Bleeders (1997)

AUGUST 6, 2008

GENRE: MONSTER
SOURCE: DVD (OWN COLLECTION)

Sometimes I mention the odd coincidences that a movie shares with the movie from the day before, but not as often as it actually occurs (which is a couple times a week). But I would be silly not to point out how many things Bleeders has in common with yesterday’s Silver Bullet. Both movies feature a wheelchair bound character, main characters driving station wagons, a character being called a “booger”, a cast member from Anne of Green Gables (and Surviving the Game!), poor stand-ins for Maine (NC in Silver Bullet, Canada here), and lots and lots of incest.

Actually only Bleeders has that. Silver Bullet could have (the brother and sister in that movie end the film in each other’s arms), but I guess they just didn’t have the balls.

Bleeders is a movie that clearly got filmed without a lot of the necessary resources (i.e. money). It’s a pretty good script, but everything feels so cheap. The makeups are barely seen, the actors are all pretty forgettable (casting budget spent entirely on Rutger Hauer I guess, even though he’s only in like 5 scenes), sets are boring, cinematography is lazy, etc. It actually kind of feels like a TV movie, except TV movies rarely feature super hot sex scenes in a bathroom.

The script also contains some truly awesome moments that even director Peter Svatek can’t ruin. Like when our hero (a guy who morbidly looks like a cross between Heath Ledger and Brandon Lee) is offered a sandwich and he shoves the entire thing in his mouth. As a sandwich addict, I can relate. Hauer also gets a great bit where he discovers that one of the monsters is a functioning hermaphrodite, and then announces his need for a drink. Also, the monsters are named Van Damme, which means every time the name is mentioned, I just picture poor Jean Claude, dressed as a monster, running around Canadian Maine. Also, the aforementioned sex scene is not only hot (lots of nudity, up against the wall, etc), but it comes right after the woman pukes and the guy eats a dead baby. Keep in mind that earlier in the film, she fought off his rather normal sexual advances, which just makes her sudden desire for him all the more hilarious.

Also, how can you not at least kind of like a movie that concludes with this line of narration: “And so it came to pass that John was reunited with his family, and found that he too had a twin. And although his sister could make love to herself, she welcomed her long lost brother, and loved him too.” The narrator doesn’t even mention that as the sister is “welcoming” her brother, a bunch of the little monsters are milling about, seemingly on break from eating corpses or whatever.

Something that isn’t in the credits, but all over the IMDb, is that this film is based on the Lovecraft story "The Lurking Fear". It certainly feels like Lovecraft, what with the slow pace, weird monsters, and New England setting, but it in no way resembles the movie Lurking Fear, which I saw a long time ago. If memory serves, that movie took place in one night, all in a crypt, and had a great joke about Communion wine. This movie has a guy fucking his sister in the first scene, a guy with different colored eyes, and something about eating babies. Both perfectly concepts in their own right, and both feature a cemetery and some monsters in it, but not really alike enough for me to really buy it, especially since it’s not credited. You’d think a direct to video cheapie (which is what Lurking Fear was) would try to capitalize on the author’s name. If any of you fine folks have read the story, can you tell me which version is more faithful, if any?

Speaking of the author, adaptation or not, the script is by Dan O’Bannon and Ron Shusette, who you may recognize as writing movies with lots and lots of resources/money, such as Total Recall and Alien. I get the impression that this was one of those deals where they wrote a movie, shopped it out to studios, and this particular company outbid everyone but in the process used all of the money they needed to make the movie properly. And that’s a shame, because almost no one involved seems to be even trying to do their script any justice.

The music by Alan Reeves is really good too.

What say you?

3 comments:

  1. I haven't yet read the short story, but I DID read the synopsis on the wikipedia page, and it seems this is in fact the more faithful of the two adaptations. The original story had to do with people having sex with monkeys or something and then there being an ancestor that was part man part ape that went around killing people. Mr. Lovecraft was apparently a major racist and most of his fiction has to do with his fear of the white, English/American community being tainted by other races and cultures. In fact, in Rats In the Walls the protagonist has a cat named Niggerman! If I'm not mistaken that was also what Lovecraft actually named one of his own cats.

    As for me, I just think it's kind of funny he wrote a couple stories about people whose ancestors were raped by apes. I suppose that explains why there aren't a lot of big-budget Lovecraft movies. =(

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  2. is it real or just fantasy film?

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