Blood Ties (TV Movie 1991) Poster

(1991 TV Movie)

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Hot, well-written "modern vampire" movie
icfarm29 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Their ancestors came from Carpathia. They're stronger, live longer, and heal more quickly than other people. And, yes, they have a taste for blood, especially in moments of extreme anger or passion. But don't call them "vampires"; that's the name given to them by the group SCAV (Southern Coalition Against Vampires), people whose rhetoric makes them sound more like recruiters for the KKK than heroic "vampire hunters" such as Van Helsing or Buffy.

As you can see, this film tried - and succeeded - to get away from traditional "Bram Stoker" derivatives and come up with its own ideas about what "real" vampires are. Our hero, Cody (a very young Jason London) is sleeping peacefully in his and his parents' isolated farm house when intruders (from the aforementioned SCAV) break in and kill his parents by staking them in the heart and filling their mouths with Carpathian earth (apparently their theory on how you make sure a staked vamp stays dead). He comes into his parents' room while they are still there, and is shot in the side, but is allowed to get away by his parents' killers in hopes that he will lead them to other vampires (as SCAV calls them).

Not knowing what else to do, Cody travels to California to a distant relative, Eli (Patrick Bauchau). He soon learns the truth about his heritage - his parents were "Carpathian-Americans", the term our modern-day, "real" vampires use for themselves. Cody soon finds himself unsure whether to listen to the leader of a group of young C-A's who ride motorcycles a'la the Lost Boys, who tells him, "If you're gonna have the name, you might as well have the game", or the older Harry (Harley Venton), who does not advocate killing because "it makes us what they (SCAV) say we are" and tells Cody, "This is what your parents didn't want for you. This is why they left". In the end, he has a choice of whether to participate in the death-by-blood-drinking of his parents' killers ordered by Carpathian elders who keep to the "old (vampirish)ways". Harry also has a controversial relationship with a lovely blonde (Kim Johnston Ulrich) who Eli refers to as a "WASP popsy" and "the Pilsbury Dough Girl", and who the rival for his affections, sexy fellow Carpathian Celia (Michelle Johnson), who is more than happy to "do the nasty" with Harry "Carpathian Style" (in other words, with biting and blood), refers to as a "Twinkie".

A gem in the made-for TV vampire genre that shouldn't be overlooked by fans.
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Decent watch for a vampire twist.
fishbone-55 November 2000
Blood Ties is, as a story, an interesting look at the possible historical origin of vampire mythos and how that might have manifested itself into modern times. The "carpathians" in the film are not technically classic vampires (i.e. they walk around in daylight, etc.), but it is a fresh take on vampires for any vampire film fan. The production is par for vampire films, and the performances are of good quality.
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B-movie that doesn't take itself seriously
glitzgirl7621 March 2001
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this as it was both funny and put a modern twist on the vampire theme. It's got enough to keep it going although perhaps not for those who like the traditional depictions but fun. Best suited for a late night movie-fest.
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Surprisingly Intriguing
mk7231 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
*Partial SPOILER alert*

I randomly picked up this video when scanning the video store for vampire movies to watch for a paper and I expected it to be complete and utter tripe, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has a great deal of shortcomings, mainly because of the fact that it was a television movie and therefore had limited resources. But the concepts and ideas posed in this film were quite different and interesting. The issue of racism and xenophobia was a little less subtle than I would have liked but definitely provided another interesting twist in this story in which the vampires aren't the "undead," but just a large family from the country of Carpathia with slightly, different tendencies and cravings.

My friend and I decided that we wished they had played up the moral ambiguity of the two opposing groups, the Carpathians and SCAV members, a bit more. While the story allows us to sympathize with the Carpathians, we can't forget that they basically aren't law abiding citizens. However, the vampire hunters, or SCAV, don't display any sort of redeeming qualities. All-in-all, this was a great film considering what other sorts of horror or sci-fi made-for-tv-films are out there and I think it's definitely worth viewing.
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I sometimes wonder if this inspired KINDRED: THE EMBRACED?
Carycomic11 February 2005
Yes, I know! That one-season wonder was officially adapted from the White Wolf RPG, "Vampire: The Masquerade." But, what if this movie was an experimental first stab at such an adaptation?

Patrick Bauchau (perhaps best known as Dr. Sidney from THE PRETENDER) played the same role in KTE's premiere episode, as he did here. Specifically, the patriarchal vamp. Also, Harry Martin's romance with a female District Attorney is just as much star-crossed angst as Frank Kohanek's romance with Julian Luna's ill-fated ex-girlfriend. And, of course, both this movie and KTE were produced by the Fox Network!

The only significant difference I can see between them is the geographic setting. KTE was set in San Francisco, while "Blood Ties" was set in Huntington Beach, CA. Who knows? Maybe KTE could have had a second season, despite the tragic death of the actor who played Julian Luna, if Fox had remembered this movie and updated some of the characters from it. They could have done stories like Harry Martin hiding out, in Frisco, from a bloodhunt ordered by Prince Cyrus of the L.A. Brujah Clan. Or, SCAV trying to set up shop in the City By The Bay.

But, hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? Oh, well! Maybe SCIFI Channel will show a re-run of it, some weekend. They certainly love re-running "Dusk 'Til Dawn 2" to death!!!
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One of the sexiest vampire movies
SherBa3 March 1999
I really liked this movie because it depicted the vampires as updated, cool, funny and very hip. Unfortunately, it was a made-for-TV movie and therefore limited in some of the things it could show. I do recommend this movie.
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Great Fun for Vamp Lovers!
trini25 May 1999
I really think this movie presented night-time soap opera quality. It should have been made into a series. It shedded new light on the idea of vampyrs. The type in Blood Ties were born into darkness but, made choices on the direction of their being. If they kill or not. It also brought an interesting viewpoint of Lilith's nature and legend. She was said to be the first feminist. But, in Blood Ties she was also the birthing device of hell's children and the counterpart to slavic Dracula. I wish they would continue on this path with the subject of vampyrs.
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It was a fairly good movie, for a TV pilot.
cnbpjb16 December 2003
I'm not sure why others would be down on this movie. Granted it isn't the best movie that delves into the vampire myth (it has a different take on the myth), but it was pretty good for the movie it was.

I remember watching this back in May 1991, and it was originally intended to be a pilot for a FOX-TV series that remained unsold. The two parts of this film that are slightly aggravating is that it takes maybe too long to set up the premise (that of a nest of vampires; excuse me if I rephrase that, vampire is an insulting term, these are "Carpathian-Americans") of a group of immigrants who have a predilection for the taste of blood (they don't need to drink blood, it just is a wonderful diversion and it comes out especially during times of great passion, be that sex, violence, etc and it puts them higher up on the food chain than most humans), they also are stronger, faster and live longer than other humans (although if you get bitten you don't become one of them, you just die.) But, that should be excused since it was intended to be a set-up for a television series and I always wondered what it would have been if it had been sold as a television series, especially considering most of the garbage that does get sold? The only other really distracting thing, is the ridiculous biker gang antics of the young Carpathians against the vampire hunters (I myself would have toned that down), it is as though Richard Shapiro had seen way too many times, "The Lost Boys."

The cast I feel was excellent, especially Harley Venton (Harry Martin or Harlevon Martinescu) who plays the putative hero as a crusading newspaper reporter who gets news reports about the killing of the father and mother of his cousin, Cody Puckett (played by Jason London), in Texas and takes the boy "under" his wings, as it were to clear up several myths and tries to warn the others in the nest that "it's happening again" (the killings) and asks one of my favorite lines, "Isn't it time we come out of the coffin?" And, Michelle Johnson (Celia) and Patrick Bauchau (Eli Chelarin, the head of the "Carpathian-Americans") are excellently cast and Eli is part of the older group who just wants to keep his family isolated in their new home of Long Beach, CA. Unfortunately, the vampire hunters don't want that and Eli won't get his wish. The only weak member of the cast was probably Kim Johnston-Ulrich (and that probably wasn't necessarily her fault), since her character of Amy Lorne, the blonde attorney (in the Ally McBeal since), that provides a mild distraction for Harry (Venton), has no clue who or what Harry's family is, and happens to deal with Eli paying of judges to get his other nephew, Butcherbird "Butch" Vlad off. Bo Hopkins (the main vampire hunter) does a good turn as an old fashioned religious zealot.

All-in-all I thought it was a fairly good movie, with great themes about warnings of religious prosecution and zealotry and early hints of what a dictator that has since been deposed would have called, "ethnic cleansing." But, also it has no good guys or bad guys, again even our putative hero, Harry (Venton) has major flaws, while he is dating Amy, he's also having "hot vampire sex" with his half-aunt (yes, there's mild incest going on in this movie, nothing graphic though), Celia. It also combined two of my favorite genres, monster (especially vampires) movies and comedy movies.
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Air Date
regularfellow18 January 2001
This was nice vampire TV film. It aired on FOX, May 27th, 1991. I guess you could call it a precursor to a later FOX series, "Kindred: The Embrace." They both have similar themes. Good stuff.
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"Your a damn assimilationist." Boring 'modern' Vampire rubbish.
poolandrews10 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Blood Ties starts one dark night in 'Loving County, Texas' where teenager Cody Plunkett (Jason London) is woken from his sleep by noises coming from his parents room. Upon investigation Cody is shocked to discover that three men (Gregory Scott Cummins, Robert Miano & special guest star Bo Hopkins as the main man) have broken in, drove wooden stakes through his parents hearts & set the place on fire. Cody manages to escape but is wounded doing so... Cut to 'Long Beach, California' as newspaper reporter Harry Martin (Harley Venton) is on court duty as he waits for the verdict on Butcherbird 'Butch' Vlad (Salvator Xuereb) one of his distant Carpathian relatives to be announced, Harry is disappointed when Butch gets off but tries to get over it by chatting up the attractive D.A. Amy Lorne (Kim Johnston Ulrich). Meanwhile Cody has made his way to Long Beach to seek out Eli Chelarin (Patrick Bauchau) as instructed to by his parents if anything ever happened to them. As it happens Eli is aware of the incident in Texas & is expecting Cody, once they meet Eli informs Cody that he belongs to a race of Vampires & that the men who killed his parents want they're kind exterminated & that they probably let Cody escape on purpose so he would lead them to other's like him...

Directed by Jim McBride Blood Ties is a bit of a waste of celluloid. The script by co-executive producer Richard Shapiro is slow, boring & as dull as dishwater. It starts off quite well with the staking of Cody's parents but after almost nothing happens. The Vampire hunters don't reappear again until well past the hour mark & only engage in some Vampire fighting during the final 10 or so minutes. Between this Blood Ties concentrates on Harry & Amy's relationship which becomes extremely tedious after watching 40 odd straight minutes of it, ugh. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a full-blooded Vampire film, they don't even like to be called Vampires, they have no fangs, they don't drink any blood (on screen anyway), they walk around in sunlight, they don't sleep in coffins & to be honest I think describing Blood Ties as a Vampire film could be a breach of the trades description act. The character's are alright & surprisingly well fleshed out & developed plus they're not nearly as black and white as you may expect. Unfortunately while that's all well & good you need a decent story to put those character's in & frankly Blood Ties ain't got it. Very little to recommend here I'm afraid.

Director McBride does absolutely nothing, the film drags badly & has no style or visual flair to make the experience any less painful. You can tell that Blood Ties is a made-for-TV film which is by no means a compliment. Forget about any blood or gore, apart from the bit at the beginning not one single drop of blood is spilt throughout the rest of the films overlong 90 odd minutes.

Technically Blood Ties is OK, although there is one scene when a gang sprays graffiti on a 'wall' & as someone leans on it it wobbles! Generally speaking it's very bland, ordinary, forgettable & flat. The acting was alright but nothing special.

Blood Ties is advertised as a Vampire film which may make it extremely disappointing for some viewers as a lot of traditional Vampire film-lore isn't anywhere to be seen or heard. Not worth bothering with, watch a decent Vampire film instead like Blade (1998).
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AlabamaWorley197111 March 2000
A vampire movie where the vampires don't drink blood, don't sleep in coffins, and don't even want to be called vampires? Oh pardon me, "TRANSYLVANIANS." Sheesh. This movie is the only thing that sucks.
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Interesting theme, mediocre acting
benf20013 January 2002
As someone who is not a major fan of vampire films, this movie was somewhat interesting to watch, due to the interesting theme (and the fact that the vampires were the "good guys". But the acting wasn't good; several scenes were so bad they seemed funny!
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