Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Vampire’s Tale – review

Director: Don Pachno

Release date: 2008

Contains spoilers

Sometimes things don't turn out the way you think. Be it the presence on a cheap film collection, the washed-out print or the overly melodramatic/cheesy soundtrack as this opens… any of these elements didn’t bode well for the film as a whole. Indeed, the film felt and looked like something from the 80s and so the 2008 date was a tad confusing also.

And yet, as I watched this, I found myself charmed. Not that it is great cinema – it really isn’t – but there was something, there was also a (recognised by the film) lore conundrum and a nice bit of questioning of ethics – which undermined itself through a switcheroo later on but was still fun.

in the alley
So we start with Pierce (Alexander Blaise) and Rebecca (Jennifer Corby) walking down a street – it becomes apparent that they have not long since met. They pass an alleyway and Rebecca lures him down it – they won’t be disturbed. We see they are being watched from a nearby vantage point and she quips that she doesn’t bite… but he does. He bites, feeds and leaves her in the alley. The watcher, Devon (Andrew P. Cross), goes across to her and picks her up.

keep her sedated
Rather than take her to hospital he takes her, in a cab, home and puts her to bed. He is getting a sedative ready when she comes round. He injects her but she has asked him what happened and it is clear that she knows Devon. He picks up a picture of another woman, Kathy (Holly Davidson), and has a memory of her being attacked by the same vampire and him shooting at Pierce to no avail (and being knocked aside). He vocally promises *soon*.

in the sun, just before impact
Andrei (James Gordon) arrives, he is a doctor and is drunk. We discover that his help in the endeavour is manipulated through blackmail and that Devon also manipulated Rebecca into attracting Pierce on purpose. She is to undergo treatment to help her through the transformation. When she comes round she goes to the bedroom window and opens the curtains but soon is screaming as it burns. Eventually she develops fangs – Devon tells her that it appears that Pierce was a vampire and intimates that Andrei knows a bit about such creatures. He suggests that killing Pierce will cure her but only if she does it soon.

Alexander Blaise as Pierce
So, this is the ethical dilemma I mentioned earlier. Devon is manipulating people (including using blackmail) and has put Rebecca in harm’s way to kill a vampire. But he did not warn her of the risks going in to this. She has to find Pierce and then charm and befriend him to learn about vampirism. The aim is to find his coffin with his grave dirt in it and destroy it so he cannot rest in the day. As for Devon he is avenging his wife, but Rebecca will learn that there are two sides to every story.

a staking
As for the lore conundrum… it is all around the grave dirt and the film recognises the conundrum and addresses it (ish). Rebecca does not sleep in a coffin with grave dirt in it. Indeed she has no grave. When she asks Devon she is told that it is the Christian ritual around burial that forges the bond to the grave and she didn't have a funeral. However, whilst she asks Pierce if the legend is true she doesn’t then ask the actual vampire why it is the case. One would feel that she probably should need something, and there is a whole comedy that could be explored (elsewhere) about a vampiric reliance on the duvet they died under if they had no grave.

Other than that there is turning into a bat (though we don’t see it, just a pov shot as the bat), being warded by crosses, stakes to the heart, turning to mist and the negative impact of sunlight. She maintains a reflection and, on drinking Pierce’s blood, is able to read his mind as he shows her a vampire staking. There is also the treatment she was given to help her transform but I won’t spoil that, just mention that it is specific.

I mentioned the washed out print at the head of this and the acting isn’t necessarily high end either – but it does what is needed. Alexander Blaise was channelling some late 80s early 90s straight-to-video vampire, but that worked in the circumstances. If I looked at the plot too critically then I’m sure it would creak terribly, but I found myself just, quite simply, enjoying it for what it was. Not high art but certainly worth 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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