Jean Rollin's FASCINATION (1979) on Amazon Prime for the first time.Figures. You could randomly pick any film in Jean Rollin's filmography and 9 out of 10 times end up scoring a lesbian vampire flick. So I randomly picked, and what do you know? I wound up picking the one flick where Rollin (probably out of boredom or to amuse himself) chose to make the vampirism of the characters ambiguous. Technically the coven of hot women that thief-on-the-run Marc (Jean-Marie Lemaire) runs into in a creepy abandoned castle (a Jean Rollin hallmark) in the early 20th century French countryside qualify as vampires since they crave and drink blood. Whether they're true blood suckers or bored bourgeoisie housewives is for Marc to find out at the end, and the fact he doesn't take any of it seriously only makes the 82 min. running time feel like an eternity.Seriously, the somnambulist pace of "Fascination" somehow manages to make a hot lesbian scene between its leading ladies (Brigitte Lahaie's Eva and Franca Maï's Elisabeth) and a brief slasher spree with a scythe (the movie's signature image) feel dull and boring. And this coming from someone that tends to enjoy Rollin's work, particularly the very underrated and moody-as-fuck "The Iron Rose". Not recommended.
Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)The only distinguishing feature of this movie is the presence of Anita Ekberg – and we’re a loooong way from the fountain in La Dolce Vita. The film is typical Euro-horror in that it is nonsensical, without the corresponding virtue of being insane. Anita learns she has an inheritance at a spooky castle, etc etc. The main conflict appears to be whether Anita will go with the pale, skinny guy with the beard or the pale, skinny guy without the beard. You would be far better off watching an episode of Scooby-Doo (pre-Scrappy, of course).
Scream Blacula Scream (1973)This time the blaxploitation monster goes up against Pam Mother Fucking Grier and her voodoo. He never stood a chanceMore of the same compared to the first one, except this time Blacula is trying to get his curse undone, so there is meant to be a bit of sympathy there I think, except no one really cares about him so its hard to tell. It carries the same problems as the first one, which is basically everyone takes the simple premise too seriously. If someone had some fun with it, either with the pop culture niche or the vampire camp then it could have worked, but it kind of just ticks long with little to hook you. Except of course for Pam Mother Fucking Grier. She gives it her all and does a fine job, just a pity it wasnt in something better, but she is clearly the standout. Im not just saying that because its Pam Grier. Im saying it because its Pam Mother Fucking Grier!She makes everything worthwhile. MoviesthatmakeyouwanttowatchJackieBrownsploitation.
Weird that we had fairly opposite reactions to the same stuff:Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)The first Blacula was one of the best surprises of last year's Junesploitation for me, a movie I didn't expect to be anywhere near as good as it was. I'm happy to say that I'm pleasantly surprised again because the sequel is just as good, and adds Pam Grier which automatically makes it better than the first. I really like that star William Marshall doesn't approach the material as camp, he plays it pretty straight yet seems to be having fun with it, particularly in the scene where he faces off with his rival over some dark red wine. I liked it so much that I'm kind of sad the series stalled after only two entries, I'd happily watch The Satanic Rites of Blacula or whatever would have come next.
I think the reason playing it straight didn't work for me is because I didn't feel like it went far enough in that direction either. There was no horror atmosphere to make it straight scary or having a sense of impending doom or anything. I felt it ends up in the middle ground where it's not Super cool enough to be good Blaxploitation, not camp enough to be fun horror, and not atmosphereic enough to be effective horror. Its just there and walks through it.But that's just me, and history has shown that I'm prone to be wrong. .... even about my own opinion.
Dracula (1979) – First ViewingThis is the one starring Frank Langella and his big hair as Dracula along with Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance. It’s fine (to borrow a phrase). Aside from a few cool/creepy effects, this movie is mostly boring. Frank Langella’s performance mainly consists of just staring intensely at everyone. Laurence Olivier was apparently very ill during filming and it shows big-time. I would say skip this one and watch the other Dracula movie that came out the same year: Werner Herzog’s: Nosferatu the Vampyre, which is a flat-out masterpiece.
Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)I liked how this one tried to take the traditional vampire mythology and play with it a little bit. It's a shame it didn't get any sequels (the ending of the movie clearly was trying to set something up) because I really liked Horst Janson as Kronos. It would have been fun to see that character fleshed out a little bit.
Vampie - the movie (FMS): Oh dear! I am not sure why but I thought this sounded fun. It sounded very tongue and cheek and campy, which it is but it is also very bad. It does have a few moments that are funny, but everything is just so bad that these moments don't work as well as they should.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979, dir. Werner Herzog) This was my first viewing of Werner Herzog's Nosferatu remake, which is actually just an adaptation of Dracula with Klaus Kinski wearing the Max Schreck makeup. There is a lot to like about the movie (it is very, very beautifully shot), but seeing Matt call it a masterpiece above makes me know I need to see it again. I found many of the scenes stiff and stagy, and the Herzogian writing sometimes works better as narration than as dialogue. Still, many truly great movies require multiple viewings to really digest, so I know I'll be coming back to it.
Glad you liked it, and I understand some of the hesitations. I felt the same way the first time I saw it. This movie (like almost all the other Herzog movies I've seen) just sticks with me and continues to grow in my estimation every time I think about it.
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)With a title like this it should have been a lot more fun than it was. The opening scene when the motorcycle is possessed and becomes vampyric is classic! Matter of fact, this sets a tone that unfortunately is really uneven and never lives up. The film is played for laughs but they are few and far between. I think they just relied to much on the fact that the concept is so "wacky". Still, there are some great moments such as the bike parking itself in the garage to avoid sunlight and turning around when coming to a "cross" street sign. The weapons that the bike spawns (nothing to do with being a vampire, but whatever) allows for some cool, if not cartoonish kills. The priest who has to perform an exorcism on the bike has some cross shaped ninja throwing stars. Another let down though, because it's a one off sight gag used once. Had the priest busted out some ninja stars on the bike while doing the exorcism this would have notched the movie up for me a bit. All in all, I can't fully recommend this but if you like goofy, British spoofs it's worth a watch once.
I'd rank it somewhere between Carry On, Vampire Motorcycle and ...And Now for Vampire Completely Motorcycle
...with the theme song written by Black Rebel Vampire Motorcycle Club.Ugh..sorry...CORNBALLSPLOITATION.
I KISSED A VAMPIRE (2010) Well, this was… different. Take HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, make it even more low-budget, and add vampires. Is it stating the obvious to say it’s terrible? The acting is ridiculous, the production value is zero, and the songs set a new standard for blandess. The DVD package has one of those “Family Friendly” stickers on it, and yet the whole movie is filled with double entendres. That fact is really the only enjoyment I got from this one.
Whoa, it's even got Lucas Grabeel! It really is High School Musical! I'm definitely watching this.
30 Days of Night (2007)After reading about everyone else's interesting choices I feel bad for going so mainstream...I liked this a bit less than I remembered but I still think it's solidly NOT BAD. For a film specifically referring to 30 days it doesn't do a great job conveying the passage of time and there are a few silly decisions made my characters, but on the plus side it's beautifully shot and has some genuinely disturbing and original moments. (e.g. "God? ... No God.")
My Soul is Slashed (1991)A Japanese businessman is run over by a conniving co-worker, and hospital workers accidentally give him a transfusion of blood belonging to none other than Count Dracula. I'd heard high praise for this, suggesting it was an inventive hybrid of vampire cliches with heartfelt family drama. It's more like a subdued Tim Allen or Jim Carrey high-concept family comedy: he uses his newfound vampiric abilities to get closer to his teenage daughter, get revenge on his nefarious corporate enemies, clear his name, and get an attractive female doctor to fall in love with him, interspersed with comedic scenes of him adjusting to his new lifestyle. It was enjoyable enough, but I think it's my first real botch of the Junesploitation season; I'll gladly accept an exploitation picture that's boring, confusing, or not at all what I'm expecting it to be, but I'm taken aback by one that's just a normal movie.Deafula (1975) clip...and speaking of boring and confusing exploitation pictures, the roaring God-King of them all visited itself upon me next. The only motion picture ever shot in American Sign Language by a mostly deaf cast and crew is the story of a preacher's son who moonlights (eh? eh?) as bloodsucker. Actually, my shitty joke is completely invalid, because this vampire constantly walks around and attacks his victims in broad daylight. Playing fast and loose with vampire tropes is a speciality of the movie; his transformations happen werewolf-style, changing from blonde and suit-wearing to dark-haired and in full cape and necklace regalia from cut to cut (his vampire state is also signaled by a comically gigantic false nose that is never explained.) He has no problem with crosses, and even kisses one. I would wear myself out describing all the baffling shit in this movie. There's a 'mute' hunchback with no hands, a newspaper headline reads "Dracula is Dead!" though no one in the movie believes in vampires, his mother's midwife is a psychic witch, and he's found out by the police when they find vomit near one of his victims containing whole, un-shelled peanuts (which they know to be his favorite snack.) There's so much more. I don't know, I just feel like crying. I got really worked over by this thing.
Oh, yeah, the Dracula in the clip I linked isn't the Dracula we spend most of the movie following... it's his dad, the original Count Dracula, who he has to drive a stake through the heart of. When he finds Dracula's coffin and opens it, though, Dracula already has a stake through his heart, so he takes it out, Dracula revives, and he stakes him again. I... I... *faints*
The Lost Boys (1987)That's the problem with Santa Carla-- too many inferior cover versions of classic rock songs.
"Oh," you say, "I thought you originally said he was a preacher's son!" Yeah, he is. They're both his dad, and they're two different people. The psychic witch even says (in Sign Language) "They're both your father!"
Sorry, JB, didn't mean to step on your post there.
Freakin' "Deafula"! - That's now one of my favorite titles of all time. I haven't stopped thinking about it since yesterday and I crack up every time I do.
The Lost Boys (1987) - Because I want as many of my Junesploitation picks as possible to feature Alex Winter. Because I always had a soft spot for Laddie. Because Haim's odd awfulness and Feldman's awesome oddness combine into a yin-yang of adolescent vampire-fighting power. Because '80s music doesn't know how not to be on-the-nose, but it does know how to have a shirtless guy in a mullet and tight pants wailing on the saxophone. Because it's tough moving to a new town and meeting new people. Because this is a movie that tells you "no two bloodsuckers go the same way" just so it has an excuse to offer a colorful variety of vampire deaths. Lost Boys!