Vampire Commentary 2: The Humans Strike Back

21 Jul

Sorry, Star Wars reference in the title for Liam. By the bye, if you were interested in what he looks like, you can find an excellent drawing by Corinne Duyvis here. (No, she is not affiliated with this stupidity– I commissioned her because she is wonderful.)

The next four Vampire Awareness Month movies are The Night Stalker, Martin, Dracula (2.0), and The Hunger. The last of those is meant for tomorrow, but I watched it tonight because– well, it was there, and I couldn’t say no, could I? Sadly, I couldn’t get hold of The Night Stalker yet– it’s in my Netlifx Queue, but I guess all three of their copies are currently out with other Vampire Awareness Month enthusiasts. Who am I to complain?

So here are our not-so-friendly bloodsucking hosts, Gianni and Liam, on the three I could get my grubby mits on this week:

9 out of 10 high-schoolers agree: real vampires use razor blades.

9 out of 10 high-schoolers agree: real vampires use razor blades.

MARTIN – George Romero – 1977 (John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest)
L: I gotta give it up for Romero– even if no one in this movie bothered with a Pittsburgh accent–
G: You say that like it’s a bad thing.
L: –he did a good job with the evil protagonist.
G: I liked Martin, poor boy.
L: Yeah, but movies like this are really pushing that whole “vampirism as a metaphor for rape” thing. Stoker’s Victorian bullshit might’ve been about sex, but Hollywood just went wild with it.
G: You can’t deny the cognitive link between sex and death. Mortals want to impose order on the world, and those two things are irresistible, inevitable chaos. Forces of nature. Why shouldn’t we represent both?
L: No, I get that that’s why vampires get the dangerously sexy rep. I’m not saying one is better or worse, but they’re two different kinds of violation–
G: Mm, this is finally getting interesting. Please, go on.
L: I ever tell you you’re a dick?
G: And you love me for it, sweet-heart.

I hope your like your blood and sex with a side of disco, Miss Seward.

I hope your like your blood and sex with a side of disco, Miss Seward.

DRACULA – John Badham – 1979 (Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Kate Nelligan)
L: I would so love to be able to turn into a bat. Holy shit.
G: I would love if you had to cross land or sea to do my bidding. According to these movies, I should have a minion.
L: Keep dreaming. This movie’s all right– for everything they fuck up, there are three or four things that are cool, and Langella’s great. A lot of Lugosi homage, but he’s still got his own thing going.
G: Entirely fuckable– who could blame that sweet little human?
L: And this time the poor Count actually had good reason to fall in love, too. She was awesome. Unsatisfying ending, though.
G: He’ll be back for her. Believe me.

Hot evil on evil action. Also: Bowie film sans spandex or Warhol wig. Rejoice.

Hot evil on evil action. Also: Bowie film sans spandex or Warhol wig. Rejoice.

THE HUNGER – Tony Scott – 1983 (Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon)
L: See, this is a whole different metaphor– the cult of eternal youth, like a goddamn Oil of Olay commercial–
G: Oh shut up about metaphors. I’m still depressed from the first half hour of that movie.
L: Yeah, that was rough. I just started singing Labyrinth songs in my head when it got too intense.
G: Fuck David Bowie; he broke my heart.
L: It was a good movie, though. And it had vampire protagonists without the bitching and moaning, right?
G: … I suppose, yes.
L: Wow, that did fuck you up. Was it the Schubert*?
G: No. The Ravel*.
L: Liar. Seriously though, how has someone not changed Bowie yet? Or Sarandon. Or whatshername. Those were some convincing vampires.

/End Vampire Commentary

I enjoyed all three of these– Langella as Dracula has always been a favorite of mine, and I hadn’t seen the other two, but highly recommend them. Martin is gritty and real and Romero, and The Hunger is great. Yeah, the latter is vampire melodrama, but at its finest. Give it a shot.

*For the record “The Schubert” would be his Trio in E Flat, Op. 100, which actually reminds me of Barry Lyndon every time I hear it. Don’t let the Italian name fool you– Gianni has a thing for German proto-Romantics. (Yes, I know he was Austrian, it’s a German v. Italian thing, though.) “The Ravel” is the incredible Le Gibet from his Gaspard de la nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand. Which I suppose is self-explanatory to any speaker of romance languages, and, well, we all know what a gibbet is, I reckon. Sunshine and roses!

Now playing: Franz Schubert – Piano Trio No. 2 In e Flat, Op. 100 D. 929: II. Andante Con Moto
via FoxyTunes

12 Responses to “Vampire Commentary 2: The Humans Strike Back”

  1. Barry Napier July 21, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Whew…so I’m NOT the only one who thought Langella made a great Dracula…

  2. Mary July 21, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I too love Langella as Dracula. And The Hunger has always been one of my faves (and not just for Bauhaus) :) Bowie should do more movies.

  3. KVTaylor July 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Barry, he had more than a little to do with me wanting to write vampires. While he retains that old world thing that made Dracula what he was, he was certainly the Modern Dracula.

    Mary, if I’d picked another vampire, he would’ve been all over the rest of the soundtrack– Bauhaus and Iggy Pop omg! My favorite Bowie used to be him as Warhol in Basquiat– which is also awesome, of course. Now it might have to be this one.

  4. Natalie L. Sin July 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    It broke my heart when I found out he was wearing a wig in “The Labrinth.” I still weep : (

  5. KVTaylor July 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Fuck Bowie and his heartbreaking antics!

    (I love that man.)

  6. Nat July 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Bowie, vampires… what? Who has hidden this film from me??

    Loving Gianni and Liam’s commentary :)

  7. Cate Gardner July 22, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    Keep these coming. :D

    I’m ashamed to say I haven’t watched any of these movies.

  8. KVTaylor July 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Nat, it’s better than that: female bisexual vampire Catherine Deneuve. Sweet Jesus. You will love it!

    As for these two dorks, I figure it might not be all that interesting, but it must be more interesting than anything I’d have to say about these movies on my own ;)

    Cate, I think Langella might change your mind about Dracula. Or at least convince you he has his finer points.

    Or is just– good-looking. That’ll do.

  9. Danielle Ferries July 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    David Bowie in a horror movie. What more could you ask for.

  10. Alan W. Davidson July 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    The 1979 Dracula was my first real exposure to him. I saw it in the theatre as a teenager and thought Frank Langella was great. The Hunger was pretty good as well…but then again, what’s not to like about Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie.

  11. KVTaylor July 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I can’t think of one thing, Danielle.

    Alan, I think I’ll always love 1979 Dracula– I saw it before I saw the Lugosi one (though I’d seen other Lugosi-as-Vampire movies, not The Movie!). It’s just so awesome. Man.

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