Friday, July 03, 2009

Bloodlust – review

dvdDirectors: Richard Wolstencroft & Jon Hewitt

Release date: 1992

Contains spoilers

Allegedly Bloodlust was the first Australian film to be banned in Britain due to excessive gore and sex. To be honest it didn’t necessarily seem that bad when compared to more contemporary efforts – for instance Strange Things Happen at Sundown. Indeed, Strange Things came to mind as I watched the film but it struggled to discover the ethereal something that Strange Things tapped into – there were other issues with the film when compared to the later Strange Things which we’ll get to.

As I did some research it seems that co-director Wolstencroft has some rather controversial and, to me, very objectionable political views. I didn’t know this as I watched the film and so they, in no way, coloured my thoughts on the movie and, whilst aspects of the movie are distasteful, I don’t believe necessarily that they were preached within the film – in a direct manner at least. Certainly my thoughts on the film should not be construed as an endorsement of his apparent right wing beliefs/sympathies.

Dee attackedThe film starts with a vampire, Dee (Ian Rilen), running down the road. He is being chased. Eventually we see a mob of priests. He gets into a car but they get to him before he can start the ignition. They are ramming stakes through the roof and pull him out of the car. As the head priest Brother Bem (Phil Motherwell) spouts on fanatically, the other zealots stake Dee – we see this fully later, the camera remaining on Bem at this point.

the copsHaving seen various scenes through the credits we meet some of our primary cast. Tad (Robert James O’Neill) steals the car of a mobile phone (and for that read brick) wielding yuppie (driving past a couple of beer swilling cops who don’t give chase but eventually find the yuppie when one goes for a pee – the cops are main characters too) and meets a gun seller. The guns are sans ammo and the ammo will be given once the 3K asking price has been met – a price that has gone up by 50% since the deal was cut. It doesn’t matter as Tad has no money anyway, he does have a clip of ammo in his pocket though.

Kelly Chapman as FrankFrank (Kelly Chapman) walks past the zealots as they preach and enters a hotel. She takes a seat near a businessman and suggests that they see the view from his room. In the elevator, when he asks how much, she states he’ll pay whatever the asking price might be. We then see her riding atop him, there is blood on her hands and he appears to be dead – that does not stop her taking her fun and her sustenance.

A man crawls on all fours until he reaches Lear (Jane Stuart Wallace), whom he addresses as mistress whilst licking the dirt from between her toes. He is admonished for speaking and sent to get her a drink. He cuts his hand and she licks the blood and then tells him that she is leaving town. When he protests she slits his throat.

 making the town sufferKelly and Lear are sat in a bar waiting for Tad. When he arrives he tells them that Dee is dead. They decide it is time to get out of the town. They’ll pull the casino heist that Dee had planned first and if anything goes wrong meet up at a little town called Geeksville. They decide to make the town suffer for what happened to Dee and go on the hunt – one wonders, given what we have already seen, how the slaughter of a few people, that they commit, is making the town suffer more than their general actions.

Anyway the heist draws in the attention of the mob, their slaughter in Dee’s name draws Bem and his zealots, and the two cops are eventually drawn into the events also. Everything culminates in a cross-group shoot out near Geeksville.

Mr HappyThe vampires are not that supernatural all told, they don’t have fangs, they can go out in sunlight and they have reflections. They do drink blood, are slightly stronger than average, it would appear, and can withstand tremendous damage. We know this when we see Dee again – in his new guise of Mr Happy – a tortured deformed creature kept as a mascot by the zealots.

The acting is fairly poor all the way through but the majority of actors were not professional. This is one thing that distances this from Strange Things as some (though not all) of the performances in the later film worked well. We got some truly awful accents thrown in to boot. The story here was weak and the locations not always brilliant (the casino was a pool hall that also seemed to be a high rise apartment building).

spot the boom mikeThere is, however, on-running gore, violence, sex and nudity and many of the gore effects worked well for the low budget – although there was a ripped out heart at one point that was so ridiculously small it wasn’t plausible. The direction wasn’t always the best and we had the seemingly obligatory boom mikes in shot – indeed some shocking cases of it.

This is not the best film in the world, by a long shot, but it was interesting if only for it having been banned. There is vhs ghosting around and it was also on a double DVD that you might be able to track down. Personally I think you’re much better off with Strange Things. 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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