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Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Experimental Vampire Film Bogged Down in Symbolism
I am a horror aficionado who is always open to seeking out a lost treasure or new discovery on my horror quest. I had heard this movie pop up a few times over the years in discussion and felt it was time to give it a shot. Truth be told, it took everything in me just to make it through to the end of this one.
Let's start with the obvious statement that needs to be made, this is not really a horror movie, or a vampire movie. If you are going into this with the expectation of finding a drive-in or grindhouse flick from the 70s, this is not going to meet your expectations, at all.
This movie is very much in the art-house realm, using the archetypes of vampire mythology to explore concepts of addiction, religion and cultural identity. That would be fine with me. I was a Lit student in college and enjoy an intelligent movie with themes to explore. The problem here is that's all this movie has to offer. It's essentially two hours of conversation between Ganja and Hess, intercut with softcore sex, an occasional post-kill death scene and an overwhelming amount of directorial masturbation meant to convey symbolism.
I'm completely open to abstract film and the use of images to convey your symbolism, but you can achieve the same effect and still present an entertaining narrative. Even to have kept the same artistic flourishes, but to have actually explored the vampirism a little more in between might have produced a better film. Instead, the relief we get from the barrage of images is nothing more than conversation between two main characters.
This, in itself, is a problem because of the odd dialog style employed here. The acting and dialog delivery often feels like a bad 60s documentary. It's like watching WOODSTOCK and listening to the drug-addled metaphysical ramblings of hippies, "you dig me man". The opening convo with Bill Gunn as the maniac assistant, or the scene of Ganja explaining her childhood. Nothing felt professional or even more, if often felt like they would trip over words on purpose, or struggle for the next thought. I eventually started feeling like everyone on the cast and crew was high and I was watching a film that probably amused them greatly but did nothing for me.
I'm sure I'll get Not Helpfuls from the folks who assume that I'm just not intelligent or artistic enough to appreciate this "classic masterpiece", but this could have been done well, done intelligently and still created a much more entertaining film in the meantime. This is just dull and boring and make most wish for the two hours of their life back.
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