OCTOBER 4, 2010
I usually enjoy a good laid back horror comedy, and Suck definitely fit the bill. It’s not very ambitious (or, the budget kept it from being so), but it’s charming, fast paced, and most importantly, centered on an actual story, instead of a series of sight gags. Transylmania and Vampires Suck might have burned people off from the idea of a horror comedy involving vampires, but hopefully they’ll give Suck a chance. Besides, Dave Foley is in it.
One thing I like about the movie is that it doesn’t waste any time. Our hero’s girl is turned into a vampire pretty much in the first scene, before we really get to know any of them or how they relate to each other. It could have been annoying, but it fits the movie’s laid back approach, and there are a number of really good laughs in the first few minutes to help you ease into it. The songs are pretty catchy as well, though there aren’t as many of them as I had expected; there are two in the first few minutes but only about another 4-5 for the rest of the movie (performed songs, I mean – there are about 30 in the background or on the soundtrack for our benefit).
It also doesn’t skimp on the carnage. I didn’t particularly care for the ramped up strobe-o-vision way that the vampires fed on folks, but there are a number of killings, plus as the movie proceeds the entire band gets turned. You also have Moby (!) as the singer of a band that encourages people to throw raw meat around, so there’s blood from that too (and I love the idea of Moby, the world’s biggest vegan, playing a guy demanding folks to throw raw beef at him). The sight gag of Hugo, the band’s “Renfield”, repeatedly getting covered in blood after cleaning up a mess never stopped being funny to me.
Another funny running gag involved the band (or an individual from it) unknowingly recreating an album cover. Abbey Road is the obvious one, but the others are a bit more obscure (and better implemented into the story – Abbey Road’s is shoehorned in). There are also a few stop motion shots of the band traveling through mountainous roads or whatever. Not only was it really good stop-motion, but it also reminded me of Spice World, which is fine. That movie was better than it had any right to be (and featured the best Meat Loaf cameo ever).
Speak of which, how the hell is Meat Loaf not in this movie? You have Alice Cooper, Moby, Henry Rollins... seems right up Loaf’s alley. He should have been Dimitri (the villain). Malcolm McDowell also pops up as “Eddie Van Helsig” (heh), and he is a delight, though he sadly doesn’t get to sing. They do, however, use footage from his 1973 film O Lucky Man for a flashback, which is very cool. I’m surprised this sort of thing isn’t done more often. Way better than dying their hair a darker color (or putting on a wig) or something, because their face is still old. Never works.
My only real complaint is that it gets a bit less humorous in its 3rd act, as they need to give our hero (Rob Stefaniuk, who also wrote and directed) a bit of an arc, which means things get serious every now and then. This is hardly an issue unique to this film, but the laid back humor had led me to believe this wouldn’t be the case; I figured it would have more of a Seinfeld-ian “who cares/nothing changes” denouement with regards to its characters. The action part of the climax is a bit abrupt as well – our master villain doesn’t really do anything, and then he gets dispatched rather quickly.
I also didn’t get Alice’s joke about the drummer in the final scene. Anyone have an explanation? They didn’t clarify it on the commentary, but that’s not much of a surprise since a lot of it is silent as they watch the movie, or admonishing one another for being silent while they watched the movie. Some of the usual ground is covered, but I didn’t really learn much. The making of is much better, as it features interviews with just about everyone, and they discuss both the making of the film and rock music in general (Alice in particular offers some good insight about why rock movies don’t usually work). A music video for the film’s best song (IMO) is also included, as is the trailer.
Suck is ultimately a benefactor of low expectations. If you go in with the belief you’re about to be blown away, you’ll probably hate it. But I expected it to, ahem, suck, like every other vampire comedy and found that the humor was largely spot on (at least for my sensibilities), the music was enjoyable, and the cast was colorful and pitch perfect. A top notch “little” movie.
What say you?