Articles and Essays



Christine Byrom

The question that I've come up with is one that is puzzling, yet to the point. Why, when the vampire novels and stories that are being published now verge on the exceptional, are the movies so completely awful? I'm talking BAD here. Is Hollywood toying with the fans of the Horror genre or are they just clueless? With the recent casting debacle of "Interview with the Vampire" as an example, the future look rather bleak.
Those of you who have read my book or film reviews probably realize that I am, on average, easily entertained. Though I may dislike some thing as a whole, I can always find a small detail or nuance that is innovative or at least amusing. Recently, this optimistic attitude has been challenged by some of the worst vampire films spawned in B movie hell.
It was filmed in London! It stars Julian Sands! Boy is it a stinker! First and foremost, this film is set in the London that travel agents have nightmares about. It was atmospheric all right, think dark and rainy. The plot was rather nonexistent, due to a lack of dialogue. Brooding looks can only carry a film so far. My advice, skip it unless you're a die hard Julian Sands fan.
My next Victim is a real turkey titled "Midnight Kiss". The synopsis didn't sound bad, just mundane. Lady cop takes it to the edge tracking down a killer vampire. The most amusing scene featured the vampire (long, blonde hair and the goofiest laugh this side of Crispen Glover) unzipping his bodybag, in lieu of a coffin, to shut of the alarm clock. My friend Cat, Queen of the B-movies, pointed out that the confrontation/fight scene near the end was hilarious.. Since both combatants have long hair, there is an enormous amount of brown and blonde locks being flung about as the two proceed to trash the cop's apartment in an attempt to destroy one another. It looks pretty silly. If you just can't resist, watch it and get a few good laughs.
I'm sorry. I am apologizing beforehand because "Dracula Rising" was really bad. Produced by Horror veteran Roger Corman, this movie suffers from apocalyptic miscasting. Dracula, the eternal Vamp man, is played by Christopher Atkins. Filmed on location in Eastern Europe, the scenery is great and the story mildly interesting. Riding on the success of "Bram Stoker's Dracula", they've thrown in a reincarnation subplot, complete with the heroine being burned at the stake while a young, human Dracula watches helplessly. The problem is that Mr. Atkins depth of emotion in the tortured role is limited to a couple of expressions. Namely, Fear, Annoyance and Aloofness, or any combination of the three. While watching this piece of work, we labeled the expressions: one, two, three....etc.
Now, you are saying to yourselves, "They can't all be that bad." And it's true, they're not. To end on a less depressing note, I must mention "Blood Ties". This vampire flick was made for cable T.V. and was quite good. I would describe it as the first politically correct Vampire film. Ooops, in this film, "Vampire" is a derogatory term, they prefer to be called "Carpathians". In terms of storyline, they did something new and it worked. The "Carpathians" have evolved just like everyone else, only they're still being hunted by the fanatically religious. It gets interesting when the old ways clash with the new. There isn't a lot of fangs flashing or gorging on blood, but when they get pissed of, they have a great growl.
At any rate, there seems to be a lot of vamp movies, both good and bad, being released as of late. Check them out and let me know what you think of them.

Chriss Byrom lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is a consultant for Vampire Junction.

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