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Bloodsucking Cinema (2007)
*** (out of 4)
Short, 55-minute documentary that takes a look at why vampire films are so popular in cinema. The film takes a look at where the true legend comes from and then goes into all the films starting with 1922's Nosferatu and leading up to current films like Underworld and Van Helsing. If you have the slightest knowledge of film history then you're not going to learn anything by this film because it's clearly being made for those who have never seen a vampire movie. John Carpenter, John Landis, Joel Schumaker and Uwe Boil are among the people interviewed as they talk about their own films as well as the ones they enjoyed while growing up. It was nice seeing Carpenter talk about enjoying various Hammer movies and even the 1931 Lugosi film gets a lot of talk. For some reason this film almost seems like a promotional piece for From Dusk Till Dawn, which gets a lot of the talk. Cheech Marin talks about his roles in that film but the most interesting thing is seeing him talk about all the Mexican vampire films made throughout the decades. While there wasn't anything new I learned here the film still kept me entertained enough to enjoy what I was watching.
I was going through Netflix to find a good movie and was going through
the horror genre section, I needed a good scare and saw Bloodsucking
Cinema which is a documentary about vampire movies, which I thought
were mainly going to be the classics. Now I was definitely excited to
see that they were going to mention: Nosferatu, Dracula, the Hammer
films, The Lost Boys, Bram Stroker's Dracula. I always was a very big
fan of vampire films, ever since I was a little girl, my mom and I
would watch one every weekend, I always thought that they were cool.
Vampires are a great monster to adore because they represent eternal
youth, beauty, and life. Mainly because of film the vampire has been
more romantic then what stories had told us before. But still it's a
fun little fairy tale to think about: a dashing man in a cap comes into
a girl's bedroom to make her his or a beautiful woman who seems so in
love with you making you her little love toy. It's very erotic and
exciting to us since it's so "forbidden" in our world. So I do love to
see documentaries on vampires and since this was a documentary more so
on vampire films, I didn't even hesitate.
So as a documentary about vampire films, this goes into the famous movies about vampires, slayers, the victims, and the survivors. They talk to the most famous directors, actors, writers, and critics about what it was like to make the famous films such as: The Lost Boys, Dracula, Innocent Blood, Nosferatu, Underworld, and Van Helsing. They even for some odd reason throw in Bloodrayne which was a pretty lousy movie so I'm not so sure why they would put that in there. But if you were curious on how the stories came to be, this is the documentary for vampire fans.
My main problem with the film is that they spend a little bit too much time with Uwe Boll's movie Bloodrayne which is just a bad movie and I was questioning why they even bothered. They also still missed on a few films that I felt needed mentioning: Dracula(with Frank Langella), Fright Night, Count Yorga, and even 30 Days of Night(even if I didn't really like that movie). They also talked about both Queen of the Damned and Interview with the Vampire at the same time which I felt like it was a cheat considering they were both very different from each other. Now I'm not completely complaining, I did enjoy the documentary on vampire films, I loved to get the idea of what the directors thought of vampire stories and such. It was cool also to learn about how some of the effects or how the story came to be. I was just bummed that it was pretty short and they didn't really go into much detail on certain films. But this is worth the look for any vampire fan.
Starz Inside Original special presentation of "Bloodsucking Cinema",
airing October 22, 2007, features excellent back stories, commentaries
and retrospectives on one of cinema's most inspiring and shocking
creations: the vampire.
Hosted by esteemed film critic Richard Roeper, "Bloodsucking Cinema" commences with the early origins of the legendary monsters, including Vlad the Impaler and moving to F.W. Murnau's 1922 classic Nosferatu, which paved the way for other vampire films. The introductory information is hopefully common knowledge to film buffs and vampire aficionados it is the progression of the vampire film that becomes truly engrossing.
Clips and stills from Tod Browning's unparalleled 1931 masterpiece "Dracula" are shown, intercut with special-effects wizard Stan Winston and several other makeup artists, actors and film critics, including respected film historian Leonard Martin and Harry Knowles, of questionable expertise.
Delving into the evolution of the vampire, John Carpenter discusses "John Carpenter's Vampires", which are cast out into the burning hot desert climate. The sexier styling of Mexican vampires are introduced, including the mention of foreign language versions of older horror movies being filmed on the same stages and sets right after the American version of the film was wrapped.
One of the seminal actors of the horror genre, Christopher Lee is saluted and recognized for his work in such revolutionary classics as "The Horror of Dracula." Hammer Films, which produced dozens of cult classic horror movies during the 70's is discussed, along with the fan favorite "Brides of Dracula." Anne Rice's "Interview With the Vampire" introduced audiences to something they had never seen before: a child vampire. Joel Schumacher's vampire thriller "The Lost Boys" features Kiefer Sutherland in a memorable role that made vampires seem like cool young rebels. It was one of the first films to demonstrate the idea that vampirism may be a blessing as opposed to a curse.
Cheech Marin makes an appearance to discuss "From Dusk Till Dawn", a makeup and prosthetics-heavy gorefest in which vampires are most certainly the villain. On the opposite end of the spectrum is "Underworld", in which vampires are chiefly the protagonists, appearing sleek and sexy. Stephen Sommers, the director of "Van Helsing" and Len Wiseman, director of "Underworld" discuss their takes on vampirism. Joining them is John Landis, who filmed the innovative "Innocent Blood", featuring a vampire who refused to misuse her bloodlust.
Several other well-known contributors to the vampire legacy are introduced, including Uwe Boll and Kristanna Loken of "Bloodrayne". Excellent samplings of films are put under the spotlight, and informative talent commentaries accompany each. "Bloodsucking Cinema" is an impressive look into the inner workings that inspired vampire classics and the many reasons we continue to enjoy the bloodthirsty masters of the night.
- Mike Massie
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