Saturday, May 06, 2017

Bloodsuckers (1997) – review

Director: Ulli Lommel

Release date: 1997

Contains spoilers

Darling Dead

Be careful what you wish for… words, perhaps, to live by. I have tried to track this film down for years under its Bloodsuckers title. Amazon do list a DVD, via marketplace, but invariably it is the 1970 Blood Suckers that is being sold (I have, luckily, only come a cropper with this once – since then I have contacted the sellers and sought version confirmation). In fact, the amazon UK page reviews are all for the 1970 film. Indeed, if you search for the film even those hits with the correct director/actor details have the 1970 film cover (including IMDb at the time of review)!

In fact, a search reveals a variety of titles for the movie including I Want to Be a Vampire, Nothing Generation, Vampire Club or Boogeyman Vampire Club 4. The version I finally stumbled over had a similar title in that it was in film titled Boogey Vampire Club 4. For those who have put two and two together – with the director being Ulli Lommel and the word Boogeyman being used – you are right to think that this is ostensibly the fourth Boogeyman film… I say ostensibly as it has nothing to do with the previous films as far as I can tell.

stock footage
Indeed, it is a giant WTF moment encapsulated into film. Certainly not a horror film, it is more like (poor) performance art making a social commentary (or commentaries). It haunts the hidden streets of Hollywood and the search for fame, using stock footage of Marilyn Monroe to exemplify the “chew them up and spit them out” of the Hollywood machine. It starts with porn, cut in such a way that it becomes an artistic statement rather than titillation over the credits – indeed porn is cut through the film (along with porn shoots) to make a point (I guess about the prostitution of the acting profession, or something like that, honestly I don’t care).

Beethoven, Michelle and Peter
So, there are a pair of teens, Michelle (Michelle Bonfils) and Peter (Peter Sean Maloney), sat on the street. There is a used condom nearby and she makes him hold it up as she takes an “art” polaroid of it. All the while they seem to be watched by “cool kids” over the road. Their friend Beethoven comes over and Michelle begs some money off him. She admits she always wanted to be a vampire – to live forever and never hurt. Beethoven suggests that vampires are everywhere and that Michelle’s virgin blood would get her in trouble.

vampire school
Michelle faces a head, which seems wreathed in flames (as does hers)… yes we are in a dream it seems, or, to be kind, a psychic state. The head talks about her becoming a vampire and says she has to go to school. We cut to a room with the cool kids and a teacher, Angelo (Ulli Lommel, Tenderness of the Wolves), who says this is the vampire school. Michelle is there, asleep. She awakens and is informed that she will be put on Angelo’s list and then sent to a bad vampire Santano (also Ulli Lommel). The bad vampire will tempt her with power and Angelo with everlasting love.

Darling Dead with Santano
So, she and Peter go to Satano’s vampire club and are renamed Darling Death and Dr Ghoul respectively. Also into the club come Dougie (Christopher Rogers) and Christy (Samantha Scully) who are renamed Nuggy and Schnibble. Nuggy is just out of jail and estranged from his father. He has taken Schnibble to the club as his Grandfather (George 'Buck' Flower Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat & Waxwork II: Lost in Time) works there, before they elope to Canada. They kind of become the moral counterpoint for Michelle to learn her lesson. And from then on it’s a big old psychedelic mess (actually, it was like that from the head of the film). Its not that I couldn’t work out what was going on its just that I couldn’t care.

Pulling together an arthouse film within the parameters of genre, using your previous horror films as a springboard works, I guess, for some. But not in this case I’m afraid. There was very little in the way of vampirism, too many mixed metaphors and I was just left cold. Stock footage was liberally used, as well as occasional footage of a spaceship as Darling Dead/Michelle wanted to live to 2049 and fly a spaceship! 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Plungtree said...

Is this available anywhere on DVD or download? I collect vampire films and would like to add this to the collection.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Plungtree - as I mentioned there is supposed to be a DVD of it but often it is the 1970 film Blood Sucker being sold. If you google video search for the film and director you should be able to track it down streaming out there