Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vamp or Not? Dreadtime Stories

I caught the 2014 Jacob Grim directed portmanteau flick Dreadtime Stories simply because I like portmanteau/anthology horror films. However, there was one story within it – Empty – that made me think I might well look at the film here (though I don’t think there is a definitive answer to the question ‘Vamp or Not?’).

The film itself has a wraparound of a young guy getting an internship at a funeral home. Despite being told that the most important rule is always respect the dead, practically the first thing he does is steal from a corpse. That corpse was a man said to have dabbled in the black arts and the item stolen was a book – containing the dreadtime stories.

Back home, at an impromptu party started by his (apparently) ex-girlfriend and partygoers start reading the stories and find themselves unable to stop, transported (mentally at least) into the story. We are concerned with just one segment.

approaching the girl
So, a doctor, Alison (Autumn Caro), is driving along discussing new Year plans when she loses signal on her phone. Suddenly she slams the anchors on as a girl (Taylor Goldman) is stood in her nightdress, in the heavy rain, in the middle of the road. Alison goes to her but the girl is unresponsive and hides her face with hair and so Alison takes her to the car intent on taking her to the hospital. She notices blood on her and decides to pull into a friend’s place – a bankrupt veterinary surgery owned by her friend Charlie (Ronny Holiday).

Charlie's fate
Charlie has no landline and gets no reception during storms. Alison examines the girl and finds no cuts or punctures and surmises the blood isn’t hers. She mentions the girl’s face to Charlie. They go back to the room but the girl has vanished. Alison looks for her, whilst Charlie goes to get some tranquiliser he had in stock from the days when the place was open. Alison finds the girl standing in a hallway and when we see the girl’s face it looks masklike, not quite human. When they go to inject her and she resists, ripping Charlie’s throat out.

sharp teeth
Now we see that her teeth are pointed. Alison asks her what she is and she replies that she is God before lunging towards Alison, clearly intent on biting her throat. That is where the film ends. So we don’t have much. The girl has a strange look and sharp teeth. She instinctively bites at Alison’s throat and has the arrogance to say she is God. Clearly the tropes (the teeth and the lunge) could be said to be vampiric. The statement about being God is arrogant enough for a vampire...

aiming for the neck
And at that point I’ll say that this was evidently based on a creepypasta story called the Expressionless or the Expressionless Woman. There isn’t evidence that the original story had vampires in mind, however there are clearly tropes we recognise – the original story has a chomped-on kitten however, when she bites the doctor (in the story) it is to kill not drink it would seem. All in all a tale designed just to be creepy, one that is developing a bit of an urban legend feel (so it has its own Snopes page) and one that uses recognisable tropes within its makeup leaving it to be of genre interest, even if it isn’t actually vamp.

The imdb page is here.

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