Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vampire bites

With the current obsession of the teenage phenomenom series Twilight, it comes as no surprise that Hollywood is hunting for the next sensation. While Hollywood transitions into the world of angels, some filmmakers are continuing to push the vampire genre into new heights.

I recently saw the unintentionally funny "Daybreakers". A film that sadly fell apart despite the solid cast and expensive production value. I wasn't too sure if it was the cornball dialogue, the unfortunate stigma of the name "Edward" as a vampire, or the disjointed set pieces that never quite gelled. Perhaps it needed another script edit, or a lighter hand with the musical score; what I know for certain is that the teenagers' laughter surrounding me rarely abated.

A far cry from the matrix style approach of Daybreakers, Park Chan-wook's (Oldboy) film release of "Thirst" is a gruesome twisted dark comedy of a priest who becomes a vampire. The winner of the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the story is loosely based on the novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. Like many of his films it's not for the faint hearted, plunging the viewer into the icy waters of the undead... but it's certainly worth the risk.

A few notable blood thirsty films in no particular order...

1. Bram Stroker's Dracula (1992)
A delectable film by Francis Ford Coppola, with stunningly beautiful costumes designed by Eiko Ishioka... it almost feels like you're watching an old Italian Opera.
Another blog on the legend of the true Female Dracula in history, Erzebet Bathory here

2. Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Whether you like Tom Cruise or not, Brad Pitt makes his mark with his brooding portrayal of Louis De Pointe Du Lac's journey into the immoral and immortal world of the undead.

3. Nosferatu (1922)
The ultimate classic by F.W. Murnau, featuring Count Orlok in a haunting interpretation of Bram Stroker's novel.

4. Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
The super slick samurai style anime of a mysterious female vampire hunter set in 1966 is short, sweet, and satisfying. Directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo.

5. Cronos (1993)
A promising beginning by the now acclaimed Guillermo del Toro, this film centers around the struggle to possess the "cronos" device invented by an alchemist in 1535 that promises eternal life.

6. The Lost Boys (1987)
Young Kiefer Sutherland stars in a contemporary (well in the 80s) tale of a brother who hires two young vampire hunters to save his brother.

7. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Robert Rodriguez at his best with a punchy action adventure of thieves who must survive the night in a vampire infested strip joint. (Featuring a younger George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek, and Juliette Lewis).

8. Blade (1998)
Wesley Snipes' hit that spawned two more spin offs of a half-vampire superhero devoted to protecting humanity.

9. 30 Days of Night
Sort of reminds me of Pitch Black. Based off of the three issue comic book by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith it takes place in the perfect horror setting, a fictional town called Barrow, Alaska where the sun rarely shines.

10. Let the Right One In (2008)
A Swedish film that quietly tells the tale of a young boy who befriends a vampire.