Friday, October 19, 2018

Vamp Bikers – review

Director: Eric Spade Rivas

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

Oh my word, what did I just watch? Normally I watch a film and take notes, perhaps go over scenes again that I want to clarify or simply check out again, and then let the film settle in my mind before writing the review. This time around I’m straight on the keyboard because no amount of reflection is likely to make this film make any more sense than: wtf.

This is the first of three in a series and I’ll admit that the cinematography was better than I expected, at least in parts, but I came away feeling that I had just watched a few films spliced together (though I don’t believe that’s the case) and that any narrative had vanished in the splice.

Jets and Sharks... oops, wrong film 
It starts with a loud-mouthed biker sounding off against a bunch of people that the occasional flash of fang reveal to be vampires. Essentially, he’s saying that he’s the top dog and they’d better get out of town. One suggests he gives her a ride and then they’ll leave, to which (inexplicably) he agrees despite a fellow biker mentioning her eyes – which are milky (they don’t mention the fangs). He gives her a ride and she bites him.

We cut to day time and a biker is spray painting a portrait on a wall. A girl, Yvette, greets him as her father. He asks about her dress and lambasts her about boys and how she needs a career guy and not a biker. This is observed by a couple of (wrapped up against the sun) vampires on a rooftop. We then cut to a scene where a police captain chews out a couple of cops. One of them, Hutch (Philip Di Maria), believes in vampires. The space they filmed in doesn’t feel like a police station.

suddenly a vampire
After a moment were the biker from the beginning is all wrapped up, has fangs and is turning on other bikers, we get a scene in a club. This ends up in attacks (and the question ‘what do you want’ answered with ‘souls’) but this seems to go on forever with washed out photography, dance music and occasional feeds. The word interminable springs to mind. After meeting a caged vampire treated like a dog (!), who is then taken on a ride by vampire AC -Gwynplaine (Eric Spade Rivas), there is a random at home scene involving Hutch and a pair of rainbow speedos.

The spray-painting biker is at his wife’s grave when he is dragged to a car by the leather mask wearing AC and is questioned about what makes life worth living (his daughter) and is then let go – and I am no wiser about an actual plot. We got odd snippets about the queen rising, something waited for 100 years. We get a vampire takeover of the neighbourhood from the bikers (I did some research and saw that writer/star/director Rivas saw the vampires as a simile of gentrification, especially by hipsters). We get a flash back 5 years with AC dating a blind girl, refusing to turn her and other vampires doing the job – she is the one with milky eyes at the head of the film. Also in that flashback is Hutch firebombing a vampire lair. We get a much older flashback of AC, a blind wife and a daughter he’s forgotten about, all at the funfair at Coney Island.

some vampires
I’m still none the wiser. Perhaps I’m missing the point. With an overuse of filters and some arthouse pretensions, perhaps this is all it was meant to be. I don’t know. I think it was just badly edited, badly scripted with no sense of how to make a narrative work (either visually or in dialogue). There is a random moment partway through where a priest is interviewed on news about the Oscars and he suggests that the Razzie that year was going to go to the Vamp Bikers trilogy and that knowingness actually undermines the idea that the mess was accidental. It at least shows a self-effacing aspect, admitting that what they did was fundamentally flawed. Or ironically, it might have been meant to be ironic. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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