Sunday, June 17, 2012

Brotherhood of Blood...

Alright back again with an award winning film that touched the hearts of millions and filled songs deep within their souls…oh wait I am reviewing another vampire movie.  Crap.   Well strap in kiddies because this bronco will do more than buck.  It will probably stomp a new mud hole in you.

Spoiler Alert!   There will be critiquing and outright scene explanation as well as bashing of said movie

Now before I bring the hot pokers to this movie, let me be clear in saying I love Sid Haig and Ken Foree.   Sid Haig made his bones with TV shows such as Gunsmoke, Get Smart and even a few Mission Impossible episodes.   The first film I saw him in was Coffy starring Pam Grier.  He was playing this sick cat named Omar and just a vicious but calm mother.   You younger viewers know him better as Captain Spaulding of House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.   Ken Foree on the other hand starred in the original Dawn of the Dead as Peter and later as the Reverend in the 2004 remake.  I have seen him in TV as far back as a Hunter episode but my favorite character of his is the ground pounding PFC (Private First Class) Large from Babylon 5.  Smoking a cigar in a barrack that isn’t even his and telling his rookie bunkmate war stories.   Hell, Victoria Pratt from Cleopatra 2525 and Mutant X is in this so what could go wrong?   Sigh.  

Well enough back pedaling, here we go.  Directors/Writers Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer co-wrote and directed Alone in the Dark 2 and House of the Dead 2) brings us this festive little romp.  We encounter our band of vampire hunters and it would seem not all is well as one of them is bound in chains; the other tied to a chair getting slapped around for information by vampires.   Maybe they are on the set of the last Bruno Mattei’s Woman in Chains flicks.  Always be concerned when your flick has vamp fangs made of wax and not veneer jobs instead.   The sound quality seems to be off or maybe it was just the DVD copy I had rented but I swear the actors do not sound like they are miked at all.  Our fearless vampire huntress has a heated discussion with one of the lead vamps as she picks her locks.  Hmm heightened senses must be off.   Sid Haig, a.k.a. Lord Pashek takes conference with his right hand man Fork.   Yeah I kid you not. Fork is his name.  A wandering nit wit human stumbles on an ancient burial ground in Romania and gets scraped by an ancient vampire corpse and is infused with Satan!!!   HUH?!  Oh and the accents that are attempted are to die for.  I heard so many half assed European attempts it was just painful after a while.
This film is interspersed with scenes not being in a sense of chronological order.  The story is laid out as a series of flashbacks from L.A. to Romania to San Pedro to L.A. and a rough narrative overshadowing the story and trying to bring everything tied in.  Nicely done but this HD DVD hand held steady cam; while great for those tight zoom shots and able to whip back and forth from character to character just does not give it a good 35MM feel and hey this is coming from a guy that remembers Super 8 films.   Maybe they were going for a Pulp Fiction/ Less Than Zero feel.   The HD gives it an updated home movie look and while the picture is crystal clear it feels like their budget could not be strained at all.

Our fearless vampire killers…say that would make a great…oh crap already been done.   Ahem our courageous vampire hunters sound off!    Carrie! (Victoria Pratt) Keaton! (Jason Connery) Jill! (Rachel Grant of Die Another Day and The Tournament)    I was slightly disturbed the vampire hunters chained Ken Foree to a table and not because the effects showed them cutting off circulation or the chains had crosses and holy water placed on it.  Nah it just felt like some avant-garde bondage performance art piece that no one gets.   Actually I have yet another spoiler here for you all.  Foree spends most of his scenes strapped down.   They find out with a little bit of torture that the vamps are terrified that Satan has taken human form and now roams the Earth but they call him Vlad Kosay and the greatest trick Vlad ever did was to prove he didn’t exist.  If the sets weren’t so minimum and poorly lit…well who am I kidding?  It would still suck.   I never saw so much fog in a flick outside the Fog. The narrative is unnecessary, the pace is slow and the performance is barely memorable.  Our action scenes were sketchy at best and the gore or violence was tame.   Move on gentle readers. This is a turd in your cereal bowl.