Thursday, January 31, 2013

365 Days- Day 25

movie: Dracula Dead and Loving It
starring: Leslie Nielsen, Peter MacNicol
genre: Comedy
year; 1995
format: DVD

plot: Dracula arrives in England and chaos follows.

This is a spoof by Mel Brooks, and one of the funniest vampire comedies I've ever seen. It's just so crazy.  Peter MacNicol does the second best Renfield, I think ever. Mostly because it's a straight up tribute to the one Dwight Frye created in 1931

And again, this version of Dracula mixes the characters and losses others completely.  Mostly because it's based more on the 1931 Bela Lugosi movie then the actual book by Bram Stoker.

One of the jokes that always cracks me up is when Dracula first meets Renfield and there is a bat that is hovering around them, and Dracula goes to utter what you think is the classic line of "children of the night, what sweet music they make"   but instead says "the children of the night, what a mess they make" and then the camera focuses on a large clump of bat poop. 
And of course, there is the blood bath scene when Johnathan Harker has to stake Lucy.  I've seen this movie close to twenty times in the last 18 years and that still cracks me up.

It also pulls a lot of ideas from the 1992 version of Dracula as well as the Roman Polanski film Fearless Vampire Killers. (mostly the large ball room scene) 

what do i think i learned from this film?
When staking a vampire always remember to put newspaper down on the floors first. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

365 Days- Day 24

movie: Hotel Transylvania
starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg
genre: Family, Comedy
year: 2012
format: DVD

plot: After his wife is killed, Count Dracula builds a new castle in the middle of nowhere in order to keep his daughter Mavis safe. It quickly becomes a spot for monsters to vacation.  On the eve of her 118th birthday, Dracula throws a major party, only some how Johnathan, a human stumbles in to the castle. And when he meets Mavis, it's love at first sight.  Now Dracula is trying to keep Johnathan a secret from the rest of the monsters, but only manages to break his daughter's heart by keeping the two teens apart.

This just came out on DVD this week.  I'm happy.  I got to see this in the cinema last fall and loved it!

There are very few vampire movies that I would ever let kids watch, and this is one of them. It is a cartoon, it`s geared for kids over the age of five, and it`s just too cute for words.

This is also a story about how some parents can be over protective at times, letting their pasts mistakes or heartbreak control how they raise their kids.  This is also about being open minded to other cultures.  Dracula in this is so fearful of humans that he`s convinced everyone he knows that trusting humans will lead to certain death for monsters.  This film also brings up the topic of being a control freak and knowing when to relax.

This movie brings too mind the Addams Family and the Munsters, in the effect that the characters function normally and have no clue that they are really different from the rest of us.

what do i think i learned from this film?
At some point, everyone has to be allowed to make their own choices, no matter how hard it is for the people in our lives.  There is a line in the film where Johnathan and Mavis are talking about all the places Johnathan has traveled to, and when Mavis asks him about it he responds by saying what`s the other option just staying at home and never trying anything?

Monday, January 28, 2013

365 Days- Day 23

movie: The Night Stalker
starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland
genre: Drama, Crime,
year: 1971
format: VHS

plot: A wise cracking reporter working in Las Vegas is put on the case of multiple murders that have two things in common, they are all young women and they are all totally drained of blood. At first they believe that it's a serial killer who thinks he's a vampire, but they soon learn he's the real deal.

This is the original  made for tv movie that spawned both the sequel -Night Strangler- and the tv series (the original 1974 and the 2005 remake)  and is based on a novel by Jeff Rice.

I find it interesting that the first episode of the tv series that followed a few years later -episode called The Ripper- was very similar to this original movie/story. 

This movie still holds up all these years later- the story, not so much my VHS copy- and made me long for shows like this (the X-Files pays homage to this show on many occasions and McGavin did a few episodes as Mulder's hero) I would say it is the front runner for many of the sci-fi styled detective shows we have had in recent years. Or some of the better detective shows in general actually.

It's basically all about what you are willing to believe.  The thin line between fiction and reality.  The movie was done at a time when the supernatural was really seeping into every form of mainstream. And vampires had one of the biggest boosts with Dark Shadows and the Hammer Dracula films.

There's this one line at the end of the film when the character is told his girlfriend was made to move away and the head of the police department says "she was an undesirable, and we don't want that in Las Vegas"   which makes me crack up every time.

what do i think i learned from this film?
Everyone has a story and the truth is out there

Sunday, January 27, 2013

365 Days- Day 22

movie: The Monster Squad
starring: Andre Gower, Duncan Regehr
genre: Comedy
year: 1987
format: DVD

plot: A group of friends who love monster movies find a diary that once belonged to Van Helsing and discover that not only are monsters real, but that once every hundred years they have a chance to take over the world, and it just so happens that that the kids are the only thing standing in the way of Dracula having control of the world.

Classic! Classic! Classic!
I think this is the first time since the golden age of Universal that all the major monsters are in one film.

I popped this in the DVD player and was laughing within minutes, nodding to my pizza, cause I had forgotten just how great this film is.  Jam packed with one liners that have become more then just cool quotes or catch phrases, but such iconic moments of monster related history.  (Wolfman's got nards)

This movie is 26 years old and it still rocks!  It's one of those films that at first glance seems like it would be complete cheese, but it's not. It manages to balance the absurd with the rational, which I think is what makes it feel like a real drama.

what do i think i learned from this film?
This movie deals with finding the courage to stand up for yourself, for your family/friends and even your "village".  We see the dad who is a cop, battling the wolfman because it's both his job and because his family is in danger. The things that everyone had been fighting about in the beginning of the film becomes seen as the petty nothings they really are when a real danger is presented.
All the preconceived notions everyone has about everyone and everything, including the idea of real security, is shattered when they realize that there are bigger and badder things in the night. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

365 Days- Day 21

Dracula The Series- Episode 1 The Children of the Night

We open with a couple walking alone at night and are viewing them through what seems to be a fog. A cop comes up to them and tells them to move along, and we then follow her down the alley alone through the sudden strange fog.  She hears something turns and screams as a man in a black hat and coat comes up to her, attacking her, leaving two bite marks on her neck.

Then we see a car pull up to a old house, a mom and her two sons-Chris and Max- get out of the car and into the house. Their uncle Gustav welcomes them complaining about the sun. Max starts looking around the house finding a wooden stake, asking if it's for killing vampires. Gustav brushes him off making a joke and referring to a folklore about seeds and vampires, which Max had been eating.
We then are introduced to Sophie, who lives in the house which Chris falls for on sight.

They then go to a business dinner, and meet Alexander Lucard, head of the company.  We then see the two boys talking about how they think their uncle is a vampire.

The next morning, Max goes to see Alexander Lucard at work, and knocks over a bag of seeds which seems to make Lucard act odd. He then tells Max that their uncle is not what they think just before throwing himself onto the floor to eat the seeds.

Back at the house, Chris and Sophie  are watching movies and discover Max has sneaked out of the house to go to find Lucard at his castle, and run after him.  Max believes that they are in danger if they stay at their uncle's and that they are only safe at the castle.  Sofie pulls a cross and stuns Lucard for a few seconds letting the boys run away, but she is trapped by zombies.  While in the castle, Lucard starts to play music for Sophie, and she figures out that he is indeed Dracula.
The boys come back to the castle getting the attention of a female vampire and some of the zombies, tricking them into opening the door letting them in.
We then learn from a conversation between Sophie and Lucard that he's very aware that Gustav is a Van Helsing. The boys break in and try to fight him, with Max spraying holy water on him.  As they run out of the building, they meet back up with the female vampire again and stake her.
Lucard then appears blocking the door, trapping the kids.  But before he can bite any of them, Gustav shows up and they have a short battle before Lucard turns to a bat and flies away.

Back at the house, Gustav fills the kids in about the history of their family and how many times Dracula has tried to take over the world. And that now in the modern age he's using his corporation to do so.  Max makes a comment about how he was in the same room with the real Dracula and didn't get his autograph to which Gustav says there will be other chances.

I know this is a show geared for younger audiences but, I remember when it first came out back in 1990-1991.  There is something endearing about this show even though it was short lived with only one season. The campy dialogue and pure humour of it always puts me in mind of the best parts of Lost Boys and Monster Squad.  At the time, vampire tv shows were really making a dent in the mainstream programming. (Forever Knight, episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark, Kindred the Embraced,  all were done within a short time of this)

Friday, January 25, 2013

365 Days- Day 20

movie: Once Bitten
starring: Lauren Hutton, Jim Carrey
genre: Comedy
year: 1985
format: DVD

plot: A teenager who just can not seem to talk his girlfriend into sex, decides to go with his two best friends to a bar in Hollywood to meet women. He ends up going home with a sexy older woman, only to learn she's a vampire.  He begins to turn into a vampire himself, and only his girlfriend can break the bond the vampire has over him.

This is a cult classic

It's still one of those films that 28 years later makes me laugh out loud.  Like a scene when the girlfriend figures out what is happening and gets the two best friends to check for bite marks on his thighs. Hysterical.

I think one of the reasons this movie hits such a note, is that the main topic of having sex for the first time, is so blown out of proportion when it comes to pride. (at lest it was when I went to high school) One of the first scenes has the lead character and his girlfriend talking about not having sex, while being surrounded by a dozen cars filled with teens in the act. (complete with squeaky sounds and a visual of an pump in the background) it not only sets the pace for the film, but gives this feeling of total isolation and frustration for the lead.

This could easily of gone wrong. I've mentioned before, there have been times when you look at a film and think "gee if this had been done five years later, it would have been too much of a gross out"
Considering the topic at hand, this film was done at a time of a bit more...innocence. And it works. Plan and simple.  I really don't think this would have been the same vein (no pun intended)  if it had been made a decade later. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
This is an obvious hint at the idea of disease from unprotected sex. It's always better to side on caution.  The tagline pretty much says it all  a one night stand with eternal complications

Just a note

My Spudguns!
I know, I have missed two more days in a row this week.   The challenge this year has been having a really bumpy start.  And I think I've been online for a grand total of 10 minutes in the last 48hours. 
I'm trugging through a round of the flu, which is making it impossible to get anything done, both on the blogs and in my housework.

I will be back sometime before midnight with the next installment of the 365 Days challenge. 
It just looks like it might take me six hours to get through a 90 minute DVD.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

365 Days- Day 19

movie: Dracula
starring: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier
genre: Drama, Romance
year: 1979
format: VHS

plot: Dracula arrives in Whitby, and causes a series of misfortunes to plague the town.  From the death of Mina Van Helsing, to the insanity of Milo Renfield, who's house he's taken over, to the break up of Lucy Seward and Johnathan Harker. When Mina's father, Professor Van Helsing is called to come after her death, a quick showdown between the men and Dracula takes place.

Based on the classic novel.

Right off, the characters are changed and mixed.  (the 1931 version of Dracula also did that) Switching up the Lucy and Mina characters, making Dr. Seward the father of Lucy instead of her lover, etc.

Langella plays the role with such a commanding presence, giving the character a depth he didn't have before. The scene when Dracula feeds off of Lucy is almost hypnotizing, which is the idea, that it sweeps you up for that brief few moments, making you forget you're watching a movie.  The scene where the horse is afraid of the vampire's grave is one that few other movies have ever picked up on. (folklore says that horses can not cross over the graves of vampires or witches)
When we again see Mina, she looks more like something from the Exorcist then any kind of seductress.  

what do i think i learned from this film?
Sometimes you have no choice but to sacrifice that which you love most. 
Dracula is one of the most complicated of stories, dealing with themes of fear, freedom, obsession, lust and insanity. Manipulation plays throughout the plot, affecting all the characters in one form or another.

Monday, January 21, 2013

365 Days- Day 18

movie: The Dead Undead Vampires vs Zombies
starring: Luke Goss, Lance Frank
genre: Sci-fi
year: 2010
format: DVD

plot: A group of teens arrive at an abandoned hotel only to find that they walked right into a nest of zombied vampires.  Soon, a military group arrive having tracked the ZVs to the hotel, to destroy them.

This is Luke Goss's second vampire movie (that I'm aware of) he  played the new breed of vampire in Blade 2 Bloodhunt.  And one of the last movies legend Forrest J. Ackerman  did before his death (so this film was shot a few years before it was released as Mr. Ackerman died in 2008)

This is one of those films that is so outrageous that it works. It starts off more like a slasher film, with the kids lounging around a lake, then quickly becomes a free for all with machine guns. And the soundtrack puts you in mind of an old Megadeth or Sepultura cd, which is brilliant.
There is a flashback where you learn that two of the military group were once Vikings and turned into vampires. I think I would have had that scene as one of the first scenes instead of dead center.

When they try to figure out what it is that is infecting the vampires and making them zombies, the leader of the group says "mad cow disease"  from the vampires having drank what ended up being bad cow blood.   I thought that was one of the most original ideas I've ever come across in a vampire movie.

The end scene hints at a second film, which I think would be an interesting idea.  They close out on the leader of the group talking about the vampire history and a chance to uncover a vampire legend.

what do i think i learned from this film?
There is always a good reason to be a vegetarian.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

365 Days- Day 17

movie: Priest
starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban
genre: Western
year: 2011
format: DVD

plot: After the last great war between Vampires and Humans, the world is divided up into small pockets of cities and separated by desert wastelands. The cities are protected by Priests, and run by the church.  After years of silence, a new stronger breed of vampires have arrived and kidnapped the daughter of one of the Priests.  He has no choice but to turn against his laws to stop the vampires.

This is based on the comic.

When I first saw this film few years ago, I wasn't too sure I cared for it.  That had more to do with the fact I saw it at the cinema in 3D and I hate when the only option is 3D.
I've since seen it about three times in "plan vision" (2D), and it's one of those stories that grows on you.

I really liked the fact that the vampires in this are more like a cross between an animal and the "alien" creature (as in the movie Alien the way it's design is in case you haven't seen it and are wondering if I meant just from outerspace)  Which helps to really make the Urban character "Black Hat" stand out from the others. 
The idea of having it more of a western, isn't new, but it does root it in reality slightly, where as it might not have worked otherwise.  This is literally like taking Blade Runner and The Quick and the Dead mixing it up with Dracula.  Most of the desert scenes are done in an overexposed way, to make them feel more extreme, which is contrasted drastically by the darkness and steel of the city scenes.

The film is designed so that there can be a sequel, and I for one would love to see a second offering.

what do i think i learned from this film?
There is always something for you to fight for, even when you have lost it all. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

365 Days- Day 16

movie: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
starring: Kristy Swanson, Rutger Hauer
genre: Comedy
year; 1992
format; DVD

plot: A teenager is told that she is the only one on the planet who can stop the wave of vampires from destroying the world.

This is by far one of my all time favourite movies.  I was in high school when it first came out, and my friends and I went to the cinema to see it three times.
It was so different for the time it came out. This was pretty much the first thing in over a decade to have a really strong female lead in the horror(ish) genre.

You have to wonder, if this original film hadn't of been done as a lighter comedy, would Joss Whedon have been as driven to re-do the story with a more darker tone, giving us what would become the hit show?
At first glance Hauer doesn't seem like the big bad vampire type, (he would go on to play a vampire a few times over the years as well as having been part of Anne Rice's original mold for Lestat) but after you've watched the movie all the way through, you get the sense of what he could bring to Lothos. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
It's about living up to your true potential and having the courage to be yourself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

365 Days -Day 15

WWBD?  part 5

Season 1 Episode 7- Angel

We open with the Master and Darla and the Anointed One in the underground cave. They are talking about how to deal with Buffy, and decide to send "the Three"  which are a group of warrior type vampires.
Next we see Buffy and Willow at the Bronze killing bugs and talking about Angel. Then Xander and Cordelia on the dance floor insulting each other.  Buffy then leaves the party, and is attacked by the Three.  Angel then appears and helps her fight them off. He gets injured and they take shelter in Buffy's house, and she bandages up his cuts. Buffy's mom comes home and she ends up hiding Angel in her room.
The next day at school, Buffy and Willow and Xander start talking about the vampires and Angel.  Giles figures out who the Three are and lets Buffy know it's time to start using weapons in training.
We then see the cave and the Three offer themselves to the Master because they failed. Darla then stakes them.
When Buffy returns home, she believes that Angel has read her diary, which gives Angel the upper hand.  They kiss and he turns into a vampire before jumping out of the window.
The next day at school the group are talking about the fact he's a vampire and are not sure how to handle it. 
We then see Angel's apartment where Darla is hiding.  We get the first real clue to Angel's background.  Back at the library, the gang are reading the watcher's diaries about Angelus.
Back to Darla and the Master, talking about how they are going to get Angel to come back to the fold. Darla then goes to Buffy's house and bites her mom setting Angel up, who comes to rescue her. Buffy then walks in after Darla has gone to see her mom injured and Angel leaning over her.  When her mom wakes up in the hospital she doesn't remember anything.  She meets Giles for the first time in this episode.
Back at Angel's apartment, we see Darla trying to get him to feed.
Buffy then tracks Angel down, and he tells her about the curse on his soul. Darla then shows up and it's a battle between them. Then Angel stakes her.  We then see the Master and the Anointed One planning to kill Buffy.
The final scene of the episode is the gang back at the Bronze, and Buffy and Angel share another kiss.

And this is the point where I would give a short list on what I think the themes of the episode are and a possible screen capture. Only, tonight I don't have a screen capture and I'm not really sure what the themes of this episode are.
Buffy has a crush on Angel. Angel has a crush on Buffy.  Joyce meets Giles.  Darla is given some history then staked. 
The best I can come up with at this moment (and to be honest I have a headache and just want to finish this post) is how you can never runaway from your past.  In order to have any kind of future with Buffy, Angel needs to truly end his past relationship with Darla. Mind you staking was a bit of an extreme...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15th Jan 2013

Yesterday was suppose to be day 14...but it wasn't.  Real life got in the way.  I learned last year from doing the one movie a day challenge on the other blog, that there are going to be times when you can't help it, something will keep you from getting the day's homework done.

Bit disappointed that I was only a few days into the challenge when the first disruption happened.  I was hoping to get a full month at lest.
Well, what's that old saying... life is what happens when you're busy making plans... or something like that.

So, yes, I am a day behind.  And I did something else I wasn't going to do this soon in the challenge.  I watched a movie on Netflix Canada for the challenge.  I had planned on going through my full collection of DVDs and old VHS tapes first before hitting the Netflix.  
All I can say is that today's entry was a movie I've been dying to see for a while now and when I saw it was available, I just couldn't resist.

365 Days- Day 14

Movie: Vampires
Starring: Pierre Lognay, Julien Dore
Genre: Comedy,
Year: 2010
Format: online

Plot: A film crew follows a family of vampires in Belgium, and documents how they get themselves tossed out of the community.

This was a different sort of film.  I've seen a ton of vampire movies over the decades (hence this whole project) and many mockumentaries too.  This was by far one of the better mocs out there.

It is subtitled, so if you're not a fan of reading a movie, you might want to find something else
There were elements of this movie that sort of made me cringe because they were too much like elements I've seen from role playing games.

Two of the sub-plots have to do with a female vampire wanting to be human again, and a vampire playboy who is living like he's a teenager even though he's nearly 70 years old.

What do I think I learned from this film?
No one is ever truly happy with how they are.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

365 Days- Day 13

Blade the Series- Episode 3: Death Goes On

We open this episode with a truck stopping at a gas station, and learn that it is carrying vampires who are being used for their blood. The cop from the previous episodes was turned into a vampire at the very end, and is among the victims. He uses one of his teeth to cut his way out and kills the driver getting away.
Then opening credits.

We're back in Detroit where Blade is preparing, trying to understand what happened in the last fight he had with the Uber vamp.  Meanwhile, his sidekick Shen is trying to figure out what the connection to the latest situation is.
We then see Krista, who is still in the vampire main house, having nightmares. Where upon, we see Chase and the Ubervamp talking.
Back to Blade and Shen, trying to understand why the vampires are producing Ash.
We then learn that the vampires are conducting experiments on their own kind, trying to create a vaccine that will not affect the turnbloods. We start to see what the affect Ash is having on humans, which causes them to want eat their own hands for blood.  Ash basically gives humans a short jolt of vampire powers.
Blade then beats up a dealer for information.  Next scene is Krista injecting one of the bottles of Blade's serum while in the shower. Marcus is waiting for her when she gets out of the shower, and we're never really sure if he's witnessed the serum or not?
A guest of Marcus's decides to go to the local feeding house, feeding on humans who have been sedated.  

Next scene is Blade once again questioning the dealer, looking for a major dealer called Cain. Marcus then takes Krista on a date, where she learns they can actually eat food. Only because of her taking the serum, she learns she can't eat.

We then see a dealer hyped on Ash, kill two vampires. Then go to his drug factory. We discover this is Cain.

Marcus then goes to the feeding house, and realizes that it's someone other then Blade who killed his guest and driver. Killing the Madam.

Krista learns about the vaccine, project Aurora from Fritz the Ubervamp.   We then see Chase torturing a human about the Ash.
We then learn that Marcus is not at the head of things, but in fact answers to another vampire.

Krista and Chase are sent out to a warehouse to clean up the drug factory that Cain has going.  Meanwhile, Blade has followed the dealer he'd been questioning to the same building.  Soon it's a full on battle between the "clean up crew" and Blade.  Fritz the Ubervamp gets killed, and both Chase and Krista end up injured.
We end on a scene of the cop vamp attacking another police officer in the middle of the highway, and see that he's got a woman in the trunk of a car.

This episode, you see the softer side of Marcus, as he's doing his best to woo Krista. And Chase's jealousy is clear.  You also learn that there is more to the hierarchy then we first thought. And that the vampires are having unrest within their own world.
It's also brought up that the vampires are not all happy with the idea of the Ash drug being out there on the streets.

I think the main theme in this episode is that things are not always as they first appear. There is always something going on just under the surface. Just the fact that Marcus and Chase were willing to kill one of their own members to save a secret says volumes. As does the fact they kill the Madam for letting the drug be used in the feeding house.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

365 Days- Day 12

movie: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper
genre: Action, Historical,
year: 2012
format: DVD

plot: Following the life of Abraham Lincoln, as he destroys vampires from the time he was a teenager to his death.

This is based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith

I know I made the plot seem less then it is, but it's pretty much that simple to sum up.  This film is a lovely mix of reality and fiction.
It's a beautiful weaving of pure action flick styled like Blade or Underworld, taking on the idea that there is a secret world that very few are aware of that has slithered into governments.
There are elements of a love story between the characters of Abraham and his wife Mary, which otherwise might have detracted from the story, but works perfectly as a underlining theme.

I loved the fact that the vampires are sturdy in their beliefs. They are either down right evil or they are heroes, but none of them are wimpy or shy about their natures.  All the vampires drink blood with vigor.

There is one scene when the vampire Adam is making a deal with a human and lifts two glasses, when the other guy turns it down, the vampire takes a drink from one glass and nearly chokes on it spitting it out. You have to assume he drank the wine instead of the blood, which I thought was a neat little moment of humour.

what do i think i learned from this film?
Love and Honor are the only things we really have.

Friday, January 11, 2013

365 Days- Day 11

movie: Mom's got a Date with a Vampire
starring: Caroline Rhea, Robert Carradine
genre: Comedy
year: 2000
format: VHS

plot: Two teens decide to set their mom up on date in order to sneak out of the house to go to a concert. Only their younger brother sees the guy turn into a bat and calls a vampire hunter.  Soon, the kids are in a fight for their lives.

This is a made for tv movie from the Family channel.

This movie hits all the right notes, and has just enough elements of Lost Boys and Monster Squad to make any die hard vamp fan happy.
Giving the restaurant the name of Renfield's  was a cool nod to Dracula.  Charles Shaughnessy plays the Dracula-ish vampire with just enough a mix of comedy and sex appeal, that you forgive his British accent even when he claims he's from Romania/Hungry.
The tricks the Van Helsing character uses to find the vampire are some of the most unique I've seen in movies.

The baseline in this is that true love comes in all forms, as it's the parent-child bond that saves the mom from the clutches of the vampire. Where as, in typical vampire movies it's a romantic relationship that usually breaks the vampire's hold.
It's also about reconnecting with your own spirit, as the mom starts to believe in herself again after singing during their date. Her confidence returns giving her a moment to remember what her life was like before her divorce. And if you want to go deeper on that idea, the vampire character represents any new boyfriend that might come into the life of a single mom, who just doesn't want to be a daddy figure.

what do i think i learned from this film?
Don't let eight year olds watch vampire movies; they could turn out like me. And don't pimp out your family members for a concert.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

365 Days- Day 10

movie: The Caretaker
starring: Anna Burgess, Mark White
genre: Drama
year: 2012
format: DVD

plot: When half the world begins suffering from a plague of vampirism a few lone survivors find themselves locked up in a farm in Australia with one vampire. They make a pact to keep him safe during the day from hunters, and he keeps them safe at night from other vampires. Soon their balance is thrown off when one of them gets infected as well.

I found it interesting that they had it so that the vampires were turned not by other vampires, but by mutant mosquitoes.  When you think about it, mosquitoes are tiny vampires in their own right.

The movie starts off very similar to Night of the Living Dead, in the fact that the population is already hit by this when the movie starts and the viewers are thrown face first into the situation without any real back story.  It also centers around a group of strangers who have no choice but to band together in a farm house.

The vampire in this is neither the bad guy nor the hero, he just sort of is.  The title comes more from the ending then anything else, when one of the main characters is seen looking after the house where the vampire is.  He's also the character you are suspicious of through out the film. Just textbook creepy old guy.
This is also a bit of a throw back to old horror films of the 1960's/1970's as it takes over half of the film to really get it's plot out.  To me it felt like it was just starting to gel the last 15 minutes of the film. That to me should have been the starting point.

what do i think i learned from this film?
I'm not sure if this was about global warming, or fear of the unknown, or what; to tell you the truth. There is a dirty old man who I kept thinking was a serial killer or something, and another guy who seemed to be a woman hater because of his ex wife.  Both who did their best to manipulate the third man in this movie for their own means. 
I guess if I have taken anything from this movie is that sometimes the vampires are not the worst thing you need to face in life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

365 Days- Day 9

movie: Draghoula
starring:Chriss Lee, Stephanie Seidle
genre: Comedy
year: 1995
format: VHS

plot: A lab researcher has his funding cut and ends up having to find his lab rats on the black market. Little does he know they are vampire rats. One bites him, turning him into a vampire, which he expresses by becoming a vampire drag queen at night.

I decided to go with this last night for this week's movie club selection on my movie blog (if you want to read that much longer post it's here)

This movie is pure camp.
The lead character is a grown man who lives with his mother, and is pretty much having his life controlled by the women around him. The only freedom he finds is when he starts turning into a vampire.
I'm not really sure why he dresses in drag?  Unless it's just a by product of the time it was made?
I'd love to say the idea of gender identity is suppose to be a theme in this, but I can't. The lead character just shows up in drag without any forewarning.

The film itself doesn't really go anywhere either. It just sort of spins the same type of scenes over and over, which are of the lead character running around the streets in garters and a cape.

what do i think i learned from this film?
I'm not sure there is anything to learn from this, just sit back and enough the silliness. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

365 Days- Day 8

WWBD? part 4

Season 1 Episode 6- The Pack

Buffy, Willow and Xander are on a school field trip at the zoo.  Some of the other students are bullying another boy, and Xander follows them into the Hyena house stopping them.  Unknown to them, the Hyena is magical and possesses the group of kids. Later that night, while out at the Bronze, Buffy and Willow start to notice Xander becoming less caring and mean, as he joins in with the bullies. He then sniffs Buffy, commenting on her having bathed thus changing her scent.
The next day at school, Xander shows up with the rest of the bullies who are now his new best friends. Buffy thinks something is really wrong and starts talking to Giles about it.

Giles has the best line of the episode at this point when he says "Xander's taken to teasing the less fortunate, and there's a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanor, and otherwise all his spare time is spent lounging around with imbeciles. It's devastating, he's turned into a sixteen year old boy."

We then see the pack eat the school mascot before turning on Mr. Flute, killing him. While this is happening, Xander is attacking Buffy only to get knocked out.   Willow stands guard over Xander while Buffy and Giles go to the zoo to talk to the zookeeper.  They figure out that it was the actions of Xander saving the boy from the bullies that activated the spirit switch, and agree to bring the pack there to undo it.  Meanwhile, Willow is trapped by the pack in the school.
Buffy and Giles realize that the rules of Hyenas apply to the kids, one of which is that the pack will hunt down their missing member and race to the school to save her.
Once they do, they bait the pack to follow Buffy to the zoo, where Giles is already waiting with the zookeeper.  Only Giles finds out the zookeeper was the cause of the whole mess to begin with, as he is a devotee of a cult that worships pack animals.
Buffy and the pack arrive just in time for her to save Willow, after Giles has been knocked out, and tosses the zookeeper into the animal cage where he is eaten by the Hyenas, reversing the possession. The students and Xander are freed from the curse.

This is the transition between Mr Flute and Mr. Synder.  Sort of the innocent into the devious.  The metaphor is summed up in the quote by Giles about Xander's hormones kicking in. 

This episode also draws from folklore about shapeshifters and possessions, which will lay the ground work for so many elements in the rest of the series.

The scenes where Xander stalks Buffy have as much to do with her being an "alpha" female as it does his general crush on her. She's the only one who he recognizes as being stronger then himself.  And with the animal spirit controlling his base nature, he for the first time is in the same league as her.

I think this episode carries with it enough reality to really make you understand why the show is as good as it is. 
You never know when someone will change to either fit in, causing heartache to their friends, or when someone will simply grow apart from their normal group.
I love the fact the costume department put the pack in earth tones of grey and brown for this and not the typical black. It gives that subconscious idea that they are turning into Hyenas.  The sound they make though when killing Mr. Flute to me sounded more like Monkeys then Hyenas.

This is one of my top favourite episodes of Buffy. (Top 5 list)

Monday, January 7, 2013

365 Days- Day 7

Movie: Vampire
starring: Richard Lynch, Jason Miller
genre: Drama, Crime
year: 1979
format: VHS

plot: A vampire is woken from a three decade sleep after a construction crew begin working on a new church. They find millions of dollars of what is believed to be stolen art in his tomb, along with the remains of a dead cop turned priest. Soon the vampire takes revenge on the locals for disturbing the tomb.

This is a made for tv movie and was suppose to originally be the pilot for a show that never got picked up.

There is this brilliant scene where the Lynch character is racing to get home after having been in jail all night, and is seen running through the streets then jumping from roof top to roof top to get to the penthouse apartment, his jacket smoking as the sun touches him.
The coat is worn with a scarf through the whole movie, which is a brilliant costume choice in itself. From side views, it looks like a cape, putting you in mind of Dracula, but keeping with modern times.
I also liked the idea of changing the way the cross affects him. Instead of the typical smoke and burning when the cross touches him, it's small blue electric shocks. I haven't seen that before. 

This is pretty much straight forward about revenge and feeling betrayed. The vampire feels that his friend betrayed him by telling the cops about his art collection and ends up killing the guy's wife as revenge.
This film was done at a time when the idea that vampires were connected to the devil was still a high thought. The movie I think had some inside jokes intentional or otherwise, because the actor Jason Miller, who plays the vampire hunter in this film, played the priest in The Exorcist

what do i think i learned from this film?
Some things are better left buried.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

365 Days-Day 6

Movie: Vamps
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter
Genre: Comedy
Year: 2012
Format: DVD

Plot: Two female vampires living in modern day New York try to fit in. Stacy ends up falling in love with a Van Helsing and gets pregnant, and Goody bumps into a boyfriend from the 1960's who's middle aged and looking after his ill wife. Meanwhile, the vampire who made them -their Stem- is being too reckless with her kills drawing too much attention to the community. Everyone agrees it's time to destroy her. Goody and Stacy would revert back to human if that were to happen, to their real ages. Goody is the only one who is worried about that as she's been a vampire for almost two hundred years.

When I first heard about this film, I was excited. Clueless had been a major hit nearly twenty years ago and the idea that half the cast was back together for it was worthy of giddiness.
Add to it that Sigourney Weaver and Malcolm McDowell were in it and it seemed like it would be a mega movie.

Only it wasn't.  It was a mess.
It starts off with promise, then gets tangled up in it's own desire to be moral. Too much special effects are used, and not in any good way mostly for the end scene which just seemed rushed and out of sync with the rest of the movie. The pregnancy storyline given the the Ritter character is pointless... seriously, there is no building of a mythos around the vampires in this movie. 

If it was going for straight up campy slapstick, it missed the mark by a few hours. If it was going for romantic comedy it missed the mark by more then that.
The trailer made it seem like it was in line with movies like Clueless and Once Bitten, and the cover art leads you to think it's a vampire version of Sex and the City.  I'd say it's really about half the first draft of a script. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
I need a more complex backstory and mythology in my vampire films.   And never lie about your age.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

WWBD? part 3

Season 1 Episode 5- Never Kill A Boy On The First Date

Buffy want's one thing, a date with Owen. Giles becomes aware of a new threat called the Anointed One, an unknown vampire that will serve as the Master's secret weapon. Buffy arrives late for her date to find Owen dancing with Cordelia and goes home. Much to the glee of Xander.  Owen asks Buffy out again for that night, and both Willow and Xander help her to pick out her outfit. Xander tries to talk her out of anything that might be attractive but it doesn't work.
Meanwhile, there is a bus accident killing five people, and when Giles finds out heads over to the funeral home to try to stop the Anointed One from rising.  He ends up trapped, while Buffy is back at the Bronze on her date.  Cordelia and a few of her friends spot Buffy and Owen, trying to ruin the date but to no avail. Angel then shows up to warn Buffy about the Anointed One, and when he realizes she's on a date, we begin to see signs of jealousy from him. Willow and Xander arrive to get Buffy, and the three take off to rescue Giles. 
Only, before they realize it, Owen has followed them.  He thinks checking out the funeral home is a game and ends up getting hurt by one of the newly made vampires. Buffy fights with the vampire and kills it, thinking that the Anointed One has been stopped.
The next morning at school, Buffy sees Owen and he asks her out again, but it's not her he wants as much as the danger she brings. Turning him down, she realizes being a normal girl and the Slayer is not really an option.
We then see the Master talking to a little boy, who had been part of the bus accident. It's reveled that the little boy is in fact the Anointed One.

This sets up a few of the arches for the rest of both the season and the series.  One being the character of the Anointed One, who plays a major role over the rest of the season.  Another is the competition between Buffy and Cordelia throughout the series to the end of season 3. This is also the first real suggestion that Angel has some feelings for Buffy himself.
But I think the biggest bit of story arch that is set up in this episode is that Giles begins to be seen in a father figure role. His reaction to her dating Owen is much to be expected of a parent when their kid starts dating.

The last few episodes I've pinpointed the theme of jealousy, which plays a part here too. But this episode is about knowing when to go for the thing you want and when to hold back.
Buffy is disappointed to learn that Owen isn't what he appears at first, and that he's attracted to the danger of being with her. 
There is a scene near the beginning of the episode where the character talks about not getting out much and how he is drawn to the morbidness of Emily Dickinson, and then admits later that he gets a complete rush from sneaking around the funeral home. He ends up being this sort of closeted goth guy - adrenaline junkie. Buffy has to acknowledge that a guy like that is not the kind of guy she needs in her life. It also gives her some more perspective on her own life and the job she's meant to do.

365 Days- Day 5

movie: Vampire Clan
starring: Drew Fuller, Kelly Kruger
genre: True Crime, Bio-pic
year: 2002
format: DVD

plot: Follows the weeks leading up to the arrest of the group of teens who committed the brutal killings in Florida back in 1996, claiming they were a group of vampires.

Based on a true story.

I've been vocal before on my thoughts about this film (talked about it before on other blogs). The film itself is not the greatest. Drew Fuller is the only reason to keep the dvd player on.
The topic, could have been handled better as this was one of the most shocking events of the mid-1990's; and this film seems to come off like a made for Sunday night movie.

This is unfortunately, a true story.  This crime happened when the vampire role playing games were at their peak, and the teenagers fell victim to the misguided hype.

This is one of those times when the style gets in the way of the topic. I followed the events through news reports and two of the biographies (in book form) back when it all happened, and feel that so much is left out of the background on why they did this.  The drug use, the emotional and mental instability, the abuse,  the grief and loneliness that this group of kids felt all were down played in this film.

what do i think i learned from this film?
Anyone can fall victim to the whim of illusion. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Vampire Diaries recaps

The Vampire Diaries  Season 1 Episode 1- Pilot

We see a couple driving late at night, and they hit a man standing around in the middle of the road. It ends up he's a vampire, and kills them both.
Next morning, we're at the high school, and a new guy arrives, Stefan, sending all the girls into a heat. We then meet Elena, who is dealing with the death of her parents and decides to go to the graveyard to be close to them. Stefan shows up, but not before a mysterious crow that spooks her.
Stefan, notices she's dropped her diary and picks it up.
The rest of the school, Elena's younger brother included, decide to head to the school party and a few more students end up dead.  Bitten by some wild animal. Only Stefan seems to really be rattled. We then met Damon, Stefan's older brother, arrives. The two vampire brothers have a fight, Stefan getting the worst of it. The episode ends with one of the victims laying in hospital remembering what she believes was a vampire attacking her, and Stefan returning the diary to Elena.

I've commented before on how surprised I was with the transition from book to show this ended up being.

There is so much to cover in this first episode, it's almost impossible to pinpoint the major themes going on in it.  I suppose I'd have to go with lies and trust.  How secrets can mess up everyone no matter how well they are buried. 
It's also about control vs recklessness. Stefan is quiet and doing his best to be normal, while Damon is going with a more base nature. 

365 Days- Day 4

Blade the Series 

Episode 1- Pilot

We see Blade in Moscow hunting a vampire, then a cop in Detroit who picks up a hooker only to feed her to a vampire. From there, what looks like a mob hit, and the return home of a female solider, Krista.  The cop takes Krista to identify her brother, trying to convince her that her brother was a drug dealer and that it was a deal gone wrong. The drug in question is called Ash, and is made from vampire blood and how the vampires keep many of their familiars in check.
Blade goes to a tattoo parlor killing the familiars- human servants of a major vampire master, and we see a scene where he takes a dose of his serum.
The head of the local vampire house, Marcus, decides to throw a major party/fund raiser where Krista shows up and tries to find out more of what got her brother killed.  She then is turned into a vampire herself.
She then begins working for Blade and Shen as a sort of undercover agent.

The first episode is a two hour episode.

I have the DVD set, which as it turns out is slightly different then the original broadcasts. (R-rated and more in line with the original movie trilogy)

There is a lot to set up in this first episode, having to cover the back story from the movies. A scene is actually used from the original film. And like the trilogy, one of the main stories has to do with the turnbloods (vampires that were made) vs the purebloods (born vampires).  

Also, like many vampire stories, this deals with the loss of innocence. From learning that there is more in this world then we first thought, and by the use of the drugs. (the street drug Ash and the visions Krista has after being turned)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

WWBD? part 2

Season 1 Episodes 3 and 4 - Witch  and  Teacher's Pet

The Witch... Buffy wants something familiar and normal, and decides to try out for the cheerleading squad. Soon, she discovers that all the competition are suffering from strange accidents. Like one girl who's mouth closes over, and Cordelia's sudden blindness, and another girl bursting into flames. Buffy herself falls victim becoming drained of energy. The gang learns that Amy, one of the cheerleading hopefuls, is hexing everyone. But Amy isn't who they think she is.  Her mother has switched bodies with her, and is really the one behind it all.

This ends up being Giles's first moment.  We start to get some background on where his knowledge really lies as he is the one who unmasks the witch, and saves Buffy's life in order for her to stop Amy's mom.
This also is the introduction to the character of Amy, who ends up having a recurring role in the lives of the gang down the series. (topics of peer pressure, greed and addiction seem to be part of Amy's arch)
The main topic of this episode is jealousy.  Amy's mom had been the school star when she was younger, and wants to be again.  She uses her magick to pull a body switch with her own daughter, and does whatever she has to in order to become the head cheerleader and live her life over again.
This episode is also about regrets. The character feels she wasted her life being a wife and mother and uses that as an excuse for her evil behavouir.

In this episode, the script introduces pieces of real folklore and mythology, setting a foundation for the rest of the series as far as magick and rituals go.

Teacher's Pet... The science teacher goes missing, and the new replacement seems to have a crush on Xander. A few of the other boys in the class start to brag about their sexual histories, making Xander feel he needs to be able to keep up. This leaves them all at the mercy of the new teacher who is not what she first appears.  Meanwhile, Buffy is given another cryptic message from Angel, informing her about a vicious vampire with a claw for a hand. When Buffy goes hunting, she spots the vampire as he appears scared of the new teacher, and runs underground. This clues Buffy in, that the new teacher is some sort of monster. Buffy, Willow and Giles do some research and discover that the new teacher is a She-Mantis; a creature of folklore that preys on and devours virgin men.

The opening scene is actually a fantasy Xander is having while in class. Dreaming about being the hero, saving Buffy from a vampire and then becoming a rock star, wooing everyone else in the room. Pretty typical. And also a foreshadowing for Xander in the rest of the series. Always on the edge but never really getting there.
This episode is Xander's introduction in the sense that it sets up a running joke that Xander is like catnip for female monsters. The fantasy segment also hints at the role he does end up playing more then once in the rest of the series, as he does save Buffy down the line.

The themes here are how things aren't always as they first seem, and the pressure put on modern males. Not every guy needs to be an uber stud. And those who  sometimes claim to be, are not worth your time. 

365 Days- Day 3

movie: I Am Legend (remake)
starring: Will Smith, Abbey (the Dog)
genre: Sci-fi
year: 2007
format: DVD

plot: A military scientist is left stranded with only the family dog for company for over three years, while the rest of the population of New York has fallen to the virus KV. The human population has all but been wiped out, many of whom became vampires.

Right off, this is a remake of both the 1964 film The Last Man on Earth and the 1971 film The Omega Man, all of which are based on the 1954 novel.

The vampire scenes are few but powerful.   And yes, I gave starring credit to one of the canine actors and not one of the other human actors simply because other then Will Smith, the dog has the most screen time.

There are two versions of this offering, the theatrical one, and the alternative ending.  I have the original theatrical ending.

The themes in this story are about loneliness, isolation and fear. Unlike most vampire films, this one doesn't actually focus on the vampires, nor is there really a vampire hunter.
It sort of deals with the idea that we have pushed the limits too far in our attempts to control everything. The story picks up after a man made plague has turned everything into a wasteland. A science gone wrong situation. 

This is almost a sub-genre in itself when it comes to vampire films.  The man made vampire so to speak.

There is a scene where the lead character makes a statement in his latest reports, about how the infected have lost all sense of reasoning, and declares them de-evolved. Then falls into a trap set by them, proving that their sense of reasoning is still intact.
There is a scene shortly before that, where he starts talking about a store mannequin, as if it was a real woman, and I've never really followed if the mannequins were set up to be decoys, or to keep him from feeling the isolation or if he's actually started to loose hope and therefore his mind?
Might be little of all of it?

what do i think i learned from this film?
Everyone feels alone sometimes. When you get used to the idea of being the only one in a situation, no matter what that might be, you run the risk of not being able to identify when there is help.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

365 Days- Day 2

movie: Ring of Darkness
starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Stephen Martines,
genre: Music
year: 2003/2004
format: DVD

plot: A popular boy band looses their lead singer and hold an open audition to replace him. The catch is that once you're in, you're in for all eternity.

This was a made for tv movie

Two seconds into this and I was having a major deja vu.  The opening scene is a guy packing and running for his life, then you see the pack hunt him down on the beach attacking him.   Just like the opening to another vampire/zombie movie  Voodoo (1995 starring Corey Feldman) and another vampire movie  The Brotherhood. (to be honest, it also reminded me of Wolves of Wall Street) Which, I suppose isn't that surprising when I found out this is a David DeCoteau movie. (who did in fact do The Brotherhood series of films and Wolves of Wall Street)
My next thought was, I've heard this music before.

I have to say, this film has it's moments.  Like a scene when the band are walking through the woods as if they were entering a VIP room. The scene is cut with flashes of white as if camera flashbulbs were going off. It was both comical and very stylish. Almost a commentary on the idea that these guys were their own hype.
Though the scene could have been shorter.

The more you get into this movie, the more it feels like a collection of music videos that have been played back to back. Sometimes that wasn't a good thing. 
No matter how decent the actors in DeCoteau movies might be, there are always long segments that make the actors seem like cardboard.  Still, this was one of the better written stories along the lines of this type of plot that I've seen in years. (could be because it's a made for tv movie?)

I like the fact they used being vampires as a metaphor for fame, and boy bands as zombies.

what do i think I learned from this film?
Fame can suck the life out of you

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday Jan 1st 2013

Well, it's a new year and a new project for me.

For some of my regular readers, you might be aware that I put myself through a year of watching one different movie a day in 2012 over on my Coffee and Casseroles blog.
I had fun. I can honestly say that the movie challenge was the highlight of last year for me.

This year, I'm putting myself through my paces with a return to my first love. Vampires.
I decided to tackle it slightly different this year for a number of reasons.   And have already kick started the whole thing with two posts today, the first movie of the year and the first round of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode recaps.

I will do my best to post something every day on this blog, some days more then a few posts. The big thing I learned last year was that there are days when no matter how much you plan, the universe has other ideas for you.


What Would Buffy Do?

Season 1 Episode 1 and 2- Welcome to the Hellmouth  and The Harvest

We open Welcome to the Hellmouth with two teenagers breaking into the high school, only to find out that one is a vampire. From there we see Buffy having nightmares and discover she's psychically linked to the Master vampire.

Then, high school starts and we are introduced to the rest of the cast, and learn that the story sort of picks up after the original movie. (I say sort of because it's a brief nod to the fact in the original 1992 film Buffy burns down her old high school to get rid of a nest of vampires)

Buffy has a moment when she talks to Giles about loosing her friends, being kicked out of school for what they considered bad behavouir and suddenly Giles becomes aware that life as it's been known can't ever be replaced.

Cordelia has the best line in this first episode  "Gym was cancelled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker"   It sets the tone for the whole series, drawing the dark humour out of the depression.

 In The Harvest,  we start to see the baseline of what the talents are each member of the group brings. Willow has the knowledge, Giles the quiet authority, Xander the strength to fall back on.  While Cordelia and Angel at this point are sort of just along for the ride. Both representing bookends of the situation, Cordelia is "reality as we know it"  and Angel is "the real reality".  You could almost say they also represent the gang's past and future.

This was a two part opening episode.  

What do I think the main themes in these two episodes are... transitions from who you thought you were to who you are meant to be. The setting of high school is the metaphor itself more then anything else right off the bat. Buffy knows she's has no choice but to face what is in store for her, but isn't excited about it at all.
Cordelia is the familiar safe iconic side of Buffy (past) and Angel is the unknown scary side (future)

365 Days- Day 1

movie: The Dark Crystal
starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
genre: Family
year: 1982
format: DVD

plot: Jen is the last of his kind after his village is destroyed. Raised by the Mystics, a tribe of healers, he is told that he alone holds the key to repairing the worlds, which he must do with the missing piece of the crystal. Along the way, he meets Kira, a female who was also told she was the last of their kind. Together, they face the Skeksis, the current keepers of the crystal.

Right off, you're thinking what the hell?

The Dark Crystal is indeed a vampire movie.  The Skeksis live by draining and drinking the lifeforce of other creatures.  Just because there are no fangs or coffins does not mean it doesn't come into the category of vampire. And I thought it was the perfect way to kick this whole thing off.
Showing that vampires are truly everywhere.  Even when you don't think they are.

I've actually mentioned this theme before on other blogs in the past, but still, The Dark Crystal is such a classic that it gets lost in the shuffle of "kids movies that are creepy".
There is also the factor that the character of Kira is brought back from death by the now whole creatures.

The entire story deals with duel natures. Negative and positive, male and female, light and dark etc. Focusing on the idea that you can't have one without the other.  You can not have life without death, as it will start to loose it's focus.  Immortality is the main goal for the characters of the Skeksis, to cheat death at all costs throwing the balance of life off. Meanwhile, the Mystics have the knowledge that in order to truly live, you need to know both sides of the situation.  And once they understand and accept this, when they become "one" with their darker sides, then they actually get the immortality that they are looking for. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
Death is not a permanent thing. Energy flows from one form to the other and keeps on regenerating itself. There is no real need to be greedy with the life you are given, or to throw things off balance.