified as vampires but also succubus and incubus – from that class of demon. This recognises the similarity in trope/folklore/psychological backstory for the creatures. Later we also get them tied into the tension between liberals and conservatives, which falls back on Voltaire almost – with mass consumerism (and the consumers thereof) being likened to zombies.

silver was in the bloodstream
Lore wise there needs to be a two way passing of blood between vampire and victim to change. They seem able to appear and disappear once they have been let in – and of course the invitation trope is central to the story – but once allowed in a building they become very difficult to remove. They have a leader who calls the shots but interestingly doesn’t have to be the oldest vampire. Silver burns their flesh and can kill them (especially if someone’s blood is laced with silver and they drink it). They sleep in earth (not necessarily coffins) and avoid sunlight.

vampire attack in the shower
The acting wasn’t necessarily brilliant and the script moved into crass territory from time to time. The SFX is not necessarily top notch – seeing Star walk in with an obvious bald head piece was distracting. However I was transfixed by some of the undertone and exploration of the tropes and that really pushes the score up for me to 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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