NOVEMBER 7, 2008
I wonder what the world of DTV horror would be like today had Rob Zombie never turned to filmmaking. After Corpses and Rejects, it seems every third horror movie I see on the shelves has Sid Haig, Ken Foree, Bill Moseley, Irwin Keyes, Leslie Easterbrook, William Forsythe, or some combination of two or more. Before Zombie’s films, you’d see those guys in MAYBE 1 movie a year. Brotherhood Of Blood sports Foree and Haig, and surprisingly enough, they are actually in the movie for more than 2 minutes a piece (another tradition is that these guys’ names will be plastered on the DVD cover even if they are only in a scene or two). All hail the Firefly family!
And actually, another rarity among them: the movie isn’t a complete waste. Had it been filmed for any money whatsoever, and maybe undergone another draft or two, it would actually be pretty good. But it’s kind of hard to see the film’s strong points when everything is dulled by the ugly camerawork (consumer DV, from the looks of it) and nearly universal bad acting.
Things start off on an odd note; there are no production company logos or even production company names. The instant you hit play, you are inside a cave or something, and there’s a title saying “3 weeks ago”. Three weeks ago from what? The DVD menu? Then the cast roll begins as we see a guy look at a mural and cut his finger. And then there’s a cut to “present day”. So three weeks ago, a guy was somewhere and got a scrape. Granted, the scene eventually figures into the plot, but its placement is pretty awkward and hilarious.
The entire movie jumps back and forth in time. In fact, it’s ultimately a sort of vampire version of Usual Suspects, right down to the fact that the entire big action event (killing a bunch of vampires, basically) is actually a front for taking out the one guy standing in the ultimate villain’s way. The vampire even has a weird “cool” sounding name that I already forget. And in theory, that’s a pretty sweet concept, but again, I just wish it was applied to a movie with resources to match.
The only other recognizable star in the movie (to me) is Victoria Pratt, who, like Haig, was in House of the Dead 2. It’s not a coincidence; it’s the same writing team behind this movie (they actually work with Boll a lot, so they are OK by me). She’s sexy as hell and not a bad actress, but her role largely requires her to yell at Ken Foree and glare at people. I was hoping to see her kick some major vampire ass, but as it turns out, there’s very little action in the movie (the big vampire “villain” is merely shot to death). I didn’t mind too much, since the story was kind of cool, but it definitely could have used another big setpiece in the first act. At one point we watch Pratt and a few others look around a vampire nest (read: Los Angeles apartment) for what seems like 20 minutes straight.
Back to the DV/camera though; I don’t see why folks continue to film on this garbage. Why assemble talent, hire makeup crews, the whole nine yards, and use the worst possible format to show their talents? Even 16mm looks better than this stuff; I often felt like I was watching behind the scenes footage instead of the actual movie.
Indeed, there IS an actual behind the scenes look on the DVD, which is incredibly brief and thus not very informative. There is also a trio of interviews with the three stars, but half of each interview is included on the making of, so it’s a bit pointless. A storyboard comparison is also included, something I usually skip but I took a quick look and learned that the storyboards are more visually interesting than the film itself. Seriously, whoever drew them should do a comic or something, the art style was fucking great. Finally, a commentary track with the directors and Haig, and they don’t say much beyond “this was filmed (wherever)” and things of that nature. Haig also points out that he’s been in vampire movies but has never played the vampire, which is a bummer since his vampire character doesn’t get to do any cool vampire shit in this movie. Someday he will get his moment in the sun!
Oh wait, vamps can’t go in the sun. Well, you know what I mean.
What say you?