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While this film has an interesting premise, Allen Moyle's script can't get anything worthwhile out of it. Said premise is that experiments with kuru have caused the spread of a scientific form of vampirism. Kuru is an actual disease that is transmitted when cannibal warriors eat the infected brains of their opponents. Perhaps if the script had been rewritten, it would have been a good film, as all of the cast are very strong and try to make the material they've been given better than it is, except for Christopher Plummer, who knows full well he is in drivel and too arrogant to care about doing his best. I felt a similar way about Ridley Scott's _Gladiator_, in which Oliver Reed gives a lackluster final performance in a drivel film with strong, albeit stylized, acting. The film is a mix of '90s slickness and '80s sleaze comedy. Because the actors are freewheeling and unwilling to let their craft be hampered by poor material, the film never stops being interesting, and leaves you feeling sorry for the actors, except for Plummer, whose boredom is infectious.
This is the sort of film that should be remade--one that had a lot going for it, including wonderful production design be Ian Brock--but since part of what makes it strong are the efforts of the actors, who have aged over a decade, there really isn't much point, particularly since all that ever get remade are films that were done right the first time. If it were remade, of course, the script should be thrown in the dust bin so someone with talent could write a good script using the same idea.
Like Scott's _Gladiator_, in which Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus is akin to Andrew Jackson's Donald here, this made it to my worst films of all time, but both films have similar redeeming values that make them of marginal interest. _Gladiator_ should have ended up only as well known as this one, not a Best Picture winner--they're very much on par. If you liked _Gladiator_ for any reason other than fandom for one of the stars, then I would recommend this picture wholeheartedly, even if you're not into horror/SF combinations. They're both worth a 4, but _Gladiator_ gets marked down a point in my book because it was so expensive (the cheaper a film is, the easier it is to forgive its flaws, particularly if acting isn't one of them--good actors can be found at any price) and so overpraised.
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