Thursday, December 14, 2017

Vamp or Not? SiREN

This 2016 film directed by Gregg Bishop was inspired/spun-off from the segment Amateur Night from the film V/H/S. Now given that I reviewed that, it might seem odd that this is a ‘Vamp or Not?’ However, the short was low on detail and this has much more detail (or at least origin) than that did.

I will say that I received some comments re V/H/S criticising the inclusion of a review for the film on a vampire blog, as the creature was (according to those commentators) a succubus. You know what, that certainly wasn’t clear in the short, definitely open to interpretation. In this there is an opportunity to again look at lily (Hannah Fierman, V/H/S, the Vampire Diaries & the Unwanted) but whilst there might be succubus traits (and the writers might have been influenced by the mythology) there are some aspects that just don’t gel with that. Be that as it may, there are close parallels anyway between the succubus and the vampire.

Justin Welborn as Mr Nyx
So the film begins in a graveyard. The Sheriff, cops and a man named Mr Nyx (Justin Welborn, Psychopathia Sexualis) enter the church. There are bodies throughout the church, a magic circle that Nyx recognises as being incorrectly drawn and bloody footprints across the floor and up columns. When the Sheriff asks if they (the dead) were Satanists, Nyx calls them amateurs. The thing (Lily) attacks the cops but Nyx speaks to her and gently puts a leg iron on her…

the stags
Jonah (Chase Williamson) and Eva (Lindsey Garrett, also The Vampire Diaries) are roleplaying, though it isn’t going too well. He’s about to go on his stag night. The trip has been organised by his ne’er-do-well brother Mac (Michael Aaron Milligan) and involves friends Rand (Hayes Mercure) and Elliott (Randy McDowell) and they go to a strip club in Garden City. The club is disappointing but a man approaches Mac and tells him that he can lead them to a happening place.

welcoming the stags
The guys drop mushrooms and then follow the stranger, getting more nervous the deeper into the countryside they go (though later it seems they aren’t too far out). They go into a secluded mansion where the security are oddly attired, some hidden within black hoods and others with blanks face masks. Led downstairs they sit around the stage and, after the act finishes, Nyx comes out and leads them off. Jonah is taken to a “peep show” and the others to a living room where the price for Jonah's show is given as their favourite memory of their mothers.

escaping with Lily
Jonah sees a girl, Lily, and she starts to sing and he has flashes of various sexual experiences. Afterwards, convinced she is a sex slave, he gets Rand and they break her out. She manages to get her manacle off and starts killing and pursuing Jonah (as does Nyx). So what do we find out about her. Well she is devilish or demonic – summoned into our plane. She can produce bat-like wings and a long, dexterous tail and her hands/feet can transform into talons. She is also strong, for she can carry a man off. There is the obvious siren aspects – the name of the film for one and the song that mesmerises men and makes them relive sexual experiences or see ideal partners. Now Bane (as a source example) does not list sirens as a separate vampire type with their own entry – though they are listed in her encyclopedia as a variant of “mermaid vampires” and a couple of listed vampire types are said to have “siren-like qualities”.

post chomp
Lily is obviously a reference to Lilith, who has connection to both the vampire and succubus myths. Succubi are often eaters of energy through the sexual act – and thus an energy vampire – however Lily doesn’t seem to be such a thing (presumably she consumes flesh, and we do see a couple of neck chomps, but we primarily see her simply killing by tooth and claw). Lily does physically mate with Jonah – indeed she rapes him by singing and making him believe he is with Eva and then penetrates him (whilst she is atop him) with her tail. However Nyx suggests that her kind mates for life, not the behaviour of a standard succubus.

So, we have definitive demonic origin (in V/H/S this was not certain and she could have been another, albeit supernatural, species) but we have the very specific siren song. We have the sexual connotation and yet a monogamous aspect. She is more “with it” than in V/H/S where she seemed more ethereal and appeared to have less of an interest to what was happening around her. In V/H/S she was just there, perhaps using her apparent vulnerability to hunt, in this she was summoned and then enslaved.

That broader knowledge pushes me away from Vamp – though she does have some connections in through Lilith and through the succubus aspects, which makes me place this as something of genre interest at least. Not Vamp.

The imdb page is here.

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