Tag Archives: vampire

B Movie Glory: Uwe Boll’s Bloodrayne

There’s no excuse for films as shitty as Uwe Boll’s Bloodrayne. I know he’s a notoriously slipshod filmmaker and he somehow manages to get the rights to all these awesome video games which he then butchers with kindergarten level gong shows like this, but this one is especially bad. Now, before he goes and reads this and wants to come fight me like those other critics (he owns a restaurant a few blocks from where I work, so I gotta be careful lol), I should say that, contrary to popular opinion, he has in fact made some good films. Attack On Darfur and Assault On Wall Street come to mind as two solid dramas where he actually took his craft seriously and made something worthwhile. But Bloodrayne? Holy shot this movie sucks the big one and doesn’t even have the courtesy to swallow after. It’s loosely based on a pretty cool medieval vampire adventure game from years back, but resembles an episode of Xena Warrior Princess made by preschoolers. The protagonist is hottie vampiress Kristanna Loken, who was the kickass female Terminator in T3, and also gets to kick some ass here, between steamy porno scenes with other vampires. The only cool bit is a stunt sequence where she gets to fight a giant ogre thing and bash its head in with a gigantic war hammer. The cast is absolutely stacked here, as is strangely the case with most of Boll’s films. Michael Madsen and Michelle Rodriguez look hella out of place in Middle Ages garbs playing fellow warriors, Ben Kingsley is rigidly constipated as the big baddie, Meat Loaf has a laughable cameo as some kind of Shakespearean pimp, Billy Zane hilariously shows up as a despot, and the list goes on, including the likes of Udo Kier, Michael Paré and Geraldine Chaplin. I wanna be fair to Boll, as the guy clearly has a lot of passion for trying to get films made and simply being productive, and like I said before, some of his output is actually really decent. It’s just whenever he tries to adapt a video game the resulting product turns out hopelessly disastrous. It’s the same case with Alone In The Dark, House Of The Dead and Far Cry, and the guy keeps going. Bloodrayne is a cartoonish, awkwardly staged, terribly acted EuroTrash dumpster fire, something no one should have to sit through just to see their favourite actors embarrass themselves. I can’t believe he went on to make like three sequels.

-Nate Hill

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B Movie Glory- Rise: Blood Hunter

Rise: Blood Hunter is what you get when you take the sexy female vampire Underworld shtick and suck all the moody, gothic stylistics out of it, leaving something that doesn’t quite have an aesthetic it’s own at all, and feels awkward. It does have one thing going for it though: Lucy Liu. She gives Kate Beckinsale a run for her money in terms of physicality, sex appeal and stunt work, but it’s too bad she wasn’t given a film that rose up to meet her talent. She plays a reporter here who wakes up on a morgue slab one day and realizes she’s been turned into a vampire by the very same satanic cult that she had prior been investigating. Loaded with souped up powers, she begins a bloody journey to exact revenge on them one by one and put a stop to their nocturnal shenanigans. There’s a subplot involving a cop (Michael Chicklis) who’s looking for his missing sister, but ultimately it’s a series of violent, dimly lit confrontations as Liu hunts the cult down to their nasty leader (James D’Arcy is a bit too pretty boy for such a built up villain. There’s supporting work from Holt Mccallany, Carla Gugino and random cameos from Nick Lachey, Marilyn Manson and the great Robert Forster who’s talent is wasted on a bit part that any extra could have done in their sleep. You’ve gotta hand it to Liu, she’s a fountain of star-power and presence, but not even she could carry this beyond SyFy’s movie of the week syndrome.

-Nate Hill

B Movie Glory: The Insatiable

The Insatiable, like droves of other vampire flicks, attempts to cover new ground and build on established formulas to create something memorable, and despite having the direct to video stigma working against it’s notoriety, works pretty well for the most part. Sean Patrick Flanery plays a timid fellow who, after being targeted by a sexy, devilish bloodsucker (Charlotte Ayana), seeks help anywhere he can, broadcasting his predicament via HAM radio (maybe not the most effective outlet) to anyone who will listen. It just so happens that there is a grizzled old vamp hunter out there played by Michael Biehn, a jaded hardass who’s just waiting for signs of these creatures. Ayana likes to play with her prey, and taunts both of them throughout the film in some amusing cat and mouse games, forcing Flanery to great lengths of survival including building one hell of a cage in his basement to trap the bitch. The material is treated mostly head on with just a smidge of smirking deadpan, especially in the sly ending. Biehn is awesome as the cranky, high strung vamp slayer, really having fun in the role. A fun, if slight little flick. 

-Nate Hill

B Movie Glory- Dracula III: Legacy 

Dimension films made a few Dracula sequels following their solid 2000 effort starring Gerard Butler, most of which are meh. Dracula III: Legacy, however, has the ace-in-the-hole asset of having legendary cult thespian Rutger Hauer in the titular vampire role, and that alone makes it noteworthy. Even though the guy doesn’t even show up until the third act, and isn’t around for long, he’s magnetic as the dark prince of bloodsuckers and not to be missed when rallying up the lengthy list of actors who have played the role. The film itself is grade A-cheese and hardly ever feels like a Dracula story, as well as being fairly incomprehensible in relation to the other handful of films in the franchise. I’ve got a weakness for Dimension horror films though, and they’re particularly slick brand of schlock. Jason London, who we all wistfully remember as Randall Pink Floyd in Richard Linklater’s Dazed & Confused, is some random vampire hunter, off trekking into the Eastern European alps with martial arts actor Jason Scott Lee to find the Vamp of all Vamps. They do find him, in the form of Hauer’s entertaining fiend skulking around a derelict castle and… that’s pretty much it. For Hauer fans, load up Final Cut Pro and edit a breezy short film with just his wicked good scenes. For fans of B Movie silliness, have a few beers first. Everyone else, keep on browsing the blockbuster shelf. Oh yeah, and Roy Scheider is in it too, and I’ve completely forgotten who he plays. 

-Nate Hill

B Movie Glory: Mark Young’s Southern Gothic

A disgraced nightclub bouncer faces off against a psychotic zealot vampire preacher. Quite a crazed concept ripe for hyperactive exploitation thrills, and yet Southern Gothic plays it pretty low key and laconic, for the most part anyway. Moody where other films would have been brash, it’s a nice atmosphere piece with gore galore and a gonzo central performance from William Forsythe as Enoch Pitt, a man of the lord who has strayed from the path. Bitten by a vampire, the already sleazy Pitt turns into a full on monster, tearing up the small Deep South town of Redemption and building an army of the undead. Hazel Fortune (Yul Vasquez) is traumatized and broken by the death of his young daughter, until he meets young Hope (Emily Catherine Young), who crosses Pitt’s vision and finds herself in mortal danger. This puts the two men on a vengeful collision course of blood, retribution and carnage. Ok, so I’ve made it sound a little more epic than it actually is, but that’s more or less how it goes down. Energetic it ain’t, more of a slow burn than anything else. Firmly rooted in B-movie territory in terms of both budget and script, but entertaining and distinctly flavoured nonetheless. Vasquez is moody and four, but dangerous when he needs to be. Forsythe, as usual, is the acting equivalent to a junkyard bulldog let off the chain, chewing scenery faster than he can munch carotid arteries, and loving every campy, frightening minute of it. Not the cream of the horror crop per sé, but reasonable enough Saturday night horror background noise fodder. 

-Nate Hill

Taika Watiti’s What We Do In The Shadows: A Review by Nate Hill 

I don’t remember laughing as hard at a film in years as I did at What We Do In The Shadows the other night. It’s pure comedic bliss from front to back, and makes the often tedious chore of making an audience laugh seem effortless. It’s part horror comedy, part mockumentary with a dash of buddy camaraderie and and depth of wit and character all it’s own, thanks to New Zealand filmmaker Taika Watiti, who is fast becoming one of my favorite new voices in the independent field. A master at finding the humour in little moments and dry subtlety, his cameras spend a couple hours documenting pratfalls, squabbles and zany encounters wirh quartet of vampires living in Wellington, New Zealand, each one simultaneously a different caricature of bloodsuckers from previous lore, as well as a completely unique, hilarious individual. Jermaine Clement is the closest thing you’ll find to a household name amongst the cast as Vladislav, a Dracula esque, baroque vamp. Jonny Brugh is Viago, the musically inclined, Ann Rice incarnation, and Ben Fransham, plays Peter, a spooky eight thousand year old Nosferatu clone. It’s Watiti himself who steals the show though, as Deacon, a dandy of a Germanic royal who gets all the best lines and relishes them with adorable deadpan delivery every chance he gets. The film comes nowhere near the classification of horror, and in fact these four resemble a bumbling, lovable frat house, their vampiric nature treated lightly as they cavort about their everyday life like rambunctious nocturnal teddy bears. They navigate household chores, nightlife, inter species relations (there’s a few priceless encounters with a rival pack of werewolves), pesky humans, and have a ball the whole time through. What makes the film so special is the goldmine of comic skill and talent that both director and cast have tapped into. The relationships are unforced, full of idiosyncratic nonsense and always feel utterly organic. For a group of undead fellows, they truly are the life of the party. The documentary style never feels intrusive or irritating, seamlessly taking refuge behind the forceful and side splitting antics which take center stage for the entire film. Comedy is the hardest genre to produce fruitful results in, with horror a close second. What it takes to make you laugh can often be a rare gift, wielded by few and far between, those writers, directors and actors who have that elusive midas touch on our funnybones, combining just the right elements of script, improv and intuition to  get us laughing ourselves silly. This one achieves that and then some.

Taika Watiti’s What We Do In The Shadows: A Review by Nate Hill 

I don’t remember laughing as hard at a film in years as I did at What We Do In The Shadows the other night. It’s pure comedic bliss from front to back, and makes the often tedious chore of making an audience laugh seem effortless. It’s part horror comedy, part mockumentary with a dash of buddy camaraderie and and depth of wit and character all it’s own, thanks to New Zealand filmmaker Taika Watiti, who is fast becoming one of my favorite new voices in the independent field. A master at finding the humour in little moments and dry subtlety, his cameras spend a couple hours documenting pratfalls, squabbles and zany encounters wirh quartet of vampires living in Wellington, New Zealand, each one simultaneously a different caricature of bloodsuckers from previous lore, as well as a completely unique, hilarious individual. Jermaine Clement is the closest thing you’ll find to a household name amongst the cast as Vladislav, a Dracula esque, baroque vamp. Jonny Brugh is Viago, the musically inclined, Ann Rice incarnation, and Ben Fransham, plays Peter, a spooky eight thousand year old Nosferatu clone. It’s Watiti himself who steals the show though, as Deacon, a dandy of a Germanic royal who gets all the best lines and relishes them with adorable deadpan delivery every chance he gets. The film comes nowhere near the classification of horror, and in fact these four resemble a bumbling, lovable frat house, their vampiric nature treated lightly as they cavort about their everyday life like rambunctious nocturnal teddy bears. They navigate household chores, nightlife, inter species relations (there’s a few priceless encounters with a rival pack of werewolves), pesky humans, and have a ball the whole time through. What makes the film so special is the goldmine of comic skill and talent that both director and cast have tapped into. The relationships are unforced, full of idiosyncratic nonsense and always feel utterly organic. For a group of undead fellows, they truly are the life of the party. The documentary style never feels intrusive or irritating, seamlessly taking refuge behind the forceful and side splitting antics which take center stage for the entire film. Comedy is the hardest genre to produce fruitful results in, with horror a close second. What it takes to make you laugh can often be a rare gift, wielded by few and far between, those writers, directors and actors who have that elusive midas touch on our funnybones, combining just the right elements of script, improv and intuition to  get us laughing ourselves silly. This one achieves that and then some.