vampire films


V.22 No.30 | 7/25/2013
“Can you hear me now?”

Film Review

Byzantium

Neil Jordan returns to the vampire film, this time with chicks

In his review of Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, Jerry Cornelius strings together some of the prettiest hyphenated phrases we’ve ever seen.
V.20 No.41 | 10/13/2011

Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Daughters of Darkness

Halloween Countdown Edition

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Directed by Harry Kümel

Cast: Delphine Seyrig, Andrea Rau, Danielle Ouimet, John Karlen, Fons Rademakers

This truly strange Belgian vampire film (original title Les Lèvres Rouges or The Red Lips) oozes style, dread and languid sensuality, not to mention an unhinged sense of humor. The dreamlike scenario: Newlywed innocents—or maybe not-so-innocents—Stefan (John Karlen, from TV’s then-smash-hit “Dark Shadows”) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) decide to linger in an opulent beachside hotel when their train is delayed. Too bad it’s the middle of winter and the only other guests are the glamorous Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig, The Day of the Jackal, Last Year at Marienbad) and her sultry personal assistant Ilona. Before you can say “Carmilla” the oh-so-charming Countess infiltrates herself into the lovers’ troubled honeymoon and encourages the emergence of Stefan’s barely-suppressed dark side. (Just what is he hiding about his mother, anyhow?) You know what happens next.

The glorious, desolate backdrop of an off-season resort is almost a character in itself, swallowing up the machinations and psychodramas of the tiny cast of good-looking vampires and victims. Extra points also awarded for smashing ’70s fashions, slick editing, inspired location shooting (done entirely after dark or at dusk), letting the foreign actors dub their own lines, and a sinister-yet-groovy score from French soundtrack composer François de Roubaix. Unlike other lesbian vampire films from the same time period (cough Jess Franco cough), Daughters of Darkness is an intelligent, warped pleasure, equal parts art and exploitation film. The HD version on Netflix is terrific, the very definition of eye candy.

V.19 No.26 | 7/1/2010
Slap Shot

Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Slap Shot, The Hunger

Notable titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

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Directed by George Roy Hill

Cast: Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Jerry Houser, Andrew Duncan, Jennifer Warren, Lindsay Crouse

Besides having the most eloquently foul-mouthed script this side of Repo Man, Slap Shot is also notable for its utterly authentic backdrop of depressing, beer-swilling, industrial Northeast gloom (it’s set in Pennsylvania, but shot in upstate NY). Gleefully violent and crass, this film is nonetheless a class act with great comic timing and rich character work by Paul Newman, Lindsay Crouse, and Strother Martin. But it’s Nancy Dowd’s game-changing original screenplay that deserves most of the praise. Clean widescreen copy too.

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